If you don’t have NCLEX flashcards – you should. We’re going to show you how NCLEX flashcards can help you learn quicker and remember more information easier. Maybe you’ve been using flashcards since 4th grade to remember spelling words. If that’s you, then you know they work. But if you’re looking for a little something extra to help you prepare for the NCLEX, this is for you.
We’re going to show you how flashcards work to help you learn difficult information and retain it. Then we’re going to give you some tips on maximizing your study time so you can study smarter, not harder.
How Flashcards Work
What? They’re just a little piece of paper with a question on one side and an answer on the other. That’s true.
Flashcards are pretty low tech. But what they do for your brain and learning is effective enough to be studied by psychologists and educators.
Flashcards improve your learning by doing three things:
1. Engaging Active Recall
This is where your brain has to recall information without context clues like seeing the information in a book. Remember information this way creates strong neural pathways in the brain, improving memory.
2. Providing Self-Review
Being able to instantly see the answer is a way to check your knowledge and understanding – called metacognition. It’s a way to not only increase your memory but to identify problem areas.
3. Using Confidence-Based Repetition
Scientifically proven to improve memory and retention, flashcards work because they stand alone. You can shuffle the deck or draw any number of ways. What you get is random, therefore isolating the information.
Using flashcards is pretty simple. You look at the question and try to answer. Flip the card over and see the answer.
It seems so simple but it’s the repetition. Using them over and over – that’s where their magic lays.
Why NCLEX Flashcards Work
Ok, so we’ve shown you how flashcards work – how do they work for the NCLEX?
Well, there’s so much information covered on the NCLEX exam that needs just the type of memorization help flashcards to provide:
- Medical definitions
- Lab values
- Drugs & medications
- Disease symptoms
There’s so much more, but you know how much information there is. That’s why flashcards are so effective for NCLEX prep – they help you digest, understand, and remember all that information.
You can make your own, or check out the Saunders NCLEX RN flashcard deck here. But once you have your NCLEX flashcard deck, you need to know how to use it.
How To Use Flashcards
It may seem a little silly – how to use flashcards. What – you look at it. Try to answer the question. Turn it over to see the answer.
Easy. Actually, there are a couple of scientifically-designed study methods that maximize the learning potential of your flashcards.
Here are two ways:
Spaced repetition is a flashcard learning technique that uses the “spacing” effect. This is where you space out the time between flashcards. Here’s how it works:
- You study newer and more difficult information (flashcards) more often
- Concepts you’ve already learned and are older get moved to the back of the deck to be reviewed less frequently
By doing this, you speed up your learning and tackle more difficult concepts by focusing on the most difficult information while still reviewing things you already know.
The Leitner System
The Leitner System for flashcard studying uses the spaced repetition above but incorporates a series of boxes to separate the flashcards according to the ones you get right and the ones you get wrong.
Here’s how it works:
- You need at least 3 boxes to separate the cards. You can also just separate them into piles, use baggies or rubber bands to keep them separated.
- Start by separating the flashcards according to their difficulty level for you. Go from easiest (you understand well) to the most difficult.
- If you have 3 boxes: box 1 is the most difficult, box 2 is easier, box 3 is information you know well.
- Study the difficult box (1) every day; the easier box (2) every 2 – 3 days; the easiest box every 5 days.
- Once you start getting the flashcards in box 1 correct – move them to box 2.
- When the cards in box two start getting easier – move them to box 3.
- Anytime you get a flashcard wrong – it goes back into box 1 until you start getting it correct.
Both of these systems will help you increase your learning speed and improve your long-term memory.
But even if you just keep your flashcards in your pocket to pull out and have a quick study while you’re waiting on a coffee, they’ll still be very effective. Make NCLEX studying fun with flashcards learning games, learn them here. Get yourself a deck of flashcards today and instantly supercharge your NCLEX studying.