Best MCAT Anki Decks in 2023

posted by Richard Li, M.D.

More and more pre-medical students are adopting Anki, a spaced repetition flashcard software, as part of their study regimen for the MCAT. Anki lets you create your own cards or download pre-made decks from previous students who have shared their personal MCAT decks with the community. However, we know that getting started with Anki can seem incredibly daunting.  There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about the best way to use Anki and what the best MCAT Anki decks are, which can be confusing and overwhelming when forming your MCAT study strategy.

We’re here to help cut through the noise. We break down in detail what the main available pre-made Anki decks for the MCAT are and their strengths/weaknesses. If you’re looking for the most up-to-date information with clear recommendations about the different MCAT Anki decks, you’re in the right place.

Ortho528 Anki Deck

Overview: This was one of the first prominent decks that was publicly shared. It was released on Reddit by a student who used it to score 132 on all the content-based science sections (not including CARS). It contains 4357 cards that cover all the content sections, based on ExamKrackers, TPR, and Khan Academy.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This is a historically significant deck and for that reason many still discuss it, but it has some clear weaknesses compared to more recently released decks. Many of the cards do not follow best practices for writing cards or the more general principles of effective learning, and this limits the deck’s effectiveness. In addition, it contains a substantial proportion of out-of-scope information particularly in the organic chemistry and biochemistry sections. Finally, there is no organization in terms of tags, a number of errata that have not been addressed, and images are inconsistently used.

Recommendation: Would not recommend using in 2023.

Download Link: here

Example card from the Ortho528 Anki deck
Example card from the Ortho528 Anki deck

premed95 Anki Deck

Overview: This is a deck created by reddit user /u/premed95. Similar to the Ortho528 deck, it was released several years ago. It is divided into many sub-decks that each cover content categories.

Strengths and Weaknesses: Historically, many previous students primarily used this deck specifically for its P/S cards to study for Psychology/Sociology. However, the deck is somewhat dated and has many similar deficiencies to the ortho528 deck. The cards are often simplistic and not well-written. There are no images in the deck, and the extra examples are often difficult to understand—factors that play a big role in memory encoding and maximizing recall. Newer decks have built on premed95’s original deck and provide a much more complete experience.

Recommendation: Would not recommend using in 2023.

Download Link: here

RebopBebop Anki Deck

Overview: RebopBebop scored 518 on the MCAT and shared their deck with the larger community. The deck is organized into chapters that mirror the chapter-based organization of the Kaplan review books. This deck was formerly recommended for its biology and biochemistry content.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This deck is intended for someone who is heavily invested in using the Kaplan review books as the basis for their studying. The collection is divided into individual chapters within the Kaplan book. Most of the cards are in a basic front/back format. The same types of deficiencies occur in this deck: lack of images and poorly written cards. Some students also complain that this deck is not comprehensive, requiring them to create their own cards to address the gaps.

Recommendation: Would not recommend using in 2023.

Download Link: here

Cubene Anki Deck

Overview: This deck was created by Reddit user /u/Cubene and focuses specifically on the Behavioral Sciences (Psych/Soc) section of the MCAT. This deck was created as an improved adaptation of premed95’s deck for the MCAT, with improved explanations and incorporation of images.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This deck represented a significant improvement on premed95’s deck. Compared to premed95, Cubene corrected mistakes, added a significant amount of images, went more in-depth on explanations. However, this deck still has poor application of flashcard best practices and primarily just uses basic front/back cards (for example, what is X?). The given answer for a card is often an entire block of text that cannot be inferred based on the prompt, leading students to more passively flip cards and read the answer. Additionally, this deck has been further improved and built on by newer decks. Similar to the previously mentioned decks, this deck was important in laying the foundation for later decks but now is somewhat outdated.

Recommendation: Would not recommend using in 2023.

Download Link: here

Example card from the Cubene Anki deck
Example card from the Cubene Anki deck

MileDown Anki Deck

Overview: This deck was released by reddit user /u/MileDown. It contains 2900 cards organized into 7 sub-decks: Behavioral, Biochemistry, Biology, Essential Equations, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics and Math.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This is one of the most commonly recommended and most widely used decks today. It is well organized, with a hierarchical organization based on sub-decks and tags. Additionally, all cards contain an image, a link to a Khan Academy video, and are organized in a visually appealing way. The coverage of concepts is fairly comprehensive.

The biggest weakness of the deck is its card writing style. The deck uses exclusively Cloze-type cards, but it often includes far too much information in the question stem. A common complaint we have seen from students at Memm and on Reddit is that using these cards can devolve into pattern recognition without truly promoting comprehension of the underlying concept. Additionally, many cards are not necessarily written in the optimal way that reflects how the concept will be tested in a MCAT question. Overall though, this is a solid deck.

Recommendation: Despite some shortcomings, this is the go-to deck for most people in 2023.

