Picmonic Review: Is Picmonic Worth It? (2021)

Picmonic is creating quite the buzz as a next generation medical educational resource.

Although I didn’t hear much about it in the beginning of starting my medical degree, I’m certainly hearing a ton about it now!

So, what’s the deal? Is Picmonic any good?

Let’s find out!

DISCLAIMER: I am not paid by Picmonic for this review but do offer a discount for which I will receive a small commission. If you do decide to purchase using that link I thank you for your support.

Is Picmonic Worth It? Key Points

About: An audiovisual learning platform (for healthcare sciences) using memorable characters and stories (mnemonics) centered on an evidence-based “learn-review-quiz” format.
Price: $24.99 per month (rolling), $7.99 per month (lifetime access – 10 years plus), $9.99 per month for 48 months.
Discount: 20% discount available by clicking this link
Pros: Fantastic user experience. Fun and useful mnemonics. Excellent gamification and community features. Anki add-on.
Cons: Awkward pricing strategy. “Unorthodox” teaching style (may not be for everyone).
Verdict: Seriously impressive platform with a ton of content that’s growing daily.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

What Are The Best Resources For Med School?

I’m on a mission to review all the top resources students can use during their medical education. My goal is to be transparent, honest and say with clarity what’s worth spending money on or not. You can find all my reviews and current scores on my recommendations page.

What Is Picmonic?

Picmonic is an audiovisual learning platform, designed mainly for healthcare students, that’s centered on an evidence-based “learn-review-quiz” format

It uses picture mnemonics, with memorable characters and stories, to teach “hard-to-learn facts and topics”.

According to the platform, it’s methodology can increase retention by 331% and exam scores by 50%. Making studying less stressful as a result.

Source: picmonic.com

Here’s how the main website looks…

Source: picmonic.com

The website claims 990,000+ students are actively using the platform.

There are currently over 1,650 high-yield med school topics covered.

Source: picmonic.com

Subjects include Pharmacology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics and more.

This video from their YouTube channel gives a good primer on exactly what Picmonic is…

Who Is Picmonic For?

Picmonic is designed specifically for healthcare students. Fields of study it’s focused on include:

  • Physicians (Medical students)
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurse Practicioners
  • Pharmacy Students
  • Paramedics
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists

It’s also got content relevant for:

  • Law
  • College
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • K-12

Who Are Picmonic?

Picmonic was started by two former med students, Ronnie Robertson and Adeel Yang, in 2011.

Starting as a way for both students to “survive the overwhelming pressure and study load of tough exams”, it began as a series of pictures and funny stories to help them better remember.

It developed further after their friend Jonny, a tattoo artist, and his creative friend Ozzie, came on board to start creating awesome picture mnemonics.

Their first sketch and story was about Niemann-Pick disease.

From there it’s grown into a nationally recognized company that’s based out of Tempe, Arizona, U.S.

You can read the whole story on their About page.

Source: picmonic.com

Why The Name “Picmonic”?

The name is a portmanteau (combination) of “picture” and “mnemonic”.

How Does Picmonic Work?

Picmonic works as a central library for thousands of healthcare-related topics and facts.

It’s organized into playlists based on:

  • Specific exams (USMLE Steps 1 and 2, FNP, NAPLEX etc.)
  • Courses (Biochem, Pharma etc.)
  • Body systems (Cardiovascular, GI etc.)
  • Textbooks (First Aid for USMLE, Pathoma, Master The Boards etc.)

Playlists can be fully customizable to your learning needs. You can drag and drop topic-specific videos as and when you like too.

Here’s how that looks when I search “enzyme deficiencies” for example…

Source: picmonic.com

When you sign up for Picmonic you’ll be asked to complete your profile and choose your field of study.

From there you can dive into the videos, begin learning and take the MCQ quizzes.

The video player is really smart. Each video is “chaptered” by its specific mnemonic. You can skip to each through the menu bar on the left.

Here’s a cool example from the video on Aerobic Respiration. It uses piesas a memorable mnemonic for pyruvate.

Source: picmonic.com

Videos are simple, short (1-3 minutes) and clearly narrated by U.S. native-English speakers.

Below each video you have a short summary, a link to additional resources and an educational and story audio transcript.

Videos links out to resources like Lecturio (see my review) and Online MedEd.

