Dan Nguyen and Gerard D’Onofrio (MD/MBA candidates, 2018) didn’t matriculate at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) with the intention of becoming tech entrepreneurs. But thanks to the school’s Distinction Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and their own hard work, that’s what’s happened. Their app, Testable, which offers medical students a social, competitive way to study for exams, rolled out on the iOS platform this past spring.
“The idea for Testable actually came from our experiences as medical students,” Nguyen says. “Trying to learn all this information in a short period of time forces you to get creative with your study habits. One of the most effective ways for me to review is in groups with my friends. We ask each other questions because we’ve found that being able to explain the correct answers to each other reinforces the material.”
Nguyen and D’Onofrio first discussed creating a study app in February 2015, when they were preparing for their Step 1 exam. “Like any good medical students, Dan and I were studying, going over the review books, and answering questions,” explains D’Onofrio. “We developed a study method where we would throw questions at each other, and quickly recognized that there was a game-like quality to it.”
The two wanted their app to recreate the social atmosphere of studying with friends. “By making it competitive,” Nguyen says, “and allowing students to go head-to-head against other students, and answer real test-like questions, the app not only gives you practice, it also forces you to study actively.” But a funny thing happened on the way to the App Store: med school got in the way. They became so busy that the app was put on the back burner for a few months.
In early 2016, Nguyen and D’Onofrio hired a software developer and Testable was born. Students use the app to challenge each other to games of five multiple-choice questions. “If I challenge you,” D’Onofrio explains, “then we each complete our five questions on our own time. When we’ve both finished, we see who did better. The score, and the winner, is determined first on accuracy and then on time.”
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