Flashcards

General Strategy

1. At the start of the day, run flashcards (test yourself) before even thinking about the material;
2. Throughout the day, informally do new reading (and think over the concepts, making connections ahead & back);
3. Also list new cards to make during the day;
4. In the evening, do heavy notating & drilling of reading material, making new cards as stuck points show themselves;
5. (Review & Revise your cards as part of evening work, in preparation for a morning test)


It's best to handwrite all your flashcards! If you're not confident about reproducing a given symbol or diagram by hand:
your priority should be to go about practicing it, or learning pieces of it instead, before making a flashcard for that item.
(Flashcards will not deepen your knowledge or understanding of how something works or is composed; they're only "Yes" or "No")
Keep the contents of flashcards as plain and simple as possible — a one-word Term & one-word Definition is the most optimal.
Keep them rough and lightweight — even use notebook paper. Each card can be easily re-created & replaced as they wear out.

1 Sheet Notebook Paper <= 24 Cards

1. Cut/tear a sheet of paper in half lengthwise, making 2 strips. (Or, just mark/fold in half for now; see Note below).
2. Fold a strip lengthwise, toward your dominant hand, but stop short of folding fully in half. Now you have 2 columns on 1 strip.
3. Write Terms on top (on narrow side); write Definitions beneath (on wide side). This way, they won't bleed through.
Optionally note a source/page ref with the Definition, or keep a separate Index where, for each day-number, sources are detailed.)

Note: You could do all the above before tearing a sheet from a notebook or binder:
if left-handed, write on the right-side/odd-numbered page in the open notebook; if right-handed, write on the left/even page.

At the outer edge of the Definition column (the part visible when strip is folded), make marks to show where to tear off the cards.
This mark can even be the Day Number: On a separate sheet or journal page, you can record sources and notes for the card set.
(If you're studying multiple different subjects in one day, using the same Day Number across all subjects should be sufficient.)

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 (Diagram shows the fold direction for right-handed users.)

Drilling New Cards

Running or drilling flashcards really just means to sort them by familiarity. Draw your cards from an envelope, hat, or "bag."
(You can tell which is the Term side by feel: the Term side on top, and the long edge protruding toward your dominant-hand.)
Run the cards by tossing them into piles called "Know it" and "Don't know it".
To end the session, put away all of these cards into a special bag labeled "Daily", to test them again tomorrow.

4 Bags to Draw from: Day, Week, Month, Quarter

At the start of day, run the Daily cards*. Opening the bag begins the Session. As before, toss into piles "Know" and "Don't Know".
After running each card only once, put the Know Its away into a bag — you'll typically promote them to the "Weekly" bag.
But be very deliberate about whether to promote, or to return them to the same bag. "Weekly" cards are run at start-of-week.
So, if it's already the weekend, you may want to not promote them, and instead return them to the Daily bag.)

As for the Don't Knows, run them until you can correctly answer them all, as before, and them put them back in "Daily".
And whether it's a Weekly, Monthly, or Quarterly session, always send your Don't Know pile back to the Daily bag when finished.


*Run the Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly, & Daily (in that order!) at the very start of each respective period (some will coincide).
Know Its from the Monthly session are promoted to Quarterly, unless it's already in the last few weeks of the quarter.
Know Its from the Weekly session are promoted to Monthly, unless it's already the last week of the month.
You should be somewhat resistant about promoting the cards, because it means you should not see them again for a while.
(Also be resistant if the next greater cycle will be tested soon: You'll answer too easily, and be liable to promote them again.)


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