Source: picmonic.com

After watching a video you can then quiz your knowledge. You’ll get character hints and multiple choice options.

Here’s how that looks…

Your Picmonic dashboard is where all your learning progress is stored.

Here you’ll see several things:

  • How many questions you have due for each day
  • Your quiz accuracy
  • Your xp goal (more on this later)

You can also see any recommendations, your recent views, your weaknesses and what’s trending via the “Quick Start List”.

Source: picmonic.com

Stats track everything you do on the platform.

You’ll see your daily, overall progress, quiz accuracy and all the content you’ve covered.

Source: picmonic.com

The quizzes are built on a unique spaced repetition algorithm designed to help your long term recall.

This Picmonic video explains how this works…

What Is Picmonic XP?

Picmonic xp “gamify’s” the platform making it more fun and motivating to use.

Your progress using the platform unlocks achievements, while also increasing your standing in league tables pitted against other users.

Source: picmonic.com

How Is The Picmonic App?

Picmonic has a mobile app available both on iOS and Android.

It has the same functionality as the main website, with access to mnemonics, quiz questions and everything else.

It has an excellent 4.9 rating on the Appstore.

Source: apps.apple.com

And a 4.8 on Google Play…

Source: play.google.com

There are also separate Picmonic apps available for nursing school (RN, NCLEX, LPN, AANP etc.) and college (pre-med, MCAT, biology and anatomy etc).

Is There A Picmonic Anki Add On?

There is a free Picmonic Anki add-on that you can add to your Anki desktop app.

Using it gives you access to Picmonic topics directly from your flashcards.

A pop-up window will show highlighting a high yield fact list, thumbnail image and related topics. Clicking through will take you to the full Picmonic mnemonic video, quizzes and resources.

You can find out more about this here.

Note that you’ll need paid access to make use of these features.

Is Picmonic Legit?

I’d say Picmonic is definitely legit.

It’s used by several educators including professors and teachers at Northeast Texas Community College and University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Source: picmonic.com

According to the r/medicalschool community it has a very solid reputation with most students reporting it being worth it.

Likewise on The Student Doctor Network, with students there claiming they “love it” and that it’s “really useful.”

Is Picmonic A Scam?

Picmonic is definitely not a scam. I couldn’t find anything from my research that suggested as much.

It’s privacy policy and terms of use are very transparent and open.

It’s FAQ section is super comprehensive and is built on the popular Intercom software.

It offers free presentations and demos on request. As well as live and pre-recorded webinars explaining the platform and sharing study tips.

Source: picmonic.com

Does Picmonic Offer Refunds?

Picmonic offers a full 100% refund for subscriptions purchased within 7 days through Picmonic.com. No reason for a refund request is needed.

All subscriptions are nonrefundable after 7 days.

You can request a refund via help chat, using this request form (requires you to be logged in) or via email at feedback@picmonic.com.

Source: picmonic.com

Note you cannot get a refund for mobile app purchases.

Is Picmonic Free?

Picmonic offers all users a free access trial (Picmonic Free) with the option of later upgrading.

You’ll get:

  • 2 free picmonic video plays
  • 20 free multiple choice quiz questions
  • 1 daily quiz with spaced repetition rounds

More information about this is available here.

You can login and start using it for free via Google, Facebook or email registration.

What Is Picmonic Premium?

Picmonic Premium gives unlimited access to 100% of the content and all the features at any time.

That includes all the major features outline and discussed in this review.

How Much Does Picmonic Cost?

Picmonic Premium works on a subscription-based model. Prices vary depending on the length of subscription.

Pricing is as follows:

  • $7.99 per month for life (10 years plus) access
  • $9.99 per month for 48 months
  • $11.99 per month for 24 months
  • $14.99 per month annually
  • $19.99 per month per semester (6 months)
  • $24.99 per month
Source: picmonic.com

You can pay via all major credit cards, Amazon pay or Google pay.

Does Picmonic Have Student Discount?

Educators can get students a 20% discount by getting them to sign up via a referral link from an Educator account.

As a reviewer and an account holder I offer this.

You can sign up to get a 20% discount as a student here (my referral link).

There is more information about this on the Referral Program page.

Does Picmonic Offer Institutional Access?

