Tag Archives: flash cards

Study Skills – Five Fast Fixes

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Recently, a student asked me for my hot list of academic life-changers; key study skills you can use to dominate your grades. Here goes…

1) Get help. It’s the 21st Century, fellow netizens! Flying cars, robotic house maids, and personal jet packs are now commonplace… okay, well, maybe not. But it’s still the 21st Century!, which means you don’t have to rely on your brilliant professor’s rapid-fire mumble-lectures and micro-type PowerPoints. Use the interwebs and Continue reading Study Skills – Five Fast Fixes

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 3)

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Never Forget
Never Forget

Part Three of 5 Easy Review Tricks series — See the other parts at the bottom of this post.

3. Follow the Triple The Time (TTT) Rule Long Term. Continue to learn/review in loops over days and weeks, not just during a given study session. Review a given set of notes/flashcards/vocab list 24 hours later, 3 days later, 9 days later, etc. Continue reading 5 Easy Review Tricks That Maximize Learning (Part 3)

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

5 Flashcard Mistakes You May Be Making

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bored kidMost of us have been making flash cards since an enthusiastic third-grade teacher first used them to pound the multiplication facts into our resisting little cranial cavities. Why did she do it? Why, Mrs. Payne, why?

News flash; Flash Cards, boring and basic though they may be, work. But. They don’t work nearly as well for most of us as they should. Why? Because you’re doing it wrong. At least, I was doing it wrong throughout most of my college career. Here’s how to avoid my early mistakes. Continue reading 5 Flashcard Mistakes You May Be Making

Best Study Schedule

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Rank these professions in order of average IQ, highest to lowest (just give it your best taxi_empire_state_buildingguess).

  • Neurosurgeon
  • Nuclear physicist
  • Professor of Law
  • New York cab driver

Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. There are probably some real idiots in those first three professions, and there are probably some certifiable egg-heads driving cabs. But that ain’t the way to bet.

Now rank them again, this time in order of which will know the best route from Central Park to LaGuardia at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.

This time, I’m betting on the cabbie.

Even your relative dullards in the world of cab-driving have Continue reading Best Study Schedule

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Flash Cards

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Flash cards are a powerful tool to help you memorize things such as vocabulary, mathematical formulas, history facts, and spelling. Here are some strategies to help you get the most from your flash cards.

Use flashcards in several different colors. Use each color as a cue to help recall something about the fact on that flash card. For example, if you are using the flash cards to memorize vocabulary words, use a different color for words that have different connotations. Positive words–such as benign, sagacious, and staunch–could go on green or blue 3×5 cards. Negative words–such as mendacious ,stultify, and malevolent–might go on red or yellow 3×5 cards. Neutral words–like rebuttal, soporific, and nominal–could go on white or tan cards. The particular colors you use don’t really matter as long as you are consistent.

Illustrate and embellish the cards. Use different color markers. Draw pictures on the card or even cut them out of a magazine and paste them on the card. The more you work at making the card distinctive, the easier it will be to recall.

Carry the cards around with you and review them whenever you have a chance; at the stoplight, before class, in the line at the grocery store or the bank, on long trips, or walking across campus. Make reviewing the cards a daily habit just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

Don’t put too much on any one card. The biggest mistake people make is putting too much information on a single flash card. One card equals one fact.

Put the word to be learned on one side of the card and a short two or three word definition on the other side. On a history fact card, for example, you might have “George Washington” on the first side of the card and “first U.S. president” on the other side. You should NOT have “George Washington,” on one side of the card and “first U.S. president, from Virginia, general in revolutionary war,” on the second side of the card.

Change the order of the cards frequently. If the cards always come in the same order, you will start to memorize the order of the answers. It will be much more difficult later to try and recall the facts in a different order.

Flip the cards over from time to time. If you always review the flash card by seeing “Austin” on one side and recalling “Capitol of Texas,” on the other side, then that’s how you will recall it.  When asked, “What’s the capitol of Texas?” you won’t be able to recall it as well, because that isn’t how you studied it.

