I’ve started to experiment with making some simple changes to the process of using flashcards to see if it’s possible to make it more efficient. You could consider the process of memorising a flashcard to consist of two basic steps:
- Creating a mental connection between the question and the answer
- Strengthening that connection
With standard flashcards, first you see a question and then you see an answer. This is repeated very quickly for a number of cards. This doesn’t really do much to create a connection between the two bits of information.
Often you’ll find that you recall answers because of the order that they come in, rather than because your brain is triggered by the question.
Just by writing the question above the answer on the back of the flashcard, you create another chance for your mind to link the question and the answer. As ridiculously simple as that sounds, it seems to make a noticable difference – it increased my recall by a third.