Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Microcards: Review Cards for Medical Students
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on April 26, 2011
I just took my USMLE step 1. These cards are all you need for the micro section. They are concise, clearly written and basically the best thing to study micro with. No question asked buy it!

Update: These cards are epic. Every question on my USMLE exam and most questions on the qbank were drawn directly from these cards. They have made studying for micro a million times easier and in my opinion these cards are the single best, comprehensive and high yield source for the boards. (FYI I HATED micro in class). I got my exam back and I did very well. Not surprisingly micro was one of the areas were I destroyed the exam.
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on January 27, 2012
Hi, I'm an MD-PhD student currently studying for USMLE step-one.

Let me just say something: these are the absolute best study tool imaginable for micro.

The cards are divided into categories of organisms (e.g. gram(+), (-), fungi, etc.). Each category first presents an ALGORITHM card, which means it displays a flowchart that outlines how the organisms are categorized based on enzymes, motility, etc. Then vignette cards follow.

The flowchart cards are the key to these Microcards. What do I mean by that? Well what I do is spend about 40% of my time memorizing just a particular flowchart ALONE, THEN I go on to the subsequent vignette cards. These flowcharts are brilliant because the information is organized in such a way that you remember the IMAGE of the flowchart, rather than specific data for each organism individually. These are great if you have a photographic memory. The rate of learning that's possible by studying these is by far the most time-efficient out of any resource I have come across for step-one so far, and that is big news bears, my friends. And they're fun!

For example, I'm not even looking at the cards, and I can tell you that Bacillus anthracis is a gram(+) bacillus, spore-forming, aerobic, non-motile. That's because the flowcharts are THAT good. I have the image in my head. Just take my word on it. I could be doing QBank right now, but I'm taking time to write this review because I believe anyone studying for USMLE should use these cards.

Another thing, the vignettes reference KEY DETAILS relevant to step-one. For example, the card for Clostridium botulinum mentions a girl having gotten sick after having had canned foods on a camping trip. Keep in mind, C. botulinum is known for specifically growing within improperly sterilized canned goods. Now just imagine getting that vignette on step-one, huh? "Canned goods" Boom. Next question.

If you go through these cards and finish the pack, this will be the difference between 245 and 255, guaranteed.

I've found that the more times the algorithm cards are repeated by heart (when you're in the shower or where ever), the categorization of organisms becomes less and less visual and more mere rapid recall.

Other resources I recommend for step-one:

BRS Pathology, DejaReview USMLE, Kaplan Qbooks, First Aid, among many others.
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on May 30, 2010
When I think of "flash cards" I think on one side there is a word, or a question, and I've got to figure out what is on the other side. I had bought these flash cards thinking there would be a clinical scenario on one side, with the bug on the other side with some important pertinent information.

Instead, the bug's name was on BOTH sides (precluding you from guessing if you wanted to quiz yourself). This is essentially a review book that was placed on nice flash cards. These are NOT good for review, but might be good if you are first learning the material. Some of the flow charts are nice, but nothing you can't find in another review book.

This is not a good resource if you just read the Micro section in First Aid and you want to see how much you've retained. I would not suggest these for USMLE Step 1 Studying.
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on November 12, 2011
Hi, I'm an MD-PhD student currently studying for USMLE step-one.

Let me just say something: these are the absolute best study tool imaginable for micro.

The cards are divided into categories of organisms (e.g. gram(+), (-), fungi, etc.). Each category first presents an ALGORITHM card, which means it displays a flowchart that outlines how the organisms are categorized based on enzymes, motility, etc. Then vignette cards follow.

The flowchart cards are the key to these Microcards. What do I mean by that? Well what I do is spend about 40% of my time memorizing just a particular flowchart ALONE, THEN I go on to the subsequent vignette cards. These flowcharts are brilliant because the information is organized in such a way that you remember the IMAGE of the flowchart, rather than specific data for each organism individually. These are great if you have a photographic memory. The rate of learning that's possible by studying these is by far the most time-efficient out of any resource I have come across for step-one so far, and that is big news bears, my friends. And they're fun!

For example, I'm not even looking at the cards, and I can tell you that Bacillus anthracis is a gram(+) bacillus, spore-forming, aerobic, non-motile. That's because the flowcharts are THAT good. I have the image in my head. Just take my word on it. I could be doing QBank right now, but I'm taking time to write this review because I believe anyone studying for USMLE should use these cards.

Another thing, the vignettes reference KEY DETAILS relevant to step-one. For example, the card for Clostridium botulinum mentions a girl having gotten sick after having had canned foods on a camping trip. Keep in mind, C. botulinum is known for specifically growing within improperly sterilized canned goods. Now just imagine getting that vignette on step-one, huh? "Canned goods" Boom. Next question.

If you go through these cards and finish the pack. This will be the difference between 245 and 255, guaranteed.

Other resources I recommend for step-one:

BRS Pathology, DejaReview USMLE, Kaplan Qbooks, First Aid, among many others.
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on June 6, 2011
Overall, this is a good series, and I highly recommend it. However, between this edition and the previous one, there have been no noticeable content changes. (I compared both side-to-side.) The one change I did notice was the print quality had gone way down. The previous version cards were done on higher quality "stock" paper and these are on flimsy paper. You will spend alot of time learning these "bugs" and will probably add alot of your own notes in the process. I don't think these cards can withstand that kind of wear-n-tear. Therefore, I recommend buying the previous version. Get better quality for less money!
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on December 3, 2011
These are amazing for step 1. Plain and simple. I think they are essential for it. Each card is a bug, and has the important information that you need to know, and nothing more. Essential for step 1. get them, trust me.
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on June 8, 2009
Great detailed cards. I am currently studying for the boards and think that the vignettes on each card is extremely helpful in putting the microbiology into clinical context. The cards do take a serious time requirement and I would recommend pulling out the more high yield organisms to accelerate your review closer to the test date.
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on April 23, 2014
I used these to study for Step 1 cause I knew that pharm and microbials were going to be my weak spot. I suck at memorizing. These cards worked great I augmented them slightly with underlining. What worked for me was to go over about 10-20 for a few days before or after study breaks and slowly mix them up and incorporate more. I couldn't look at them for hours but that helped break up the tedium of reading, questions, and lecture.
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on July 10, 2011
Pros: Easy to digest information, you can go over them multiple times without getting lost in too many words and details. Great for the Microbiology course in medical school. I haven't taken Step 1 yet, but I'm going to be annotating these cards into First Aid because it provides easy to digest details about each bug and is fairly high yield. Anything more tan this might help, but it'll be harder to memorize and the key to memorization is repetition, repetition , repetition....

Cons: The general review cards that are not about bugs but about lung diseases or heart diseases don't offer much context. For these cards, you really need to know the course information

Verdict: Great review cards and they're easily digestible so they'll be worth the buy. Make sure you also get Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple and Study hard in the coursework so you're revising rather than trying to learn for the first time.
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on April 30, 2011
These have pretty much every detail that I need to know for my microbiology class in med school. The only exception is that there isn't a lot of coverage on all the virulence factors. I love the clinical vignettes and the layout of the cards.
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