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Quesmed Review: More Than Just a Medical School Question Bank
In this article, I explore a relatively new medical school question bank that has been brought to my attention. Does it live up to the bold claim of being the “Next Generation” of medical school question banks?
Here’s a quick summary of the article so save you some time.
Questions are well made and relevant, but spelling and grammar mistakes are common
There is a good variety of both easy and difficult questions ensuring all students can benefit.
The design is beautiful on mobile but the layout can be confusing on desktop
Questions have a fantastic social presence on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
Pricing is similarly priced to other question banks (especially if you use my discount code)
Their paid mock tests and masterclasses are additional features unique to Quesmed (but cost extra).
Quesmed is a great choice for any medical student. They offer a huge number of questions and provide a beautifully designed app that other question banks don’t have.
I would like to state that I did not get paid to write this review. I get a commission for everyone that uses the 25% off coupon, but Quesmed had no input on this review and my comments.
I used Quesmed for 2 months and did 1900+ questions (mainly clinical questions). This gave me enough information to write this review.
What is Quesmed?
Let’s first get on the same page and find out what Quesmed is.
Quesmed is a question bank that has been made with medical students in mind.
The offer over 1200+ basic science questions and 4900+ clinical questions.
|Type||Number of Questions/Cards|
|Basic Science Ques Cards||2122|
|Clinical Ques Cards||12108|
|Anatomy Question Cards||791|
|Data Interpretation Cards||363|
However, they don’t just do questions.
They also hold workshops, webinars and mock tests. They even have a YouTube channel in which they upload explanations of diseases and exam advice.
Some of these come for free, but some you will have to pay for.
What Makes Quesmed Unique?
Here are some of the things which makes Quesmed stand out.
They Focus On Medical Students
They don’t do any other set of question banks like UCAT, BMAT or MRCP.
Other sites like Passmed have diversified over the years to include these other papers in their library, but Quesmed has kept its core strength.
Whether they will start to expand their offer list over the coming years remains to be seen.
They offer Anki style learning option. Other question banks do this, but from what I have seen, Quesmed offers the most extensive and detailed number of cards.
This is something which I will be talking about more later on.
They are always uploading more videos on their channel which is a free resource that anyone can access.
Android and IOS App
Their apps are well built, if slow. I found myself doing a lot of the questions on the app.
They offer mock exams every year. This is something you have to pay extra for, but I can easily see it being a valuable resource for future cohorts.
I attended their first-ever mock. It was good, but it needs a few more years of iterative improvement before I would recommend it.
Again, this is something which I will discuss in more detail later.
They offer both free and paid webinars that you can access via their Facebook group.
They are all help on Zoom and are run by experienced clinicians.
They have an extremely active Facebook group where they post updates on what they are working on, have their webinars and other events listed.
They Are Always Working On More…
Quesmed was found in 2017, but it seems likely that in the next few years they will offer more than may of their competitors.
While preparing for this review, I contacted them. They said that I should wait a few weeks as they had a new and improved web design coming out soon.
It shows their commitment to constantly improving (even if the improved web design still hasn’t come out).
What does Quesmed charge for their services?
Price of the Quesmed Question Bank
Here are the pricing options that they offer:
But if you use the code RRS25, you get 25% off any Quesmed subscription!
For this, you get:
- Basic science questions and cards (useful for pre-clinical medical students)
- There are also anatomy questions that are separated from this group
- Clinical questions and cards (for clinical medical students)
Quesmed does offer a referral scheme where if you type in a friends email you get an extra two weeks added to your plan for free. Not the most generous of offerings but still a good incentive to refer to a friend.
Note that the subscription renews automatically so you should set a date in your calendar when you want to cancel it. However, if you check your email you will be fine as they send a reminder email before the renewal occurs.
Other Costs to Be Aware Of
Price of Mock Tests
Once a year, they offer a mock test.
They currently offer a medical school finals mock test and a PSA mock test. I believe they also offered an SJT test earlier in the year (however, I am not certain sorry).
For 2021 (the year in which I am writing this), the price was £7.50.
Price of Masterclasses
Quesmed offers regular masterclasses which can vary in price.
They can be about £10.50.
|1 Month Subscription||£10|
|6 Month Subscription||£30|
|12 Month Subscription||£40|
Psst…remember there is that 25% off discount (code: RRS25)! This is. the last time I mention it, promise.
As you can see, getting involved in all of the masterclasses/mock tests can get quite expensive.
