How to learn with electronic Flashcards

Advice for max. number of cards and how to create them

Breaking the material into smaller pieces

The trick is to go through your material and break it into pieces which belong together, and are possible for you to remember. Create a card with a single question and an answer for each of these pieces. The answer can consist of a single fact (e.g. translated word) or a more complex answer with multiple facts to remember (e.g. a definition of a term). We have found that an answer with 1-3 facts in it is ideal, and that it should never have more than 8 facts.

Since it isn’t possible to learn 100 cards with complex questions in one session, try to limit the number of cards to between 10 and 20, without exceeding 40. Experience has shown that you can learn about 20 cards with complex questions in one session before requiring a 15-20 min break. A learning session can be between 20 and 40 minutes.

The goal of your first learning session should be to get at least 15 cards out of 20 from level 0 to level 1.

Correcting Logical Errors

Let’s assume that you have written a set of 20 cards. You might struggle to remember the answer if you are learning them for the first time. It is natural to always have a hard time learning vocabulary, but this is not the point. I’m referring to more complex questions with multiple facts to remember.

If you are struggling to remember the answers, the explanation might simply be that your answers are illogical, falsely formulated, incomplete, or something else. We would recommend that you correct these issues right now. Create an answer which works for your learning style, formulate it better, or add/change some facts.

Go through the cards always in the same exact sequence, so that you can begin to remember the next question which is directly related to the previous question. This will help you connect the cards together and build a story for the entirety of the content.

If you notice an important fact missing in-between two cards, you can always fill in the gap later.

If you have milled through your cards using this method and have properly corrected them in a way that makes sense to you, there is a good chance that you are already on level 1 with all your cards. It should be straight-forward from here on. Continue to learn and watch your progress. You will soon experience that progress can be fun.

Repetition

Repetition is fun because you are in a competition with yourself to get these cards onto levels 4 and 5! You know where the target is and once you are there, you can bask in your feeling of accomplishment. You will no longer have to worry about forgetting it.

You will see that it all goes fairly quickly. The beginning might feel a bit painful (Levels 1 and 2), but starts to become surprisingly easy.

Stop learning once you are on level 5. It will become boring if you overdo it and this is not what you want.

To become confident in your knowledge of the material, we have the following rules:

  • Cards must be leveled up to 5 on two separate days. One day to push it to 5, and the next for confirmation. The second day will be quick since you are repeating every card only once. You shouldn’t overlearn cards which are on level 5 during the second day. Only repeat them once. Any cards that you don’t know will fall back to level 0 and you will need to level them up again. However, don’t repeat your level 5 cards when you move them up, only select the lower levels.
  • Repeat this step in one week.

Repetition Before an Exam

Once you have your cards on level 4 and 5 by using the method that we described above, you will only need to repeat them right before a test. I can assure you it will be quick. Learn it as you did earlier, or you “combine” all of your files into one large file with every cards belonging to a single test. You can now learn 200 or 300 cards at once, since you already know the answers. Again, don’t overlearn. Only repeat the level 5 cards once for confirmation and then give yourself a complete overview. You will just need to repeat cards which fall back on level 0.

Break down to small pieces, correct any errors, repeat until it’s second nature.

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