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Why Study a Language with Flashcards?

Many Flashcards

Using flashcards in language studying is a fantastic way to fortify your grammar and enrich vocabulary. Many schools and teachers recommend them as one of the best approaches for language acquisition.

In spite of its seeming popularity and overall consensus, not many students around the world are aware of this language acquisition tool. They adhere to the old ways such as rereading a paragraph or a lecture, not realizing how ineffective this method really is.

So, here I will try to convince you to utilize flashcards in your learning process.

Argument # 1: Flashcards Stimulate Recalling

The most significant rule of learning is to recall information within specific time periods. This is called the spaced repetition method. Basically, instead of cramming before exam, you accumulate the knowledge gradually, repeating it every now and then for further reinforcement.

It has long been proven that only reading the material is not sufficiently good. You need to test yourself on a regular basis to really make it stick. An average person forgets 70 % of the information they just read. Therefore, if you want to ensure that you will memorize the important facts on the day of your examination, interview or presentation, you have to utilize cards to recall it from time to time.

Argument # 2: Flashcards Bring Order

When you simply write down the information in your notebook, often without any structure or emphasis on the most crucial facts, you are likely to get lost and confused in the cornucopia of those haphazard notes.

Using flashcards can bring organization and order in your studying process. If you use online cards like Anki, the system will automatically reset time for your repetition whenever you forget the info or it’s time for you to prove that you still remember. If you prefer written cards, attributing different colors to them and arranging them in a deck based on how well you can recall is also a fantastic technique to smooth out your studying process.

Argument # 3: Flashcards Help Visualize

Everybody knows how powerful our visual memory is. However, people still continue to follow the old tactics of copying information in their notebooks, without even trying to spice it up with some pictures or signs.

Many would argue that pictures are for kids, and they as responsible adults do not need such childish methods to force themselves to learn something. They forget that it is kids who are the best at learning a foreign language, partly due to the fact that parents as well as teachers often employ flashcards to teach them. Why do you beg to differ? Attaching a printed or downloaded picture to your flashcard is a potent mnemonic device you cannot ignore.

Argument # 4: Flashcards Preclude Omissions

If you use flashcards smartly, you make them very specific. For instance, if you want to learn about Napoleon, it is not enough to write his name in the question field. You need to pose a particular important question about this historical figure, so that you do not get a false illusion of competence when you know something about Napoleon, but still omit crucial facts from his biography.

Similarly, in language if you simply reread vocabulary lists, knowing only few words can make you feel knowledgeable, while it is not the case. Flashcards will prevent you from developing this false confidence.

When you simply reread notes, you are more vulnerable to this pitfall. Therefore, asking yourself specific questions can ensure you do not have any problem taking an exam.

Argument # 5: Flashcards Encourage Summarizing

When you create a flashcard, you are forced to summarize the information to fit it in the written card or simply avoid being verbose as in case with electronic cards. It stirs a deep reflection of the material and helps you single out the most vital facts.

In this regard, I want to stress the importance of prioritizing information before starting on flashcards. It is impossible to remember everything, which is why you need to focus on the meat and potatoes of the material rather than its trifle details. 

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