So although they offer some things for free, it is offset by the high price you have to pay for each masterclass.
To put it into perspective, you are getting specialist advice from an experienced clinician. Considering the £9250 you pay for your university, these extra few bucks can go a long way.
Design and Layout
A great design can help distinguish between question banks as it allows users to easily navigate and understand the different things offered. How well does Quesmed fair?
The initial website that you are met with when you go to Quesmed is beautifully designed. It is modern and easy to navigate.
When you have signed up and are using the questions themselves, the original simplicity of the homepage is lost and you are met with this tutorial window.
After closing this pop-up, you are left on the dashboard that looks like this.
It is still nicely organised though and gives you all the information you need.
On the left-hand side, you have a list of options that you can choose from.
You also receive an email from them which prompts you to start a study plan.
However, after clicking that big blue button in the email, it just sends you to the dashboard, and so I am not sure what it is meant to do.
There are parts of the experience that look like they haven’t been given much thought.
For example, the page where you choose which question topics you would like to cover looks like it is from Windows 1995.
By the time you use it though they may have updated the interface, so this shouldn’t be a reason you don’t buy the Quesmed subscription.
The most important part of any question bank is the questions. So how good are they?
You can choose topics as shown in the gif below.
There are plenty of topics which cover all of the specialities that you would expect.
When you select a topic to do questions from, you get the choice of doing unseen questions or questions you have gotten wrong. Then, when you open the question page for the first time, you are met with the below message.
Mistakes Are Common
Unfortunately, like with a lot of other question banks, there are a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes present throughout the questions.
Most of the time they are minor and don’t impact the experience, but it would be nice to have some basic level of spelling/grammar checker in place so that you aren’t distracted by misspellings.
There can also be formatting errors. These were seen more in the app (which I discuss later).
I class formatting errors under the same category as spelling and grammar errors. They have the same effect of distracting you from what you are trying to accomplish.
How Hard Are the Questions?
The questions are of varying ability which is a great thing.
However, although I can’t verify this, it seemed there weren’t many cards of medium difficulty.
From my experience of other questions banks like Passmed and Pastest, it seemed as if Quesmed had a lot of easy questions and a lot of hard questions.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. You can still learn a huge amount from the questions. And there are so many questions that completing a speciality will result in you knowing it very well.
One thing I noticed, which once I saw was hard to unsee, was how some questions had two opposite answers.
For example in the screenshot below you can see how there is “reduction of mucus secretion” and “excessive mucus secretion” both listed as answers.
This indicates that the answer is between these two options (as they are trying to catch out the people who don’t know if it’s a decrease or increase but know that the answer is related to mucus).
Luckily though, these sorts of problems were few and far between.
On the whole, I think that Quesmed offers a wide range of questions of varying difficulty.
The explanations that Quesmed offers are great as they explain why each and every option is right/wrong.
At least, that’s the idea.
In reality, they often don’t explain why an answer is wrong, simply stating some generic fact about the condition (it can sometimes be a relevant fact, but nevertheless it’s not an explanation of why it’s wrong).
However, the attempt to explain every single wrong answer is still a great feature that other Question banks don’t have and one that is likely to get better with time as they edit their older cards.
Anki-Style Flashcards (aka Ques Cards)
Another great feature of Quesmed is their “Ques Cards”. This integrated well with their questions by having a “daily feed”. But how well does it work? Can it replace Anki?
When you first open the “Anatomy Ques Cards” option you see this screen.
The other type shows up with this:
I have to be honest, I didn’t use the daily feed much.
However, it wasn’t just because I was being lazy (although that might have been part of it). Here are some of the reasons I didn’t use it:
- The back of the cards had way too much information – Although some people might like it as it helps connect concepts in your brain, I found it too long to try and remember 3+ bullet points of information. However, not every card is like that.
- The questions are too broad – The topic might be “risk factors” for a disease or “treatment” for this condition. Similar to the above point, it is challenging to answer when there is so much you need to remember for each card.
- Cards start piling up – New cards are added to your daily feed every time you get a question wrong. In principle, this is excellent. It should help you learn the topics that you get wrong. However, in practice, it results in a large number of cards being needed to be done every day.
Below is an example of a card before you reveal the answer.
Note how broad the question is.
After you reveal the answer, you get to choose how well you know it on a scale of 1 to 5.
Overall, I can imagine a certain type of person getting a huge amount of value from it, so I understand why they have implemented it.
However, for me, it just wasn’t worth the effort.
