I am the self-appointed Queen of Flash Cards. I use them for a great deal of my studying. I make flashcards not only for memorizing definitions, but I also create questions with answers and short lists of things I need to memorize. I use my computer and this is how I do it. I work exclusively with Word and utilize the Table formatting.
Pull up a Word document. Create a Table that is 2 columns wide by whatever number of rows you want on each page. You actually can add rows as you need them. Questions or words go into a cell on the first column. The answer goes to the cell just to the right of that. Create your cards on one page at first in order to get them into a uniform size. I usually put 6 rows on one standard 8 x 11 1/2 page, but you can do 3, 4, 5, or any number of rows per page you want. Using the Autofit command within the Table menu you can distribute columns and rows equally across and down a page, so they will be of uniform size. You have to drag and pull the bottom line of rows on the first page to the very bottom margin of the page, select all the rows and then apply the Autofit command. Once you are satisfied you have a size you like, you are merely going to use the Insert command within Table to insert rows (either above or below) as you need them. Each sheet of paper when it is printed out is then be folded along the center line. Then, I use rubber cement to paste the two halves together, let it dry and start cutting the cards out (usually while I'm watching a soap opera
). I save the document to a file I have already created for that particular class. The most cards I have in one file is 122 rows of cards on a total of 21 pages.
An alternative way I do cards is a little more complicated, again using the Table program. This time I print the cards out on card stock. It takes a little planning and thinking to do them on card stock where you are not going to be pasting with rubber cement. I created flash cards of math problems from the Chapter tests in my geometry book using this method. I print a math problem in each cell and print them. Then, I cut the cards out and, in pencil, write the steps to getting the answer on the back. This was a great way to learn to do proofs for geometry. Problem with math flashcards is that it is sometimes difficult to print math problems with all the symbols and fractions, so some of it has to be done by hand. The reason I did this was because the instructor told us the first day of class that all of the problems on our tests would come, exclusively, from the Chapter Tests of our book.
When I study, I sit in front of my computer with a document ready to input information to make flashcards. As I read the material I might type in words for definitions. I might see a short list of things I probably ought to memorize, so I set them up on a card. If some material I am reading strikes me as a possible question that might be on a test, I set up my own version of the question right then and there.
Here is an example of a card for a list to memorize:
front: ]List the major subdivisions of pharmacology
]back of card:
Here is an example of a card with a question:
front: What are the two major requirements of every drug approved by the FDA?
back of card:
Here is an example of a card with a fill in the blank question (don't panic, this is a question about CPT coding, not nursing):
front: For a poisoning, the ____________ is sequenced first, followed by a _______________, and then an E-code to indicate the circumstance of the poisoning.
back of card: poisoning code, manifestation code
I utilize the formatting menu to introduce bullets, numbering and indentations when putting the answers into a cell. It was hardest for me to learn to use the bullet formatting as it seemed to have a mind of it's own when creating indentations that drove me nuts for awhile until I figured it out. All the text within each cell is usually centered. I often use a larger size font on what I consider the "front" of a card, but remember that the usefulness of flash cards is that you can work from either side of them. If you are new at using Format and Table programs within Word you need time and patiece to learn to work with them. However, as a study tool, it was worth the time spent and has been awesome and powerful tool as a study aid.
Of course, when you are studying, you go through the cards. You should pull out and set aside those card items that you are not getting memorized and that's the stack you should ultimately concentrate on. Every once in awhile go through the stack of cards you do know. The good thing about the cards I made is that when I'm done with the class I can toss them if I like. Usually, I pass them on to someone taking the class the next semester.
I have gobs of these in my files. I am studying health information management, so I do not have nursing related ones. However, if you would like to see how they are set up I would be more than happy to send you a sample page. I think I can send them as an attachment through the e-mail on this forum. Otherwise, you can PM me your e-mail address and I will send you a page as an insertion in a return e-mail.
I'm determined never to have to make handwritten notes again!
Addendum 1/7/2006: Since I have figured out how to attach a file to these posts, here is a sample of the way I set up flash cards on Table in Word: