I don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful. — Natalie Portman
Can studying really be fun? Are we kidding you? Most people don’t like to study, but it is necessary if you’re going to learn something new and retain it for the future. One technique that can be helpful is the use of flash cards.
Remember your teacher in elementary school holding up a card with a picture on one side and a word to go with the picture on the other side of the card? That’s a flash card.
Flash cards are fun and provide a study tool that combines note-taking with subject matter review.
Flash cards are best used to quickly retain basic facts and definitions. As Thomas Frank of CollegeInfoGeek writes,
“Flash cards are very good at helping you drill relationships between two pieces of information – but that’s it. That makes them good for learning definitions, vocabulary words, etc. – but it makes them a particularly bad study tool for information that fits into a larger visual or organizational hierarchy.”
Let’s start with what flash cards are good for. They are ideal for committing to memory key terms in your course materials. Take studying business law for example. Look at these key terms:
These terms look like a collection of typos until you park each of them on their own separate card with an accompanying image on the reverse side of the card to boost your retention of the meaning of the word.
To make flash cards work for you, here are some different strategies:
When you create flash cards, create them incrementally as you proceed through your coursework. Trying to create them from notes later on chews up extra time and becomes needlessly tedious.
Thomas Frank has a number of suggestions for getting the most out of your flash cards. Among his suggestions:
Here are some additional suggestions:
Give flash cards a try. For many topics they’re just the ticket, and they’re a creative outlet as well. They’re a great excuse to have some fun mixing serious subjects with a little arts and crafts.
What do you think?
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