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Anki is an application that capitalizes upon the techniques of spaced repetition and is increasingly utilized by medical students for examination preparation. This study examines the impact of Anki usage in a medical school curriculum on academic performance. Secondary objectives analyzed individual Anki utilization and a qualitative assessment of Anki use.


A cohort-control study was conducted at Boonshoft School of Medicine. One hundred thirty first-year medical students were enrolled in an Anki utilization training program from July 2021 to September 2021. Training included educational Anki courses and subsequent survey data collection over Anki usage. Data variables included all course final examinations, the Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (CBSE), individual Anki user statistics, nationally standardized exams scores, and Qualtrics surveys on student perceived ease of use.


Seventy-eight students reported using Anki for at least one of the exams, and 52 students did not use Anki for any exam. Anki users scored significantly higher across all four exams: Course I (6.4%; p < 0.001); Course II (6.2%; p = 0.002); Course III (7.0%; p = 0.002); and CBSE (12.9%; p = 0.003). Students who reported higher dependency on Anki for studying performed significantly better on the Course I, II, and CBSE exams.


Anki usage may be associated with an increase in standardized examination scores. This supports Anki as an evidence-based spaced repetition and active retrieval learning modality for medical school standardized examinations. There was little correlation between its specific statistical markers and examination performance. This is pertinent to physicians and medical students alike as the learning and preservation of biomedical knowledge is required for examinations and effective clinical care.


This work is licensed under CC BY 4.0





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