Download Link: here

Example card from the MileDown Anki deck
Example card from the MileDown Anki deck

JackSparrow Anki Deck

Overview: This deck was released by reddit user /u/jacksparrow2048 who scored a 527 on the MCAT. It contains 5978 cards that cover all the content sections of the MCAT. It further builds upon Cubene’s deck for Psych/Soc and upon RebopBebop’s deck for the other sections.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This is another commonly recommended and used deck today. Stylistically, it is very different from the MileDown deck. It uses Basic (front/back) type cards with paragraphs of information contained on the backs of cards. In the words of the creator himself: “this is a very content heavy, slow moving, comprehensive deck. If you’re expecting to blaze through cards in the typical ‘flashcard’ fashion with a bunch of fill in the blanks rather than big definitions, you’ll probably prefer another deck.”

For the vast majority of students, we have observed that this kind of style in a pre-made deck is ultimately less efficient. Many cards contain a short prompt paired with a very long explanation on the back, which would be impossible for someone seeing the card for the first time to know. The result is that many students end up using the deck in a similar manner as a textbook and simply reading the answers, rather than pursuing a true active learning style. Studying in this way becomes a slog. Additionally, we found this deck to contain a significant amount of out-of-scope information.

However, certain students heavily prefer this method and style, and JackSparrow’s deck would likely be the best option for those students.

Recommendation: For those who heavily prefer a content-heavy, basic card approach, this deck can be used in 2023.

Download Link: here

Example card from the JackSparrow Anki deck
Example card from the JackSparrow Anki deck

PsychAnswer4u Anki Deck

Overview: This deck was released by reddit user /u/PsychAnswer4U and contains 4,600 cards only for the Psychology/Sociology section. It was originally created for the GRE Psychology and AP Psychology subject tests and then edited and repurposed for the MCAT Psychology/Sociology section.

Strengths and Weaknesses: This deck is the most comprehensive pre-made Anki deck for the Behavioral Sciences section. It is generally well-written and makes appropriate use of Cloze-type cards. It is more mindful to avoid the problem of cued recall and pattern recognition when compared to the MileDown deck.

However, this deck was not specifically created for the purposes of the MCAT, and this does show in some areas. There is a significant amount of information that is outside the scope of the MCAT and committing study time to these represents a lost opportunity cost. Other cards are not necessarily written in the style of how the concept would be tested on the MCAT. Additionally, the sheer volume of cards for Psych/Soc alone can be considered “overkill” by many, and would represent a time commitment that could be spent in other areas potentially leading to a higher overall score.

Recommendation: For those who have sufficient time and energy to devote to this deck, this is a good option for the Behavioral Sciences section in 2023.

Download Link: here

Example card from the PsychAnswer4U Anki deck
Example card from the PsychAnswer4U Anki deck

Honorable mentions

We kept this list deliberately focused on the most commonly recommended and used decks to reduce the amount of noise. However, there are other decks, both comprehensive decks and more focused specialty decks, that can be found on the /r/ankimcat Wiki for those who want to delve in even deeper.

Making your own deck

Some students devoutly recommend creating your own cards. Indeed, creating cards is an active learning process that helps deepen your understanding of the material. However this may not be the optimal approach for most. There is a steep learning curve to creating high-quality cards. Creating truly optimal cards requires understanding how concepts are presented and tested on the MCAT, which is impossible for a student studying for the MCAT. Moreover, creating cards is an incredibly time-consuming process. Based on our experiences interviewing hundreds of students, many waste enormous amounts of valuable study time overcoming the initial learning curve—and even those who do get value out of the process likely could have reached the same point more efficiently with an alternative approach.

Memm versus Anki

You have likely noticed that even our most-recommended decks have some clear weak points. This is a significant part of what motivated us to pour our blood, sweat, and tears into building Memm into the optimal content review experience for students studying into the MCAT. Prior to starting work on Memm, we spoke with dozens of students like you studying for the MCAT to identify their frustrations — and the limitations of pre-made decks was a major, recurring theme.

We built Memm to overcome these limitations. Cards in Memm are individually crafted to adhere to flashcard best practices and avoid pattern recognition, to strike the ideal balance in scope between comprehensiveness and focus, and to reflect how the underlying concepts are tested on the MCAT. Additionally, cards in Memm are shown alongside study sheets to create memory network effects that greatly improve recall and understanding. Compared to Anki, we have seen students achieve faster and more robust score increases.

Example card and study sheet from Memm
Example card and study sheet from Memm

Of course, we are biased in this comparison. But our user experiences speak for themselves: most of our students have tried Anki before but find Memm to be a significantly superior learning experience. If you are interested in learning more, check out Memm or read about the experiences of our users.


We just threw a lot of information your way! The take-away points can be summarized below:

  • Several commonly mentioned decks are now outdated and should not be considered in 2023.
  • The MileDown Anki deck will be the go-to deck for most people studying for the MCAT.
  • Some who strongly prefer an information-dense, basic card approach may prefer the JackSparrow Anki deck.
  • For the Behavioral Sciences section, for those willing to commit significant time and effort the PsychAnswer4U deck is an option.
  • All pre-made decks come with some limitations — being aware of these will allow you to adapt and optimize them for your own studying.
Last edited on: January 09, 2023

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