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Picmonic for Nursing Vs SketchyNursing: What Nursing Students Are Saying; Decide Which Resource Is Right For You

Visual Study Aid review: Picmonic for Nursing & SketchyNursing

Nursing Students Summarize Picmonic Advantages:

Complete Library Of Topics

Evidence-Based Learning

More Efficient Learning

Prioritization of High-Yield Information

Quizzing and Spaced Repetition

Integration with Nursing Textbooks

Up-to-Date Content

Bonus Additional Resources

On-The-Go Mobile Apps

More Affordable Pricing


As a nursing student, you have to remember an immense amount of detailed information within a very limited time constraint. Not only that, you have to remember this information for the long-term in order to prove competency (pass certification exams!) and to perform well as a qualified healthcare professional.

That’s why you need the best learning resources to suit your needs. You may be overwhelmed with the different options out there, especially when it comes to visual learning platforms. Students may wonder what the difference is between the leading resource Picmonic and SketchyNursing, as from the outside, it appears they are relatively similar. That’s why we are here to break it down for you and explain why Picmonic, the only research-proven picture mnemonic platform, is the best study tool to suit your needs. The foundation of the Picmonic Learning System uses evidence-based memory phenomena, tools, and techniques to help YOU; the student who needs an efficient and effective solution to mastering the massive load of information you need to know.



Which Nursing Mnemonics Study Aid Covers The Most Content?

“Picmonic covers many more topics, and I like that they have shorter videos (avg. 2 min), and that videos are broken into parts. I like how Picmonic separates videos on one topic into two parts or more (eg med-surg assessment and interventions) instead of having an overload.”
– Cecily R., Nursing Student


“Picmonic is excellent in clearing the basic concepts and understanding to build on further knowledge on dense (difficult) topics. It breaks down the main topic into sub-topics, for example Antidepressants has 10 subdivisions, like SSRI’s, TCA’s and MAO’s etc. SketchyNursing is very limited, but Picmonic has a lot of content covered.”
-Mussarat A., Nursing Student


In nursing school, you’re expected to know thousands of facts ranging across all the nursing areas; fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology for nursing, med-surg, psych, obstetrics and so much more. That’s why Picmonic has you covered the entire way with over 900 nursing topics, mapped out by pre-defined Course, Body systems or Nursing Textbooks, so you’re not just limited to pharmacology, which is the only topic that SketchyNursing covers.

Picmonic even has an NCLEX® pathway for when you’re ready to review all the content you’ve learned throughout your entire nursing school career (because we hate to tell you, but Pharmacology isn’t the only thing that will appear on the NCLEX®!) Because of this, you can use Picmonic from day one of nursing school, all the way to the NCLEX®, and even beyond into your nursing career.

Picmonic's many Nursing courses!

Browse by Course, Body System or Book










See all Related PicmonicsWe know that’s it’s not just about memorizing every detail of all the bugs, drugs and diseases; you have to learn each topic AND how it relates to everything else. For example, if a patient presents with a set of symptoms, you need to remember every possible cause. You have a question about a drug? You’ll need to know every condition it could treat. Differentiating between annoyingly similar information is one of the most challenging aspects of medical education. That’s why Picmonic makes it easy by tying related topics together. With just one click, you can see how Picmonic relates the facts from one topic to the next, so you can form those connections in your head once and for all.
See all related Picmonics

Another important advantage to note; we are so confident that you will be satisfied with how much Picmonic will help you succeed, that we even have a Pass the NCLEX® guarantee or your money back!

Bottom Line:

• Picmonic has 900+ videos for the most important nursing topics
• SketchyNursing has 67 videos, limited to pharmacology
• Picmonic coves you from day one of nursing school, all the way till the NCLEX® and beyond with organized content by course, body system, book, or NCLEX® review
• SketchyNursing is limited to Pharmacology
• Picmonic easily relates topics and facts to each other throughout Picmonic library
• Sketchy does not link related topics
• Picmonic has a Pass the NCLEX® Guarantee
• Sketchy has no NCLEX® Guarantee

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Which Nursing Student Visual Aid Is Evidence-Based?

