Virtual Flash Cards

| June 17, 2010

Last week, I took a multiple choice exam for the first time since my senior year at the University of North Alabama in 2002. In grad school my grades were based on essays and papers, so 8 years later I’m a little rusty on how to study for a test. Memorization is not my preferred method for acquiring knowledge, but that’s what’s required in college Chemistry.

The tool I returned to is one I had success with years ago–the flash card. I picked up a box of color index cards at Rite Aid and went through my textbook, one chapter at a time. It’s worked for me so far in this course, but after I nearly missed a subway exit trying to gather up a pile of unruly cards, I had a thought that has become the mantra of this generation: surely this has gone digital.

This has occurred to me many times before when doing anything “analog” (does anyone else have momentary impulses to hit CTRL+F when looking for a term in a print document?) and this time, I was right: there’s an app for it. In fact, there are many Flash Cards apps for iPhone/Pad/Touch, but I’m very happy with the well-reviewed Flashcards Deluxe. Users can create their own cards or download card sets, insert images, sounds and pictures, and there’s a “smart study” mode that repeats cards you answered incorrectly.

The app also allows users to report whether their answers are “correct (some hesitation),” “wrong”or “strong (know very well).” This gives you a score at the end of each round and also determines individual card frequency.

At $3.99, it’s about $.60 more than one box of index cards.

Now, all I have to worry about is Blackberry Thumb.