HealthMarch 25, 2015

USMLE: Memorization-heavy questions

So you want to use Firecracker during your dedicated Step 1 prep, but you’re not familiar with the app or where to even start. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! It’s unlikely that you are going to master over 1,000 topics and 30,000 flashcard questions in a few weeks or months. So you want to focus on topics that are going to be a wise use of your time.

In the realm of content that is fair game for Step 1, there are some topics that are memorization-heavy—topics that you just have to brute-force memorize.

We’ve compiled a list of such topics below.

Biochemistry: Cellular Energy (Remember to first work on those topics that you are weak in!)

Biochemistry: The rest

General Pharmacology

General Pathology



There is quite a bit in here, so we didn’t list it. But traditionally bacteria and viruses are higher yield for Step 1, and they involve a lot of rote memorization. Get to these sections by going to Step 1, then Basic Sciences, then Microbiology. Within micro you’ll see multiple sections, including bacteria and viruses. Simply scan through and identify any topics you feel you are weak in, then focus on those!

Within the Organ Systems, some of the topics that are memorization heavy are within the different pharmacology sections. As with all of this, you have to use some amount of your own judgement and focus on those topics that are weaknesses for you. Having said that, we have found that cardiology, psychiatry, and a few neurology-pharmacology topics tend to be higher yield. Here are those topics:




This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive.


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