If you’re in med school and shopping around for an on demand USMLE prep course, then you’re in the right place! I’m doing a deep dive into the Med School Bootcamp Step 1 course and share my full review – the good .. and the bad. Let’s get started.
About Med School Bootcamp
Bootcamp.com is a learning platform that specializes in science courses that range from Chemistry and Anatomy to the NCLEX and the USMLE. Known as a more robust alternative to Boards & Beyond (see more in the course Alternatives for a comparison), this course is a go-to for students preparing for Step 1.
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- High-quality, digestible video lessons
- Affordable subscription-based or year-long options
- Thorough answer explanations for both correct and incorrect solutions
- No physical books or workbooks
- Little student support or instructor assistance
How the Course Works
The Med School Bootcamp course follows a proven: lesson – recap/review – and practice model, which I break down further below:
Online video lessons
The online video lessons are short (5-20 minutes) and are focused on how to apply high-yield concepts to Step 1 questions. There are a range of learning techniques in each video including mnemonics, diagrams, and tables. With each topic, you’ll get a set of the slides to download as a PDF before going through all of the lessons. These are the same slides that the videos will work through and annotate – I think this is a really amazing feature for taking notes directly on the slides while following along with the lecture.
The instructor is filmed and can be seen in the bottom right-hand side of the video lesson, so it feels a bit more personalized than the videos with just a voiceover running through slides.
Review Quizzes (Bites)
Dubbed “Bites,” these are short quizzes after each lesson to test your comprehension and ability to apply high-yield concepts to Step 1 questions. You’ll have anywhere from 4-10 questions at the end of each lesson video, so you can better reinforce key concepts before moving on.
This is a really useful way to review and reinforce subtopics and is increasingly becoming the norm across USMLE courses. Kaplan’s on-demand courses use a similar “post sub-topic” quiz – learn more about Kaplan’s USMLE course.
Boards-Style Practice Questions
There are over a thousand practice questions that mimic what you’ll see on the USMLE and include pretty detailed answer explanations. What sets this Qbank apart from others I’ve seen is the link to the related video content for the specific topic being tested.
This can save you a ton of time digging through the course to find the lesson that covers the question you got wrong.
My other observance is the length at which they explain answer choices (both the correct choice as well as why the incorrect choices are wrong). It’s extremely helpful to understand why you got a question wrong so that you can avoid these mistakes in the future.
My Thoughts on Med School Bootcamp
Now that I’ve ran through how the course works and given you a general overview of what you’ll get if you enroll, it’s time to break down some of the pros and cons of this course.
As a full disclosure – I was not paid for this review and was provided a free Step 1 Preclinical course by Bootcamp. That means all thoughts and opinions here are my own – so here goes:
What I Like about Med School Bootcamp
The video lessons are engaging and concise and certainly feel like an upgrade in terms of production quality to the on-demand video lessons I’ve seen in similar on-demand courses such as Pass Program and Boards & Beyond. If you’re looking for great video content plus the ability to take notes directly on the slides, then this course is an awesome fit for you.
As I mentioned earlier, the answer explanations go above and beyond when providing you with links to specific concept videos tested on. The answer explanations to their short quizzes are concise, provide mnemonics and learning devices, related images and diagrams, as well as brief explanations about why answers are wrong as well as why the correct answer is right.
At the end of each chapter, you will also work through their Board-Style Question Breakdown. Essentially, these are questions that put all the pieces together with one major teaching point and 5-10 smaller points to help you learn to answer NBME questions. You can also tag questions for later to review again.
The interface of the practice test mimics the real thing. In their explanations, you’ll see bolded key features that you really want to take away from each question.
These questions are constantly being updated, so your course subscription will be up-do-date.
Bootcamp does a great job organizing and compiling the course in an easy-to-use platform that requires little, to no, onboarding.
Unlike Kaplan’s USMLE prep course, which incorporates coursework in its books, video, and text-based lessons, the Med School Bootcamp lessons and bites are all conveniently located within your dashboard and no outside materials are needed.
You have the option to choose learning by systems or to use their 9-week study schedule, which incorporates lessons from different systems and puts it into a 9-week study plan (as seen below) for a 9-week schedule of 6.5 days of study each week.
AnKing v12 Integration
The Med School Bootcamp course is fully integrated with AnKing v12 – which is top of our list for the best Anki Decks for the USMLE. You will still need to sign up on AnkiHub.net separately and pay the $5/month fee, but the cards in the AnKing Overhaul deck are tagged with #Bootcamp, so you can easily sort through the deck.
With your med school bootcamp course, you’ll gain access to their Anatomy Bootcamp. This bootcamp includes 4 topics and has a lot of videos and questions as well as practical exams that even include images that you’ll see in the cadaver lab. With this bootcamp, you can test your knowledge like you would on your practicals.
