Modern college life is quite saturated in terms of events and activities. Students are participating in campus life, working part-time, and doing other things. Couple these things with writing an essay or a dozen of those – you can get exhaustion and anxiety quite easily. That is why students are continuously coming up with different ways of easing the education process and it is possible to find quite a few examples online. This particular guide is going to focus on one of the most effective methods of preparing oneself for tests and other stressful college things – flashcards.
How do flashcards work and when to use them?
The basic premise is that a student uses this method to quickly check oneself if the answer is correct. This implies that this method of memorizing is effective for simple facts and terms. Such a statement is not false; however, there are more examples of why it is one of the most versatile studying methods out there.
For example, the use of flashcards is an act of self-reflection, which is already a precursor for memory deepening. There are other effects as well. Constant repetition of terms and their memorization are resulting in the development of stronger neural connections thus enhancing the ability to recover a fact or term in the future. Even more, practicing with flashcards strengthens the ability to remember things without a need for additional context, meaning that hearing some term of concept with no additional information will likely trigger a memory!
The main thing to understand is simple – the use of flashcards is not applicable to every situation. The best situation to utilize this method is during test preparation. Even more, cards work perfectly for disciplines that are filled with terms, concepts, and dates. If a discipline requires critical thinking and similar stuff, flashcards may not work but they will certainly assist if written correctly.
The actual guide
What to do and how to do it
First of all, it is required to make those flashcards! Although this was a tiresome and lengthy process only a decade or two before, now this process is almost trivial due to a variety of free online resources. The majority of websites that allow creating flashcards also offer some pre-written flashcards as well. This may be a great idea but a student should look for cards that are easy to memorize because the simpler the better.
After finding or creating your own flashcards, it is possible to begin studying and the so-called Waterfall method is considered to be one of the best. For this method, it is preferable to print your cards.
Spoiler alert – it may sound complicated but it’s actually pretty easy. The main idea is to imagine a cascade waterfall. So, here are the main steps:
- Go through the whole deck of cards and put the ones you know right away in a separate “know it” deck while creating a separate stack for the ones you struggle with;
- The next step is to go through the “struggling” stack of flashcards and put the ones you know right away in a “know it v.2” deck;
- Repeat this process until there are only several cards in the “struggling” deck;
- Now, it is time to reverse the process and go through the sad deck and you should already know what’s in these cards;
- After getting to the starting deck you’re done!
It is required to mention that this guide to memorizing flashcards is highly effective because it allows a student to repetitively go through the “struggling” ones thus resulting in memorization. The number of times that a person is memorizing the “struggling” deck can vary, of course, but it gets work done. Extra note – after beginning the reverse process, a student should go through the whole deck at hand if even one answer is incorrect. While this is a time-consuming process, it pays off.
Additional important things to remember
A couple more things to remember – first of all, it is not advisable to use way too complex words in the explanation parts of one’s flashcards. This is like writing an essay because any reader can get lost in complex terms and explanations. Keeping it simple eases the memorizing process considerably.
So, it may be advisable to focus on writing and creating one’s own cards or find a service with one’s that don’t confuse you. Another good idea is to break down complex concepts into several questions – this will ease the digestion of information while giving you a more in-depth knowledge of those concepts.
These small tips can make one’s life way easier while considerably enhancing the effectiveness of studying. Flashcards are by no means panacea for any sort of test or exam but they do have their great uses. It is important to know when it’s the best time to use them.
The use of flashcards for self-education and test preparation is one of the most effective methods out there. It is easy to use, beneficial, and cheap, or even free. Modern technologies allow creating these educational cards from scratch and pretty fast. A student can also look for a service for pre-written cards as well. All-in-all, this guide is focused on explaining where to look for flashcards and how to utilize them to the fullest potential. The waterfall method is an excellent framework for memorizing even the information that a student struggles the most with.