Aspirants try every trick in the book and experiment with different strategies to conquer NEET. Why wouldn’t they? After all, NEET is the toughest competitive medical entrance test in the country. One such classic study tool is flashcards.
What are flashcards?
Flashcards, as the name suggests, is a piece of a card whose front side has a cue or a question while the flip side has the answer to it. It is an effective learning technique promoting learning through active recalling practices.
Here, the hint can be an image, a question or simply a word triggering anticipated reflexes. Hence, anything that can be framed into a potential question and answer pattern can be your flashcard, be it definitions, reactions, periodic element properties, formulae and more.
For instance, a flashcard can say – “Who is the father of genetics?”
Answer on the back can be written as Gregor Mendel.
Flashcards are a smart way of learning, effective for revision or even learning something new. It works across different subjects and is used to recall information. It requires minimum effort and gives a high impact.
Mistakes To Avoid While Making Flashcards
While there is no right or wrong way of making flashcards, however, incorrect ways of framing flashcards can be less efficient. Be mindful of these few points while making flashcards:
- Avoid framing flashcards promoting rote memorization techniques
- Refrain from creating complex cards which do not promote true recall. It could mislead people between actual recalling and recognition
- Abstain from its overuse. Also, do not use flashcards when a better tool could be used to study a particular topic
Making Flashcards for NEET Preparation
Integrate these tips into your routine to make effective flashcards for your NEET preparation:
1. Compose your own flashcards
Many like sharing their cards or for ease downloading readily available ones. One serves one’s brains better by self-making these cards. This learning process allows – intake of new data, processing in your brain and coming up with something new altogether. The outcome hence can be in the form of a picture, words, figures, etc. This creates strong neural pathways.
2. One question per card
Multiple facts or too much information on one card can put you into ambiguity. It causes your brain to mistake recognition for recall.
3. Break it down
Not the flashcard, the topic. A huge concept can be segregated into smaller chunks. Some topics tend to be too complex to be condensed in one question. Such topics require to be disintegrated into multiple questions to make the most of it.
4. Insert Pictures
Inserting pictures can be a lot more effective. As per cognitive psychology, people tend to remember imagery better than words. Even better? Combine words and images. Adding descriptive sentences with pictures can increase the ability of the brain and help recall better.
5. Mnemonics in flashcards
Mnemonics are great learning techniques, especially in NEET, as Biology is full of complex terminologies. This aids information retention of complex or large amounts of information in a simple and easy to understand format. A commonly used mnemonic in mathematics is BODMAS.
6. While using flashcards, say it out loud rather than silently answering. It is a good way of assuring you know the answer before committing to check your answer.
7. Flashcards for different subjects
NEET is covered over 3 subjects as we know – Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Make vibrant flashcards for Physics indicating important formulae, names and definitions. Similarly for chemistry, frame some interesting flashcards using different colours/highlighters for periodic element properties, chemical reactions, IUPAC names, etc. In the same way, for Biology too, flashcards can be used for different facts, definitions, scientific names and so on.
8. Study flashcards both sides
Build bi-directional pathways. Ensure you review these cards from both sides rather than one.
Why are flashcards so effective? – How Flashcards are helpful for NEET?
Foster active recall critical for NEET
When we look at the cue of a flashcard and start to wonder its answer, we are engaging in a mental faculty which is referred to as active recall. With this effort, one attempts to remember topics from the grass-root level as opposed to simply glancing over information or choosing multiple-choice options. Active recall creates strong neural pathways to trace back when the memory demands. As flashcards can effortlessly promote repetition, they are the most effective ways to create numerous memory-enhancing events.
As they are loosely tied, they are extremely handy and a fun way of learning. They can be separated into piles on the basis of their frequency of being studied. This activity of practice of repetition is known to be the most effective and optimized ways scientifically to enhance performance by the memory.
Cost-effective and Portable
Flashcards certainly are one of the most economical study resources out of the lot. You are not required to buy any fancy set of it. They are a depiction of simple, plain cards, capable of serving their needs.
In addition, they are portable learning materials. They can be studied from anywhere and carried with ease.
Great for Last-minute rush
Last-minute revisions engage one in multiple sessions of mounting pressure. At this juncture, one reaches out to all possible, simple tools just looking to skim through highlights. Flashcards can be handy in such situations. Information grasped from here is provided in the crispest and most concise manner.
Alternatives to Flashcards
Flashcards are good to retain small definitions, facts and such information. They are a good reviewing resource. There are many options apart from this to make learning more effective depending upon the material to be studied. Some other options to flashcards are:
- Peer learning/group discussions
- Flip learning
- Giving seminars
- Practice tests
- Mind maps
- Spider grams
Undoubtedly, one must learn new topics with the help of project-based learning. However, when it comes to reviewing or recalling already learnt concepts, nothing beats flashcards. They are the most productive recalling resources.
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