There are so many effective ways to study for an important exam. Flashcards hold one of the oldest spots in the book. However, there are some tips to help you get the most out of your flashcards.
First and foremost, you must make the flashcards yourself.
Often times friends and co-workers will share their flashcard decks; and there are also plenty of flashcard apps or printed cards available for download/purchase that will allow you to start studying instantly.
Yes, pre-made cards may sound faster and easier, but, by not making your own cards, you are missing one of the most integral parts of the learning process.
Avoid regurgitating facts right out of a study book.
Reading a sentence or paragraph and then copying it down onto an index card is most likely not going to help you in any way. Do you truly understand what you read? Do you know how it can relate to or effect other concepts you are studying about?
In order to get the most out of your flashcards, you must read the new information, digest it, and create something new with it.
Don’t just copy the sentence you read. Think about the topic you are studying; try to relate it to a real life situation you can recall, put it into your own words, or turn it into an if/then scenario.
If you are taking the time to understand the information, look at it from you own point of view, and come up with a way to help you recall it later, you are moving in the right direction.
Think like an ARE Question Writer.
Often times, the practice questions provided by major test-prep companies are pulled word-for-word out of their own study material. The questions don’t make you think differently or apply the information to a new scenario.
While making your flash cards, take the information you are studying and try to write your own questions. Think about what you could see the test writers asking. This will help you look at the material a little differently, rather than just memorizing facts.
Use mnemonic devices.
Are they silly? Yes. Do they work? Definitely.
There is a lot of information to know for these exams. Anything that helps our brains along the way is welcomed. Whether it’s a funny acronym, picture, or association – you will be shocked how much these memory devices can help on test day.
Don’t forget diagrams.
There are many topics and concepts covered in the ARE 5.0 that entail diagrams; anything from building systems to programming tactics!
Take the time to put those diagrams on their own index cards. It’ll make it easy for you to go through and identify the systems or go over how exactly they work.
Repetition is key.
Once you make your flashcards, it is important to go through them continually until you have mastered the material. If there are cards that you seem to have a solid grasp on, move them to a separate pile. You can focus more on the cards that you feel weaker in, and then go back and review them all again at the end.
We hope these tips help you in your studying efforts. Remember to keep all the flashcards you make; you can reuse many of them on subsequent exams, as many of them have overlapping material!