Making the most of your time while studying is essential to making good grades. Here’s how to use flash cards to improve your study time and improve grades.
The words “flash cards” conjure up images from our school years. You imagine index cards lying all over the floor or bed as you cram massive amounts of information into your head.
Maybe you remember them as boring or tedious. Or perhaps they never really worked for you.
Yet students of all ages have used them since the beginning of time.
They continue to do so today. Why? Because flash cards are, in fact, an effective way to learn and retain information.
Used correctly, they can aid your studies. This is true whether your subject matter is science-related, a new language, or any other field.
Let’s go over the ways flash cards can improve your study time. Read on!
How To Study with Flash Cards
They may be one of the most popular ways of studying, but they are often used incorrectly. We know this because researchers have scrutinized the ways students study with them. In the next few sections, let’s look at some of their findings.
Keep Them Simple
It is tempting to group like information onto a single card. For example, when learning a new language, many people put all seven days of the week onto the back of one card. This makes for less work, and why does it matter anyway?
Placing lots of information onto one card, though, guarantees you won’t learn all of it. In the example above, your ability to remember each day’s name is different. Placing them in a group ensures one or two won’t make it into your long-term memory.
Instead, make sure you have one idea or word per card.
Colors, Pictures, and Mnemonic Devices
Employing color makes memorization easier. Not only does it fight off boredom, but it also enhances meaning.
For example, when learning a foreign language, you can write all feminine nouns in pink and masculine nouns in blue.
Pictures can also be added to your cards. A mixture of words and images works much better than words alone. You can either draw them yourself or use a free flash card maker for a more polished look.
Finally, mnemonic devices are wonderful tools that aid memorization. Many of us remember these from our school days. The most famous one is ROYGBIV, which gives us the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
But there are many others. It isn’t hard to find some that will work for you.
Spacing and Stack Size
Growing up, many of us took our flash cards and divided them into small groups. We would make the groups larger over time, all the while removing cards we had mastered.
Studies show, however, that this method is completely counterproductive.
The best way to study with cards to is to take a large group of cards, go through all the cards, and then revisit the entire pile another time.
It turns out that the most important part of studying is spacing out study sessions. A large stack of cards ensures more time will pass between study sessions, and it is this time that helps you remember the information on your cards.
When you return to your cards, your brain will be refreshed and ready to go.
Fun and Effective
If you are studying a new subject or learning a new language, study cards might be just what you are looking for. They can even be enjoyable, especially with pictures and bright colors.
Why not give them a try today and see how they work for you?