Anki vs Synaptiq: Which is better for med students?

Learn the differences between Synaptiq and Anki and what we recommend for med students.

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Anki has no doubt been the gold standard for years when it comes to flashcards. With add-ons, premed decks from people like AnKing, and the best price of $free.99, it’s obvious why people love it so much. 

But, now there is a lot of hype around Synaptiq. 

Even though Synaptiq has only recently appeared, med students are already picking sides. Upperclassmen aren’t ready to turn their back on Anki which helped them with Step 1 and Step 2, while new MS1s appreciate the custom decks made for each med school block. 

The goal is to help you understand the differences between Anki and Synaptiq and ultimately finish with our recommendation on what you should use in med school. 

User experience and interface:

Every med student’s initial impression is always, “Is this the thing everyone has been hyping up?” It’s plain and looks like was made in 2002. 

anki with anki remote

Only after watching some YouTube videos and asking friends for help does the interface turn into something more pleasing to the eye. However, once you get comfortable with changing the background and the Anki addons, the customizability is comforting. 

Synaptiq definitely does not have this problem for first-time users. Its sleek, modern interface is much more pleasing to the untrained eye.

synaptiq vs anki with anki remote

Synaptiq > Anki for user experience and interface.

Is it a verb?

Anki: I’m gonna go Anki. Anki-ing is so tiring. Yes. 

Synaptiq: Gotta go Synaptiq before I sleep. I love Synaptiqqing? Synaptiking? Synaptic? No.

Anki > Synaptiq for verb tense.

Ease of getting started:

Synaptiq comes with premade decks. And, honestly, this is one of the things Synaptiq is banking on. One of the points they try to make in their marketing is that studying is enough work, let us make the cards for you. 

But, the majority of students in med school often are already using premade cards.

The only thing with Anki is that when you are first getting started you run into trouble. Most students end up trying to make their own cards, make bad cards, then search on Reddit for which Anki decks are the best, and then have a friend help set it up.

Given the interface and how easy it is to pick a deck with Synaptiq, Synaptiq is better for beginners than Anki.

Synaptiq > Anki for ease of getting started.

Wonderful disclaimer:

We have good news. The Anki Remote works with both Synaptiq and Anki. If you want to use your Anki Remote with Synaptiq, use this quick guide to learn how.

If you don’t have an Anki Remote, you should consider getting one. It will help you study faster and focus for longer all while being more comfortable.

Content quality (most important factor): 

Now, this is where experience and marination time make a difference. Med students have perfected the Anki decks for studying for shelf exams, Step 1, and Step 2. When someone does not do as well as they wanted on any of these exams, it is not due to a lack of information. 

On the other hand, Synaptiq has not been tried and tested for these exams yet. While the cards are good and cover similar content to the AnKing decks, there is nothing that makes them clearly stand out as a better option when it comes to content. 

Ultimately, med students care about scores. For med students to jump ship from Anki to Synaptiq when it comes to studying for Step 1, Step 2, or shelf exams, Synaptiq can’t be a little better. It has to be way better.

If you don’t take anything else away, remember this: no med student wants to risk their career for a new way to do flashcards. 

Med students have done only Anki and UWorld and aced exams. Synaptiq has a big hill to climb.

Anki  >>> Syanptiq when it comes to content quality (for now).