Using flashcards is one of the mosts common study methods, and it is the one many students are most familiar. Flashcards help students to engage in active recall or a process wherein students actively engage in learning by stimulating our memories and creating lasting connections to the material.
When you create flashcards, you should incorporate images as well as words to help improve your active recall. Here's an example:
You should also review flashcards in both "directions." Often, students will study one side of the "question" or "answer" side of based on how they think the test will be structured. In order to help you truly learn the information and create meaningful connections, you should study both parts of the flashcard.
Here's an example:
Here are some of Keys to Success when it comes to creating and using flashcards:
Learn; don't memorize. Flashcards can be dangerous if only used to regurgitate facts rather than actually learning the material. Make sure your flashcards are engaging with more than simple definitions. You might even put in a few that ask an application question to help you actively learn the concept.
Create your own cards. There are plenty of programs that will help you with creating flashcards; however, you will lose the benefits of manually writing them out and the repetition that process creates. Moreover, if use someone else's cards or cards created by publishers, you won't be able to put them in your own words. By creating your own, you get all of the benefits of using the process (not just the product!) as a study aid.
Involve your senses. The more senses you involve in your study habits, the more apt you are to actively engage with the material. By creating your own cards, you involve touching and seeing. If you study with a friend or say your answers aloud, you involve hearing and seeing. If you flip through the cards during a break, you involve touching, hearing, and seeing. All of these sense will help you move the material to your long-term memory.
Make them fun! No one said that using flashcards had to be boring. Use different colored index cards and markers to help you visualize the information. Determine a reward system based on correct responses. Create a flashcard game with your study group: divide into teams and keep score.