Why Are Flashcards So Effective?

Flashcards have been around a long time. You’ve possibly used them in elementary school and maybe have not used them since! However, they are a tremendous tool for learning faster and more effectively, especially for nursing students. Nursing students are expected to know an incredible number of facts, and flashcards have been proven over and over again to be an ideal tool mastering large amounts of information.




The Learning Science Behind Flashcards


  1. Flashcards are designed to force active recall: The simple act of quizzing yourself without seeing the answer, promotes active recall. Active recall is forcing yourself to try to remember an answer without having any prompts in front of you. Attempting to recall an answer from scratch stimulates your brain to make stronger memory connections and has been proven over and over again in scientific studies to promote learning better than simply reading textbooks or quizzing yourself with multiple-choice questions.
  2. Flashcards help you build metacognition: Metacognition literally means KNOWING (cognition) what you know ABOUT (meta) a subject. The act of flipping a card over and reflecting on how well you know it and how your answer compared to the correct one is metacognition, because you can easily begin to sort facts into categories: things you know well, things you partially know, and things you have not yet learned at all. Research has proven that metacognition about a subject or group of facts actually ingrains the memory even deeper into your knowledge base. To know something better, you should understand how well you really know it!
  3. Flashcards are perfect for spaced repetition: Spaced repetition is the act of sorting cards into piles and studying the cards that you don't know well (that's metacognition!), more frequently. Because flashcards can easily be sorted and organized into piles, you can tailor your study time to quickly master a subject by focusing on the facts that are harder for you to remember. This may seem obvious, but it is much harder to do with outlines or facts in a textbook. Flashcards are the perfect form factor to make you an efficient studying machine.



The Leitner System - A Flashcard Method for Spaced Repetition


The Leitner system is a widely used method to efficiently use flashcards that was proposed by the German science journalistSebastian Leitnerin the 1970s.



To reduce overall study time, the student gets started by sorting the cards into 3 stacks called "Box 1", "Box 2" and "Box 3".

The cards in Box 1 are the ones that the learner doesn’t know at all, and Box 3 contains the cards that they know very well. Box 2 contains cards they only partially know. The student might choose to study the Box 1 cards once a day, Box 2 every 3 days, and the Box 3 cards every 5 days.

If they look at a card in Box 1 and get the correct answer, they "promote" it to Box 2. A correct answer with a card in Box 2 "promotes" that card to Box 3. If they make a mistake with a card in Box 2 or Box 3, it gets "demoted" to the first box, which forces the learner to study that card more often.





What Makes LevelUpRN Flashcards so Perfect for Nursing Students?


Level Up RN Flashcards are specifically designed to help you focus in on the most important fundamental concepts you need to know for success, taking complicated concepts and distilling them down to a sentence or two, so you can focus on the fundamentals that all your nursing knowledge should be grounded in.

Available LevelUpRN Flashcards for Nursing Students