The Advantages of Flash Cards

Teacher using flashcards with young students
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Flash cards are effective memory-aid tools that can help students learn new material quickly. Although it may be tempting to associate flash-card learning with younger children who may be learning the basics of arithmetic or with high school students cramming for exams, the article "Revisiting Flashcards" by Anastasia Salter published on the Chronicle of Higher Education website states that newer, more sophisticated digital-based flash cards can be a highly effective aid to assist college students in their learning.

1 They're Inexpensive

Flash cards can be one of the least expensive ways to study material. You don't need to buy a set of fancy illustrated cards. Instead, create flash cards with index cards that are 3-by-5 inches, which you can use with or without lines, depending upon the type of information you need.

2 They're Portable

Flash cards provide students with a portable learning tool. Rather than having to carry around a book or notebook, flash cards allow students the opportunity to transport as many cards as they need.

3 They're Efficient

The portability of flash cards can improve efficiency when learning new material. By taking the cards everywhere, students can make effective use of their time such as using them while walking on a treadmill.

4 They Make Learning Easier

One mistake students sometimes make when studying for college classes is trying to learn too much material at a time. This can make the learning process cumbersome and can be overwhelming. Flash cards eliminate extraneous material as they focus on only the most important elements of what students need to learn.

5 They're Versatile

You can utilize flash cards for virtually any subject. They make perfect learning tools for memorizing vocabulary for the study of foreign languages, English vocabulary, math formulas, dates and events for history classes, psychology terms and even more advanced topics, like medical terminology.

6 They Offer Various Study Methods

Since you can shuffle the order, flash cards prevent students from simply memorizing the order of the answers in long-list items. Reverse the flash cards so the answers can be seen first and students must surmise what the original questions were.

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.