Frequently Asked Questions

About First Aid Express (11)

About First Aid Express related questions

The workbook is organized the same way as the First Aid book and videos. We suggest you print a copy (sorry, you can’t save it to your hard drive) and answer the relevant questions as you progress through the videos. Studies have shown that testing yourself while trying to learn material has a greater positive effect on test performance than plowing through it non-stop, or trying to memorize it.

In the “Browse Media” area, at the bottom, select “Workbook” and use the drop-down menu to select the chapter you want to see. Click the round “Go” button and a window for downloading the file will pop up. You can print the workbook, but you cannot save it to your hard drive because of security settings.

Give us your opinion on a video’s quality by highlighting 1 (low) to 5 (high) stars at the bottom right of the video. If you’d like to send us a comment, type it in the white box that appears and click “Submit.”

When you’ve finished reviewing a video, you can flag it as “difficult” (come back to) or “mastered” (move on to another video). Click the round “Go” button to save your choice.

Use your computer’s volume control, or click on the Volume icon in front of the timer at the lower right of the video player.

Yes, click on the little box next to the timer in the lower right of the video player; press the Escape key to exit full screen mode.

Absolutely. Pause the video by clicking on the “forward” icon at the left of the video toolbar. When you want to resume, toggle the “pause” icon to restart the video. Be careful, however; for security purposes we have an activity timer set, so if there’s no activity after a set period, you will be logged out of the system and have to log in again.

The Table of Contents to the left of the video is interactive. After the streaming video loads, click on the Fact name you want to review, and jump right to that Fact. Just think how much study time this will save you!

You can also use the horizontal slider bar in the video toolbox to move ahead or backward, once the streaming video loads.

As many as you want, so long as you have an active subscription.


In the “Browse Media” area, select the Category (e.g., chapter title) from the drop-down menu, then select the subcategory you want to view. You can also use the “Video Type” feature to see all the videos, or only the ones you’ve not yet seen, or ones you’ve started, or even mastered.

Once you start a video, it is tagged as “Started,” and it cannot be reset to “Not viewed.”

Because of who we are, what we do, and how we do it. This course includes both 2012 and 2011!

We are the only video series written by the authors of First Aid. Our street cred is unquestionable – we are the First Aid authority.

We show and discuss all the Facts from First Aid, so you can follow closely and annotate your book as you go. We include 600+ additional images and videos, and we highlight key concepts to keep you focused.

And how do we do it? By letting you watch the videos as many times as you want. By giving you the option of jumping to the specific topic you want to review. And by giving you a comprehensive color workbook to test your progress and competency.

For med students, by med students – we know what you need, and First Aid Express is it.

About Step1 QMax (6)

Step1 QMax related queries

Give us your opinion on a question’s quality by highlighting 1 (low) to 5 (high) stars at the right of the explanations. If a question gets low ratings from multiple students, we review it to see if there’s room for improvement.

You can also communicate specific comments or questions by entering your text in the Comments box, then clicking “Submit.” We will review your comment and get back to you. If you have spotted an error, and if you’re the first student to alert us, you may earn up to a $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

Most students say they need to practiceclose to 1000 questions before they start seeing improvement in their test scores.All students will tell you, the more questions you take, the better you’ll do on test day. So our advice is, practice, practice, practice.

Scores on our Step 1 Qmax are highly correlated with actual USMLE performance, and research shows that the Step 1 Qmax is able to predict approximately 80% of the variation in USMLE scores.

That depends on whether you want a baseline evaluation now, or whether you want to see how well you’ve learned the material later.

We designed our simulation tests to be created with “unused” questions that you’ve never seen before. To get the most out of this feature, create your simulations while you have a minimum of 1000 unused questions in your test bank. You can suspend the simulated tests and take them later, after you’ve used the remaining questions to prepare.

If you know your weak areas, then choose the difficult questions for those areas. Our questions require the three-step and even four-step analysis you’ll see on exam day.

