This post is part of a series focusing on Time Management for Teens, Students, and High Schoolers. Get the complete online course here or order the book here!

Save Time & Learn Faster With Flashcards In High School

In this high school time-management article we’re going to discuss the art and the science of using flashcards in high school to save yourself time, increase your memory and reduce the effort it takes to study and learn new concepts in any subject.

Flash cards are a naturally-effective, super-simple and super-cheap system that all serious high-school students should have in their study arsenal and they should practice it REGULARLY any time they need to memorize specific “bits” of information like SAT vocabulary words or ACT math formulas.

In a way, making handmade flashcards is simply a continuation and deepening of the art of note-taking.

Flashcards simply distill your notes down even further and further –

They represent the ultimate reduction of critical class information into simple slices and individual, bite-sized concepts that you can quickly drill and memorize before moving on to new topics.

Flashcards Got Me to the Top of the Class

Now, not to brag on myself to much, but I was a pretty high-achieving student in high school (and college) in terms of my grades, my tough classes, near-perfect SAT scores and attending one of the most selective colleges in the world (by the way, contact us for SAT and ACT prep help!)

I’m only bringing that up right now because I found making flashcards in high school incredibly effective for the exact same reasons I’m asking YOU to use them now.

I think flashcards are kind of like the “pushups” of the academic world.

Like doing pushups, they don’t take much time, no special equipment is required, and you can do them anywhere in the world, but they can make you super-buff in surprisingly short period of time.

Also like pushups, flashcards aren’t exactly most people’s favorite thing in high school, but once you get over the hurdle of doing a few, it becomes an excellent way to build more strength - easy, simple, fast, and free.

As of this moment, I believe the single most concentrated way of rapidly memorizing new information is creating and drilling your own personal set of flashcards.

How (And When) To Use Flashcards

So HOW can you use flash cards in high school and when are they most effective?

First of all: make new flashcards whenever you have vocabulary words or specialized terms.

You can use them for anything from new SAT vocab words you’re unfamiliar with, to Spanish, French or even Japanese language studies.

Also, specialized terms in class with a simple definition, like “laissez-faire capitalism” or “the treaty of 1842,” make excellent flashcards.

The second use of flashcards in high school is to memorize important formulas and equations, like key ACT math formulas.

I’ve noticed that a lot of students don’t use this trick and so they struggle on and on for years because they never committed a few simple triangle or circle formulas to memory.

This technique can work in high school physics, geometry, algebra, chemistry, calculus, and even music theory.

Third, you can make flashcards of names and dates. This works for history, english, literature, and other verbal-based and reading-based classes.

Make flashcards for events, characters, and historical figures that you’re studying.

Select what you think are the most important three to five facts to recall for each topic, write them down on 3×5 index cards, and drill them with flashcards.

You’ll be amazed how much more this process helps you understand in class, and you’ll naturally find it quicker and easier to review for quizzes, major tests and finals.

Where To Get The Best Flashcards in High School

What about where to GET the flashcards?

Is there a secret, recommended list or some company that makes the best ones?

Or, a specific smart phone app that will allow you to vault ahead of the competition?

Well, NO, there aren’t - and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

The honest and time-tested truth is that the best way, by far, is to choose what cards to make, and to make your own cards, BY HAND.

Look, it’s really not as hard as it sounds!

How (And Why) To Make Your Own Flashcards By Hand

It just takes a little time and effort to get the info down on a stack of blank three-by-five index cards (you may already have these cards from my article on calendars and planning materials for high school!)

Don’t try to overcomplicate the simple, but time-honored learning tradition of hand-making your own flashcards in high school.

It may not be a lot of FUN, but think of all the fun you can have with the TIME you save in the long run!

Think of how much less STRESS you’ll carry when you just know the material for even the hardest high school classes!

And, think of your excellent grades and test scores so you get into the best colleges and then have even MORE fun!!

Also, if you make the physical flashcards by hand, you can do cool enhancements like color-coding, or little picture doodles that you can use to remember things about the flashcards you’ve just made.

More Tips On Learning Vocabulary Quickly

If you want a bunch more tips about how to make effective vocabulary flashcards as well as how to think outside the box about how to learn vocab words more effectively…

Then make sure to check out another of my online courses called “Conquer SAT Vocabulary,” because I go really in-depth in that course.

And in that course one of the many techniques I cover is how to use my simple “2-stack method” to keep your flashcards organized and not waste any time.

The “Two-Stack Method” For Easily Studying Flashcards

The “two stack method” is simple and effective, which is why I love teaching it to high school students. Let me give you the rundown real quick.

One stack of your handmade flashcards is the “daily stack.”

You keep between 10 and 20 cards in your daily stack and drill them.. you guessed it, every day.

Each time you feel you’ve memorized a “daily” card, you get to put it in the “weekly stack.”

Then, you GUESSED it again, you review the WEEKLY stack each week on a set date - typically Saturday or Sunday.

Now here’s the cool part - any time you FORGET a WEEKLY card during your review session, you take it back to the DAILY stack.

And, if you go over the limit of TWENTY daily cards because of this, you stop adding new daily cards for a while until you get the DAILY stack back below that number.

Simplicity Is What Makes It Effective

The two-stack method is super-simple –

Actually it’s the MOST simple and effective program you can use to ensure a mix of repetition and novelty WITHOUT having to keep track of detailed information…

Make sure you keep your flashcards organized by subject and semester, because these make an INCREDIBLE resource for lightning-fast review sessions when major tests and finals arrive.

How Much Time Should You Spend On Flashcards In High School?

When it comes to the subject of how much TIME to spend on flashcards… never underestimate what you can do with 5 minutes per day.

Fifteen minutes per day is about right for a fairly serious student who wants to go to a great college.

However, you can also try going up to 30 minutes per day of hardcore flashcards for LIMITED spans of time or upcoming testing seasons. This type of focused study is intense, but high-repayment.

But, whether you are cramming or studying for the long-haul, it will still be one of the most effective study tricks in your arsenal.

Schedule Flashcards For A Specific Time Each Day

Also think about the rhythms of high school life and the time of day you will do your flashcard studies.

If you’re SERIOUS about it like I am, you’ll probably find that you get the best results by sticking to a predictable routine.

For example, study fifteen minutes of flashcards right after school on Monday through Thursday, before your other homework.

Take Friday off, then spend 15 minutes on Saturday and 30 more on Sunday reviewing the week’s flashcards.

What I’ve just described is an extremely simple, effective, and fast routine that will find you BLASTING ahead of your previous levels of study skills.

If you’re not already incorporating flashcards into your study methods, just follow that simple weekly recipe and you will discover how useful they can be for YOU.

Final Thought On Using Flashcards In High School

A final thought as we wrap up…

When it comes to managing time in high school, it’s often about memorizing the most information in the shortest, easiest way.

Flashcards, although they’re a bit “dry” by nature, are the perfect way to do just that.

When Have YOU Used Flashcards To Learn Faster?

Now, I want you to think about a time in the past when using flashcards really helped you study - a class or quiz (or something else) when you used flashcards EFFECTIVELY.

It could be a language class, a math class, or something else.

Go ahead and describe that experience in the comments section below, because I want us all to share and build up our confidence and understanding of the VALUE of using flashcards.

Finally, if YOU struggle with memorizing important words or info in your high school classes, don’t forget to check out my other online courses like the one on SAT Vocabulary for more tips and strategies!

Take a moment to leave your flashcard experience in the comments (and check out my other online courses while you’re at it) and I’ll see you in our next lecture.

Make this year your most productive year ever! Get the complete Time Management for Teens Online Course or order the book on Amazon today.

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