Study Tips - A Twist on Flash Cards
Nov 26, 2010 Study Skills 2543 Views
The tried and true method of using flash cards has hung around for a reason. Flash cards work. But for some students, there is an element to using flash cards that makes them even more effective. Let's look at a little twist on how you can use flash cards to help you study more efficiently, learn faster, and hold on to that information longer.
The basic method for using flash cards is to write down a term, date, phrase, etc. on one side of the card and the definition on the other. Then, in a series of repetitive turns, students flip through the flash cards to learn the terms and their meanings. This method works, as long as students are taking a couple of basic measures when they work through the cards.
Students should work through the terms or cards in sets of seven at a time. They should concentrate on those few terms, learn them, practice them, and then set them aside. Then, students should move to work on the next set of seven, and so on, until they have worked all the way through the cards. Depending on the number of cards, this may be something that is worth breaking into a couple of sessions throughout the day. Once students have gone through all of the cards, though, they should put them aside again. After a couple of hours, or even the next day, students should go through all of the cards once, removing the ones that they know "cold" at this point, and work through the remaining ones in sets of seven again.
However, adding pictures to the terms can take this habit to the next level. When students are preparing the cards initially, if they can draw or sketch out an image that goes with the term or phrase, then they will be able to visually "see" the term, and as they begin to implant the meanings in their brain, the visual images will enhance the retention and ease with which they learn the material. Pictures make learning easier. Not only will it require some creative thought to decide what picture to draw (which focuses on the term, its meaning, and the creative parts of the brain all at once), it will give the term an image. Our minds remember images long after the words are gone.
All you have to do is drive down the road and look at a few billboards to see how easy it is to "know" what those pictures mean. Students can turn their flashcards into hand-held billboards in the same way. If they take the time to draw the pictures, they may even find that on their first pass through their flash cards, they know more of the information than they thought they did!
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Or, if you would like to get information on educational coaching, homeschooling, or curricula for middle school and high school, please visit the National Homeschool Academy website, http://www.nationalhomeschoolacademy.com.