Best Settings for Med School

This was original a post made on reddit here


I get asked all the time about my thoughts on Conaanaa’s settings vs my settings so I thought I would comment on this publicly and leave room for a discussion. (Please do discuss!)

The truth is, I really like Conaanaa’s video and think he does a great job supporting his thought process. For many Anki users, I would agree that his settings are likely to produce good results, but I feel that medical school is a slightly different ballgame. For medical students, I would recommend my settings. For those learning languages, etc in their free time I think Conaanaa’s may be worth trying (I have been using them for my Chinese deck). Here is why I think mine are better for med school:

  • Many schools have quizzes every couple weeks. You want the information reviewed a little more frequently than 6 days after your 2nd time seeing it for those quizzes (however, I do agree with his point that longer intervals will help with retention- you don’t want to review all the time and this is why I recommend when you get close to your quiz/test it is better to do practice questions than redo all of your flashcards in a custom filtered deck)

  • In med school we’re not going for straight recall most of the time. Much of what we need to know is based off of multiple-choice tests.

  • We’re not learning 5 years long term based on just flashcards (the research Conaanaa shows tested 5 year retention rates and isn’t 100% applicable to our situation). We have quizzes that test our knowledge and then reinforcement of the ideas in clinic. Our main purpose in using Anki for preclinical work is to rock step 1.

  • We’re not aiming for 80-90% recall as Conaanaa mentions. We actually want to put in that extra 30% of work for 5% gains because we want killer step scores (unless you don’t.. in which case yeah maybe his settings are better for you)

  • There is no “optimal” settings, not even mine. You are better off to play with it and see what works best for you. I have a good memory and always have- your memory may be better or worse than mine. Anki relies on understanding the algorithm and adjusting it to fit your specific needs. I am constantly changing settings around to adapt to the needs of my day to day schedule and make it so I have less cards on busier days. The most important thing is UNDERSTANDING the settings rather than having the “perfect settings.”

  • We actually review more often than Anki has us review when we’re in a course (unlike the research subjects in the articles Conaanaa presents), but once we leave that course, we don’t review it and that’s why I’d recommend putting a cap on reviews even though good Anki practice would suggest otherwise (u/nicolascuri previously made a great post on this topic). If you use the Anki Simulator add-on, you'll notice that capping at 6 months does not significantly increase card load (but less than that will be noticeable in a typical 1.5-2 year preclinical curriculum)

My videos (I’ve split the same ideas into multiple videos as we try to keep our videos short):

Anki algorithm: https://youtu.be/eHaCkDyMmPQ

Recommended Settings: https://youtu.be/wvF5Y2101Lk

How to avoid Ease Hell: https://youtu.be/roR8S9zjUh8

My steps: 25 1440

My graduating interval: 3

My easy interval: default 4

Note: I do regularly change these around to send cards to specific days if I am extremely busy on certain days. I also recently posted a video on how you can skip days or study ahead without affecting the algorithm too much ( https://youtu.be/UXgck-g0nQA)

Conaanaa’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XaJjbCSXT0

Conaanaa's steps: 15 1440 8640

Conaanaa's graduating interval: 15

Conaanaa's easy interval: 60



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