Quesmed’s statistics aren’t’ on par with the rest of the services they offer. Here’s why…
At first, I wasn’t even aware that Quesmed had any statistics page. They don’t have anything explicitly labelled statistics.
However, I realised that Quesmed’s version of statistics is slightly different from that of most question banks.
The only statistics that you have access to are under the “Progress” tab of the dashboard.
They are extremely limited, only showing you how many questions you have answered and what percentage you answered correctly.
It would be nice to see a line graph that plotted your results over time. This could help you see your percentage increase as you start learning more.
The Quesmed app is one of the best things that they offer. It has a superb design and is a joy to use.
Easily one of the best things that Quesmed offers is their app.
A lot of question banks don’t have anything like an app, so this offering by Quesmed is truly a USP.
The design is easily one of the most gorgeous apps I have used and it puts the desktop version of the question bank to shame.
Unfortunately, nothing in this world is made perfect. And that is certainly true of mobile apps.
Two Big Issues
The two biggest gripes that I had with the app was how slow it was and the connection issues. I normally am not one to care about the odd second spend waiting for something to load, but the loading times would not only be noticeable, but outrageous.
It would be normal to spend 4+ seconds moving from one screen to the next.
On top of this, the app would often just fail to connect to the internet for no apparent reason. It was not my internet connection as my other apps would work fine.
However, in the two months that I used the app, they released an update that improved the speed of the app. I am not sure how much of a difference it made, however, I respect the effort.
They will likely fix the speed and connectivity issues over the coming year. Considering that this is within 5 months of launching the app, I would say they did a fantastic job.
Medical School Finals Mock Exam
Let’s conclude everything we have been talking about.
Potential for the Future
Quesmed does things slightly differently from most Question banks. That is, they aren’t just a question bank.
They offer plenty of other things, with their yearly mock exams having huge potential.
I can see it becoming an essential buy in 5-10 years. Others have probably attempted it, but Quesmed has the reach to be able to make it a “standard” resource in the future.
Unfortunately, you do have to pay extra as it doesn’t come with the standard Quesmed subscription package (a discount for Question Bank users would be nice to see).
However, for the cost of £7.50, I don’t think you can go wrong.
This was the first year that they ran the mock exams, and it was plain to see.
The sign-up process was easy enough, with they sending you a link to join their Zoom meeting.
However, when I joined I was surprised that the exam was using a PDF document. You could keep track of the questions yourself, but it was requested you use the Google Form so they could accumulate everyone’s scores.
Obs and Gynae was a section that was neglected. This was admitted during the session and it is unlikely to happen again.
Other than that, the questions were reasonable enough. Although marketed as “Medical School Final Realistic” questions, they were on par with the questions that they offer in their question bank.
Ao overall, although there are a lot of things that need to be improved, it is certainly something worth buying if you want to see how you perform in a more structured, exam-style environment.
Tips on Using Quesmed Effectively
Before I give my overall thoughts on Quesmed and conclude this article, let me give you some general tips on how to use Quesmed to its full potential.
Do Quesmed Every Day
Consistency is one of the best habits you can have when it comes to doing exams in medical school.
Start early and be consistent. If there was one sentence I could say to all medical students it would probably be that.
Another reason to do Quesmed every day is if you are going to be using the “Daily Feed”.
Daily feed is an excellent and unique feature of Quesmed.
The algorithm will select relevant questions/cards for you to do on those days.
Although I didn’t use it, it is something that you should at least try for a few days to see if you find any benefit from it.
Because of the daily feed feature, you should try to aim to do Quesmed every day.
Anki is a fantastic resource that works wonders in medical school. Combining it with Question banks is a great way of using scientifically proven techniques like active recall and spaced repetition.
Don’t Worry About Getting Questions Wrong
If you don’t get a question right, then don’t worry!
Just put that information in Anki and you will learn it in no time.
If you want to know what Anki is, then check out this article of mine where I explain what it is and why it’s so good.
My Overall Thoughts
Here is what I thought of using Quesmed.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using Quesmed.
Conclusion – Should You Use Quesmed?
Let’s conclude everything we have been talking about.
I do think that Quesmed is a good question bank.
You could combine it with other Question banks like Passmed. After all, the best way of studying is by testing yourself and doing questions, so using two Question banks is always going to be better than one (I have also made a review for Passmedicine that you can check out here).
To conclude, Quesmed has some great features and so I have no problem recommending this awesome question bank.
If you enjoyed this article then share it with your friends and colleagues who might find it useful.
Have a good day!