Make the flash cards as you learn.  Carry around a stack of blank 3×5 cards. As you come across a piece of information you want to memorize, make a flash card and add it to your daily stack. Caution: don’t try and take notes from a class lecture on flash cards, since the connections between ideas are often just as important as any one fact. Take notes and then–immediately after class–decide what key facts should be committed to memory. Put each of those facts on a flash card.

Don’t mix your subjects, since you tend to recall things in context. If you mix up your math flash cards with your history flash cards, it will be much more difficult to recall the history by itself (on a history test, for example), because you learned the two subjects together.

Flash Card Stacks

Separate your cards into stacks that get reviewed at different intervals. You should have an initial stack that gets your attention several times a day. Each time you instantly and correctly recall a card, make a small check mark on it. When the card has two check marks, move it to the next stack.

The next stack is only reviewed every three days; Wednesdays and Saturdays, for example. When cards in that stack can be perfectly recalled, move them to a stack you only review once per week, say every Sunday.

After that, move cards to a once-every-three-weeks stack, which you will probably need to schedule on your calendar. You can then add a nine-week stack, a six-month stack, a one-year stack, etc.

Everyone’s brain is different, so you’ll have to find the intervals that work best for you. Your goal is to review each card as little as possible while still getting excellent recall.

Let’s say you are looking over that once-a-week stack on Sunday and there are two cards that you’ve spent five minutes on, trying to remember them, but it just isn’t coming to you. Move those two cards back to the stack you carry around with you, and send it through the system again. Don’t move a card to the next stack until your recall is instantaneous and perfect; for example, you see the Spanish word, la vaca on one side, and you immediately think cow.

Hint: If you can’t immediately recall the word, don’t cheat and look at the other side!  Struggle with it and rack your brain to recall it, even if it takes four or five minutes.  When you finally do recall it, the memory will be much stronger!

 

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Flash Cards for Vocabulary Memorization

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flash cards for memoryFlash Card Do’s

  • Do use flashcards in three different colors. Positive words–such as benign , sagacious, and staunch–could go on green, blue, or mauve 3×5 cards. Negative words–such as mendacious , stultify, and malevolent–might go on red, yellow, or puce 3×5 cards. Neutral words–like rebuttal , soporific, and nominal–could go on white, tan, or taupe cards. The colors don’t really matter as long as you are consistent. If you do choose to use mauve, puce, and taupe, I would diagnose you as excessively high-falutin’ and respectfully recommend a monster truck rally and two full episodes of Family Guy.
  • Do carry the cards around with you and review them whenever you have a chance; at the stoplight, before class, waiting on your girlfriend, in the line at the grocery store or the bank, waiting on your girlfriend, on long trips, walking across campus, or even while waiting on your girlfriend. Note to the fair sex; I mean no offense, but I’ve never had a boyfriend, and so I’ve never had to wait on one. I’m quite aware of the fact that the inferior must wait on the superior. Peons wait on princesses (princessi?) and not vice-versa.

Flash Card Don’ts

  • Don’t put too much on any one card. The purpose of using 3×5 cards is not to perfect your microfiche-ian penmanship. Go for the word on one side of the card and a short two or three word definition on the other side. For example, you might have the word “mephitic” on one side and the definition “stinky” on the other. The biggest mistake people make–besides posting their drunk pics on facebook–is putting too much information on a single flash card. One card equals one fact.
  • Don’t recall only the short definition!!! Before boiling it down to a short two or three word definition, you must look up the full definition of the word, making sure you completely understand it and can use it in a sentence. The short definition will act as a handle on the memory of the longer definition, but only if you learned the long definition first.
  • Don’t fail to review the flash cards on a regular basis. Make reviewing the cards a daily habit just like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or waiting on your girlfriend (hand and foot … because she’s a princess).
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.