When it comes to learning new information such as a language, or preparing for a test, flashcards comes as a blessing to us. We can learn and review lots of information in a short time. They are easy to make and easy to use because you can take them anywhere, especially when you use a mobile flashcard application. Flashcards can be used for wide variety of subjects and using them correctly will help you get the most out of your work.
A common use of flashcards is to learn a new language. In this article, I will share some tips on how to use flashcards efficiency.
Learning another language is all about four skills. Reading, Writing, Speaking and listening. If we consider these items as a food the primary ingredients to cook them are vocabularies and grammar. Other things like intonation, idioms, chunking etc. act like seasoning.
The bright side is vocabularies and grammar can be easily turned into flashcards so it’s possible to learn dozens of them very quickly!
1. Make flashcards properly
The accurate way of making flashcards is to write the question on the front side and the answer on the back side. In the case of vocabulary, you can write the word or idiom on the front side and use the back side to write definitions and a couple of examples. Please note that example is extremely important. It helps us to find out how to use the word correctly in a sentence and also a perfect way to memorize the meaning easier.
Similarly, you can turn new grammar into flashcards. The grammar section name takes place on the front side and the definition, different usages and some tangible examples are written on the back side of the flashcard.
2. Review and study your flashcards regularly
To make sure to keep information for a long time in your mind you will need a method or an organized plan to review your flashcards. Our recommendation is to use 5 box system or Leitner which is described in the previous article.
3. First review and then study
There is a difference between review and study. In this case, review means superficial look on your flashcards. It means you don’t need to check your study materials in detail and only a quick revise is sufficient.
Study is when you inspect and analyze notions and information scrupulously.
Our suggestion is to review your flashcards before start to study for the first time. By doing this you prepare your mind to grasp concepts much easier.
4. Set a limit for flashcards you study daily
By adding every day, a constant number of new flashcards (e.g. 10 new flashcards daily) you will achieve the fastest predictable learning possible. However, you will also need to repeat the flashcards you have learned previously and since you keep adding new flashcards every day the total number of flashcards to be repeated is increasing significantly. It usually settles on average at around 3-4 times the number flashcards you add daily. So, if you add 10 cards a day you will also have to study around 30-40 cards per day additionally.
So it’s up to you to determine how many flashcards study daily. If you’re not in a hurry and you’ve got plenty of time to study, 10 cards make senses but if not, you can increase the number.
5. How to study flashcards?
One of the most important things is how to study flashcards. It’s no wonder that repeating the same content for many times sounds boring and after some review, we probably won’t attention to the content as much as is needed. But there is a solution.
Imagine you are studying your vocabularies. Every time you see the front side of the card –the vocabulary- try to make a new example by using that word. For a successful learning, you have to review each flashcard 5 times at least and it means you will have 5 different examples of the same word in your mind for always.
In this way, you will be able to remember and use the vocabulary much easier in your daily speaking since you know how and where it should be used.
6. What to do after studying
Please remember that we won’t be able to keep any information in our mind unless we use it time to time. It means the only way to master your vocabularies and grammar is to use them in your daily life, utilize them in your speaking and writing.
Another thing is to try to surround yourself by the language you are learning. TV, music, newspaper, and magazine are useful resources to help you. When you see a word or idiom you’ve studied recently in an article or somewhere you won’t forget it never.