Flashcards, or flash cards, are a great learning tool. They are visual aids that can boost memory retention by repeatedly going through a stack of them several times an hour. The great part about flash cards is that you can print and customize them however you want. If you’d like to make flash cards, you can use any cardstock size you want.
The size of a typical flash card will measure 3 × 5 inches. However, you can print flash cards on any size of cardstock you have on hand.
Making flash cards to assist in the learning process is quite simple. As long as you have a stack of cardstock on hand, as well as minimal expertise in typing and printing, you can come up with a bunch of customized flash cards in no time.
How Do You Use Flash Cards?
Flash cards are simple enough to understand. Basically, you can write a question on one side of the flash card, which can include illustrations if that helps make learning easier for you. On the other side of the card, you can write the answer to the question.
The point is to look at the question side of the flash card and answer correctly. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out the question, then you can flip the card over.
Doing this repeatedly will fill your noggin with useful nuggets of knowledge. Just make sure to print more flash cards or update your existing ones after memorizing the answers to all of the cards you made.
How Do You Make Flash Cards?
Making your own flash cards is a pretty straightforward process. The bare bones minimum to make flash cards is to have several sheets of paper and a writing tool.
However, if you want to make your flash cards look fancy, you should use cardstock or index cards. Alternatively, you can use construction paper. Just cut the construction paper to half or a quarter of its original size. If you want to make flash cards that look like the fancy stuff you can buy at department stores, cut the sheet of paper or card to 3 × 5 inches.
Follow these steps to begin making flash cards:
Step 1—Gather your materials (a writing tool, a printer and computer, and the sheets of paper or cardstock). If you’d rather go the paperless route, you can check out apps like Cram or Quizlet’s Flashcard app to make your flash cards on your computer. However, since consuming written materials can yield better results than digital materials, you should consider using physical flash cards.
Step 2—Organize your notes so you know what information you want to memorize. You can use materials from any subject, but ideally, the materials you write on the flash cards will be relevant to an upcoming exam.
Step 3—List what you want to include on the flash cards. This is a great way to organize your thoughts and learn at the same time. Alternatively, you can highlight the important chunks in your notes or textbook to figure out what you want to add to your stack of flash cards.
Step 4—Begin writing the question on the flash cards. You should dedicate one card per question so you don’t accidentally get your facts mixed up.
Step 5—Write the answer to the question on the back of the flash card. You can be as detailed as you want when writing the answers. The more details you include, the more information you can absorb. However, try not to clutter the flash card with irrelevant information.
Step 6—Limit the stack to 30 cards per subject. Making too many flash cards can destroy the purpose of making flash cards in the first place. The point is to break down information into easily digestible tidbits that are easy to memorize.
How to Print Flash Cards
Assuming you want your flash cards to look fancy, you should probably skip handwriting the questions and answers and instead focus on printing them on your cardstock. You can use vector software like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator if you want flashy flash cards. Otherwise, stick to using Word, Pages, or even Google Docs.
Step 1—Format the word processor’s page size to that of your flash cards. If you’re printing your notes out on sheets of A4 or letter paper, then you might want to consider adding fold lines to create four to six flash cards per sheet of paper.
Step 2—Type the question on each section of the paper. Remember to only add one question per flash card.
Step 3—Print the document. After you print it, let the cardstock or sheet of paper sit for around three minutes to let the ink dry.
Step 5—Reload the paper or cardstock into your printer backward. That way, you can type the answers to each flash card question on the back.
Step 6—Type the answer on each section of the paper. Remember to reorganize the order in which you type the answer if you’re using sheets of paper.
Step 7—Print the document.
Step 8—If you used A4 or letter paper, now is the time to cut along the guideline to separate them into individual flash cards.
Do I Have to Use Cardstock?
Traditional flash cards are made of a thick, dense material like cardstock. However, if you’re in a pinch, you can certainly use index cards, which are generally a thinner version of the cardstock used to print flash cards.
Also, if you have tons of blank cardboard boxes on hand, you are more than welcome to turn them into flash cards—you just won’t be able to print the questions and answers on them.
When it comes to flash cards, you should use a thick material like cardstock over A4 or letter paper. The thinness of the regular sheets of paper can make them stick together more easily, which can slow down how much information from flash cards you can absorb per hour.