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How using flashcards can help you master studying

By Larissa Grinsell on 22 May 2016Study tipsNSWblog

If you’re reading this, I think it’s pretty safe to say there’s some other form of study you should probably be doing right now. But studying how to study still counts as studying, right?

Well, we’ll let you off the hook this one time, if you promise to stick to our tips on how to become a pro at studying through the beauty of the flash card:

1. Get back to basics

Flashcards are an amazing way of stripping back the layers and layers of class activities and textbook pages to get to the essence of a topic. Once you’ve been through it in class and have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on, you can ask yourself: okay, so what do I actually need to learn?

Here’s where flash cards come in. For the details you HAVE to remember – terminology, jargon, cases, examples, quotes, you name it, flash cards are an awesome way of cutting out the crap (or maybe the ‘general knowledge’ is a nicer way to put it) and getting down to the nitty gritty.

That’s the stuff that really matters.

2. All hail colour co-ordination

Now, if there’s anything that human brains are wired to pay attention to, it’s colour. Studies have actually shown that at the least, students perform 10% better when using coloured study materials than they do when using black and white materials. (For those who don’t believe that, check out the study). Now that sounds like extra marks for the taking to me.

My tip? Hit up Officeworks and buy the multi-coloured packs of memo cards. Each colour then has a different role. If you’re doing language, nouns are pink and verbs are blue. If you’re learning ancient history glossary terms, Pompeii becomes orange and Sparta, green. You’ll be maximising the effectiveness of your study without even realising it.

Oh, and males, I’m talking to you too.

3. So much portability!

There’s nothing that says pre-exam panic more than lugging around three textbooks, an Excel book, and a folder full of study notes everywhere you go. Not only is that not a great look, it’s hardly the most practical or effective way of fitting some extra study into the day.

Whether on a train, in a waiting room, or being dragged on some errand with mum, whipping out a handy set of pocket-sized flashcards can be a great way to boost memory.

Remembering that one extra detail of the skeletal system in your PDHPE exam because you studied that card while waiting for your orthodontist appointment can be the difference between a band 5 and a band 6. Every little bit counts.

4. Check out online options

If arts and crafts really aren’t your thing, look into online options for flash card making. Websites like Quizlet can be awesome, allowing you to make your own. This means you can get this HSC thing totally tech-ified. After checking out that HSC Hub video on Human Rights in Legal, you can get a solid collection of flashcards going to remind you of the cases and legal jargon your lovely content creator Liv just took you through. You can even get an app for your phone or tablet so you can revise on the go, or combat the guilt of spending 45 minutes of study time scrolling through Insty. Win-win.

When it comes down to it, the HSC is a marathon, not a sprint, and tools such as flash cards work like a nice cold Gatorade to keep you going. When combined with other methods like HSC Hub videos, study notes and past papers, you can cross that finish line like an absolute champ.

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