How to Make and Use Flashcards to Improve Real Estate
Our memories work like a filter. Most information is discarded within a minute after we hear or see it. Researchers have studied memory for over 100 years and have determined that one of the most effective techniques to get information into a person’s long-term memory is known as “spaced repetition.” Memorization takes place more effectively when the information is repeated over and over again, and there is time between the repetitions for reflection. This is the secret of flashcards’ success. When used properly, flashcards employ two powerful mechanisms of human memory—repetition and spaced timing—to move information from short-term to long-term memory.
Use your notes, textbooks, or practice questions to identify key concepts that you want to master for a specific category or topic that appears on the state real estate licensing exam. On one side of a piece of paper, or a 3 X 5 index card, write the description of the concept. On the other side, write the term that goes with the description.
Once you have made the flashcard, you are ready to study. Look at one side of the flashcard and try to visualize what is on the other side. While different people have different rates of retention, most people require 3 to 6 repetitions over a period of days before information is retained in long-term memory. The following techniques will help to assist retention.
Add pictures for better retention. A lot of people are visual learners. Draw or copy an image on a card that will help you to remember the words. For example, if you were using a flashcard to remember the definition of “agent,” you might draw a simple stick figure holding a briefcase and another stick figure in front of a simple line drawing of a house with a “for sale” sign—this will help to trigger the memory of the description, “One who represents another.”
Mix up the order of your flashcards. If you go through the flashcards in the same order over and over again, your mind will get bored, and studying will not be as productive. Put your cards in a hat and mix them up, and then draw cards out to break the routine. It also helps to ensure you are recalling the material as a standalone definition, not just in relation to the cards that come before or after it.
Keep your study sessions brief. Studying for short periods (30 minutes or less) is more effective for memorization than laboring for long periods of time without breaks. Short intervals are the key to retention. One of the major benefits of flashcards is that you can carry a few of them with you wherever you go in a way that you can’t or won’t do with a textbook or computer. That way you can study them while you are waiting in line at the supermarket or in other circumstances where you can transform a few minutes of spare time into productive study time.
Remove cards that you have mastered. When you are certain that you have retained the information on a particular card, you can remove it from your deck of flashcards and spend more time on the ones that require more repetitions. You can always add it back in for a final review.Tags: how to build flashcards, why flashcards work