How to Use Flash Cards to Study Chemistry

Memorize Facts & Reinforce Concepts with Flash Cards

Index cards are great for flash cards. Mixing up flash cards helps you memorize terms and formulas.
Index cards are great for flash cards. Mixing up flash cards helps you memorize terms and formulas. Daniel Sambraus, Getty Images

Flash cards can be a great study aid. You can use them to help memorize facts, lists, and structures as well as to reinforce important concepts. Here's how to prepare and use flash cards to study.

Learning Facts with Flash Cards

  • Start with a stack of blank index cards.
  • On one side of a card, write a question or name of a structure you need to memorize. On the back of the card, write the answer. Limit yourself to one fact per card.
  • Prepare as many cards as you need.
  • To use the cards effectively, view the question and quiz yourself. Do you know the answer? Check the back of the card. If you answered correctly, set the card aside. If you were wrong, place the card on the back of your stack so that you will see it again.
  • Proceed through your stack of cards. Set aside cards you get right and continue through cards you get wrong until you have gotten all questions/answers correct.
  • Now shuffle the cards and repeat the process.
  • Practice makes perfect, so if you get frustrated, set the cards aside and come back to them. Go through your cards every day (or more often, if you are cramming).

Memorizing a List with Flash Cards

  • If you are memorizing an ordered list, try to guess the next card before you look at it. Continue through your list until you get a wrong answer.
  • With the cards in the same order, start from the beginning and go through the cards to see if you can get further.
  • For long lists, it may help to break the list up into manageable pieces, such as three smaller stacks of cards. Once you get the smaller stacks correct, put them together and see if you can recite the entire list.