EAsy revision: Flash cards
Flash cards are another revision method which you are probably familiar with. They are a good way to summarise information and are very portable so you can take them with you to do revision when you are on the train, waiting for someone etc..
What are flash cards?
There are many different types of flash card but typically they involve summarising information onto a small index card (basically a little card with lines on it). However, they can also be made with plain card, or squared if you are doing maths. Basically they involve briefly outline something, such as a particular topic, often using bullet points, diagrams, and colour. It is common to make a series of flash cards for a module with each one covering a different sub-topic.
Why use flash cards?
Flash cards are useful because they force you to summarise information in a succinct way (don’t just write a whole paragraph onto one because that defeats the point!). This is useful because it makes you think about what the most important part of something is which involves processing and understanding the information at a greater level than just copying something out of a book, which is obviously useful for revision.
They are also useful for practical reasons because they are quite small so you can easily take them with you if you are going out. For example if you are going out for the day but know you will have a few short breaks you could use this time to read over a few flash cards.
They are also useful for testing yourself on information (although this will be discussed more in a minute…).
What types of information are they useful for?
Flash cards can be used for virtually any type of information that you need to summarise. For example if you are doing geography you could use them to outline important case studies, for psychology you could outline a particular theory, for maths you could explain how to use a particular equation, for history you could write down the key events of a particular battle etc., (you get the idea, you can use them for nearly anything!).
They are also useful for learning key words as you can write the key word on one side and the definition on the other and then test yourself.
They can also be used for essay plans as you can bullet point the topic of each paragraph on them.
How do you use flash cards?
To make flash cards all you need is some blank cards, your textbook/ notes, and some pens (including coloured pens). You need to decide on a topic for each flash card and write this at the topic and then aim to summarise it in bullet points so that just the most important parts are there. Try not to make it look too crowded and underline important words/ short phrases (not whole sentences) in a coloured felt tip or highlight them so that they stand out. If it is relevant draw diagrams or pictures to help you remember something better.
If you are using them to remember key words which was discussed briefly in last week when we talked about glossaries then you could write the key word on one side and the definition on the other.
Once you have made flash cards you can use them to revise by testing yourself on what is on them. For example, look at the title at the top and try to remember/ write down what is on the card and then check if you got it right. You could develop a system for putting the ones you don’t know if a specific box/ bag so you can test yourself on them again.
I hope this post has helped you to think of new ways to use flash cards more effectively for revision – leave a comment to let me know what types of information you use them for 🙂