Login data provided by web-based curricula are used to characterize and assess study patterns. Researchers wanted to determine how thoracic surgical trainees’ In-Training Examination %iles compared to their study habits (i.e., cramming), measured by the number of times they logged into the national Web-based Thoracic Surgery Curriculum. The goal was also to define trainees’ curricular login frequency as a function of their performance on the In-Training Examination and their improvement on the In-Training Examination over time. They used curriculum login data from site analytics to systematically analyze trainees who viewed the curriculum before the 2014 In-Training Examination. The scores of trainees who crammed (30% increase in logins in the month leading up to the In-Training Examination) and those who did not were compared. Trainees were divided into high, medium, and poor scorers and improvers based on their %ile on the 2014 In-Training Examination and %ile improvement from 2013 to 2014.

Sixty-three (25 %) of the 256 trainees who took the 2014 In-Training Examination met the criteria for crammers. Crammers increased total study sessions right before the In-Training Examination (P<.001) but did not affect the %ile on the 2014 In-Training Examination (P =.995) or year-to-year improvement (P =.234). According to stratification by In-Training Examination percentile, the highest-scoring trainees used the curriculum more frequently in the final month than medium-range scorers (P =.039). When stratified by the degree of year-to-year progress, individuals who improved the most in the last month accessed the curriculum considerably more frequently than those who did not (P =.040). Furthermore, individuals who improved the most logged in more in the last month than those who improved the least (P =.006). Increasing the frequency of study periods on the national Web-based thoracic surgery curriculum before the In-Training Examination may have a unique benefit for trainees who initially score low on the In-Training Examination, allowing them to improve their performance the following year significantly.