How to create flashcards for most efficient learning

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

Breaking the material into smaller pieces

Before you go through the process of repeating your study material and learn it, you need to know how to make flash cards. The creation of the flashcards is a very important part of the learning process. So let’s discuss how to create flashcards in Pauk:

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 may have one single fact only (e.g. translated word), or in case of more complex answers multiple facts(e.g. a definition of a term). From experiece we have found that an answer with 1-3 facts in it is ideal, and that it should not exceede 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 immediately

Let’s assume that you have written a set of 20 cards. At the beginning, you might struggle to remember the answers correctly when you are learning the card deck. Fortunately, there is another method of how you can increase the memorization of the content without just repeating the cards more often.

If you are struggling to remember some answers, the root cause might not always be your lack of capacity to memorize. It’s also possible your answers are illogical, falsely formulated, incomplete, missing some details etc. In this case it is recommended that you correct these issues immediately when you learn the deck for the first time. Stop the learning process in Pauk while you are at this specific card and edit the card content. You may add another card with additional details, or change the sequence in which the cards are repeated (with the card sorter). This way you will create questions and answers which are logically consistent and work for your learning style. You will create a high-quality flashcard deck which is very easy to remember.

Also, go through the cards always in the same exact sequence. That’s how you will start to remember which question will follow next, even if you are still one card ahead. That way you connect the cards logically together and build a storyline for the entirety of the content.

In case you notice an important fact missing in-between two cards, you can always fill in the gap later. The card sorter allows you to put a card on any place in the deck.

After 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 made it already to 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 of an effort (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.

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, you will only need to repeat them right before a test. This should be very quick. Additionally, as you already know your matter well, you can “combine” all of your smaller files into one large deck with lots of cards (Pauk can combine cards easily). As the subject is not new anymore, repetition of 200 or 300 cards become easily possible. If you haven’t revised your deck for a long time you may go through all cards only one time. Don’t overlearn. Don’t repeat all the cards all the time. For well-memorized decks ( cards are on level 4 and 5), it’s enough to repeat level 0-4 cards only.

This is how to use flash cards properly.

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

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PaukHow to create flashcards