Test Preparation with Flash Cards

Flash cards tend to universally evoke memories of grade school.   The idea of using them as an adult doesn’t even cross the minds of many. Even to consider using them, can give a sense of immaturity.  The reality is that they are used with children for a reason: They work.  In fact, they work just as well for older children and adults as they do for the kindergartener.    That’s because they are a very effective test preparation tool.

Flash cards bring many benefits to the learning process that each person should heed and consider integrating into their normal study patterns.  Initially, they are useful because they are small and portable.  They provide the opportunity to review the subject in almost any environment and any circumstances.  They can be pulled out at lunch, while waiting on the bus, between classes, anytime there are two minutes or more to spare.  Of course they are also excellent for using during normal study times and within study groups.

Additionally, flash cards integrate different forms of learning, expanding the integration of the information.  They are obviously visual as they have to be viewed and read.  They also integrate the benefits of repetition, which many argue, is the purest form of learning.  Even with the repetition they also offer variety since they are likely to be viewed out of order, leading to fuller memorization rather than just sequential recall. Flash cards could also encompass audible learning if used in a study group or even alone and verbalized aloud.  Their uses and advantages are nearly endless depending on the imagination of the learner.

Most Teacher Certification exams are content driven, as well as Nursing Certification, and Fitness Certification exams.

Even if you do not consider yourself a creative person, invoking creativity from your flash card study sessions can help get your brain working.  Writing in different colors and decorating cards will help stimulate different areas of the brain.  This will increase the chances for recall.  Unless if you are averse to your creative side, spending a little extra time on your flashcards by decorating them can help recall during the test.  More on Flash Cards from Wikipedia.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

They are easy to produce and can be made in many different ways.  They can be written on cut sheets of writing paper, though the use of card stock paper adds a helpful level of rigidity.  A popular tactic is to make them using stock note cards or index cards, typically 3X5.  They can also be printed on a computer, providing a sharper, clearer presentation.  A Microsoft Word Template for creating Flash Cards can be located HERE.  Instructions for two-sides printed will be included later.  There is no correct way of making them; however, they are better the more uniform and sturdy they are; especially considering they are likely to be carried around a great deal.  Flash cards can always be bought pre-designed; however, by creating them personally, they are customized to the needed subject and include specifically needed information.


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About the Author

Brian has a BA in Economics, and an MA in Psychology. He lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has traveled widely and has written extensively on education, testing and tests.

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for helping all of us!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for quite good post, My spouse and i learned a lot and will revisit later.

  3. Camielia Lancaster says:

    the shorts study periods does work, and using flashcards works also. my memory recall is higher when i get to study more often using the flascards because they are portable, and easy to just stick in your pocket. i can take my four kids were ever they need to go and still study.

  4. Armena says:

    If information were soccer, this would be a goooooal!

  5. mimi says:

    yes, flash cards are very effective. I can practice wherever i go as i take my cards with me.

  6. Sheila says:

    i remember an exam where i used flash cards. when i saw questions that i had studied with a card i had literal memories of the cards when i was studying.

  7. Adelle says:

    Flash cards do really work – I make my own which is a total pain but they do work and it is worth it for a big test.

    Even making the flash cards helps- sometimes I just making them I memorize a lot so I don’t need them!

    • Brian says:

      There is a way to make your own flashcards using a WORD template for index cards and double sided printing – You have to print off the odd pages on one side and then the even pages (with the answers) on the other side. It is a bit of a pain to set up and maybe not worth the bother – but it can be done!

  8. dean says:

    i use flash cards for my sons. it is a fun and effective way to teaching them.

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