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Med School Bootcamp Review
Our detailed review of the USMLE Step 1 study materials from Med School Bootcamp
Med School Bootcamp has been making some noise in the USMLE prep space since they launched their course about a year ago. Intended to be Boards and Beyond 2.0, Bootcamp has definitely impressed so far with high-production value video lessons, board-style questions, and a detailed study schedule. But is it worth taking a gamble on a relatively new-ish prep provider in the space? We answer that question and more in this comprehensive review.
This is a fairly detailed and lengthy review, so we’ve added helpful jump-to links above for your easy navigation.
Review Video: Is Med School Bootcamp Good?
In the above video, team member John breaks down the pros and cons of the Med School Bootcamp program as we see it. Please continue reading for more detail.
How Med School Bootcamp Works
Let’s begin this review by discussing how Med School Bootcamp works. I think this will help to set the stage for the pros and cons as I see them.
Looking at the course from a high-level, Bootcamp is essentially a big library of study materials, all grouped by Step 1 topics. Basically, Bootcamp splits out all their prep material by subject as tested on the USMLE, such as Cardiology, Dermatology, Pharmacology, Genetics, etc.
Then, under each of these subject-based groupings, there are three types of study materials: (1) video lessons, (2) review quizzes, and (3) board-style questions. I will quickly explain each of these course elements.
The video lessons are pretty straightforward. Each video lecture is on demand and breaks down a narrow topic in fairly granular detail. Bootcamp gives you a PDF handout to follow along in (which tracks with the slides in the video), and the instructor for the video runs you through the lesson. Generally speaking, these videos focus mainly on content review.
The average video typically runs for 8 to 15 minutes, though some are a hair shorter and some run up around 20 minutes.
Then after every video lesson, there’s a review quiz. Bootcamp calls these quizzes “bites,” as they are effectively bite-sized questions. These are not board style problems. They’re designed to test and reinforce what you learned in the video lesson. That’s all.
There are usually a dozen or so problems in every “bites” quiz after the video lesson.
Then finally, the third element in each module is board-style questions. That too is just what is sounds like. Bootcamp pulls in a bunch of board-style questions from their Qbank that hit on the topic just covered in the video and bites quiz.
On the whole, that’s sort of it for the hard study materials in the course. To recap, you’ve got video lessons with lecture handouts, quick review quizzes post-lesson, and a set of board-style questions. It’s nothing too complicated.
Now, without any guidance, this setup would give the course a sort of unstructured feel. However, overarching everything in the course is the study schedule. Basically, to tie everything together, the Bootcamp team has created a nitty gritty, 9-week study schedule that gives you a day-by-day breakdown of exactly what you need to be completing.
It breaks down all of your assignments into morning and afternoon sessions across 6.5 days per week, for 9 weeks. In short, it is very thorough.
Honestly though, that’s about it. You follow this checklist-style study schedule and work your way through all of the materials in the course over 9 weeks. You take it day-by-day, with the calendar generally being back-weighted for practice tests near the end.
Med School Bootcamp Cost & Purchase Options
Before diving into the individual pros and cons of the Bootcamp course, let’s quickly cover cost and the different course options that Bootcamp offers.
Bootcamp has three different membership options:
Monthly pay-as-you-go subscription ($100/month)
1-Year Membership Plan ($300 full retail)
2-Year Membership Plan ($550 full retail)
Putting these price tags in perspective, Bootcamp is a whole lot cheaper than competitors like Kaplan and PASS Program, and they are even more affordable than their closest direct competitor, Boards and Beyond.
Basically, because Bootcamp is still relatively new-ish to the space, they’re trying to gain some traction and market share with lower price points, which is awesome for users.
Knowing how Med School Bootcamp works and what it costs, I am now going to give you a few things I like about Bootcamp, as well as a few things I also wasn’t crazy about. This way, you have a balanced view. Let’s start with those pros.
Awesome Practice Material
The first advantage of using Med School Bootcamp, in my opinion, has to be their board-style questions and problem explanations. For one, their board-style questions are very, very good in terms of matching the content, style and difficulty of real exam questions.
I don’t think you can always say that about other USMLE prep providers, and it’s clear that Bootcamp has sunk some serious time and resources into making sure their problems mirror the real thing. So that impressed us.
But perhaps more importantly, their problem explanations are awesome. These answer solutions are in-depth, written in understandable and plain language, and contain a bunch of useful visuals.
Plus, most of the explanations even have a link over to the relevant video lecture where the topic is explained if you need a deeper dive. I just really like how these explanations are presented and how they’re integrated in with the other content materials.
