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A flash of Leitner

When I was at college I didn’t use flashcards – I couldn’t see the advantage over reading. Since then, I’ve learnt that flashcards should form a key part of your revision. They’re especially good for learning terminology – ‘what is’ questions with keywords on the back.

By using index cards to test yourself on small pieces of information, you study in an active way. You learn by writing the cards and gain a low resistance way to revise anywhere.

The Leitner system is a more refined way to use flashcards. It’s very simple. When you get a card right you put it in a separate pile. You review the second pile less frequently than the first, putting those cards you get right into another pile again.

You continue until you have a few piles, reviewing those you get right less often. This way you dedicate more time to the information you’re least familiar with, shortening the revision process.

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