Are Flashcards Actually Good For Studying?

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colourful flash cards, studying yellow pencil
Photo by Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash

The following tips, originally posted at StudentAwards Conversations, were contributed by students in our membership.

  • Index cards are becoming more and more popular. They’re small and easy to use. Write a question or topic on one side, answer on the other. Go through them once. Put aside any of the ones you got wrong, go through that pile again, reintegrate them into the original pile, shuffle. Repeat. Do this until you know your answers inside and out. It works really well if you study in a group with one person reading the cards. It becomes a game to see who can answer first. It’s fun and effective. It will also develop your ability to think fast. Speed will give you plenty of time to check your answers on a test or exam. Because they’re small you can take them out anytime, anywhere; take advantage of small pockets of time, on the bus, on a drive, waiting for an appointment, etc. (Posted by: jiira)
  • I make a set of cue cards for as much of the information as possible. Put a question on one side and the answer on the back, carry them around all the time and flip through them when you have a spare minute (waiting for the bus, in line at a store, etc.). Studying doesn’t seem as hard when it’s 3 minutes at a time. (Posted by: Kail33)
  • I make cue cards, LOTS of them. They’re good because you learn them when you write them out, and also because each cue card asks a specific question, so you don’t have to memorize an entire paragraph right away, just bits of it. (Posted by: pamela13)
  • Flashcards. Take an index card and write the word/term on one side. On the other side, write a few words (keep it to a minimum & write it in your OWN words) that will remind you of the word on the other side. When going through your cards, you must do the following: SHUFFLE the cards before using them…EVERY SINGLE TIME! Go through them with the word/term first and then defining the words. THEN (after shuffling), flip the deck so that you have the definition first and you must guess the word/term! (Posted by: tantanuy)
  • Two words: cue cards. Make them with a friend to help keep it interesting (the process can be VERY tedious) and then quiz each other on every card, so that you know when you are asked the question you can produce an answer. Also, try to do this a week or 5 days ahead of the test, not the night before. (Posted by: MRichards12)
  • The best advice I can give you is Q CARDS!!!! I have a really hard time memorizing but if you write the question on one side and the answer on the other then you lay them on a table with the question side up you can see all the questions. Then one by one you take away the ones you know. Then you can easily see how much you know and which ones you need to study more. (Posted by: kashtin93)
  • I like to create flashcards that have summary notes on them (not the Q/A kind) … and then review them when I have time, small sets of flashcards at a time. I find that … writing it helps, [and] if you can summarize something big to very few words/phrases (and still maintain all key points) that really helps me learn the info rather than just rote memorization (Posted by: rbj)