The Flashcard Method

There are a number of different strategies that you can use to improve your note taking and/or your ability to study. However, one of the strategies that a number of individuals use is the flashcard method. The flashcard method is a note taking strategy in which a note taker uses index cards instead of paper. In this method, a note taker takes a pile of index cards (typically 3 x 5 index cards, but larger cards will give you more space to write) and writes a question, key term, topic, subtopic, or other major piece of information on the front of the card. The note taker then writes the answer to the question or information about the topic or key term on the back of the card. This strategy can be very helpful when your teacher or professor is trying to teach you a lot of key terms and concepts, your teacher or professor is trying to describe something very slowly, or you are trying to study a subject that you typically have difficulty with.

It is important to note, however, that there are a couple of things that you should know about the flashcard method before you use it.dreamstime_11860237

Flashcard Method Details

  • First, the flashcard method can be very helpful in a slow moving class, but it may not be the easiest way for you to take notes in a class that is moving quickly. This is because you have to make sure that each question, key term, or topic has its own flashcard, and it may be difficult for you to keep up with your teacher or professor if you have to switch from one flashcard to another all the time. This means that, if your teacher is covering a lot of information, you may want to use a different note taking method and then copy your notes onto flashcards after class.
  • Secondly, flashcards tend to take up a lot more space than some of the other note taking methods that you may use. This is important because you may end up with a pile of flashcards for a topic that would take up only a couple of pages in a notebook. This means that flashcards, while they are easy to arrange, are more difficult to store and, therefore, more difficult to keep organized than standard notes. However, you may be able to keep your flashcards organized if you number the bottom of each card and store them together in a case or hole punch them after class and put them in a binder or on a metal ring. This will help you ensure that you don’t end up losing some of your flashcards.