Using Flashcards to Study Alone or in a Group

Use flashcards as a learning tool.
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Flashcards will always be one of the best tools for memorizing information. The most common way to create flashcards is to use index cards. To use flashcards effectively, students can simply write a potential test question on one side of a card and the answer on the opposite side and test themselves repeatedly. However, there are several ways to modify this process to enhance the learning experience.

Flashcards for Individuals

  • One way to enhance learning is to incorporate color into the card-making process. If you are using flashcards to study a foreign language, for instance, you may use pink for feminine nouns and blue for masculine nouns.
  • You could also use colors to indicate regular and irregular verbs in foreign languages. Color coding is especially helpful for students who are visual or tactile learners.
  • Computer-generated cards can also enhance the learning process. Students can type a list to create question cards, cut them out, and fill in the answers by hand on the back side. Tactile learners benefit by using this process, as writing the answers actually becomes part of the learning process.
  • If you find that writing out the answers is the most beneficial part of the process for you, you can simply repeat the process of printing the list and writing the answers.
  • To create cards in Microsoft Word, simply use three columns and a large font size. You can highlight your individual words or questions to change size and color.
  • To create cards in Excel, create a table three columns wide. You can tab from one column to another to input words or questions. You can highlight columns to change font size or to print.
  • If you want to use your cards repeatedly for the entire school year, you may want to laminate them.
  • You can keep blank index cards on hand as you take class notes. When you hear an important term, you can write the term on a card right away and add the answers later, when you study. This process encourages you to reinforce the information you hear in class.
  • When studying with flashcards, make a small check mark on the corner of those you get right. When you have made two or three marks on a card, you know you can put it in a separate pile. Keep going through your main pile until all cards have two or three marks.
  • Cut up poster boards to make very large cards. These come in many colors, so you can use the colors to create specific meanings.

Flashcard Games for Study Groups

  • For classes that require you to memorize many definitions, such as social studies or history classes, you may want to gather together to create a master list of flash cards using the glossary in the back of your textbook. If possible, use color coding to indicate for which chapter each term is relevant.
  • Make a matching game with your cards for your study group. Make separate cards for the questions and the answers, leaving the back sides blank. Place the cards face down and turn them over, one by one, trying to find matches.
  • Make a competition with your cards by forming two teams. Assign a scorekeeper to hold up cards and keep track as team members call out the right answers. This would be a good way to get parents involved!