“We help students build a personalized study plan in minutes instead of hours and give them a specific plan for what to do each day.”– Amit Mathew, Founder of Cram Fighter
COMQUEST Interview with Cram Fighter Leadership Amit Mathew, Co-founder & President
COMQUEST: Congratulations on your success with Cram Fighter. From what I’ve seen, I just love your study plan solution, and I’m frankly jealous that I didn’t have such a tool to help organize my studies back in the day. You may know, at COMQUEST we’re big advocates for anything that can help students learn, manage their time and successfully manage the learning of new content. Osteopathic students have many challenges when balancing their studies for med school and prep for COMLEX. Given the challenges, how can Cram Fighter make a difference?
Cram Fighter: We’re very in touch with how students manage their time as they prepare for board exams like COMLEX as well as how students balance their exams with their day-to-day course load. We help students build a personalized study plan in minutes instead of hours and give them a specific plan for what to do each day.
COMQUEST: So, how does Cram Fighter work, am I correct to assume that your solution breaks down a student’s studies into a moment-to-moment plan?
Cram Fighter: Yes, we offer a detailed breakdown of what a student must accomplish in order to successfully achieve their learning objectives. Many students have used Excel to create a study plan, and they find that Excel is not granular enough, takes hours to set up, and is not easy to adjust. Our study plan solution helps students stay on track by letting them know how they’re doing in relation to their academic goals. They know if they get a half-day behind, or if they’re getting ahead. Having a solid idea of how you are progressing through your studies is an important part of academic preparation and success.
COMQUEST: When you came up with Cram Fighter was there a void in the market place?
Cram Fighter: Yes, we’re truly competing with the paper and pencil approach, or the Excel approach to study planning. One big advantage is that Cram Fighter comes preloaded with support for many types of content. You’ll find that we support most, if not all, question banks, textbooks, video lectures, course curriculum or flashcards.
COMQUEST: What about COMLEX and USMLE Prep in particular?
Cram Fighter: We support 99% of USMLE and COMLEX resources, so we have support for hundreds of different pieces of content that are already in our system making it very easy to set up a study plan and get started.
COMQUEST: Given your technology platform, I suppose you may have some interesting data about how people study. What insights can you share about successful study habits that may not be obvious to a medical student?
Cram Fighter: We have tons of interesting data. We’ve been able to look at a wide variety of study plans and study habits. We’ve uncovered that the average student makes 10 major changes to their plan over their course of study. What’s really interesting is that there is no significant difference in the number of changes between those students who do well on their boards or those students who are less successful. Even successful students fall behind and make changes to their schedule. So it’s not surprise that one of our most popular features is the ability to make changes to the study plan, add a book, or rebalance on the fly – at the push of a button.
We are also looking at student behavior. One thing is clear – students are more likely to reach their target score when they use Cram Fighter often or every day. We see a consistent increase in students who reach their score goal when they stick to their Cram Fighter study plan.
We also see a trend where students are studying earlier. When we started Cram Fighter, we noticed that many students would put off board prep when they were studying for a big test at school, but now our users find they can balance course work with boards prep. Students using Cram Fighter may start by doing only 10 questions a day at the beginning of second year to prepare for their board exam, and it’s not a huge time commitment. Overall, it’s a more holistic approach and way better then starting cold at end of second year.
COMQUEST: What kind of feedback have you received from students who have used Cram Fighter? Have you received any feedback from medical students in particular?
Cram Fighter: We live by the feedback we get from students and iterate based on it. The feedback from students has been amazing and inspiring for our team. Our student satisfaction scores are consistently high and are increasing. One important thing we’ve learned from the feedback we get from students is that people need a way to create a study plan for their day-to-day coursework. Based on that student feedback we’ve added Cram Fighter for courses. This allows students to upload course information and build a study plan for their courses. So they can schedule some practice questions each day, as well as a plan to prepare for an upcoming course assignment. We fight cramming by providing a study plan that includes board prep and school prep at the same time.
COMQUEST: It seems like the set up to put together a schedule in Cram Fighter could take hours. Is that the case?
Cram Fighter: Cram Fighter saves huge amounts of time for students. Before we started Cram Fighter, I saw my wife studying for USMLE Step 1. Her process of planning her studies involved colored pencils and charts and took hours to organize. She was counting pages in First Aid and dividing them. One friend of hers spent three days building her initial schedule. I have no idea what she did when it was time to adjust or make changes to her study plan. I immediately thought – there has to be a way to automate this process.
With Cram Fighter you can set up a full study plan in 5-10 minutes – maybe 15 if you do some customization. There is intelligence and sophistication around editing your schedule using Cram Fighter. You get feedback on how you’re progressing and can make changes easily and quickly. Add a textbook, and we’ll recalculate your schedule at the click of a button. We save students potentially hours or days of planning – and improve their performance by helping them adjust along the way.
COMQUEST: Do you ever advise students that they might be creating a schedule that is not reasonable, and therefore, may lead to an unsuccessful outcome for the student?
Cram Fighter: We don’t make assumptions about what a student can or cannot do. We schedule whatever resources a student selects. However, we will surface messages and warnings if a student’s pace exceeds the average Cram Fighter user. We warn students when they are in danger of creating a study plan that is too ambitious, but, ultimately, we will not stop a student from creating the schedule they want to create.
COMQUEST: Anything else you would like osteopathic student to know?
Cram Fighter: Cram Fighter has been very popular with osteopathic students. We have helped thousands of osteopathic students to become doctors, many of whom are taking both the USMLE and the COMLEX. Our study plan allows students to study for both exams at the same time.
COMQUEST: Gentlemen – thank you so much for your time today. I’ve learned a lot about Cram Fighter and I’m excited to see where you go next!
Be sure to check out Cram Fighter to stay on top of your studies. Their platform supports all of COMQUEST’s products so that you can be sure to get through all of the questions and explanations before test day!