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Index cards, how do you make them work for you

Pre-Nursing   (6,295 Views 18 Comments)
by justbee justbee (Member)

justbee works as a Full-time student.

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Another thread got me to thinking about using index cards for notes or to drill before a test. That thread mentioned studyshack.com where there are stacks made by users for different subjects. For some reason, I've never gotten the hang of using them.

Do you make your own as you are reading the text? I'm used to note taking in lecture, but I have a class where the lecture isn't really conducive to that. I feel like I don't really know what to study in regards to the information in the chapter.

I just wonder, if you are an index card user, what your system is for making and or using them? Is there an advantage compared to just going over the notes? TIA

Best, L.

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8,620 Visitors; 887 Posts

I've never been good with handwritten flash cards, but I did find some of the one's that I found online that have the quizzes to be more helpful for certain things, so if anything I will just make some online flashcards but I usually just rely on my notes.

Everyone has a different way of learning. Don't try to force yourself to learn a different way. If flashcards don't work for you, try something else.

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6,353 Visitors; 905 Posts

For me, about 90% of the value of flash cards comes from the process of writing them out. So much so, that I am more likely to make another set than to use the first set as flash cards.

When I use them - I go through every card, making three piles... the ones known with little or no hesitation, the ones known with somewhat hesitation, and the unknown ones. Shuffle the known ones and go through them again to confirm they are known.

Then work on the ones that aren't known with confidence without the known ones getting in the way... or sometimes shuffling a few easy ones in for a change of pace or because they are similar to unknown ones.

To work on the unknown ones, I pick a small enough number of them, that I can remember it from one time it comes up to the next. Usually, for the hesitation pile, that means sticking some in the back of the pile when I'm done and others in the middle of the pile and others toward the front of the pile. Occasionally, for the unknown pile, that means working with two of flash cards. When I start getting those right, adding another one to those two. Every so often I shuffle them into the known pile (or part of the known pile), and go through that to stave off discouragement, to know them in the middle of different other cards, and to see the known ones again.

The idea isn't to get to the point where I can get them all right, the point is to get to the point where I recognize them instantly, without hesitation, when they come in random order. Otherwise writing out lists serves the purpose as well or better and are a lot faster, easier, and cheaper to make.

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14,830 Visitors; 2,642 Posts

I agree with Saysfaa and go through a similar process. Like her, for me the process of writing the cards is where I derive most of the benefit.

I turn all my notes (from lecture and reading) into cards of some sort. I create test questions that deal with the concepts we're covering and find I really have to understand the concepts in question in order to create questions that make sense. When I can't figure out how to write a question, it has always meant that I didn't understand the concept as well as I thought I did.

When reviewing a few days before an exam....I'm usually trying to make sure that I have the things memorized that I need (lab values, drug dosages or contraindications, etc). I'm really bad at straight memorization....if I have a concept I can hang it on, I can remember anything! But straight memorization.....well, not my strength to say the least! So, I tend to write that stuff over and over again on paper I've recycled from my printer (stuff I printed on one side, etc) since I don't want to necessairilly keep it, I just want to write it over and over again from memory (copying doesn't help as much, need to keep trying to do it by memory).

What's funny is that in all other things, I'm a total techie girl. I don't have paper notebooks, I take all my notes on my tablet convertible laptop (so I can still write notes when that makes more sense). I literally do everything on a computer.....except flash cards. I've tried a bunch of different flash card programs....but for me, 3x5 cards are still much more effective.

Edited by CuriousMe
I'm a lousy speller!

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6,353 Visitors; 905 Posts

"So, I tend to write that stuff over and over again on paper I've recycled from my printer (stuff I printed on one side, etc) since I don't want to necessairilly keep it, I just want to write it over and over again from memory (copying doesn't help as much, need to keep trying to do it by memory)."

Me too.

You might try business cards instead of 3x5. I had access to a LOT of them, tried them, and like them better than 3x5s. They are easier to shuffle, easier to hold, can't see through them and are big enough for the quick response stuff I use them for.

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mariposabella works as a RRT.

7,811 Visitors; 356 Posts

I usually buy those neon bright 4X6 index cards, I read somewhere that bright colors helps you remember better. So I usually just take questions from the study guide with the answers and put each Q&A on an index card and go through them until I know them all 100%. I try to review a few days before the exam, cramming is just awful. It helps me greatly.