If you’re not sure where you need to focus, take a half-test or full-test simulation by clicking “Create simulation.” Afterward, click “Review your test” to see your performance analysis. The analysis shows you how well you perform in each discipline and organ system, and how your performance rates with other students who answered the same questions.

Then to see how well you did on each question, click “Review test” to see clear and concise explanations of why the correct answer is correct, and the distracters are wrong.

Simply log on and click “Create new test.” You choose your mode (test vs. tutor, timed vs. not timed), which questions you see (e.g., unused, or all),  and the level of difficulty you want. You also choose which basic science discipline(s) you want, which organ system(s) you want, and how many questions you want. Then you click “Create new test” and get to work.

Very closely. Our questions reflect the Content Descriptions provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Our user interface feels like the FRED v2 experience, although we do offer a few extra tools (such as "Pause" and "Suspend" test buttons) to help while you’re studying.

About the Flash Facts/Flash Cards (12)

Flash Facts/Flash Cards related questions

This stuff is how we help you tailor your First Aid review, and how you help your fellow med students.

Click the stars to rate the Fact from 1 (low usefulness) to 5 (high-yield).

Click the “Forums” tab to see what other students have commented. If you want to post your own comment for everyone to see, click the “Add Comment” hyperlink and type it, then click “Submit.”

If you want to post a comment for your eyes only, click the “My Notes” tab and add your own notes. The last icon in the Comment toolbox lets you cut-n-paste from a Microsoft Word file so you can add class notes, syllabus material, relevant case assignments – whatever helps you understand the material.

If we have a correction or bonus material, we’ll add it here via a “Bonus Materials/Corrections” tab.

So get in the habit of scrolling to the bottom of each Fact to see what other med students are finding most high-yield, and share your experiences, too.


There are three frames on the left. Use the first pull-down menu to select your category (e.g., Microbiology, Endocrine), then use the second pull-down menu to select your subcategory (e.g., virology, physiology). A list of all the Facts in that category and subcategory appears; click on the Fact you want to see, and voilà – First Aid at your fingertips.

If you want to browse the Facts, use the forward and backward arrows in the toolbar at the top to spin through them; or you can go back to the left frame and jump directly to the Fact you want to see.

In Flash Facts mode, you can browse and study the Facts found in First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. In Flash Cards mode, you can quiz yourself with questions and answers that are specific to each Flash Fact. You can toggle between modes, too.

If you’re ready to turbo-charge your testing, there’s an option to shuffle Cards from any of the Facts into a single deck. Click on the “Options” button at the top of each Card’s screen and select to shuffle the Cards.

Yes. By default the timer is active when you start reviewing your deck. To turn the timer off, click on the “Options” button at the top of each Card’s screen and select to hide the timer

Correct Cards can be hidden from view or they can be removed from the deck. To remove a Card completely from the deck, simply click on the “Remove Card” button in the lower left of each Card screen.

You can also hide correct Cards from viewing and still keep them in your deck: While on the Card screen, click on the “Options” button in the upper right of the screen, then choose to “Hide correct Cards.” When you are ready to view them again, go back into the Options panel and uncheck “Hide correct Cards.”

Cards can be used in as many different decks as you like.

Once you’re in a deck, you can mark the Card as correct or incorrect. If you want to see only the Cards you’ve gotten wrong, click the “Options” button to hide the correct Cards so you don’t see them again.

Yes, we make this easy: Click on “First Aid Mode” in the upper right of the screen and the relevant First AidFact will appear on the screen. When you’re ready to return to the Card deck, toggle this switch to return to “Flash Card Mode.”

It’s the “honor system” – you mark whether you answer the question correctly (this is the default since you know First Aid so well; the Card will turn green), or incorrectly (the Card will turn light red). When you review Cards, you can choose to review only the incorrect Cards; then when you answer these correctly, you can change them to correct and continue to hammer the incorrect ones until you have all green Cards.

There’s a Card counter in the middle of the screen that shows you which Card you’re studying (e.g., Card 1 of 20). To move back and forth between Cards: at the bottom of the screen, click the forward (>) or reverse (<) icon to go to the next or the previous Card associated with a Fact. Clicking the fast forward (>>) or fast backward (<<) icons takes you to the first Card for the next or the previous Fact.

