At some point in our education, we learned how to effectively make and use flash cards to help us learn material for school subjects, whether it was questions about our history, vocabulary words for science or remembering the Table of Elements and what each symbol represented. But why, exactly, are flash cards so effective in helping us learn material?
When using flash cards, the typical method is to create two piles of cards from the initial “main” pile. If you are testing yourself with the flash cards and get the answer wrong, you set it in one pile. If you get it right, you set it in another. Now what?
Flash cards can be utilized to take advantage of the “Spaced Repetition” method of learning. Spaced repetition learning is when you test yourself at various times and intervals on the same material to help it stick in your mind. If you pick up the pile of “wrong” flash cards right after you finish the stack and test yourself, you will not retain the information. However, if you wait too long before reviewing the wrong answer pile, you will have forgotten the information entirely. It is important to space out your learning over time in order to make studying and memorization effective and useful.
By utilizing flash cards to help you learn material, you are keeping the information at the forefront of your mind and with a little spatial testing, you will be able to help your brain focus on the material and effectively keep it available for you to recall when the next test comes up—which is why flash cards are an excellent method of studying and learning information over time.