Tips for Making Study Flash Cards that Really Work

Jun 27, 2019 by

Some students are naturally good at taking tests. Whether it’s a matter of controlling their nerves, having a photographic memory, or simply being a diligent student, test day is a breeze. Then, there’s those students who dread taking tests and struggle to merely get a passing grade. Regardless of the kind of test taker you are, the way you study plays a large role in your success. Do you have healthy study habits? Or do you stay up until the wee hours of the morning cramming before test day? Flashcards are a useful study guide for students of all abilities. Not sure how to craft flashcards that really help? Keep reading!

Write Them Out Yourself

One of the best ways to use flashcards is by writing them out yourself. It’s tempting to share flashcards with friends, and while collaborative studying has its own benefits, the act of making flashcards is actually part of the review process. That’s because as you write down the facts or definitions, your mind organizes the information in a way you can understand. That means taking in information, processing it, and then writing it on your flashcards is the best way to memorize it. After all, you’ll write down the information in a way that your brain recognizes and understands. Short on time? A flashcard maker program can help.

Use Photographs and Pictures

Whether or not you have a photographic memory, images can help drive certain concepts home. This is especially true when a diagram is useful for understanding science or math problems and formulas. Give your brain (and eyes) a break from all the text on a page and try adding pictures, photographs, and other images to your flashcards. It’s interesting to note that some scientists believe the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than the same information in written form.

Mnemonic Devices

This is a popular study practice that you might not even realize you’re already doing! As a child, we learn silly rules to help us spell certain words. Principal is spelled with “p-a-l” at the end because the principal is your friend. Dessert has two letter “S”s to represent two scoops of ice cream. These little tricks and riddles made it easier to remember things. Mnemonic devices work exactly the same way. Any trick that helps you associate two seemingly unrelated pieces of information is considered a mnemonic device. The best part about this study tip is that it’s unique to you. Take a piece of information and try to relate it to your personal life. It doesn’t matter if the association means nothing to anyone else. As long as you can look at the information and recall what lesson, fact, or formula you need, than it’s a great addition to your flashcards and study routine.

Keep it Simple

Another mistake students make when crafting flashcards is trying to cram too much information on one card. Take the “less is more” approach and try including only related topics or facts on a single card. If possible, only answer one question per card. This might mean buying a larger stack and you might get a cramp in your hand, but it’ll be worth it in the end! When you try to include too much information on one card, you can get easily confused — overlapping information and making inaccurate associations. Plus, having only one answer per card makes it easier to memorize the facts and recall what the card looks like using your photographic memory

Even though the world of education has changed and progressed substantially in recent years, some tried-and-true classroom tactics still work. And flashcards are one of them. A classic study guide, flashcards help students recall information in easy and relatable ways. Just be sure to keep your facts organized and relevant to you as an individual learner. Find a study buddy and see if you can share ideas and tricks for remembering important information. All of these tips are sure to help you succeed on test day!

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