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14,830 Visitors; 2,642 Posts

I like the colorful cards as well. They at least amuse me as I'm writing out hundreds of cards :jester:

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6,353 Visitors; 905 Posts

I do colors too, only I use lots of markers and colored pens and pencils against white. I've tried the colored index cards but find them too much, it is distracting rather than helpful. Besides, I also like to put little pictures (stars or stick drawings maybe or arrows sometimes) on the cards in pencil. They don't get in the way of the fast paced flipping through them, but are still there if I'm really stuck on one... I can use the pic as a que instead of the rote memorization it would be without the pic.

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KeeperMom has 10 years experience and works as a CRNP.

8,847 Visitors; 639 Posts

I use flashcards for some studying. I used the 5x8 sized index cards (unlined) to make my drug cards in Word. I simply typed them and set my margins and printed them.

I also make my own flashcards using Excel. I'm actually doing that as we speak. I'm just taking a tiny break. Here's what I do....

i set two columns to 48 wide. I just highlight columns A and B and right-click and then select "column width" and make those 48 wide. Every computer/printer combo varies so you may have to make these smaller.

Then I select the number of rows I need. I'm doing the "Top 100 drugs" right now so I highlighted 100 rows and set those to 90.

I select all the rows and column and center and justify those so they are all lined up in the center both vertically and horizontally. If I am making wordy cards, I 'wrap text' too.

I go to Page Set up and make sure I set my grid lines to print and I set my margins as wide as I can to accommodate my columns. I also center my sheet horizontally and vertically. Make sense so far?

When I set everything this way, I can usually get 8 cards per page. Once I print them all, I use my paper trimmer to cut them all. I don't always cut the margins off but you can. Once I have them all cut I just fold them in half and voila! I have custom made, hand cramp-saving flash cards!

When I get ready to study with them, I will take 10 or so at a time and master those ten cards before moving to the next 10 cards. When I add the cards, I keep the ones I have mastered in the stack but I mix them up.

Like I said, I can't study with just flashcards but they are a great way for me to learn terms, drug classes and side effects, etc. I don't really use these for concepts or for details.

Clear as mud?

meredith

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14,830 Visitors; 2,642 Posts

A couple of electives I took during my pre-reqs allowed us to bring in a notecard for exams. We could write anything we wanted on it....but it had to fit on one 3x5 card. That is when I explored typing on the card. I found a Word 3x5 card template, and was able to put all of my notes on the card (at a font of like 5 or so). It was small but readable. :D

But for study purposes....I need to write out the info...

I use flashcards for some studying. I used the 5x8 sized index cards (unlined) to make my drug cards in Word. I simply typed them and set my margins and printed them.

I also make my own flashcards using Excel. I'm actually doing that as we speak. I'm just taking a tiny break. Here's what I do....

i set two columns to 48 wide. I just highlight columns A and B and right-click and then select "column width" and make those 48 wide. Every computer/printer combo varies so you may have to make these smaller.

Then I select the number of rows I need. I'm doing the "Top 100 drugs" right now so I highlighted 100 rows and set those to 90.

I select all the rows and column and center and justify those so they are all lined up in the center both vertically and horizontally. If I am making wordy cards, I 'wrap text' too.

I go to Page Set up and make sure I set my grid lines to print and I set my margins as wide as I can to accommodate my columns. I also center my sheet horizontally and vertically. Make sense so far?

When I set everything this way, I can usually get 8 cards per page. Once I print them all, I use my paper trimmer to cut them all. I don't always cut the margins off but you can. Once I have them all cut I just fold them in half and voila! I have custom made, hand cramp-saving flash cards!

When I get ready to study with them, I will take 10 or so at a time and master those ten cards before moving to the next 10 cards. When I add the cards, I keep the ones I have mastered in the stack but I mix them up.

Like I said, I can't study with just flashcards but they are a great way for me to learn terms, drug classes and side effects, etc. I don't really use these for concepts or for details.

Clear as mud?

meredith

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3,687 Visitors; 157 Posts

If you buy the Microsoft student version you can select paper type and click on flash card and size (3x5) and it'll print for you.

Now, most of the learning comes fro writing them---it's your call.

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smitty10 works as a Pt. care associate.

3,393 Visitors; 159 Posts

i wrote out my own flash cards on 3x5, then used them like i was playing a game of memory/matching.

i have also posted them on the walls, doors, fridge and in the kitchen where i do the dishes. i have the key term on one side and the answer on the other side. whenever i come across a card i would stop and answer it.

this has work for me as I will graduate nursing school on 9-17-10.

hope this helps!!!

Smitty G.N.

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