No matter how foolproof a student's study plan is, remembering things for the examination always seems like a big task. Therefore it is necessary to devise ways and means to remember the information correctly and precisely so that the students can score well in their exams. There are so many textbooks for each subject that complete memorization is not possible. It doesn't matter how hard you try to cram the textbooks. Even if you manage to remember your exam syllabus, the knowledge won't be long-lasting and you won't be able to retain the information for a longer duration.
In order to solve this problem, flashcards are available for students of all age groups. Studies have shown that they are one of the most effective techniques for students who are in high school or for college-level students. You can retain the knowledge for a longer duration as learning becomes super easy with the use of flashcards.
What are flashcards?
Flashcards are tools that are effective as a memory aid for students and help learn new information more quickly. There is a lot of study material on the same topic that students come across. Nowadays, digitalized versions of flashcards are also available that are extremely efficient at the college or high school level. There are some great reasons why flashcards have been in use for so long. Even though they might seem a little boring at first, once you realize the benefits, there is no turning back!
Why are flashcards important in a student's study plan?
Let us take a look as to why flashcards hold such immense importance in a student's study plan.
Flashcards are one of the most affordable ways of learning available to date. If you don't wish to purchase those fancy cards available in the market, you can invest in simple ones that fulfill the basic needs of a student. Instead of purchasing ready-made flashcards, you can also make your own by using 3x5 inches index cards. Depending on the type of information you require, you can use them with lines or without lines.
Flashcards offer students enhanced portability as compared to other study materials such as textbooks or notebooks. By chance, if you need information on different subjects at the same time, mostly you would be required to carry the textbooks of all subjects. But if you have flashcards of different topics, then looking up for different kinds of information becomes a lot handier.
3. Increased variety of study methods
Mostly when students memorize from textbooks or notes, instead of paying attention to the actual content they end up cramming the sequence. Since flashcards are not in a particular sequence, students have to actually learn the original questions of the answers and understand the concepts at a deeper level.
Flashcards are available for every subject. Starting from the basics such as events and dates for history classes to advanced medical terminologies, vocabulary, psychology, math formulae, etc, flashcards can be utilized for a variety of subjects. Flashcards are learning tools beyond perfection as there is nothing a student cannot cover up with their help.
5. Precise learning
Memorizing the entire syllabus is not what makes a student academically sound. Picking out the important points and learning accordingly is a technique most students are not able to develop for a long time. Flashcards are helpful in situations when the syllabus seems too overwhelming and there is not much time left for exams. When students have a lot to learn within a short span, it becomes necessary to resort to methods that enforce precise learning. Flashcards provide a means of learning in which students are provided with to the point information. This makes learning simple and also teaches the students how to answer in the examination.
6. Increased efficiency
Learning can become cumbersome when the students have to cram huge chunks of text. This lowers down their efficiency and makes them feel sleepy and fatigued. Flashcards have everything noted down in a concise and accurate manner. When students do the majority of their studying from flashcards, they eliminate the need for memorizing a lot of information at the same time and learn some shortcuts as well. Thus, the overall efficiency of the study sessions increases drastically.
7. Easy to recall
Active recall is a technique in which a person recalls something on the basis of understanding a concept to its core rather than blatantly parroting back what they read. When you try to remember something while looking at the front portion of a flashcard, you are making an attempt to recall and explain a concept from scratch instead of repeating it on the basis of a cursory superficial reading. This technique is what gives flashcards an edge over other methods of studying. You have to train your brain to make an effort that keeps your entire mindset for studying in an active state.
8. Effective utilization of metacognition
According to studies, metacognition is a technique that can prove to be extremely helpful in ingraining your memory at a deeper level of your knowledge. When you answer something by looking at the front side of your flashcard, you are testing your ability to retain information. But when you flip over the card to see the correct answer, you compare your knowledge to the actual fact. This is what determines the correctness of your answer and is a test for your metacognitive faculties. This act reflects your accuracy and helps you determine the level of your knowledge. It also gives you an opportunity to predict how much you can score.
9. Boosts self-confidence
No matter how much a student has studied for exams. If a student is not confident, then the chances of academic success diminish to a great extent. A confident student is able to handle unfortunate circumstances such as an extremely difficult level of the test paper more effectively than a student who is constantly under fear of failure. Since flashcards help in retaining the information for a longer duration, they impart a sense of self-confidence in a student. This, in turn, helps the students perform well in their examination, thus, improving the chances of a brilliant performance.
