Flash cards are visual aids that make learning easy and fun. They consist of compact cards of approximately 10×12 inches dimension with important notes on either side –notes that students want to remember. Students can keep flash cards handy at all times and easily use them in their spare time to memorize scientific facts, vocabulary, historical dates, etc. Teachers can utilize flash cards to make learning fun for students, ask questions, and help children easily memorize important and hard-to-remember concepts.
Research shows that flash cards make learning easy and fun because they keep one’s attention more focused by directing the eyes and brains towards small chunks of text and/or images printed on the cards. So, whether you are a student or a teacher, you can utilize this brief guide to get started with the basics of flashcards.
1. Type them up in MS Word
The easiest way to make flashcards is by typing them up in Microsoft Word. Use the largest font you can use and print them on the card. Then type the meaning or the explanation of the concept on the backside. If you have a vocabulary list, simply use copy and paste to type it in the cardstock. Then print the document and tear the cards using a scale.
Here are the steps:
- Open a new file in MS Word
- Search for templates for Flashcards. Many are available. You can use readymade flashcard templates for vocabulary or numbers. There are several categories are available. Select the template that suits you best. Pocket reference is a good template for medical terminology or vocabulary flashcards.
- Once you click the template, you will find space for text on the front and back of each card.
- Erase the text that is on the front side of a card and add your content in its place.
- Shift the text in the center of the card.
- Blow up the font – as big as you’d like.
- Do the same for the backside. Delete the existing text and add your own. Adjust the font size.
- Repeat for all of the flashcards.
- Print the cards by clicking the Print button on the file.
- Use a scale and a pair of scissors to cut up each card.
2. Use clipart
Clipart is a great way to make flashcards and is especially beneficial for younger students learning new concepts. Many teacher helper sites offer free printable templates to create clipart based flashcards.
3. Use drawings
Drawings are a great way to make effective flashcards. Many medical students use drawings to learn anatomical parts. Write the term/word on one side and draw the diagram on the other side to make an impactful flashcard that makes learning easy. One can also print pictures on the cards using the images available online. This is an easy way to make flashcards especially when learning new vocabulary, or a foreign language, and also for young students learning numbers and words. Type the word on one side of the card, and print the image on the back.
4. Use calendar images
Old calendars have great images and numbers and you can use these to create your flashcards. Math concepts, dates in history or social studies, and all other subjects wherein you need to memorize numerical data can utilize calendar images and numbers.
5. Use magazine pictures
Magazine pictures and letters can also be used for making flashcards. When the image, font, and cards are attractive, your brain is in a better position to retain the concepts. You can also utilize store fliers to make the cards.
6. Use Christmas cards or birthday cards
You can always buy flashcards from stationery stores or print them online, but if you want to save some money and love DIY stuff, then you can use the backside or blank-side of greeting cards to create your own flashcards and also help recycle paper in the process.
7. Convert your notes into flashcards
Many teachers recommend this method of studying. When you attend a lecture or do some self-learning, simply jot down all important concepts like people, events, dates (in history), and features (in science), formulae (in Math), etc. Then break down the notes into smaller sections so that your eye and brain can focus on one concept at a time. Transfer these concepts onto flashcards. You can make your own notes, associations, and learning tips on the backside of each card to better understand each concept.
8. Identify the concepts you need to memorize
An essential part of making flashcards is first finding out the areas in which you need help. If you have vocabulary words that need to be memorized, then you know what goes on the cards. Additionally, you can use the following to create your compact cards:
- Translate sentences
- Answer questions
- Give answers to important questions
- Beginning and ends of sentences
- Important dates and events
- Cultural information
Teachers can also use these concepts while making flashcards.
9. Use colors
Colorful flashcards can help you retain stuff better. In history, for example, you can use a green marker to remember names of people, pink for the dates, yellow for the events and so on. Use your own color key when creating beautiful flashcards that look attractive, have a structure, and make memorization fun and easy. Children’s flashcards are always more effective when they are colorful.
10. Use video tutorials to enhance your flash-card making
Many YouTube videos have given great tips for making effective flashcards. Here is a video teaching you how to study effectively with flashcards.
11. Make flashcards online
Other than using MS Word, there are many other online tools to help you make and print flashcards online
- Cram – Cram is great for exam help resource and it has many other useful tools to help students.
- Spark Adobe – This is a free website to help you make flashcards online.
These days, you also have PC and mobile apps to help you make flashcards. Quizlet is a site for students and teachers and can help you master any subject with tons of teaching and learning aids. StudyStack, Anki, and StudyBlue are some other apps to check out when making flashcards.
12. Create digital or electronic flashcards
Instead of using paper or index cards, you can also use Google spreadsheets to create digital or electronic flashcards. This tool is useful for teachers who can simply create the cards online and not waste time in printing the cards. Many widgets are available for helping you make digital flashcards. This site here helps explain all about digital flashcards. While it is free, it does require you to register on their site before using it.
We hope these tips help you create flashcards online and offline.