 To see the answer to the question, click the “F” to flip it. You can also click the “F” to see each question and answer in sequence.
We also provide keyboard shortcuts:
K key -- go back to the first Card for the previous Fact (same as the << icon)
Comma key -- go back to the previous Card in the deck (same as the < icon)
Spacebar -- reveal answer to the Card (same as the F or Flip icon)
Period key -- move to the next Card in the deck (same as the > icon)
L key -- move to the first Card for the next Fact (same as the >> icon)


Each Card deck needs a unique name, and you have to name the deck before you proceed to the Cards. Once you name a deck, you can’t change the name, so make it meaningful to you.

Double-click “Select category” and check the boxes for the categories you want to include. By default, Card decks will be created from every subcategory and topic unless you unclick the boxes for areas you don’t want to test.

Figure out which Cards you want to see (e.g., all Cards, or only incorrect ones), then click the “Calculate” button to see how many Cards are available.  Use the slider bar to indicate how many Cards you want in the deck, then give the deck a name. Click “Study” and you’re ready to go.

Subscriptions (11)

Subscriptions related queries

Help is only a click away; use the Contact Us tab to submit a request directly to us. Please be as specific as possible (e.g., include QID for Qmax queries, indicate your browser version, etc.), and we do our best to contact you promptly.

We keep your personal information confidential; our subscriber lists are never sold or used for any other purpose than to provide you top-quality customer service. We do, however, aggregate performance data to determine which Qmax questions or Flash Cards are the most popular, which are the most problematic, and so forth, so that we can continually provide you the best learning experience possible.

We're not perfect, and we appreciate the chance to fix mistakes that are brought to our attention. Please click the "Contact Us” tab at the top of this page and fill out the form. You can earn up to a $20 gift certificate for Amazon.com if we use your correction or suggestion, and if you are the first person to submit it.

Let’s say you’re using the Step 1 Qmax and you don’t pass the Step 1 exam. If your subscription was current within 7 days of your test date, if you submit a copy of your failing score and your NBME scheduling permit for that test, and if you provide a copy of the scheduling permit for your re-take exam, then you can extend your Step 1 Qmax subscription for the same length of time as the original subscription.

You also have the choice of keeping your test histories, or erasing them so you can restart “from scratch.” For details, please see our Terms and Conditions.

As part of our Terms and Conditions, our content is provided on-line only. The only exception is the First Aid Express workbook, which you should print and complete as you review the videos.

No; once you start your subscription, you cannot suspend it.

If you’re aware that your subscription is about to expire, you can log in and click the links “Need more time?” or “Subscribe” on the home page for an extension. If the expiration sneaks up on you, don’t worry; we’ll send you an e-mail 7 days before your subscription is set to expire. You can extend a subscription for 15 days, 1 month, or 3 months. If you renew your subscription after it has expired, you’ll pay the current price, rather than getting any deals you had with the original subscription.

Absolutely; you can select to start your subscription for up to 6 months after you purchase it. If you don’t specify a delayed start date, your subscription starts immediately. AMSA members, you can get great discounts on specials we run throughout the year, so sign up during the specials and delay the start date to get the best deal.

We will refund your full subscription if you submit a written request to us within 5 days of starting your subscription. After the first 5 days, no refunds, cancellations, or changes to subscriptions are allowed.

Subscriptions must be purchased with a credit card (sorry, no PayPal or checks), and may only be purchased through our Web site. Anyone else offering to sell you a subscription to a USMLE-Rx product, or offering our content via their Web site, is either phishing or phony, or a pirate.

In fact, we expect you to -- a Test Drive is the best way to see if your computer system is compatible, and our quality will win you over once you try it. Our applications are written “by us, for us” – medical student to medical student – and we tell you exactly what you need to know in a way that helps you learn it.

All our content is faculty reviewed for accuracy and currency; but the ability to help you learn from our experiences is a unique service we’re proud to offer our fellow med students.