Summer of 2013 was an important one in my life: I found myself transitioning into the second year of medical school and felt inclined to become a better learner. In my efforts to become more efficient, I came across the idea of digital flashcards and was attracted to their flexibility, but I wasn’t sure how to proceed from there - which is when I turned to educational literature and pedagogy. I quickly learned about the benefits of evidence-based learning strategies such as spaced repetition, test-enhanced learning, and active recall practice, and sought to incorporate them into my workflow as it was clear to me that flashcards would allow me to combine them altogether. In conjunction with Dr. Piotr Wozniak’s ‘20 Rules of Formatting Knowledge’ and the power of the Anki spaced-repetition platform, I authored a comprehensive pre-clinical flashcard collection of approximately 16,000 flashcards for self-study. After seeing profound positive impacts on my own performance and knowledge, I decided to share this study aid with other medical students in Reddit's medical school community through my account named 'Brosencephalon' to seek feedback on whether this would be a prudent resource for me to use going forward, and that’s when everything changed.
I saw my flashcards unexpectedly spread worldwide, rapidly catching attention and acclaim from both medical students and educators. They have become a key resource in the toolkit of many of my peers, and since their release the Brosencephalon flashcard collection has evolved into a community driven project by medical students for medical students. My peers around the world have taken efforts to vet and improve upon the existing collection by filling the gaps, updating the topics, removing duplicates and poorer quality cards, and strengthening the collection’s structure. Most importantly, this endeavour has ignited a passion for medical education, and with my career now standing in front of me I’m excited to start focusing on the growth of what I’ve started.
An expanded piece on this story can be read here on 'The Brosencephalon Edition'.
The name Brosencephalon is a portmanteau of the words 'bro' and 'prosencephalon' that I came up with when I first signed up for Reddit. I thought it was clever at the time and soon enough the name stuck.
About Amreet Sidhu, MD
Hey! I'm Amreet Sidhu, also known as Brosencephalon to some, and I'm a Toronto-born Internal Medicine intern completing my residency in the Detroit, Michigan area. I received my HBSc. from the University of Toronto in physiology and human biology before attending Ross University School of Medicine.
Outside of medicine, I'm passionate about photography, music, writing, and sports. My creative catalog involves hobbyist photography, music mixes & recordings, short stories, and spoken-word poetry. When I'm not off somewhere wearing my headphones or busy with work, I like to spend time in the gym, supporting my favourite sports teams, reading, watching movies/television, playing video games, and expanding on my creative passions.
Feel free to shoot me a message to chat about any of our shared interests or if you'd like to share something you're passionate about! You can check out some of my other content linked below - I'd love to hear your thoughts: