Mnemonic Monday: PERCH on a “Peak” – Picornavirus


By Molly Lewis

Viruses… not only can they literally make you sick to your stomach from gastroenteritis, but trying to remember their classifications can cause significant nausea as well!

The solution? No, it’s not oral rehydration therapy or ondansetron – try a mnemonic!


Video App Review: USMLE Amnesia Cure Lite


With all the great apps available to help you study, how do you know which one(s) to choose? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Check out this great video review from First Aid team member, Jaysson Brooks. We include a grade for the app based on our Video Review Grading Scale.

Know of an app you’d like us to review? Share your suggestion in the comments below.

Name: USMLE Amnesia Cure Lite
Mobile Operating System: iOS
Price: 6 free cases. $17.99 for full version.
*Grade: A

Grading Scale:

Taking Step 2 CS This Year? The USMLE Has Announced New Passing Requirements!


Step2CS4thEdBy Molly Lewis

The USMLE’s Step 2 Committee recently decided to increase the passing standards for the CS (Clinical Skills) portion of the exam (i.e. it will be harder to pass!).

After reviewing input from independent physicians, state licensing officials, medical school faculty, and Step 2 test-takers, as well as data on past exam performance, the committee chose to raise the standards for two components of the exam. Since the exam is graded pass/fail (and not numerically, like Step 1 or Step 2 CK) this means that a certain percentage of students would no longer pass.

USMLE Has Announced New Passing Requirements
The changes were made in 2 of the 3 portions of the evaluation: Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS) and Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE). The grading of the Spoken English Proficiency (SEP) portion will not be changed.

Please don’t panic! Instead, invest in a copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS, Fourth Edition to make sure you are prepared!

For more information, please see: “Change in the performance standard of the Step 2 CS examination that will affect examinees testing on or after January 1, 2013

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2013 — What Changed?


2013 Step 1As the Editors of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, we would like to briefly clarify the nature and scope of the changes made in the new edition.


Our first priority was to fix the errors reported in the previous edition. Our errata review resulted in 317 verified errata – some minor and some major, but all examined in an extensive process with expert review and adjudication by faculty. This process prompted us to revert many of the “errata” previously published on the errata list, and so the penultimate 2012 errata list is being published on our website, Yet even with this rigorous review process, there will be passages that evoke passionate disagreement among students and even among faculty. As always, we welcome your feedback.



Our errata review also revealed many comments that challenged us to clarify, simplify, or otherwise improve the material to avoid confusion in complex or ambiguous factual areas. While a word count alone is only one way to judge a revision, a quick comparison below shows the extent to which we have expanded the text and, importantly, the index in the new edition. The vast majority of the 10,000+ new words are clarifications and rewrites of existing entries that were potential sources of confusion with other review books, test banks, and web resources. 2013 Word CountSTRUCTURAL CHANGES

  • Based on student feedback and surveyed preferences, the embryology content has been incorporated into the relevant major organ systems chapters
  • Many entries have been merged, grouped, or consolidated (e.g., pp. 417, 429)
  • The dermatology section (pp. 395-403) includes 59 new color images
  • The Rapid Review section is better “synchronized” with underlying high-yield material covered within the book
  • The index has been fully redone with the assistance of a medical indexer and medical students who gave feedback on each index entry
  • The test preparation material in Section I is updated and expanded, with additional advice for IMGs and DO students



  • Entry formats are extensively redesigned, to better separate headings from content and to aid in grouping related material logically
  • Mnemonics are colorized and bolded to clarify associations and memory hooks
  • Entries requiring more than 1 page are on a 2-page spread for convenience
  • Selected illustrations were redesigned and colorized in a new First Aid style, to aid in visual clarity (e.g., pp. 71, 106, 314, 478)


In the end, real-world student experience with the book will determine the success or relative value of a revision. We offer this summary so that students may appreciate the extent of the changes in the 2013 edition, many of which may not be immediately apparent.

The Editors of First Aid

IMG Info: Step 2 CS IMG Study Tips


By Sarah Wesley

Among English-speaking graduates, the Step 2 Clinical Skills exam generally produces the least amount of study angst. As long as you can take a decent history, communicate effectively, exhibit empathy, and come up with a reasonable differential diagnosis and plan, you will pass. There is no numerical score, and the exam consists of only twelve patient stations with actors. The tasks of communication and note writing under pressure can be more daunting when you are dealing with a language barrier or/and an unfamiliar system of notation for writing your assessment.


Do Corner: Studying OMM for the COMLEX Exam – PART ONE


By Sean Martin

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is a hard subject to write test questions about. It is a specialty of medicine that relies totally on feel and experience. Luckily for students taking any level of the COMLEX exam, this gives you the upper hand. Since it is so hard to write a good question, questions tend to be very predictable. By focusing on a few high-yield areas,it is easy to excel in a subject that seems to haunt many DO students. I am going to split this topic into two posts to allow me to elaborate on some topics rather than simply throw out a long list of words.


The Doctor’s Out Tonight – Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University (Med School Parody)


We love this video from:
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University MD’14 and MD’15


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