You can learn, revise, and memorise a range of facts, keywords, formulas, and small summaries of information using flashcards. This popular revision method is a highly effective way to organise your study material and allows you to study in short, focused bursts. In this blog, we’ll share everything you need to know about using revision flashcards effectively, and how to use Jamworks’ intelligent flashcard quizzes to start your revision early.

What are Revision Flashcards?

A typical revision flashcard is a small, double-sided note card that is used to write questions and prompts on one side, and answers on the other. These cards are used to practise information retrieval from memory using the question or prompt as a cue. You use revision flashcards to quiz yourself on a fixed set of information such as facts, figures, formulas, or material you’ve created through other revision techniques. For example, the Feynman technique is a study method that results in simplified explanations of complex and abstract ideas. Revision flashcards can be used to review and memorise the explanation you created throughout the process of the Feynman technique.

The Evidence Behind the Study Hack

Research found revision flashcards were one of the most popular methods of self-testing among students. These students used revision flashcards to check in on their learning progress and memorise study material. In another study, medical students found revision flashcards to be a quick revision method that was ideal for memorising anatomy. This study concluded revision flashcards are an effective self-study tool. Finally, researchers have used the popular study method to develop new strategies for using flashcards. For example, the Flashcards-Plus strategy was developed to help students remember, understand, and apply information they learn from textbooks in their exams.

The Benefits of Revision Flashcards

Effective for All Subjects and Exam Types

Revision flashcards are a brilliant go-to-revision method that can be adapted to a range of subject areas and exam types. You can use this method to revise for essay-based and problem-solving exams or multiple choice and short answer question exams. For some subjects, like medicine, you can find pre-made flashcard decks to buy or download online. This will save you time and make your revision process more efficient.

Better Revision Material

It’s important to be intentional when choosing what to put on your revision flashcards. The limited space available encourages you to be concise and selective when creating your revision materials. While creating revision flashcards, you can practise your summarising and paraphrasing skills or get creative using diagrams and images. Being able to condense your learning material down into concise and simple study bites can help you communicate more clearly in exams. Extra information and wider context is important for when you’re learning and understanding the material itself, however, when memorising, reviewing, or connecting information, it’s ideal to keep it short and sweet.

Compliments Other Study Methods

To revise effectively, it’s recommended to use multiple study methods! Revision flashcards are incredibly versatile and pair well with some of the most effective, productivity boosting study methods. For example, mnemonic devices help you to build a connection between two pieces of information. Flashcards are ideal for implementing such devices because you can tailor them to your needs using images, mind maps, diagrams, timelines, and more. Below, we’ll share how flashcards can help you implement some of the best, more effective study methods.

Active Recall

Research highlighted active recall as one of the most effective and efficient study techniques. Active recall is simply self-testing without looking back at your study materials. Revision flashcards prompt you to revise using active recall by encouraging you to actively recall information from memory. Many students struggle with knowing how to implement active recall. That’s why revision flashcards are perfect as it is a familiar and well-known revision technique that will feel comfortable to use.

Spaced Repetition and the Leitner System

You can improve the effectiveness of revision flashcards by spacing out your learning. This technique, known as spaced repetition, is a time frame for memorising information effectively. By pairing this technique with active recall based revision flashcards, you can improve your ability to retain the information you review. Spaced repetition is based on Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve that highlights how you forget information overtime. Using this information, you can choose the best time to next review your revision material to prevent forgetting.

The Leitner System is a review method for flashcards that can be used to implement spaced repetition. This method helps you to review the cards you struggle with more often than the cards you already know well. Your revision flashcards will be organised into 4 piles using the Leitner system, First, all flashcards start in pile 1. You’ll review each card in this pile and if you get the answer correct, move it to pile 2. For pile 2, you’ll review the flashcards after 2 days and move them to pile 3 if you remember the information correctly.

Your flashcards in pile 3 can be reviewed after 3-5 days and then moved to pile 4. Finally, this last pile can be reviewed less frequently, such as 5-7 days. These will be cards you find easy to remember. The key here is that if at any point you get the card wrong, you place it back in pile 1 and start the process again. This ensures you have learnt the content well. You can do this for multiple sets of flashcards, rather than keeping everything in one large pile.

revision flashcards on table using leitner system

How to Use Revision Flashcards Effectively

Be Selective

To create effective flashcards, it’s best to start with one topic at a time. You can then pick out the most important pieces of information to condense for your flashcards. Think about key facts, figures, ideas, and processes. Ideally, it would be good for you to create these flashcards throughout the year as you work through various modules of topics. But don’t worry if you haven’t! You can still create flashcards quickly by taking it one topic at a time.

Keep it Short and Simple

After working through each topic and choosing your key pieces of information, it’s important to break them down into short and simple summaries. Your questions, prompts, and answers will work better if they focus on one point, and will allow you to test yourself more effectively. If you find the information is too complex, try using images, diagrams, mini mindmaps, flowcharts or doodles to create a visual representation. It will be easier to remember something that is to the point. Lengthy paragraphs will make it harder to use your revision flashcards effectively.

Ask Yourself Questions

It can be easy to fall into the trap of simply memorising all your revision flashcards. However, for university students in particular, having a deeper understanding is essential to passing your exams with good grades. You can still use revision flashcards to form connections by asking yourself questions as you review the material. For example, you can keep a checklist of simple questions, such as how would I apply this? What is the information related to? How would I use this in an exam? Why is this information important?

Get Creative

Your study material being divided into bite-sized summaries gives you the flexibility to organise information in different ways. You can group information into related categories, like, creating a pile of all the research studies that criticises a key theory. Or, collect all the flashcards you would use in a particular essay together. This provides an interesting way to consider new insights and find connections between important pieces of information.

You could use revision flashcards with friends to put together an argument for or against an idea. Alternatively, you could write individual exam questions on one side and some marking criteria on the back to create your own exam bank. These cards could then be used as a randomised exam practice. Instead of writing exam answers each time, you could use a mindmap around the question flashcard using the related revision flashcards and some string to show the connections.

Meet Jamworks’ Revision Flashcard Quizzes

The only problem with revision flashcards is that they can be time-consuming to create. You need to work through and organise your lectures notes and readings before breaking the information into key highlights. This process can feel tedious and cause you to procrastinate your revision. What if you could avoid all of that and start revising directly from your learning materials? That’s exactly what Jamsworks, an assistive note-taking and live captioning tool, can help you to do.

Jamworks provides a distraction-free note taking solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to turn your lecture material into revision flashcard quizzes. During online or live lectures, Jamworks will record the session for you and allow you to mark important subtopics using 1-button highlighting. These highlights will then be turned into AI-powered summaries, a word-for-word transcript, and an audio clip. These same highlights can be reviewed using Jamworks’ intelligent flashcard quizzes. You can be sure you’re revising the right content because it’s generated directly from your lecture highlights.

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