After reviewing the less-than-impressive Pretest Psychiatry app, I decided to give the Pretest series another try.
I used the entire Pretest Medicine app while studying for my internal medicine rotation, and found it to be a helpful review for the exam.
This app, compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, costs $29.99 and is based on its corresponding text (which, incidentally, was written by physicians at my institution).
It is published by Modality Inc., the same publishers of the previously reviewed First Aid for the USMLE Step 1.
From the opening screen, users can create a new quiz, view saved quizzes, go to the question browser, or view their cumulative statistics. I enjoyed the question browser mode, a tutor-type, untimed mode where you can answer questions and read explanations with just a few taps of the screen. In this mode, users can view a list of all questions, filter questions by section, and review bookmarked questions.
Within the question browser, you may also select reference mode, which will automatically display correct answers. There are 15 different question sections, including:
- Infectious Disease
- Hospital-Based Medicine
- Pulmonary Disease
- Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease
- Hematology and Oncology
- General Medicine and Prevention
- Allergy and Immunology
- Women’s Health
As in the other Pretest apps, correct and incorrect answers are not saved in the question browser mode.
Creating a quiz allows you to track your performance. Quiz questions can be drawn from any section, and each quiz can contain up to 50 questions. Quizzes are timed at an average rate of one minute per question. You can review your cumulative statistics later from the app’s home screen.
Since the majority of people using this app are preparing for either their internal medicine shelf or USMLE Step 2 CK, an important question is: How do these questions compare to those on the board exam? I took the shelf exam recently, and found the questions on the app to be much shorter and overall less difficult than the actual exam questions.
That being said, the app does a good job of covering essential concepts tested on the NBME, and most of the answer explanations were adequate. They thoroughly explained the rationale for the correct answer, and in most cases, discussed the reasons that other answer choices were not appropriate. Reading them provided a useful review for me and helped to clarify high-yield information.
I do wish that the app contained more questions. Like most books and apps in the Pretest series, this app contains around 500 questions (496 to be exact, while the text version contains 500). However, since internal medicine is such a broad field, providing more questions would allow even more comprehensive coverage of material.
While I would not use Pretest Medicine as my only resource for exam preparation, it covers a vast amount of material and serves well to test understanding of concepts and augment your knowledge base.
- Currently $29.99
- Good coverage of high-yield information
- Helpful and thorough answer explanations
- Interface is intuitive and identical to those of other Pretest apps
- Ability to track performance on questions
- Convenience of answering questions and reviewing explanations instantly
- Questions not representative of the length or difficulty of those on the actual exam
- Could use more questions for even more extensive coverage of material
- Price—the text version can be found cheaper used or on online retailers such as Amazon.com
- Though not recommended as a sole resource, Pretest Medicine is a valuable supplement to other materials for board preparation.