Flashcards have been proven effective to help people of all ages memorize and learn new things. There’s a reason they are the OG study tool.
Because they work!
Whether you want to help your children study for a math test or you as an adult want to learn to speak German, flashcards are the simplest and best way to go!
Wondering how to study with flashcards and why they are so effective?
Let’s dive in! Below you will find everything you need to know about the best ways to make and use flashcards and why they work so gosh darn well!
What Can Flashcards Be Used For?
Traditionally flashcards are used to help people study and retain new information. From the act of creating flashcards to the repetition of studying with them, flashcards help us process new information in a fun, simple way.
They can be used in math, science, language, history, and so much more. One of the greatest benefits of flashcards is their versatility!
They can even be used in a corporate setting. Have an upcoming meeting or presentation you need to prepare for? Write down your major points, relevant facts, and figures, and closing remarks to make sure you can access the information when the pressure is on.
Why Do Flashcards Work?
There is some pretty cool brain science behind why flashcards help us learn. Here are the three main elements that show why flashcards are so successful.
Active recall is the process of remembering things by moving them from short-term memory to long-term memory. “Recall” refers to your ability to locate the information in your brain and “active” refers to the way in which you have to actively recite the information.
When you highlight a passage in a book you are not engaging with active recall because you are not actively trying to remember that piece of information. Instead, you are just noting that it is important and moving on.
When you write something down on a flashcard and go through the process of quizzing yourself you have to actively search your brain for the information and be able to answer correctly.
Metacognition is a fancy word to describe an individual’s ability to think about our own thinking. Woah.
It relates to flashcards because when we review flashcards we have to assess how much of the material we are actually remembering and which parts we still need to work on.
Think about it this way.
Have you ever been reviewing with flashcards and noticed that you keep getting tripped up by the same three or four of them? You probably decided to then take those three of four cards out and really focus on getting every single part of the answer right.
This is metacognition! Your ability to assess your own memory and which parts you need to work on. This is also why they are so successful in helping us learn new things!
Repetition is the process of reviewing something over and over again in order to commit it to memory. Simply put, the more times you run through your flashcards and answer correctly the more it cements the information into your brain.
Having a deck of flashcards is an easy way to expose yourself to the information many times. Some people even like to shuffle up the order of their cards to ensure they can remember the information out of order.
How to Study with Flashcards
If you’re new to the world of flashcards, welcome! And if you’re already an expert, it never hurts to review the process. Here’s how to most effectively study with flashcards.
Create flashcards. You can write them down on note cards, post-its, or small pieces of paper. There are also awesome online resources to quickly make flashcards online. If you’re interested in online flashcards, check out Memory’s flashcards offering.
By creating flashcards online you save time by typing instead of writing. And for those of us with bad handwriting, online flashcards are basically a necessity.
The general structure of a flashcard is to have the question on one side of the card and the answer on the other. Or in the case of vocabulary, you have the word you want to learn on one side and the definition on the other.
Start reviewing. If you are already familiar with most of the content on the cards you can start to quiz yourself right away. If you are still very new to the content you can flip through the cards just reading them a few times to get started.
Some people like to start with very small batches of flashcards. So, you pick three to five cards at first, memorize those, and then add three or four more. This is a great approach if you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to learn because it breaks up a big task into several smaller ones.
Repeat! As we learned earlier, one of the reasons flashcards are such a successful learning tool is that they require repetition. Activating your minds to recall information over and over will help you recall it when it comes to being tested.
Try It Out!
So now you know the science behind why flashcards work, how to make them, and how to study with flashcards.
You have nothing to lose! Try them out for yourself today!
If you are looking for more lifestyle or self-improvement tips, check out some of our other articles!