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The Basics of Effective Learning
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Flash Cards

For many people, the words "flash cards" remind them of the way they learned multiplication tables in elementary school.
On one side of the card was the problem: 5x3=
On the other side, was the answer: 15

You can quiz yourself by looking at the question side and answering it; then checking your answer by looking at the other side of the card.

The beauty of making up flash cards is that they help you to take advantage of short periods of time throughout your day because they can so easily be taken anywhere you go.

The easier you make it for yourself, the more likely you are to do it!

As you learn concepts and definitions, put those cards aside and concentrate on the new or more difficult information. Then take out the "old cards" that contain information you know pretty well to refresh your memory.

Here are some hints for making flash cards:

  • Choose the most important facts or concepts from each chapter you read or lecture you attend.
  • Use your own words unless a specific definition is required.
  • Label the cards with a subject heading and date, so you'll be able to put them into categories for various types of quizzes and tests.


Put terms on one side with definitions and examples on the other side.

metacognitionKnowing how you learn...

Place types of math problems on one side with examples on the other side.

Pythagorean TheoryA squared + B squared = C squared

Draw an illustration on one side with an arrow pointing to the part you need to know and place the answer on the other side.

Map of AfricaAfrica, Somolia

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Developed by Meg Keeley
Special Populations Office, Bucks County Community College

With funding from the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act
Designed and Produced by Chimera Studio

Copyright 1997 Bucks County Community College. All rights reserved.

Author: keeleym@bucks.edu