Flashcards are a well-known and popular learning tool for many subjects, especially foreign languages. Although cards are often electronic nowadays, the basic principle is the same. One side of the book has a question, and the other side has the answer. With languages, flashcards are beneficial for storing vocabulary. The target language’s words and phrases are in front and the back’s translation.
If you want to take your medical knowledge to an advanced level, you should seriously consider adding flashcards to your toolbox. I will share with you some tips on how to use them best.
Index books can be useful because they are so resilient. You can class them differently, bring them with you, also study everywhere. It’s also easy to identify problem areas that may require more study. These books can be set aside for special attention.
Many people use books systematically called spatial repetition, where the books are examined at set intervals. Electronic card systems are excellent here because the intervals can be easily programmed.
Digital cards are available on computers and mobile devices. With software like anki add ons, you can create your own decks or even share decks with other users. You can also find commercial flashcard vendors that sell decks or deck subscriptions online.
While digital cards are great, there is something to be said for the low index or plain paper product. It is cheap, fast, and easy to manufacture, does not require a device to run, can be written, and takes up little space. Simple pieces of paper are fine but not as durable as heavier books. Of course, nothing prevents you from getting the best of both worlds and combining a digital system with a set of physical cards.
In medical learning for beginners, books are mainly used for learning vocabulary with a single word on one side and translation on the back. At the advanced level, highlight whole phrases and expressions to see how certain words are used in the context. So the front of the card could have a target word or phrase, some conjugated forms if it is a verb, and a sample sentence or two. The translation goes backward.
Another use of advanced flashcards is as a daily memory aid. Suppose you have identified a phrase or two that you want to use at least five times today. You will carry the books with you and look at them from time to time to remember how the terms are used. You might even have a few books discreetly in front of you in a meeting and try to incorporate the expressions into the discussion.