“Evidence-based memory retention tools. It’s all about that EBP!”
-Stella K., Nursing Student

As healthcare students, you know how important it is to trust what is validated. The Picmonic methodology is backed by an IRB research-study, showing that compared with students that studied for the same amount of time with a textbook, students who used Picmonic had a 50% increase in exam scores after one week, and an over 330% increase in long-term memory retention after one month. Knowing these statistics is important when deciding which product you can trust to help you remember all the details you need to know as a practicing healthcare professional. SketchyNursing’s learning system has unknown statistics and results, while Picmonic is currently the only picture mnemonic learning system that is backed by research.
Picmonic Research Study

Bottom Line:

• Picmonic is the only research-proven visual mnemonic learning system
• Picmonic is proven to increase exams scores by 50% and long-term memory by 331%
• Sketchy has unknown statistics and is not validated by research

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Which Nursing Mnemonics Resource Is The Most Efficient?

“[Picmonic’s] educational and story versions are kept separate…[there is a] separate section for pharmacology (I need to learn about assessments, treatments, and more, not just the meds!)”-

The [SketchyNursing] videos are so long that I gave up trying to memorize any of the information.”
– Yeny M., Nursing Student

Time management and efficiency is the reality of a nursing student, and because of this, you need to consume and retain as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time. *Knowing this, and that science shows that there is diminishing value after 6 minutes watching a video, we based The Picmonic Learning methodology on efficiency. Picmonic will highlight the most important facts that you’ll be tested on, and break down complex topics into multiple videos, separating assessment, interventions, side effects and so on so, you’ll never watch a Picmonic video more than five minutes long. SketchyNursing’s videos range anywhere from 10 to 30+ minutes, as they aim to cram maximum information into one video. No matter what resource you choose, you’ll need to review the concept again to ensure you don’t forget it. Now think; would you rather commit to a two-minute video or a 20-minute video? Especially considering the thousands of topics you need to learn in Nursing School…those minutes add up to hours of your precious study time!

*http://up.csail.mit.edu/other-pubs/las2014-pguo-engagement.pdf

Picmonic also provides you with a written transcript of the video you just watched, so you can pick out the important details by skimming through it if you prefer. Sketchy doesn’t provide video transcripts which is highly problematic with such long videos, so you’ll have to remember what was verbally stated or spend hours rewatching them.
Picmonic includes both Educational and Story transcripts

Picmonic Player SettingsAt Picmonic, we know that every student learns differently, so we give you the power to control your learning experience in the way that suits you the best, allowing customizable settings with a with a simple user-friendly interface. There is even a note-taking section in each Picmonic that you can use to remind yourself of tidbits of information as you see fit. Sketchy’s video library is not interactive and therefore limits you to a linear learning model.  

Picmonic also allows you to organize the topics you are learning into customizable playlists for even more efficiency, then you can quiz yourself on each specific playlist or throw it in “Gym Mode” on the mobile apps for continuous audio. Think you made an awesome playlist that other students would benefit from? You can easily share your playlists with classmates so you can all study together, or get a little competitive with a Quiz Challenge. All of these capabilities are absent in SketchyNursing.


Even more, if you want to find something specific with no time to waste, you can use Picmonic’s Search bar to type the topic or keyword you’re looking for, and you’ll be studying what you need in seconds. SketchyNursing does not have a Search feature, so valuable time is lost navigating the website to find the specific topic you are looking for.


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic prioritizes important key facts by separating overwhelming topics into multiple short videos
• Sketchy crams a lot of information into each video, resulting in longer videos that can be hard to commit to memory
• Picmonic’s average time per video is three minutes
• SketchyNursing’s average time per video is 16 minutes
• Picmonic provides written transcripts of videos; SketchyNursing does not
• Picmonic’s settings are customizable to how you learn best, SketchyNursing does not have customizable settings
• Picmonic has a Search feature to save you time finding content, SketchyNursing does not

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Which Nursing Student Aid Highlights The Most Need-To-Know Information?

