I use this flashcards technique to help with learning information efficiently and committing it to memory. I think it works best with essay-based (e.g. Group 1, 3) and recall-based (e.g. Group 2, 4) papers. It involves listing down everything I need to know, rearranging them into a Q&A format, and practicing those Q&As. Let’s use the Economics exam as an analogy!
Create the Flashcards
I’d first view the syllabus and list down every point that could be tested on the exams. I would turn each of these points into a question—for example, “Understand the consequences of subsidies” would be rephrased as “What are the consequences of subsidies on consumers / producers / the government?”. Under each question, I’d list down the essential bullet points. What definitions do I need to include? What is the relevant graph of this concept? What are the short-term and long-term effects of this concept?
Each of these questions will be turned into a flashcard of sorts, arranged by chapter. It doesn’t matter how you organize this as long as it works for you. Physical flashcards or apps like Quizlet are popular. Personally, I prefer a long bookmarked Google Doc with all my Q&As as it is easy to access (Ctrl+F!) the questions I want to practice.
Understand, Recall, Apply
Now that you have your flashcards, make sure that you understand the content first before moving on! Look for answers to questions you are unsure about (YouTube has always been my favorite resource) so that your knowledge is solid. Afterwards, actively practice the flashcards. Read the question and try to answer it yourself first before uncovering the answer. You could talk out loud, scribble on a notepad/whiteboard, etc. Keep note of the points that you missed out on and come back to that flashcard within the same study session. Doing this in pairs or trios makes learning more fun! (Your study buddy doesn’t even need to take the same subject as you for this to work). Finally, apply your knowledge by doing past paper questions!
Overall, I think this is a fairly exam-friendly method because of how straightforward and methodical it is. Make sure that your flashcards are concise but also include points that you need to know. At first, things might be a bit slow, but you’ll quickly realize that you’ll pick up the pace fast!
Flashcard app recommendations: Quizlet, Anki, Chegg Prep, Google Docs, or make physical flashcards!
Note: It doesn’t matter what app you use, what matters is how well you use the flashcard technique. Also, some of these apps already have IB flashcard decks created by past students. Using these for short-response questions (e.g. definitions) might help you save time, but I recommend creating your own flashcards for long-response questions because you will remember them better!
You may also like…
- Zina’s tips on Effective Exam Revision.
- Sodbileg’s Secret for Learning How To Learn.