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EP 16: How To Implement Flash Cards Into Your Study Routine

In Episode 16 our host & Top Writer Cath Anne illustrated how you can implement flashcards into your study routine. There are many ways to improve our study habits and flashcards can be a helpful tool to add to the tool box. Tune in as we share tips for how to create effective flashcards and how to use them in your own studies!

Looking for study tips, help with essay writing, or advice on how to be a better student? Welcome to The Homework Help Show, a weekly show where we teach, assist, and offer valuable insights for student life. From study hacks to writing tips, discussions about student mental health to step-by-step guides on academic writing and how to write a resume, we’ve got you covered. Want your questions answered? Write them below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #askHHG


Cath Anne: [00:00:05] This week, because things are starting to ramp up, with classes I wanted to give you some tips about how you can effectively incorporate different kinds of studying mechanisms into your study routine.

Cath Anne: [00:00:25] One that I wanted to discuss is flashcards as they can be a really great tool for studying. I’ll also talk briefly about an application that you can use that’s like an online app as opposed to physical flashcards. I was hoping to be able to show my screen, so that we could kind of go through that process of creating online flashcards together.

Cath Anne: [00:00:55] Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure that out. Also, it wouldn’t work for the Instagram viewers either, so I thought it would be better if we stuck to the hard copies of flash cards. At the same time, the same kind of tenets will apply to both types of flashcards.

Cath Anne: [00:01:17] I thought that it would be great to discuss how to kind of incorporate flashcards into your study routine. I think we’ll jump into the content, there maybe some other folks joining us later. I can’t believe it is Episode 16 of The Homework Help Show, it is so hard to believe. Way back in episode 8 we talked about some techniques about how you can study effectively and retain the information you studied.

Cath Anne: [00:01:57] I’m sure that things are starting to heat up with classes and tests and exams. Probably midterms at this point. You’re probably looking for some techniques to be able to incorporate into your study routines.

Cath Anne: [00:02:13] You might remember, back in Episode 8. If you’re an avid viewer, I discussed an application called Anki, which can be used to design and implement your own digital flashcards. That’s really great website to visit if you’re interested in going that route with designing your flashcards. I’m going to as I mentioned discuss how to make your own flashcards using physical pieces of paper or flash cards that you can get at the dollar store or something like that. Flash cards are a study mechanism that has been tried and true, but of course there are other ways to study. Flashcards are only one tool.

Cath Anne: [00:03:17] (To Instagram Viewer): Hi Justine. We’re just going to we’re talking about how to use flash cards in your study routines if you’re interested in them. Are you a student?

Cath Anne: [00:03:42] Flashcards are really great tool to have in your toolbox. And of course you can use it alongside of other study mechanisms as well. I wanted to go over the how to create great flashcards and the things to avoid when you are making flashcards. Basically the reason flashcards work is that they promote something called active re-call. This means that it helps you to exercise the muscle which allows you to actively retrieve information from the brain which is one of the most effective ways of studying. It’s helping you to exercise that muscle of retrieving information.

Cath Anne: [00:04:30] When you do that over and over and over again it actually strengthens that muscle. That’s why Flashcards are a great tool to implement into your study routines. They do take a little bit of time to create. I would highly recommend implementing them because there’s a whole process to it and it can really enhance your studying. As I often do, I’m going to draw some content that was produced by Thomas Frank who has an awesome YouTube. I’ve referenced him before. He creates content. I would recommend to anyone who is a student or who is interested in overall productivity to check his channel out because it is really great. He’s got a lot of really great content there.

Cath Anne: [00:05:22] I’ve actually gone ahead and made my own flashcards for the purposes of this episode.

Cath Anne: [00:05:32] (To Instagram Viewer): Oh, hi the Neighbourly Consultant. Nice to see you. You missed the showing of my cats earlier to Coach Kaur.

Cath Anne: [00:05:49] This week we’re talking about flashcards and how to implement them into your study routine. This can be for anyone, it does not just have to be for students. I’m not a student right now, but I’ll talk to you about what I want to do with my flashcards. We’re always we’re always learning things and you know trying to improve ourselves. So, using flashcards can be used even if you’re not a university or college student.

Cath Anne: [00:06:43] As I was saying I have actually gone ahead and created some of my own flash cards, so that I can show you how to make good flash cards and not so great flash cards cash.