“Each of [SketchyNursing’s] pictures was a little overwhelming, having 25 or so things to remember for each picture. I’m not convinced that I need all that information in one picture. Picmonic is much better, having an easily manageable amount of information in each picture…

What I like about Picmonic is that when it comes time for a test, Picmonic pictures are the main thing that stick with me. I like the different aspects of it – the story (if I need extra help remembering the picture), the educational part, the blurbs at the bottom (super helpful when they expound the picture), and especially the quizzes! The information is right on point and usually gives me the same facts that I need to know for class. And I have found much to my delight that the information sticks so much better when I study with Picmonic!”
-Natalie P., Nursing Student


“I’ve always felt that Picmonic is there to provide basic information before I dive into a topic and to reinforce high-yield information. I couldn’t watch more than 8 min of the [SketchyNursing] videos because I felt like I was wasting time on small details. I really like [Picmonic’s] high-yield-information approach.”
-Stella K., Nursing Student


*Science shows us on that on average, a person can hold between 4-7 items in their working memory, and in that, the items should be grouped or chunked together. Picmonic limits the key facts to 10 per topic to increase the chance that you will remember these memory triggers. These characters are grouped together in a scene, such as side effects, indications, and mechanisms, so that it increases your likelihood of cementing them in your long-term memory.

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8022966*

Now let’s compare that to a Sketchy image; imagine how many Sketchy symbols you’ll need to memorize in a 30-minute video; sometimes there can be as many as 30+ symbols in a SketchyNursing image! Not only is this overwhelming, but think of how likely it is that you will remember all of these symbols; especially when the symbols are extremely small, and the artwork is subtle and doesn’t stand out in your memory.

Haloperidol - Halo-PoodleNow you may notice that the Picmonic characters sound or look funny, maybe even absurd. Trust us; we did that with scientific intention based on a memory theory called *Von Restorff Effect, also known as the Isolation Effect, which, put plainly, states that we are more likely to remember things that are distinct or unusual; things that stand out.


Additionally, Picmonic uses phonetic character representations to help when recalling information (if you can remember the Halo-Poodle, you can put the words together and sound it out to get close enough to Haloperidol, which will trigger your memory so you won’t miss it come test time).

*Reference: http://www.utsa.edu/mind/von_restorff_translation.htm

Picmonic Image: 9 characters
Picmonic - Haloperidol

SketchyNursing Image: 49 symbols
SketchyNursing

Bottom Line:

• Picmonic improves long-term retention of critical information by limiting the number of characters in an image
• Sketchy holds as many as 49 symbols in one image, which may be overwhelming and difficult to remember
• Picmonic visual representations are based on memory phenomena principles that utilize true phonetic-mnemonics and unique, memorable imagery
• Sketchy images are often monotonous with small generic symbols that are easily forgotten

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Which Nursing Student Visual Aid Uses Quizzing and Spaced Repetition?


“The only thing I liked [about SketchyNursing] is that you can create tests and practice NCLEX style questions.”
-Yeni M., Nursing Student

“Picmonic has greatly improved its quiz questions to be more challenging and test-like. Picmonic is much more organized than SketchyNursing in my opinion, and I think [Picmonic’s] Daily Quiz really helps for reviewing.”
-Seth V., Nursing Student


Now we all know that we can’t learn and remember in just one interaction with content; reviewing with repetition is important. Well, we can optimize our time spent reviewing by using the memory phenomena known as Spaced Repetition; a key component of Picmonic’s evidence-based learning design.

Picmonic’s learning analytics platform keeps track of your individual performance on the 10,000+ multiple-choice review questions, then uses Spaced Repetition software algorithms to tee you up with a Daily Quiz, prompting you to review the content you are weaker on, more often. In addition, you’ll be reviewing the content you demonstrate that you are more proficient with over increasing intervals in time to ensure you never forget. We make it as simple as possible for you; just open Picmonic every day and click one button to start reviewing.

Daily Quiz with Spaced Repetition

Sketchy has an NCLEX® Q-bank feature with 650 multiple-choice review questions. While NCLEX® Q-banks are appealing to nursing students, SketchyNursing’s questions relate only to pharmacology, and without spaced repetition, you’re on your own to figure out what you need to review, and when.

At Picmonic, we have an amazing picture-mnemonic video learning system, but we leave the NCLEX® Q-banks to the companies that specialize in them, so please do yourself a favor and use a reliable NCLEX® Q-bank covering all the content you really need to know. We recommend BoardVitals, NRSNG, UWorld, and NCLEX® Mastery.


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic integrates spaced repetition (intelligent reviews) into your learning process for long-term memory storage (covering you from day 1 through the NCLEX®)
• Sketchy has a quiz feature and some NCLEX® questions, but does not integrate spaced repetition

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Which Nursing Student Resource Uses My Textbooks?

