Most of you have already started the semester, and with that (for better or worse) comes the thought of future exams. Even though you probably don’t like thinking about this, you have to start preparing for exams as soon as you can. Research shows that cramming at the last minute is a bad way to learn. Don’t do it! Sometimes you’ll even have multiple exams in a day or week, so cramming makes it so you might not have time to study for each one.
One or more of your exams is likely multiple-choice. I’d like to argue that one of the best ways to study for these is to make flashcards. Although you might think that flashcards are only for primary school children learning arithmetic, researchers (including me) have conducted studies showing that flashcards are extremely effective even for college students.
Here are some brief pointers on making and using flashcards. I think writing your own flashcards is best, but some students I’ve had swear by flashcards you can make online (by using Quizlet or other sites):
1) Make flashcards after class. Typically, everything in your notes should be on a card. That means for every lecture you will have a bunch of flashcards
2) Be brief (more like the exam questions and answers).
3) Pay attention as you write or type each flashcard in order to learn the information on it.
4) When you have your flashcards ready, shuffle the flashcards each time you study, because it’s rare to be tested on information in sequential order.
5) Now you are ready to test yourself on each card in the deck.
6) As you test yourself, sort each card by whether you know or don’t know the information on it.
7) Go back over the pile with the cards you don’t know.
8) Repeat all the steps above with each new lecture. Add new flashcards to your old flashcards, and test yourself as before.
Here’s a video link that should help:
Good luck! Do any of you already use flashcards? Have they helped you on exams?