The ANKI Deck was made to be able to answer every single past question and to be able to answer questions on the parts of the syllabus that had not been questioned yet to a similar level of detail. I then added things in when it got to viva prep, on a more ad hoc basis.


The Past Question Planner is intended to assist with tracking your spaced repetition.  You must practice recalling the SAQs, it’s the only way to pass!

– Freddie Hopkinson

Tips for using the deck / Anki in general.

You could probably just download it on your phone and get learning and it would be fine, but a few tips below. 

In terms of ease of use, the pharmacology sub decks will be really easy and you should be good to go straight away. 

  • I think generally anyone should be able to get along with these, and it will save a fair bit of time in terms of making your own notes. 
  • There are other pharm decks available on both LITFL and CICM wrecks, so maybe compare them and see which you like. 

The physiology parts of the syllabus may take a bit more getting used to, and might take a bit of persistence. In terms of getting along with them:-

  • Perhaps explore some of the less complex areas of the syllabus to get a feel for how the deck and anki feel in general (e.g. temperature physiology, principles of measurement and equipment, or procedural anatomy)
  • You only need to learn the info that is on the card, not the info in the ‘extra’ section under each card.
    • Sometimes there are useful memory jogs in the extra section immediately below the card, but don’t try and wade through the extra section on each card.  
    • The ‘extra’ section is just the notes that I wrote on the topic, from which I made the card. Sometimes I will have cut and paste stuff out of the extra section, so it will contain variable amount of text from my original note (which will be a suspended card)
    • If for whatever reason you do get stuck into reading the info in the extras section, italic was used for anything that was taken from an exam report, and generally not used otherwise. 
  • Anki defaults to 20 new cards per day. If you are very consistent this might be a good amount. I would recommend changing the max amount to ‘99999999’.
    • this way you will know how much you have left to do at any time
    • consistency is hard when you are working full time, so some days I might learn 50-180 new cards (pharmacology is especially quick), and others I would learn none. 
  • Try your best to keep up with reviews. If you don’t you will forget things, and need to re-learn them
    • This is a bit of a waste of time
    • It makes your card ‘ease’ less, so the anki algorithm will show you the card more and more often and you will have more reviews to do overall. I ended up doing ~60,000 reviews in total before the viva, compared with a friend who did 30,000, I think this may be because I let things lapse too often and he did not, or maybe he just has a way better memory. 
  • I would recommend learning the cards within each subdeck in the order they were created, as often there are a group of cards, which together are aimed at answering an exam question. If learnt totally out of order it will be confusing and harder to remember.
    • Anki seems to have a mind of its own in terms of the order it displays cards in. 
    • The cards should be organised in order that they were created; I tried my best to export them in the order they were created, so hopefully they are. 
    • Even when they are organised like this, anki isn’t always totally strict at following this, but it does a good enough job for it to not be totally infuriating. 
    • If they are not arranged in order of time created, then this is what you will need to do:-
  • You will need the advanced browser add on 
  • Click on ‘Browse’, then in the left hand column select the whole deck ‘CICM Primary to share mk v’
  • then in the browser organise the cards in order of time created by clicking the column ‘Created Time (card)’ 
  • then select all cards (click on a single card, then CTRL A (CMND A Mac)
  • right click then click reposition and click okay
  • the order of new cards will now be from the time I created them 
  • Leave the suspended cards suspended and don’t delete them
    • These cards were building blocks for the cards that are not suspended
    • For many of them, if deleted, you will also lose cards that need to be learnt
  • Check out youtube for tips on using anki, there are loads of good vids
  • There are lots of add-ons for anki, which can be helpful, these are the ones I have installed, and it may be my deck only works well with these installed (I doubt this though, but if you’re having trouble, try it):-
    • Advanced browser
    • External note editor for browser 
    • Fast cards reposition
    • Field history
    • Frozen fields
    • Image occlusion enhanced for anki 21 alpha
    • Mini format pack
    • Review heatmap
    • Speed focus mode auto-alert auto-reveal auto-fail
  • Download it on your phone and do reviews at work (you will have to pay for the 50 dollar app on the iphone, as apparently the free one is terrible). Learning on your computer at home is nicer, as its way easier to edit cards on the go, e.g. add memory jogs, re-order the cards, etc.