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Although flash cards are often used in elementary school classrooms, they are effective studying tools for college students as well. When crafted correctly, many are effective vehicles that help the brain absorb information. Here are eight ways to make flash cards that will bring you the most successful results.

  • Create Unique Cards. Although many students share their flash cards or use pre-made items, it is better to draft a unique set. Your brain will absorb more information when you use your words and choose pictures.
  • Combine Words and Drawings. Many flash cards only contain words. Although this is acceptable, it may be better to incorporate pictures. A Toronto study found that the best results occur when words are combined with drawings. Mixing a picture with a simple phrase or sentence is enough to increase the mind’s ability to recall information.
  • Mnemonic Devices are Effective. A mnemonic device is defined as a trick that creates a link between two different pieces of data in the brain. For example, many music students remember the names of the spaces of the treble clef by using the acronym FACE. A rhyme may be used as well. Another successful way to remember information is by using an associative image.
  • Since they are memorable, it is smart to invent crazy associations. Your mind is built to recall things that are not common. When creating your cards, draw unusual and funny pictures so that you remember the information. Even if no one else gets the joke, it only matters that it helps you study.
  • Limit Facts on Each Card. As you create flash cards, it is best to place only one fact on each piece of paper. When you include lists, you may easily skip over bits of information that you may not know.
  • Split Complicated Ideas Into Different Questions. When one topic is very complex, there may be numerous questions or pieces of information that accompany it. To make sure that you learn everything that goes with the subject, it is important to create multiple flashcards. Even though this will increase the number of cards that you have, you will be sure to master all of the data.
  • Vocalize Your Answers. Many students study flash cards in silence. This method is not as effective as saying your answers out loud. The best way to study is by reviewing your cards with a friend. However, if no one is available, you can still vocalize your answers before you flip them over.
  • Study Your Cards Forwards and Backwards. By only using one side of your flash cards during your study time, you may not be adequately preparing for your test. For example, when you are studying chemistry element symbols, and one card reads “Na,” you will be able to tell that the answer is sodium. However, if the exam question asks for the symbol for sodium, you may not be able to recall the right answer.
  • Flash Cards are Just the Beginning. Flash cards are reliable ways to study for a variety of tests. However, there are other methods that may bring you successful results. They are useful when you are covering vocabulary or definitions, but they will not be as effective when you must recall more complex material.

When you use flash cards as your study buddies, the above tips will help you create the most effective tools. Learning what makes flash cards successful will decrease your study time and will allow your brain to recall information in a simple manner.


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