How To Make Flash Cards: A Simple Guide For Students

Wondering how to make flash cards that really work? Read our step-by-step guide to learn how to use this learning tool effectively!

8 min read

How to make flash cards that will help you study better? We bet that all of you have heard about the effectiveness of flashcards for studying. But, have you ever wondered how to make them right to get the most benefits? If not, you are missing plenty of possibilities!

Study cards are proven to be useful in the learning process. But, to make the best use of them, it is vital to know how to create them right. This article is a complete guide to flashcards that will help students learn easily and yet effectively!

What Are Flashcards And Why Are They Effective?

Before we move on to practical tips, let’s first answer the main question – what is flash card? In a nutshell, it is simply a note card created to help learn and memorize material quicker and easier. Typically, these cards have information written on both sides. On the one side, there is a question or prompt. And on the other side, there is a correct answer to that question. For example:

One side: What year was the US constitution written?

Another side: 1 787

So, the core concept is simple. A student studies the material, then reads the question and tries to recall the answer. Finally, he checks if he was right by flipping the note.

Why are index cards for studying effective, and how they make learning simple? First and foremost, they are great for boosting your memory through repetition. Even when creating your flashcards, you are already learning by writing down the key facts and figures. Then, through challenging your brain to recall answers, you memorize things faster.

Also, this method is perfect for self-testing. Using a stack of cards with the key facts, students can easily define their gaps in knowledge. Simply put, flashcards help you determinewhat things you already know, and what you still need to catch up on.

Another benefit os this method is that it initiates the process of self-reflection. Each time you try to recall the answer and flip your card to check whether you were right, you subconsciously try to reflect on your answer. This process is also known as metacognition. And it is proven that metacognition allows us to ingrain knowledge deeper into our brain.

Finally, flashcards are great in terms of time-management. Creating and using them takes much less time than re-reading book chapters. Thus, when there is a need to cram for an exam or lesson quickly, this method is one of the most effective ones.

Make Your Own Flashcards: Top Tools To Use

If you are wondering how to make good flashcards, here are the top five best tools to try:

Pen And Paper

Probably the best tools of all time are the good-old pen and paper. Although modern college students may not recognize this, writing flashcards by hand can be extremely beneficial. It is proven that writing makes our brains engage with information. Unlike typing, writing notes by hand helps develop a better understanding of the material and boost memory.

StudyBlue

Another tool worth trying is StudyBlue. It is a free app available on Android and iOS. With this app, students can find and use ready-made notes or create their own. The biggest benefit of this app is that it helps track your progress and see what information you already mastered.

Examtime

Examtime.com is the number one tool students need to cram for their tests with ease. This website offers plenty of great features. Here, students can find lots of great quizzes, notes, and flashcards. Also, this website features a handy study planner and mindmaps feature to help you study productively.

StudyStack

Another helpful website is StudyStack. Here, students can find pre-existing sets of notes on different subjects or create flashcards on their own. Also, it features lots of fun study games, tests, and quizzes.

Brainscape

The next tool on our list is a handy free app available on the App Store and Google Play. It contains sets of cards on a wide range of subjects. Also, there are lots of great features that will help you create your own flashcards.

Best Way To Make Flash Cards: Step-By-Step Guide

Now, when you know what are flashcards and what tools are there to make them, the main question is how to create flashcards on your own? The good news is that it is not too difficult when you know what steps to take. Below is your step-by-step guide to making killer note cards with ease:

1. Prepare

To make your flashcards effective, it is vital to first define the scope of information you have to memorize. To do this, get a textbook and your notes from lectures ready. Make sure you have all the necessary tools at hand. Also, find a comfortable and quiet place to study. Avoiding distractions will help to get more focused and productive.

2. Read A Textbook And Notes

Read through the relevant chapters and notes to identify the key information. When reading through materials, try to be as attentive as possible to grasp the overall idea of the topic or unit you are studying.

Pro tip: Highlight the key facts, definitions, dates, and other vital info as you read. This will make it easier to come back to the needed materials later when you’ll be making your notes.

3. Fill In The Gaps

To make the most of your cramming session, think about whether there are any gaps in the materials you have. If yes, search for additional information in books or online to expand your knowledge.

4. Making Flashcards

Finally, when all the key information was collected, it is time to start making cards themselves. At this stage, students can choose to use any of the following methods:

  • Paper. As was already mentioned, writing notes by hand has certain benefits. If you decide to use this method, you will need lots of small pieces of paper, a pen, and color markers. Write a question or prompt at the front side of every card, and write answers on the other side. Since flashcards are supposed to be concise, consider using bulleted lists or shortcuts to save place. Also, don’t hesitate to use color codes to highlight certain information, this will help to memorize information faster.
  • MS Word. Another common method is to create notes using Microsoft Word. Some versions of MS Word even have special templates for flashcards. To use them, create a new document and search for a template that suits you most in the library of templates. Next, all you need to do is to type the necessary information, print, and cut out your cards.
  • Online Tools. Finally, students can choose to create their notes using special apps or websites. Such tools are quite intuitive and allow creating digital flashcards in a few simple clicks. All you need to do is to choose the right tool that suits your needs.

Top Tips To Use Flashcards Efficiently

Now, that you know how to create them, you are probably wondering how to use flashcards effectively? Below, we have gathered some of the handiest tools that will help you make the most of your study sessions with flashcards:

  • Always create your own notes. First things first, the best way to study flashcards is to create your own. On the Internet, students can find ready-made notes on pretty much any subject. Some of them can be quite good. But, making your own notes is much more efficient because this way, you can organize them in a way that suits your unique needs.
  • One card = one question. Don’t try to fit multiple facts or concepts into one note. Always write only one question per card to avoid confusion.
  • Mix different types of content. Many people make the same mistake by filling their cards only with words. Of course, this may seem like something quite obvious. But, there is a phenomenon called the Picture Superiority Effect, which implies that visual content is often easier to memorize than written. Thus, to make your studying even more effective, be sure to mix images with words.
  • Use mnemonic devices. Simply put, mnemonic devices cover everything that helps a person build an association between different pieces of information. Creating such associations in your flashcards can help to memorize things faster.
  • Study notes from both sides. Most often, students try to memorize their notes by reading a question and trying to recall an answer. This is an obvious technique. But, if you are wondering how to memorize flashcards better, try studying them in both directions.

Conclusion

Flashcards are classic and time-tested tools for cramming for exams and memorizing even the most complicated topics. They utilize the practice of active recall, which helps our brains to perceive and memorize the information better.

However, though this study tool can be very effective, many students don’t use its full potential. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide will help all students out there to learn how to make flashcards for studying and use them in the most efficient way!

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