How to study better with Flashcards

Are you ready to take your studies to the next level? Flashcards is one of the best study techniques out there that will help you remember whatever you are studying so much quicker. The concept is very easy, you write down a question on one side of the card and the answer on the other side of the card. When you feel like you have enough cards to study, you go through them by reading the question and try to remember the answer. Repeat this process for every card you don’t remember until it’s stuck in your brain.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your flashcards.


Keep it minimal

You should limit the cards to one question and one answer per card. Imagine that you're learning about China. So you write "Facts about China" on one side and

  • Population: 1.4 billion
  • Area: 9,596,961 km^2
  • Currency: Renminbi
  • Capital: Beijing

on the other side. You probably want to break this up into four different cards with more specific questions. The problem here is that it's easy to trick yourself that you knew all of them even though only knew two facts, because when you see the answers you recognize them and think that you knew them.


Write down your own questions

Pre-made cards can save you a lot of time, but they come with some disadvantages.

The act of writing down the questions yourself is itself a study technique. Writing things down forces your brain to focus on what you are writing and it will make it easier to remember. You will also be able to be more flexible with your cards, be sure that every question is relevant to your case and that you have enough information in your deck about the subject you're learning about.


Use images

By including images in your flashcards you stimulate the visual learning style. The more senses you use, the easier it will be for your brain to remember stuff. People often remember images better than text.


Read the answers first

Instead of always reading the questions first and try to remember the answers, mix the side of the cards from time to time and do the opposite. This will make you think of the same thing in two different ways, which will create stronger connections in your brain.


Shuffle the cards

If you always study your flashcards in the same order you will probably build a dependence on that order. Shuffle your flashcards so you never know what the next question is to ensure that you know the answers independent of the order of the cards.


Compete with others

Competing with others will force yourself to do better, especially if you're a competitive person. Find a friend to create flashcards with and challenge them. Make a game out of it and do your best to get more correct answers than your friend.


Spaced repetition

Sadly, even if you get all of your cards correct, you will probably forget some of them after some time. With spaced repetition, you study the cards you get wrong more frequently than the cards you got right. There's an effective simple system for this that you can follow that is called the Leitner system. Study your decks, put the cards you know in a new pile and the cards you don't know goes back to the first pile. The newer piles are reviewed less frequently than the previous piles, with a frequency that suits you.

Image source: wikipedia


Electronic Flashcards

While it's great to have physical flashcards made by paper, there are some advantages to use electronic ones. If you have your cards in your smartphone you can basically study whenever you feel like it wherever you want, without bringing any physical flashcards with you, if you have your phone with you everywhere that is. I have developed an android app and a website for this that you can try if you want to. They are connected with each other, so you will access your cards on the app from the website and vice versa with the same account.




Good luck in your studies!


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