“When I first started using Picmonics it was confusing how to use it in correlation to my books, until I discovered you could do units of the book according to what we needed to know for the chapter in the Book section of Picmonics.”
-Seth V., Nursing Student

Follow along page by page with your textbook

We understand that as a nursing student, you are assigned a large amount of reading on a weekly basis. Are you really doing all your reading? In class are you familiar with the lecture material and able to keep up with the instructor? Well, this is why we’ve integrated Picmonics with the most popular nursing textbooks, so you can follow along with your assigned readings and quickly learn the Picmonics that appear in those chapters.

For example, if you are assigned chapter 31 of the Fundamentals of Nursing by Potter and Perry, you know the exact 52 Picmonics to learn before class so that you create a framework of the information in your memory ahead of time, making it easy to keep up in class and retain your instructor’s lecture material. If you know what book you’re learning and pages you need to read, you can find exactly what Picmonics you should learn side-by-side.


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic references the most popular nursing textbooks to make studying quick and easy
• Sketchy has generic content organization leaving you to figure out on your own how to align their content to your syllabus

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How Often Are Nursing Student Visual Study Aids Updated?


We humans are learning more all the time, our knowledge of science is ever-changing and so are the medical guidelines along with it. That’s why Picmonic’s team of subject matter experts is constantly auditing and updating our content based on the newest research and community feedback, so you can study with confidence.


Updated PicmonicsIf you are ever studying with Picmonic and you think something may be incorrect, click the little “…” on the fact, then click Report an Error, and we will follow up with you after triaging it, and if it’s actually an error, we’ll fix it ASAP and add a free month to your account for your diligence!

On the Picmonic Home Screen, there is a tile that shows Updated Picmonics and gives a description of what was updated and when, so you can ensure that you are keeping up with information as it evolves. Even more, every day the Picmonic community builds on our foundation by adding facts to existing Picmonics (the best of which are made available to you) and creating new Picmonics from scratch for topics not covered in our extensive library.


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic is constantly auditing and updating content
• The Picmonic community adds facts to existing content to add more depth
• Community created Picmonics increase the overall breadth of topic coverage
• SketchyNursing does not publicize content updates, if any are made
• SketchyNursing does not enable students to give feedback on, modify, improve, add to, or create new content

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Which Study Aid Provides Additional Academic Resources?


Feeling like you need a little more in-depth coverage for your studies? Picmonic supplements the nursing community with tons of additional resources to help you along with your healthcare journey. Within a Picmonic you can click on each individual character to read more detail about that represented fact if you choose to do so.

Even further, each fact is linked to Wikipedia, Google Images, and we even leverage up the community by giving you access to community added facts, resources, and flashcards. You will see many Picmonics have helpful videos linked so you can go even deeper on a topic if you want to, and many facts have images uploaded so that alongside the character representations you will see the real medical imagery that you’ll see in your books or on an exam. SketchyNursing does not provide or link out to additional resources for students.

Add community resources

Picmonic webinars cover topics ranging from study strategies to specific subjects you are learning, which even link playlists to the specific Picmonics that are covered. Are you a person who prefers hard copies instead of digital? We give you the opportunity to print out the Picmonics with you and take it on the go to study. Want a higher level concept map of how the multiple Picmonics tie together? Check out the 12 infographics in our Resources Center.

Picmonic Infographics

We even provide you with a 4-week NCLEX® study guide, which plans out your study schedule in depth, links to specific Picmonics, and has fun activities at the end of each week to make the information stick in a fun and efficient way.

4 Weeks to NCLEX Workbook & Study Planner

Bottom Line:

• Picmonics include real medical imagery and links to helpful videos or other websites
• Picmonic provides many additional resources for in-depth learning (webinars, Print & Go, NCLEX® study schedule, infographics, playlists)
• Sketchy does not provide additional resources

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Which Nursing Mnemonic Study Aid Has Mobile Apps?


“I re-listen to [Picmonic] audios when driving with Play All [feature].”
-Lori G., Nursing Student


We know that as busy nursing students, you need to have the option to take things on-the-go with you so that you can study anywhere, anytime. Here is yet another Picmonic advantage; unlike SketchyNursing, Picmonic has iOS and Android apps!


Offline Playlists on Picmonic mobile appsIf you have five minutes to spare before your clinical shift starts, or even while you’re in line at Starbucks, you can go through your Picmonics and quiz yourself right then and there. This makes it so easy to keep up with your Daily Quiz, and everything will sync up to where you just were on your computer.

