The ITB USMLE, COMLEX, & Medical School Podcast

Teaching You to Think like a Question Writer

Richard Giovane and Yun Chu from USMLE-Rx on Dissecting Questions

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In this episode of the InsideTheBoards podcast, I interview Yun Chu and Richard Giovane, seniors editors of the Step 1 Qmax question bank from USMLE-Rx and the team that brought you First Aid for the USMLE


Our question of the day gets all “basic science” on you and covers the physiology of action potentials. Plus, a bonus question from USMLE-Rx on renal pathophysiology. What more could you ask for?

The Interview

Richard and Yun share their personal tips on how to study for the boards. But most interestingly, spend a good amount of time teaching an approach to dissecting tough boards-style questions.

Learn how to break down complex questions stems into their components so you know what the test writers are “really” asking and get those points you deserve.

First Aid and USMLE-Rx study tools

Yun and Richard take you “behind the scenes” of the board preparation “empire” that brought you everybody’s favorite resource, First Aid for the USMLE. They share what makes USMLE-Rx’s question banks unique, why you should consider using them for your own board preparation, and how a Qbank integrated with First Aid can be indispensable to your plan for success in med school.

This Episode’s Freebie

As always, one lucky listener who leaves a review of the podcast and sends their screenshot to will be entered to win this week’s contest, a free, 1-month subscription to a USMLE-Rx product of your choice.


About First Aid for the USMLE

About Our Guests

YunXiang “Yun” Chu is from St. Louis, Mo., and graduated from Stanford University in 2008, where she majored in chemistry and neurobiology. She is entering her fifth year as an MD/PhD candidate at Harvard Medical School, and studies mechanisms of synaptic transmission in the Harvard Program in Neuroscience. In her spare time, Yun enjoys reading history books, gardening, shopping, and exploring new cafes and restaurants in the Boston area.

Richard A. Giovane, MD is from a small town just north of Toronto, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 2010 with a major in biological sciences and from St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2016. Richard is a family medicine resident at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). His hobbies and interests include reading science fiction novels, video game programming, playing Magic: The Gathering with his older brothers, and spending time with his friends and girlfriend.

See What USMLE-Rx has to offer

From First Aid Express Video Lectures for Step 1, to question banks for all steps of the USMLE, and the First Aid “Flash Facts” flash card app. Click to Learn More

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About the Music

This episode features “Rum” off Say Anything’s newest album  “I Don’t Think It Is”I DOn't Think It Is(“Rum” Say Anything, Courtesy of Equal Vision Records)

Max Bemis from Say Anything is one of my favorite songwriters. He uses a lot of medical imagery in his lyrics. Edgy? You might say that (links may contain explicit content).

Here are some recommendations (with a med-school twist)

Studying for your psychiatry shelf exam? Listen to “Church Channel” an interesting song that gives a patient’s perspective on what it’s like to be admitted as a psychiatric inpatient (Featuring Haley Williams from Paramore).

The song “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” might just as easily been called “Cholecystokinin” (if you get this joke/reference, send an explanation to and I’ll send you something cool).

Thinking about ophthalmology? But majored in philosophy? Let Max help you contemplate the intersection between the two in “Do Better”. Learn about the existential equivalent of conjunctivitis.

Need an audio mnemonic for temporal (giant cell) arteritis? Reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s “Backstreet Freestyle”,  Say Anything’s “Varicose Visage” makes you want to order an ESR, CRP and get a temporal artery biopsy right away. But OBVIOUSLY, not before immediately initiating glucocorticoids (which is the next best step in the management of suspected temporal arteritis).

Then there’s “I Love You More Than I Hate My Period” and “Push” for the Ob/Gyn crowd, “So Numb” for those thinking about anesthesiology, Eloise for the infectious disease aficionado worried about fomites (i.e. “infected bandaids”). I could do this all day, but I think these are a good start.

But remember, when some senior resident or attending tells you that you’re not cut out for insert specialty here because of insert non-reason here just take Max’s anthem, “Give a Damn” (with bonus lyrical content on venous thromboembolism) as your own and keep plugging along.

Happy Studying,



About the Host

Patrick C. Beeman, MD

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