Lecture Handouts Help
Another pro for Bootcamp is the PDF handouts. This is kind of a small thing, but I really like how Bootcamp gives you a PDF handout with every lesson module. They contain all the slides from the video lectures and offer some great detail. Plus, there’s room to take notes and highlight things.
Now, if there is one complaint here, it’s that you must print them off yourself—you’re only given digital copies. If Bootcamp started shipping students bound, printed copies of these handouts, that would be an awesome upgrade. Or even just offering printed versions as an upgrade for a small fee would be cool.
Big picture though, I really like the lecture handouts. They are an awesome text-based source of content review.
Review Quiz “Bites”
My third highlight is how Bootcamp uses this 1-2 punch of video lesson followed by review quiz. Personally, I think this structure is very smart.
Right after every video lecture, you immediately get a “bites” quiz with 10 or 15 problems to drive home what you just learned. It’s a very classic and effective way of reinforcing the material from the lecture, and I like this 1-2 punch. It works really well.
Lastly, I need to touch on Anki decks. So you are aware, Bootcamp’s program is fully integrated into AnkiHub, which makes hitting flashcards way easier and more convenient.
Given the prominence of Anki decks for Step 1, I really like this choice to integrate, and found it to be a very useful function.
What We Don’t Like About Bootcamp
Having covered all the rosy, nice things we like about Bootcamp, now let’s get to the things we didn’t necessarily like.
No Live Classes or Office Hours
The first downside of using Bootcamp is that there are no live classes, or even live office hours for that matter. Everything in the Bootcamp course is on demand and self-paced.
This means that there is nothing really holding you accountable and keeping you organized, apart from the study schedule. At the end of the day, that is exactly what the study schedule is intended to provide, but it’s totally self-driven.
Thus, if you’re the type of student that struggles to get motivated or stay committed on your own, Bootcamp might not a be a great fit. You might need a course with a fixed, live class schedule like Kaplan or PASS Program.
No Written Study Materials
Second up, I’m not crazy about there not being any hardcopy prep books or study materials with this course. In terms of written materials, the only thing you get is the PDF lecture handouts. Those are solid in their own right, but it’s pretty limited in comparison to other courses.
There are no cheat sheets, study notes, outlines, USMLE prep books, or any other text-based materials. Personally, I’d like to see Bootcamp add some written study guides and cheat sheets to their suite of resources, and then offer them in print version along with the lecture slides. That would be a nice upgrade.
Study Schedule Is Separate PDF
My final drawback of using Bootcamp is that the study schedule is a separate PDF. I know, not a major ticket item here, but I personally think it would be cool to integrate the study schedule right into the dashboard in calendar form.
If Bootcamp had an interactive study plan in calendar form right on the dash where you could check items off and move things around, that would be a really nice upgrade. The separate PDF calendar is fine, but making it more interactive would take it to the next level.
Verdict: Is Med School Bootcamp Worth It?
Time for the final verdict: is Med School Bootcamp worth it? My answer to that question is, yes, without a doubt. Honestly, Med School Bootcamp provides one of the most practical study plans and bundles of study materials I’ve reviewed.
If you don’t know where to start, the study schedule gives you a ton of detailed guidance, and the study materials themselves are on point. The videos lessons, board-style questions, in-depth explanations, and little bite-sized review quizzes are rock solid.
To be clear, I do think there is some room for improvement by adding live office hours and printed study materials, as well as an interactive calendar on the dashboard, but all in all, I think this is an all-around effective prep package. Honestly, at this price point, I would go with Bootcamp over Boards and Beyond. In the end, we give Bootcamp a very high rating.
Is Med School Bootcamp good?
In our team’s opinion, after using and doing a full review of the Med School Bootcamp course, it is a very good prep program. Their study materials are highly effective, and we like the organization of this USMLE prep course.
Is there Med School Bootcamp Anki deck integration?
Yes, Bootcamp’s program is fully integrated into AnkiHub (AnKing v12), which makes hitting flashcards much easier and more convenient. It’s a smart integration on Bootcamp’s part.
Is there a Med School Bootcamp promo code?
Yes. On top of the standard Med School Bootcamp discounts (always built into the pricing page), Bootcamp also offers periodic promos. Use code TPI10 for 10% off Med School Bootcamp packages.
What does Med School Bootcamp cost?
Med School Bootcamp has three different purchase options. There is a monthly pay-as-you-go plan for $50/month, a 1-year plan for $200, and a 2-year plan for $350. Relative to other USMLE prep providers, Bootcamp is very affordable.