Flash cards are a brilliant way to improve your learning and retention. They take a while to create, but don’t forget, you’re learning whilst you make them too.
You’re going to need pictures! These will dramatically increase how much you remember. But not just any pictures. There are a few features of images that can give you a big advantage:
- Unusual – unusual images stick in your mind more easily
- Personal/emotional – if something about the picture is personal and/or emotional it is easier to memorise
- Contextual – abstract information is far easier to remember when it’s in an example
Take for example, the zulu word for dog – “inja”. To remember this I’m going to imagine an injured dog as the word injured and inja are so close. But this isn’t any dog, it needs to be personal, so I’m going to imagine my favourite breed of dog. It needs to be unusual, so I’m going to image it has green fur, and the fact that it’s injured (I’m imagining a bandaged broken leg), makes it emotional. So if I’m using a flash card, it now looks like this:
Suddenly it’s very easy to remember the Zulu word for dog is “inja”.
How about the example of “Duress”? Duress may be a defence where a person is threatened with death or serious physical injury unless they carry out a criminal act. Duress is not a defence to murder or attempted murder. Here’s an example of an image for a flash card that can put it in context. On one side is the word to test you, when you turn it over you can check to see if you were correct. If you were incorrect, you can use the image to help you remember.
Create flash cards for any concepts you are having difficulty remembering. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw, so long as you can tell what the picture is! You can download images from the internet as well which can speed the process up. Once you have all the flash cards you need (they are cheap and easy to get hold of here on Amazon). The coloured ones are helpful if you want to categorise different areas of study.).
Use the method of “spaced repetition” to learn your flash cards effectively.