Cath Anne: [00:07:04] You don’t necessarily have to be a student to use flash cards. For example, I hope to someday become a yoga teacher. For the purposes of this and because I want to start studying yoga I’ve created a few flashcards to get myself started and to give you guys an example. You can use it for anything you’re studying if you want to learn a new language. Thomas Frank, when I looked at his YouTube, he was looking at studying the periodic table because that was something that he had never studied before, so he wanted to learn that.

Cath Anne: [00:07:54] (To Instagram Viewer): Oh, thank you Coach Kaur. That’s so nice of you to say. I think I have a lot to learn before I get there. I have to definitely start cultivating more of a daily yoga practice. I’m getting there. I’m working on mindfulness as well. So, I think they all kind of go hand in hand. Hopefully I’ll start studying and see where it goes. That’s really kind of you to say though.

Cath Anne: [00:08:41] So, let’s jump in to the content. The first tip that I wanted to give you when you’re thinking about using flashcards is make your own cards. It might be tempting to use someone else’s cards, because as I said they can be a little bit time consuming to make. If you’re super busy and you’re a student, you might not want to take that extra chunk of time that it takes to create your own flashcards. However, it is really important for you to make your own flashcards because you are going to retain more information if you make them. One of the most important tenets of intaking information is actually learning the information and working with it in your brain. That helps you to retain the information. Even though you might save some time using someone else’s flashcards they won’t be as effective for you if you do because you won’t be as familiar with the content that you’re studying. It’s of more benefit to you, if you are going to implement flashcards into your routine, for you to take the time to create flashcards and it will also help create new neural pathways in your brain which will be different from someone else’s neural pathways.

Cath Anne: [00:10:11] When you are intaking and learning the information, the pathways that you form in your brain related to a certain topic are going to be different from another person because all of our brains are different. It’s really important to set aside some time if this is something you’re going to implement into your study routine for you to create your own flashcards. It doesn’t have to take that long, but it would take a little bit of time depending on what subject you’re studying.

Cath Anne: [00:10:44] The second step in creating your own cards is to add pictures with them and mix them up with words. This is actually based on science that people tend to remember images and pictures more than they remember words because we are visual people. Images make more sense to us than words because words are really just a string of symbols set up to represent something, whereas images actually mean something to us.

Cath Anne: [00:11:19] Two ideas of what you could do with your flashcards are: you can either print up pictures from the Internet, which is a really great idea or you can draw, if you have confidence in your drawing skills As you will see with my flashcards, you can still draw because they will make sense to you and you will know what the pictures are unless you are really bad at drawing which it could be argued that I am. Judging from these flashcards, but maybe when I make them for real for studying for yoga then I will try to do a bit better drawing, but just in terms of your own use, don’t worry about your drawing skills as long as they mean something to you that this is not a big deal.

Cath Anne: [00:12:18] The best way to do this is to incorporate pictures with words.

Instagram Viewer: [00:12:32] Should they be in point form?

Cath Anne: [00:12:35] How he would answer that is, whatever works for you if you want them to be in point form that’s fine. But I will discuss, when you’re creating a flashcard, you’re only going to want one piece of information to be on the flashcard so you don’t necessarily have to do them in point form because it’s only going to be one piece of information.

Cath Anne: [00:12:57] And the best way to do it is actually to incorporate images as well as words and I will definitely talk about that just a little bit more as we go on here. If point form works for you then go for it. But, whereas you’re only including one in one piece of information you don’t need point form.

Cath Anne: [00:13:26] Another tip is that in addition to the words and the pictures you can add a descriptive phrase or sentence beside it and that will also help you with re-call.

Cath Anne: [00:13:39] The third tip is to use mnemonic devices on your cards. Mnemonic devices are ways that you can remember information, so you can re-call it, it implants in your brain more readily when you use mnemonic devices. Basically, they are a way for your brain to remember very specific information.

Cath Anne: [00:14:02] So, for example, I remember when I was in biology class my biology professor was really interested in the brain. He had us use a series of mnemonic devices to remember all of the Prime Ministers of Canada. We went from the very first Prime Minister all the way up until Harper and he had us memorize each one in relation to a mnemonic device and it was actually really effective. I can still recall some of those Prime Ministers to this day. John A. McDonald is of course the first. Now I’m putting myself on the spot. The second King, I believe. Anyway, so I can remember them on the spot but, we had to associate certain words with the names of the Prime Ministers. I can also show you on my cards I’ve incorporated that as well because it gives you a picture between the image and the information that you’re trying to recall.

Cath Anne: [00:15:17] Instead of just trying to recall specific information you have a silly little thing to remember it with. Another example of this is the ROYGBIV acronym to remember the colors in the rainbow is really common mnemonic device.

Cath Anne: [00:15:39] The weirder you make your mnemonic devices the more apt you are to remember the information.

Cath Anne: [00:15:54] (To Instagram Viewer): Now just pause there for a minute. Hi. Allie. Thank you for joining us. We’re just talking about how you use flash cards in your studying. Yeah, it did freezes back on now said poor connectivity for some reason I’m not sure.

Cath Anne: [00:16:33] I’m going to show you my cards and I’m going to show you an example of a not so good flashcard and see if you can figure out why it is not so great. So, I will first show the screen here my other camera.

Cath Anne: [00:19:32] It says: How much does an elephant weigh?

Cath Anne: [00:19:34] Then on the back, we have: African bush elephant weighs six thousand kilograms. Whoops, I forget zero. That might be one reason, it’s not a good flash. 6000 kilograms. Then we have Asian elephant: 5400 kilograms. So, that would be the front question and that would be the back.

Cath Anne: [00:20:11] We have two pieces of information on the back: African bush elephant weighing 6000 kilograms and as Asian elephant weighing 5400 kilograms.

Cath Anne: [00:20:21] I’m wondering if anyone can tell why maybe that isn’t the best way to frame a flashcard.

Cath Anne: [00:20:42] The reason that’s not a great way is because you’re asking one question and you only want to have one piece of information on each flashcard. So, even if you are going to be answering the same question you will want to only have one piece of information on the back. The way you would want to phrase this is: How much does an African bush elephant weigh? and that on the back put 6000 kilograms. Then you would want to say: How much does an Asian elephant weigh? Then put 5400 kilograms. This is because your brain will be tricked because you will only be able to recall a certain amount of information and you’ll be confused in terms of which elephant you’re talking about.

Cath Anne: [00:21:48] You’re more likely to make a mistake if you include more than one piece of information on the flashcard at a time. So, I’m just going to go back to my notes here. I’m going to go back to the pneumonic device issue in terms of making your flashcards appropriate. You’re going to, I’ll use my cards as an example. You’re going to want to include both pictures as well as words. So, I’m studying to be a yoga teacher, so I have downward dog on one of my flashcards. As you can see, my pictures are not very good, but they get the point across and I’m going to know what that means. So, then on the back I wanted to know the Sanskrit name for downward dog.

Cath Anne: [00:22:50] As you can see it’s definitely not in point form but it is in. I have the word written there. Adho mukha svanasana. Then, I have some funny pictures drawn beside it. I have 2 + 2 which is ‘add’ in English and Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho for Santa. Then I have mukha and svanasana. These are all pictures that will help me to recall that Sanskrit word. Then I also have a second one for downward dog because this is a separate piece of information that I want to recall about downward dog and what I’ve put on the back is that downward dog lengthens the spine. So, I’ve drawn a little picture of a person with a spine and some arrows going downward. So, to me that will imply that downward dog lengthens the spine.

Cath Anne: [00:23:53] I have that both in Sanskrit meaning or the Sanskrit pronunciation and word for downward dog as well as one of the benefits of the downward dog posture.

Cath Anne: [00:24:05] Then a second example is child pose is another posture in yoga that I want to remember. The Sanskrit name for this is Balasana. So, I want to remember Balasana, so I put a picture of a ball I’ve put a picture of a little girl and I’ve named her Ana and hopefully that will help me, actually I think that’s already helped me remember that word because that was one that I was not familiar with. So, I have child pose now as Balasana and that is something that I will be able to recall in my mind because I’ve drawn these funny pictures and I’ve coloured them very brightly and that will help me with my recall when I’m trying to remember these names.

Cath Anne: [00:25:08] Then I have another example of a flashcard with child pose. So, I wanted to do the same thing as I did with downward dog. I wanted to know what it is used for. So, I wrote here that child post is a resting pose picture of a guy with zzz’s, as if he’s sleeping and he’s yawning. As you can see my drawing skills are not immaculate, but they do the trick because I will remember, well I already knew this so that’s kind of cheating, but that would help me to remember what child pose is

Cath Anne: [00:25:55] So, that’s an example of my flashcards that I’ve made for my yoga study.