Picmonic mentions that they do give educators 1-year access codes at significant discount (lower than Student annual prices, 50 block minimum).

They also state the following:

If your school would like to make Picmonic a required student purchase for 25 students or more, we can set up a purchasing portal for your school that gives all of your students a 40% discount. We will also provide scholarships for up to 5% of the class for you to use at your discretion.

You can find more information about getting premium access for your students here.

Picmonic also offers scholarships to institutions with students of financial need. You can find more information about this here.

How Can I Use Picmonic With My Existing Learning Management System?

Picmonic can integrate with the following learning systems:

  • Canvas
  • Moodle
  • Blackboard

Here is an example of how you can use it directly in Canvas…

More information on how to do this is available here.

How Do You Sign Up For Picmonic?

Signing up for Picmonic (both free and premium versions) is easy. Just head to picmonic.com and click “Join For Free” in the top right corner.

What Are Other Students Saying About Picmonic?

Picmonic is widely praised among students from medicine, nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy fields.

This review from Shannen Marieot, an occupational therapy student, gives it a 9/10 score based on its “pleasant addictiveness” and gamification elements.

She does also say it’s more “medical-based” than OT and other fields though, so it may not be for everyone.

Personally speaking, I know Picmonic has a great reputation when it comes to studying for biochem (one of the more difficult med school subjects). Hanging out on the r/medicalschoolanki community regularly, I’ve seen rave reviews of its effectiveness for tackling the subject.

One edge Picmonic also gets over Sketchy Medicine (another very similar product that’s considered a core part of “ufaps” – key prep resources for the USMLE Step 1), is that videos are way shorter. That’s something that’s also agreed upon by several students here.

For the most part though, the only criticism most students tend to say about it is that it’s maybe too long or too comprehensive a resource to use if you don’t have time before specific exams.

As for my opinion…

Criticism Of Picmonic

  • Mainly for medical students: the platform, at this time, is great for med students but maybe too detail-orientated for students of other healthcare fields
  • Awkward pricing strategy: personally, I’m not a fan of the “lifetime access” pricing. It’s unclear exactly how long this lasts for. I also think there should be fewer pricing options.
  • Characters and stories: although I do enjoy the mnemonic themes and choices, I have to admit they may not be to everyone’s taste. They’re also very culturally specific to the U.S. That might appear an “unorthodox approach” to others…

Praise Of Picmonic

  • Unique, fully customizable experience: you can add facts, videos or images to existing picmonics (or even create your own) to strengthen memory anchors
  • Excellent gamification component: makes it seriously fun and motivating to use
  • Mnemonics are fantastic: short (1-3 mins) and help make difficult concepts easier to remember and recall
  • Quizzes: built on evidence-based learning principles with spaced repetition
  • Continued updates and new features added on the regular
  • Strong community: users are constantly modifying and creating content along with Picmonic’s own “education scholars”
  • Anki add-on: sync’s amazingly across the app

Is Picmonic Good For USMLE?

Picmonic is definitely great for the USMLE. It’s content covers most (if not all) of the topics needed to ace the exam.

The customizable quiz option can also help you get in the “exam mood” and help you keep track of areas you need to improve on before the big day.

Most of the feedback I’ve given in this review from other students, especially on Reddit, is based on using it as a resource for the USMLE.

How To Best Use Picmonic?

Based on my research the following tips could help:

  • Use it as early in the process as possible: giving you plenty of time to make use of all of its features before specific exams
  • Use the Anki plugin: that way you can bring in cards from other decks covering information you may feel is missing or not detailed enough
  • Add your own images, references and mnemonics: make use of the fully customizable experience. Adding your own memory hooks will reinforce the concepts even deeper.

Alternatives to Picmonic

Final Thoughts On Picmonic

Having played around with Picmonic and spent several hours researching it, I have to say I’m very impressed.

Already a fan of Sketchy and mnemonic-based learning, I love the fact they take evidence-based study seriously and have incorporated it into a fully functioning platform that works great across all devices.

My only real nitpick is the pricing. Picmonic is not cheap.

Compared to similarly priced alternatives though, especially those I’ve reviewed like Lecturio and Dr Najeeb, it sets a very high benchmark.

Every healthcare student could benefit from access to this.

I’ll give it an exceptional 4.5/5 for that reason.

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