How do you make flash cards?

  1. Hi all. What is the best way to make flash cards? I know they are good for definitions, but what about more in depth topics? Every time I sit down to make them, I end up basically writing lecture notes on my index cards! How do you make flashcards which will be helpful? Thanks!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Maisie
    I only make cards that are informative since I started the actual nursing classes. In other words, lab values and normal vital signs.

    During the prereq phase, I made flash cards that were similar to lecture notes, only fill in the blank. I would take an entire sentence from the book. I also created a few true or false cards. This worked for me and I got an A in all my prereqs.
  4. by   RNinJune2007
    Hey! I LOVE my flashcards. I started last semester, and I would say I've used over 1000. (I use the 4x6 because the 3x5 is too small.) I kind of "COMPACT" my lecture notes on them, and highlight the important information. It's hard to study for tests off of the normal notes, because they can be so "busy," and I usually write more than is needed.
    So, with the index cards, I get a lot more clarity! Good luck.
  5. by   Glimmer
    Some of the things that have worked for me...

    #1 - Color code. It can either be the color of the card or what my personal preference was writing in different color markers

    #2 - Use either questions that I thought I might be tested on or just a key vocabulary word. I would then write a number beside the word or question after looking at my notes so I knew how many facts I had in my notes about the particular subject. This was really helpful in my microbiology class when we were learning all of the different bacterium.

    #3 - When you do your flash cards it should be a review and not a first time learning for you.... therefore you should be able to just a bullet type format when you answer your question or define your fact and not using complete sentences. The point of note cards is to help you remember the key parts and then you can fill in the little details if needed from memory and with other study tips

    #4 - Keep it SIMPLE... easier said than done I know. Try not to cram too much on a card. If you feel like you are covering something in too much detail break it up into multiple cards under different sub-titles to help you better organize your thought.

    Hope this helps! I remember being in medical terminology and going through about 300 note cards a week... and then in Micro I only used them when we got to the microbes. They are helpful things

    ALnee
  6. by   dreamBIG
    Thanks for the great tips!!:kiss
  7. by   Roseyposey
    First of all, I have to chime in this bit of advice: don't get overly hung up on your flashcards and your notebooks. It's very important to stay organized, but I watched classmates of mine spend so much time making their flashcards and notebooks "pretty" and color-coordinated and divided into categories and subcategories and still bomb the test because they did very little actual studying. (But, their notebooks looked impressive.)

    What worked well for me is I made my flash cards at the same time I was doing my book reading and outlining. I would use the lecture notes along with the book and incorporate them into my own notes. As I went, any definitions, values, etc., that jumped out at me I would make into a flashcard. I took 3X5 cards and put a key word or question on the front and a BRIEF answer on the back - in such a way I could study backwards or forwards. I punched a hole in the corner of each and then put them all on one of those round keyring type clips. When I studied, I could take the cards I knew off the clip and put them on another (the goal, of course, to move all of the cards to the second clip). That way I wouldn't keep studying cards I didn't need to, but they would all be together for a quick review before the test or the final. Don't re-invent the wheel - you have lecture notes, you have your own notes, don't try to write absolutely everything on your flashcards. Good luck, I hope this helps.
  8. by   Daytonite
    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:
    a) pharmacodynamics
    b) pharmacokinetics
    c) pharmacotherapeutics
    d) pharmacy
    e) posology
    f) toxicology

    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:
    1. efficacy
    2. safety

    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:

    Last edit by Daytonite on Jan 14, '06
  9. by   EMTandNurse2B
    Great ideas here, although I do agree with the one poster who said "don't reinvent the wheel." These are tools, not something you have put everything on. I put the important info in a question and answer format. Usually I do key terms, things I am having a hard time remembering, and some of the harder subjects from the material. The rest of it I study from my notes.

    I also type mine, but I use Microsoft Word instead. I go under "Page Setup" under the "File" menu, and set the page size for 3 x 5 and the orientation for Landscape (turns them sideways). Then, I put the front of the card on page 1, and the back on page 2, front on page 3, back on page 4 and so on. When I go to print I choose "double-sided printing" and it prints one side, I put the cards back in, and it prints the other side. I find this is quick and easy for me.
  10. by   casi
    I come up with questions from lecture notes, practice quizes, study guides, and what not and give myself multiple choice answers on the front and then put the answer on the back.

    Or if it's something thats visual, I do google image search and print of pictures and glue the pictures to one side of the note card and then what it is on the back.
  11. by   Jessy_RN
    4 X 6.........Question in the front (Blank) and answer in the back (lines).
  12. by   RNin2007
    My boyfriend wrote a program for me that is similar to "Jeopardy"....so I can quiz myself by entering in whatever info I would like to. There are folders for each class, and subjects...I can basically customize it how I like. It is IDIOT proof too LOL (made sure that he included this in the program...heh). It is just another way to get the info into my head...and I can sit out on the couch with my laptop and "quiz" myself. My 8 year old also likes to guess along with me, it's kinda cute...even though he hasn't a clue about most of the material. I also do cards the old fashioned way...I find the more ways that I can get the material into my head, and if it somewhat interesting (sometimes I draw little pictures)...the more likely I am to remember it. Since I have started doing it this way, computer program, making my own study guides, old fashioned cards, etc. I have gotten A's on all my tests.

    ~J
  13. by   CRNAhopefulguy
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    4 X 6.........Question in the front (Blank) and answer in the back (lines).
    ditto. made 1000 just for my last nursing final. Took about a week to do but it was helpful.
  14. by   MMARN
    For my pre-reqs, I actually had flashcards become my best friends. I used to write the questions I needed and small answers on the back. Always key words and key answers. If you cram too much (which I did at one point) you won't have any cards left. Keep organized; notes you take in class, keep in your papers, and the key words you need, keep in note cards. It really helped me. Got an A.

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