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Using Flashcards effectively

Flash cards can be a great way to help you memorize information, but there are ways to maximize their potential. Here are some of my suggestions:

* Make your own flashcards. The act of writing something down thoughtfully is part of what helps you remember the fact.

* Draw or paste a picture on the flashcard. Make it something memorable--surprising, funny, even gross. Every time you use the flashcard, you will associate the information with that memorable image.

* Knowing information backwards and forwards helps you build strong connections between facts.Practice this by looking at the answer side of your flashcard, and trying to remember the question.

* Don't just "flash" your flashcards. Sort or organize them.

* If you are studying science facts, you could make up categories, and sort the flashcards into them. Example categories could include "Laws with equilibrium constants," or "Things I don't remember," or "Something to do with gases." Make up your own categories, and get creative.

* For memorizing math facts, such as the multiplication table, arrange the cards into a table, or sort them by answers that have the same ones digit. This is especially useful for helping you factor large numbers. For example, if you wanted to factor 323, knowing that 7 X 9 gives you a number with "3" in the ones place gives you a place to start: try dividing 323 by 19 or 17. 19 and 17 are the only two factors of 323!

* For memorizing history or literature facts, sort flashcards into timelines. Make your timelines visually representative--if there is a big gap between events, leave a big gap between flashcards. If many events happened in a short span, pile them up together.

Do you have any suggestions for using flashcards effectively?