"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Studying is not always fun. It's more boring than most other activities, and there are many dull moments experienced when reviewing for exams. The strong distaste for studying is so intense in some cases; some students would much prefer scrubbing toilets than an all-nighter prepping for exams!

Nonetheless, we have some words for you: suck it up. Complaining about having to study is quite comical, and let's be honest, we all do it, but that shouldn't take away from its overall importance. Because through studying, we acquire so much valuable knowledge that can make us better and more successful people and citizens.

Just think about the examples mentioned in the quote above. These remarkable individuals became game-changers through hard work, perseverance, and good education that they took very seriously. So do you want to make a difference? Contribute to making the world a more suitable place? Impart your knowledge to the next generations of youth? If so, it's time to hit books!

And, since the experts at Superprof care about our well-intentioned readers, we want to make the studying process a little bit more enjoyable by introducing something special. Such as? Flashcards! In today's article, we shall discuss how students can better utilise flashcards to prepare for exams more effectively and march towards success.

Making Your Custom Flashcards

In a world where absolutely everything is going digital from books to banking, it seems logical to assume that even most educational practices and study methods are doing the same. Not necessarily. When it comes to specific study methods, the traditional approach is better. Such as what? Flashcards.

tougher pieces of paper
Find a paper that is sturdy and will last a long time when making your flashcards. (Source: Unsplash)

While we are in no way dissing the innovative developments made by online flashcard creators, the old-fashioned paper flashcards are the best when reviewing for important exams; especially for tactile individuals.

But the question arises, how does one make personalised flashcards? Wouldn't it be much easier to ask a computer to complete the task for us? By no means since making your flashcards is easy and pie and fun as can be!

However, what does one need to make their flashcards? The following is a grocery list of what is required to make flashcards:

  • Index or plain paper, 
  • A pen or pencil, 
  • Markers for those who like to add colour to their life!

After the essential things have been purchased, it's time to start making your flashcards. Remember, the most crucial thing to recall is that less is more on a flashcard. You don't want to write your entire textbook; a few words are enough to do the trick.

And, since flashcards are double-sided, they are perfect for quizzing yourself on things such as word definitions, people from history, landmark events, and other complex concepts. So, keep in mind that you need to write the topic in question on the front side and the definition or name on the backside.

We highly recommend using a sturdy type of paper since they won't rip easily.

Before concluding, it is worth mentioning that for those who don't feel like using tangible flashcards and prefer the overall ease of electronic cards, there are a few online resources that come highly recommended. Such as? Anki flashcards and Quizlet. Check them out to see which one suits you best!

There you have it, dear readers, how to make customisable flashcards. Now we're positive you'll need some practical tips about how to use your new flashcards to their full potential. Keep reading to find out more!

Tips to Utilise Flashcards Effectively

Tips and helpful advice always do the trick. And, even if you've had months of practice utilising alternative study methods, it doesn't hurt to receive some indispensable tricks. Why's that? Well, because even the most useful techniques, materials, and suggestions can be lost entirely and worthless if they are not carefully explained and understood.

And while it seems all fine and dandy to start using flashcards when studying for examinations, do you know how to use them efficiently? Probably not!

So, without any further delay, we shall examine six suggestions that greatly instruct Uni students on how to use flashcards like a boss!

Keep it Simple and Stay Chill

Less is always more in so many areas of life, and the same can be said about utilising flashcards. Less information per index card is much simpler, aesthetically pleasing, and more effective.

For instance, only one question, sentence, or concept should be featured on the front side of the flashcard. And, the answer(s) must be included on the backside to jog your memory and engage a little something known as active recall.

Adding too much information is hugely frustrating for all parties involved since you'll feel that you've stepped farther behind than you have forward.

Also, it's essential to remember that you're not perfect, and you will make mistakes when reviewing with flashcards. Approaching index card revision sessions with a realistic attitude will only heighten the experience.

Combine Words With Pictures

Are you a visual learner who captures things better when impressive visual aids are used? If so, you're like me, and you appreciate beautiful illustrations.

So, to better utilise flashcards and make essential topics stick, it is remarkably suggested to draw small illustrations beside your words to create a more memorable revision period. Nonetheless, it's important to state that words and tiny pictures on flashcards complement each other, and neither should be replaced by the other.

Don't worry if you're not the greatest artist, you'll be the only one looking at the flashcards anyway! 

Adding your funny little drawings is yet another reason why making your flashcards is so much better than finding some digital ones online.

Set a Time Limit

using the clock
Having a time limit when studying with flashcards is essential. (Source: Unsplash)

There is nothing more soul-crushing and mind-numbing than looking for hours without any breaks. Why? Our brain loses interest and gradually stops acquiring necessary information due to over-exhaustion.

So, whether you're reviewing past notes or quizzing yourself with flashcards, you need to calm down and take breaks! 

Consider purchasing a tiny alarm clock or timer and setting the alarm every 45 minutes to remind you to take a break and do something fun such as listen to your favourite song, call a friend, eat a healthy snack, or take a short walk down the dorm room halls. For every hour of studying, we highly recommend completing 45 minutes of diligent review with flashcards and a 15-minute break to keep things fresh and light!

Because, as you might know, even though reviewing with flashcards is more engaging than other methods, and even slightly addictive, if you overdo it without any breaks you'll have a distaste for utilising flashcards that might last a long time.

Everything must be done in moderation to avoid overuse and to keep studying enjoyable!

Break It Down

Since flashcards are destined to be simple and not clutter the pupil's mind with too many ideas at once; therefore, it might be challenging to condense an extensive theory into only one sentence, definition, or question. What can be done? Have no fear; there is always a solution!

Instead of using a single index card to describe the theory of relativity or the entire Russian revolution, break down the main ideas and use a series of flashcards instead of only one.

Breaking information down prevents anxiety by keeping things simple and contributes to a more enjoyable review session since everything is well-organised. 

If you are going to use several index cards to explain a single topic, consider selecting a specific colour for all cards to avoid getting them mixed up with other complex concepts. Colour-coding sounds extreme, but it works!

Stay Balanced

alternative review methods
Having fun while studying is possible since there are so many possibilities. (Source: Unsplash)

Recommended by education experts all across the globe, flashcards are a fantastic way to review any sub-topic or complete academic discipline; nonetheless, it is essential to stay balanced and remember that other review methods merit attention.

And, as we previously mentioned, using the same studying technique over and over causes more damage than it does reap benefits. Therefore, talk to classmates, teachers, and other experienced ones about alternative review techniques for exams that are engaging and successful.

Hiring a private tutor on Superprof is a brilliant way to discover review methods and receive additional guidance during exam periods.

Disclaimer: we are in no way dissing the practical uses of flashcards, they sincerely are a godsend, we're merely inspiring our readers to be open to change and diversity. Remember, variety is the spice of life! So, try to use flashcards and other review techniques to enjoy a balanced study experience of all subjects.

In conclusion, we hope that our dear Uni students start using flashcards ASAP to fly through their exams and graduate with style. The future is yours!

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A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.