Even better; the Picmonic mobile apps have bonus offline capabilities so you can download the Picmonics you need to study and have them available to you on a plane, train, or submarine! What if you want to get some studying in while running on the treadmill at the gym? With the continuous audio play, you can re-listen to audios while you’re getting that workout in. Set that Cardiac Pharm playlist in Story Mode and stay entertained while you workout while you study…whoa! Who said multi-tasking was impossible?


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic has mobile iOS and Android apps for on-the-go learning
• Picmonic app has offline capabilities and continuous audio play options or “Gym Mode
• SketchyNursing does not have mobile apps, and reviews have stated that the mobile website experience is frustrating

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Which Nursing Mnemonic Study Aid Is Cheapest?


“With SketchyNursing, the unpaid experience is mediocre. There is no freedom to select a video, but rather one free vid for each category. Their videos are much longer (11-26+ mins), with the facts separated. Only pharm was available; Pharm is not the only topic that appears on the NCLEX. I don’t see the sense in forking over the same amount I pay for Picmonic (or more for the 6 & 12-month subscription) to only get pharmacology review”.
-Cecily R., Nursing Student


We know being a nursing student isn’t cheap, and that many students are cash-strapped. Picmonic is affordable at $12 per month, and a steal at only $4 per month when you subscribe for two years for $95, and any of these options get you everything Picmonic for Nursing has to offer.

Now, Sketchy costs 50% more for a 12-month subscription, but you only get Pharmacology and none of the time-saving and deeper learning features of the Picmonic Learning System.

Lastly, we want you to experience this learning methodology for yourself before you commit to buying, so we provide you with a Picmonic Forever Free option, where you choose one topic a day, plus 20 quiz questions and one Daily Quiz. Sketchy’s free trial experience is very limited; there is no freedom to select your preferred video to sample, but rather a “trial set” of videos they selected that can be used for free.


Bottom Line:

• Picmonic and Sketchy Nursing have similar subscription models at $12 per month, but when you choose a one-year subscription you save 50% with Picmonic and are getting more content and features
• Picmonic Forever Free allows you the freedom to choose one video a day, every day, forever
• Sketchy’s free trial experience is limited to a “trial set” of predetermined videos

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So Which Nursing Mnemonic Study Aid Is Right For You?


“Personally, Picmonic works for me because things are kept short and simple. SketchyNursing seems to have a let-me-teach-you-everything-in-one-video approach. [Picmonic] splits up the videos into educational and story versions. I think breaking things up like that is much more effective than cramming everything into one video. I also like Picmonic because each topic is broken down into assessment, intervention, etc sections.”
-Stella K., Nursing Student


“I was getting D’s in Nursing Pharmacology…now get A’s and B’s! I spend less time studying and it’s fun, I love Picmonic. Following along with my book makes it easy to use. I checked out a similar system called SketchyNursing that I was not a fan of. Their videos were too long, the colors and stories were boring, it just didn’t stick like Picmonic images do. On exams Picmonic images pop in my head and I remember all the little details so easily. I was so stressed last semester and now I am confident, I am going to become a nurse!”  
-Shannon, Nursing Student


“I love Picmonic! It’s good for most subjects and AMAZING for Pharmacology – I retain everything. Picmonic is goofier which helps – I keep it open in class and re-listen to audios when driving with Play All. It’s helpful that the drug brand names are included, and that a little of the stories & scene are included in the educational audio! In comparison, SketchyNursing is more expensive, and the connections aren’t as strong. Their videos are 25 minutes long, taking too much time and work to find relevant content inside of a video.”
-Lori G., Nursing Student


We know that every student has different study needs and therefore will prioritize some benefits versus others. Choosing between Picmonic and SketchyNursing just depends on your personal study habits and preferences.

All in all, both resources are using visual learning which is awesome, and they each have certain advantages that are useful to incorporate into your study routines.


Bottom Line:

SketchyNursing Benefits:
• It is easy to sit back and watch long videos
• Lots of information per video (many feel this is a drawback though)
• Pharmacology content
• NCLEX-style Qbank of 650 Pharmacology only questions


Picmonic Benefits:
• Evidence-based learning system
• More efficient way to study
• Comprehensive content coverage
• Memorable characters
• Daily Quiz with Spaced Repetition
• More affordable


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*SketchyNursing is a registered mark of Sketchy Group LLC 2018

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