10. Excellent revision tool
When students study a topic for the very first time, reading the textbook is important for a deeper understanding of a concept. But when the exams come close, it is not possible to read the textbook over and over again as it will waste a lot of time and is not an effective strategy for reviewing the already grasped concepts. Nothing can match the effectiveness of flashcards when it comes to revising the syllabus or for some last moment brush up one or two days before exams. This is the time when students are under a lot of pressure and reading the textbook might seem overwhelming.
11. Advantageous for students with learning disabilities
Studying is itself a challenge for students who suffer from some sort of learning disability of visual disorders. As a result of these disabilities, the reading time and sight span of such students is compromised which makes conventional textbook learning nearly impossible. Flashcards can help such students learn the concepts without putting too much burden on their brains.
12. You can go DIY
Flashcards don't necessarily have to be those glossy little pieces of paper sold in shops. You can cut up any hard paper lying around the house an make your own flashcards. Even if you wish to enhance the level of sophistication, you can purchase some cheap blank business cards from the nearby stationery shop and customize them according to the topics you require more emphasis on.
13. Can be used on the go
Imagine carrying a bulky textbook and trying to study from it while you are on the bus. The flowing air is most likely to mess up the papers while you are studying or if you have to travel a long way, your hands might even start aching. Flashcards are a handy way to give a quick revision of the concepts when you are constantly on the go.
Flashcards are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. So, there is something out there for everybody. They also have space for students so they can insert their own notes or points they face difficulty in learning or remembering. For students with a creative mindset, they can customize their flashcards as they like. due to the advancements in technology, there are many tools that are used to make flashcards more appealing for students. So, you can study along with embracing your creative side.
15. Room for new ideas
Flashcards provide a lot of room for including new ideas. For example, for difficult math problems, you can write the calculations on one side of the flashcard and the answer on the other side. Another example is that you can relate pictures with bulleted lists on different sides of the flashcard. You can also use stickers or highlighters to emphasize certain tough remember points. Embedding items of craft such as glitter will impart a fresh look to your cards, thus, helping you focus better.
16. Beneficial for parents
Flashcards can act as an effective means of instigating the concept of family interaction. Even though parents might not understand every subject at all levels, they can test their children's knowledge with the help of flashcards as they only have to check the correct answer by flipping it over. Not only it is an efficient way to test the knowledge of a student, but it also gives an opportunity for parents to bond with their children and have some fun and imaginative time.
Strategies for effective utilization of flashcards:
Once you realize the importance of flashcards for students, you should start utilizing them in a way that provides the maximum benefits.
1. Mixing text with pictures
It is a well-known fact that visual aids have an outstanding effect on memory. People tend to remember pictures more clearly and for longer. A mixture of words and pictures can actually help you out a lot when you have many things to remember in a short time span. You can also recall the already learned information by relating short descriptions or headings with pictures.
2. Using mnemonics
Writing short forms on one side with detailed information on the other side can easily be done using mnemonics. The relation between mnemonics and academic growth is an undeniable one. Most of the toppers have been known to remember information with the help of mnemonics. It aids in building an association between different pieces of information, thus, making everything more valuable. Acronyms and mnemonics are especially beneficial for remembering difficult sequences. A simple example is VIBGYOR for remembering the colors of a rainbow.
3. Breaking up huge chunks of information
One of the best ways to learn a complex answer is to break in up into simpler blocks. Sometimes when a lot of information is encapsulated into a single question, it becomes next to impossible to learn it as a whole. You can use flashcards to break long and tedious questions into simpler ones by writing different categories of information of separate flash cards. This way you can learn multiple small questions more efficiently than a single long answer. You can later compile the entire information once you have thoroughly studied every fragment.
4. Saying out loud
Select an isolated place for learning so that you can recite your answers out loud while studying. When you say stuff out loud, hearing what you have just learned won't let any information fade away quickly.
5. Study both directions
One can make full use of flashcards only if they study them both ways. Once you are done in a single direction, go the other way round to prevent any information from slipping out of your memory.
In conclusion, due to the rise of software-based learning in today's world, parents are mostly investing in expensive software, ignoring basic and simple learning methods. Maybe this is because they advertise in a fancy manner. But you should remember that you might end up paying a lot more for something that is not suitable for your kids or for something you could have gotten at a lesser price. Flashcards have been an integral part of the education system for long. All you require is a little bit of motivation and you are good to go!