What I Don’t Like About Med School Bootcamp
There are a few areas that Med School Bootcamp can improve upon, namely the following:
Lack of customization
If a 9-week study schedule doesn’t work for you, there aren’t a lot of options to customize your study schedule accordingly. You could use this 9-week study schedule and adapt to your timeline, of course, but that’s the most “customization” you’re going to get here.
This course is 100% on demand, so you don’t really have access to an instructor or experts in a classroom or for online office hours. There is a general chat for asking questions, but the responses can take hours, depending on your time zone.
No Physical Books or Guides
While being 100% digital and on demand has its benefits – the downside is that there are no physical books, workbooks, or even digital guides to print along with the course. Yes, you can download and print the PDF of slides, but if you want anything else to guide your studies, this course isn’t going to offer it.
Each Lesson Video Corresponds to a Single Slide
This is a good-and-bad situation. Each video lesson corresponds to a single slide in your PDF slides handout. This is good for a general overview of the concepts and for referring back to your notes, but can get messy when you’re trying to add enough notes and annotations for high-yield concepts.
Med School Bootcamp Course Options
There are essentially 3 different course options, the only difference being how long you have access to the course as well as the pass guarantee.
Summary: The most flexible package that renews each month at $49 and allows for canceling anytime. This is best if you don’t intend on studying more than a month or two, as the real value comes in purchasing a year or more of access. Keep in mind there is no pass guarantee with the monthly option.
1 Year Access
Summary: Clearly the most cost-effective course if you plan on using it for a few months – access the course for an entire year and study with the reassurance of its pass guarantee.
2 Year Access
Summary: Simply 2 years of access at a steeper discount along with the pass guarantee.
More on the Pass Guarantee
I always advise students to actually read through the terms and conditions of the pass guarantee before purchasing a prep course. Like any course, there are a few conditions that must be met, as follows:
- You purchased either the 1 or 2-year Med School Bootcamp course at least 30 days before your USMLE exam
- You completed all of the course content
- You provide the name of the accredited US or Canadian medical program as well as the results indicating your failure
These details should all be emailed to the course creator, Dr. Anthony Roviso, via his personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve seen a lot of pass guarantees and this one pretty much fits the mold – by all indications, they aren’t trying to pull a “gotcha” on you.
What is the Free Trial?
The free trial is 3 days of access to pretty much all of the course content that you’ll receive if you purchased the course. It’s pretty great for those who want to try it out risk-free. They do not require any credit card details to enroll in the free course, so there is no chance of you forgetting to cancel your free trial in time and getting charged.
A good idea is to trial out the course over these few days, perhaps complete a day in their recommended study schedule and see if you like the feel of it. No strings attached.
Who Needs the Med School Bootcamp
I think this course is among the best for students who just want an on-demand course that allows for self-study. You will not get additional face-time with instructors or experts – but if this is not your priority, then you can enjoy its low price point and high quality video content, updated quiz questions, and explanations.
Med School Bootcamp Alternatives
Perhaps you’ve read my review and you’re simply not sold on this course. That’s fine – there are plenty of other USMLE prep course options on the market – and here are 2 top alternatives:
Best for Live Online or In Person
Kaplan’s on-demand course is quite similar to the Med School Bootcamp (but costs significantly more). Where Kaplan shines is in its live online course for students who prefer to learn with the in-classroom feel. Not everyone needs or wants to have an instructor present while learning, but this can give some the extra motivation to stay focused and present in the lessons.
Verdict: Kaplan is better for Live Online or In-Person Prep
Boards & Beyond
Longer Track Record
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Boards and Beyond, since they are the key competitor of Med School Bootcamp. Boards & Beyond is one of the OGs for USMLE prep and they’ve been around for decades. The pricing is about the same as Med School Bootcamp (with a few other subscription timeline choices such as 1 week, 3 months, 6 months, etc.) and integration with Anki. The key difference is that the product feels a bit older and the videos are less engaging. The tradeoff, however, is that they’ve been around longer and, in turn, have more proof of success.
Verdict: Boards & Beyond has a more established reputation and proof of success.
Med School Bootcamp FAQ
Is Med School Bootcamp worth it?
This course is definitely worth it if you are looking for USMLE content review that includes video lectures as a form of study.
How long do I have access to Med School Bootcamp?
Your access to the Med School Bootcamp can either be paid on a monthly subscription basis (and cancel anytime) or on a one-year or two-year membership.
Is there a mobile app?
Yes! The Bootcamp app can be used for studying with your Med School Bootcamp upgraded membership. This enables you to watch video lessons and answer questions on-the-go.
Are there any live instruction options?
No. There are no live instruction or tutoring options currently available with Med School Bootcamp.
Med School Bootcamp Recap
To summarize, here are the key features of Med School Bootcamp:
- High-quality lesson videos that cover high-yield content
- Detailed explainers and video resources for Qbank questions
- 3-day free trial that allows for you to try-before-you-buy.. risk-free!
- AnKing v12 integration