It’s the 1st of October and for many students that means Level 2 / Step 2 board prep is about eight months away. You’ve probably bought some books, been doing qBank questions and you’re learning at clinic and in hospital. You try to fill gaps in your knowledge with UpToDate or long, lonely hours with Harrison’s. You google things and rely on Medscape for quick answers. In desperation you occasionally use Wikipedia, knowing it’s a mistake.
So, you’ve learned a lot… but you still feel like you are not gaining enough knowledge. You want something more, and you’re tired of spending money on things that don’t work. Don’t worry – the awesome Dr. Williams has you covered.
Dr. Dustyn Williams is an IM doc and clerkship director at Tulane, who created OnlineMedEd.org with the aid of his friend Jamie.
OnlineMedEd.org provides free videos covering a wealth of internal medicine subjects, as well as OB/Gyn, pediatrics, surgery, neurology, psychiatry and preventive medicine. No, that’s not a typo. You can watch these videos online, for free, anytime. The IM section includes cardio, pulm, GI, heme/onc, rheum, nephro, endocrine, infectious disease and derm.
What the What?!
Yeah, that’s not a typo. The videos are 100% free. They run anywhere from 10-30 minutes, making them short enough you can watch one every night, if not more. Because at the end of a long day at clinic reading will put you to sleep, so why not just enjoy 20 minutes breaking down Asthma?
There is also paid access, which includes several perks: PDF notes cover most of what’s discussed in the videos, allowing you to finish videos faster and have a legible note to add to as you watch. The practice questions are good, and doing them after I completed all the videos in a section really reinforced concepts.
You can view a sample of the paid extras for Coronary Artery Disease here: https://onlinemeded.org/cardiology/coronary-artery-disease
Should I Pay for It?
Maybe. Go watch a video first, check out the demo on CAD and see if his style suits you. If it does, then I definitely say yes. The combination of pre-reading the notes, with the kinesthetics of writing or highlighting as I watched the video and the reinforcement of the questions afterwards is a killer system.
But What’s it Cost?
You could wait, and spend only $160 for 3 months, then try to cram all the knowledge in. If you have 2 months of vacation time then it’s a great plan. Or, you can pay monthly to see if it works for you, at $70 per month, and not shell out a bunch of money up front. But if you sign up for the year now, and don’t take boards until June, your “monthly” cost is $62.50
What are the Negatives?
I was able to use downloaded audio to review tricky subjects on long drives, but it’s not as good as the visual aspect of the video. I liked the few cases I worked on, but did not have enough time to use them, so I can’t vouch for their overall quality.
This year OnlineMedEd.org released a book to go along with the program, called QuickTables. It’s a pocket sized book of the key info from the videos, meant to be referenced when you have downtime on the wards. I’ll be reviewing it later this month. They also released a book for new interns, strongly focused on the medicine/ward perspective that is definitely more than a third year medical student needs.
Disclaimer: FMStudent gets no cash or prizes for this review. I personally used it (free plan mostly, until three months before boards, and regretted not having the full features earlier) and wished I’d paid for access to the full features earlier, and think it’s a great resource for third year.
Questions? Ask in the comments!