Cath Anne: [00:26:01] As you can see I’ve only put one piece of information on each flashcard as I do not want to be confused when I am attempting to recall.

Cath Anne: [00:26:10] So, that is a really important tip to bear in mind when you are creating your own flashcards and also make sure that you’re using funny pictures. I constructed a few different images there and that will help me to remember those words because they’re not too familiar to me, so it will help for me to recall them because they’re not in my primary language.

Cath Anne: [00:26:44] By making individual cards for each piece of information you’re going to guarantee that you have the correct information when you are attempting to recall. That’s really important.

Cath Anne: [00:26:57] When you have complex steps, and this is a very basic example, but if you have a complex formula, or complex question, or complex steps you’re going to want to make sure you break it down into simpler questions and that is also going to help you with recall.

Cath Anne: [00:27:14] You don’t want to be overwhelming yourself with really complex information on top of your studying. So, you want to make sure that your flashcards are really easy to use and really accessible. Make sure that you’re breaking things down into a variety of different steps similar to what I’ve done with my flashcards. For example, with downward dog I will also want to go into the various other benefits that downward dog has because it has more than just lengthening the spine so it’s really important that I remember those as well. So, I will make a flashcard for each of those concepts as well.

Cath Anne: [00:27:56] Then I might even make some flashcards around how to maintain the posture properly and what it should look like, so I’ll make sure to break that down appropriately so that I will be able to bring it back when I’m when I’m hopefully teaching someday.

Cath Anne: [00:28:16] I wanted to just end on a note of giving you a couple of tips for the best ways to use your flashcards. Once you have your flashcards all made, it’s really important to know how to use them properly. One of the tips that you can use is to say your answers out loud when you’re studying because not only are you getting the visual impression you’re also hearing it. That’s a really important aspect of studying is to say things out loud because when we say things out loud we’re more apt to recall it because we’re getting two inputs of information visually and audibly.

Cath Anne: [00:28:54] A second tip is to make sure you are studying both sides of the card. Make sure that you’re looking at one side of your card and then the other side of the card so that you really have a grasp of both sides of the information. As I mentioned before, Flashcards are not the only way to study.

Cath Anne: [00:29:15] They’re just one method of study which can be combined with lots of other ways. So, think of them as a tool in your toolbox. They’re a great tool, but they’re not the be all in the end all. There are a lot of other ways to study as well, so make sure that you’re researching and incorporating some other ways of studying as well.

Cath Anne: [00:29:36] One of the key components to flashcards is to learn the information first. For me when I am going to be studying about yoga I’m going to be looking at some books that I can read around yoga practice. I’m going to be doing yoga practice on a regular basis, so I become familiar with the terms and the poses. I’m already familiar with the information prior to doing my studying. The flashcards are just a way to reinforce the information in your brain and help with recall and strengthening that recall muscle in the brain.

Cath Anne: [00:30:11] I hope that was helpful. I know we’ve been having some connectivity issues with Instagram and I’m so sorry that that we were on I don’t know. That is all the content I have for now. Definitely encourage you to check out Anki If you’re someone who is more digitally oriented.

Cath Anne: [00:30:49] If you’re someone who likes to have hard content to work with definitely try to make your own flashcards. You can buy a deck of flashcards just at the Dollar Store or anywhere like Staples or an office supply store, as well. Flash cards are your friend. They are a great way to study and retain information.

Cath Anne: [00:31:14] So, that’s all the information I have for this week. I really hope that was helpful. I look forward to incorporating flashcards into my life and into my study. It’s not something that I used to use when I was in my undergrad, but I wish I had. So, I’m really excited to be able to incorporate that into my life and I hope you are too. So, that’s it for this week. I hope this was of benefit to you and if you want to gain access to any of our content from Homework Help Global, please visit us on Facebook and on YouTube. We are also on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram. As you can see Google Plus. We do some blogging on Medium and now we put these podcasts on SoundCloud, Anchor, iTunes Apple Podcast and Google Play Music.

Cath Anne: [00:32:08] All you have to do to find us is to search Homework Help Global on any of those platforms and we will show up. So, we are on all of those platforms and you can find us no problem. If you’re looking to access any of this content, or also if you’re looking to acquire any of the services that Homework Help Global offers, certainly look us up on any of those platforms and we will be glad to speak with you. I hope you guys all have a really nice week and a nice weekend, and I will talk to you soon. Take care.