A Bringer of New Things

I want to read and learn all I can, write thoughtfully and truthfully, live according to reason and ever more mature wisdom, and savor every wonderful little gift of life.

My Flashcard Study System


This is my flashcard study system for learning foreign language vocabulary. Yes, I know there are lots of fancy software programs and apps for learning languages, but this is how I like to do it! (I also study a book for grammar and listen to an audio program for speaking and listening). Right now I’m learning French.

As you can see, I cut 3-by-5 notecards in half and write the French word on one side and the English word on the other. I separate the words into packs, and for each pack I make a front card, on which I write the pack’s category (verbs, adj./adv./prep., nouns in a certain category) and leave a space to write the dates I reviewed the pack. This makes it easier to keep the packs in a regular rotation.

When I’m reviewing a flashcard pack, I look at the English word and try to recall the French word. If I know it, I put the card at the back of the pack and keep going. If I don’t know it, I look at the answer and then put the card aside, and I keep going through the pack. I review the set-aside cards a few times after I’m done with the pack (sometimes doing another round of setting aside, if there are a lot I don’t know), then put them on the top of the pack, clip it back together (or use a rubber band, when I run out of clips), and write the date on the front card.

It’s helpful for me to have a regular time and place each day for reviewing a vocab flashcard pack. An alternative is to keep the packs somewhere I can easily see them, to remind me to review my French vocab words.

At present, I think I’ve got my flashcard packs mostly memorized…which means it’s time to make more!


4 comments on “My Flashcard Study System

  1. kdankovich
    October 3, 2013

    I used to use the flashcard method, too and would keep them nearby to study. But I wasn’t as methodical as you are. When I was in Paris, I kept a notebook where I would write down unfamiliar words and phrases and kept it in my purse with the intention of studying them when I found myself stuck in traffic, waiting to get my hair cut, etc. (Great minds?! lol)


  2. ChrisFenderDrift
    October 5, 2013

    I made most progress learning English when I decided to read all book in English. These days I try to use e-books for three reasons;
    -have the benefit of the integrated dictionary
    -highlight paragraphs for easy reference


  3. diligentmonster
    October 7, 2013

    I’ve been using a set of ready to use flashcards for my Spanish studies, but I don’t find them as useful as I’d like. I noticed that even if I recall the particular word while studying with the flashcards, it doesn’t come to me when I write my Spanish journal. It’s better for me to put the words into sentences, but of course it’s very time-consuming. Writing a journal in the target language is a better method for me. After I finish writing, I underline all the words I had to check in the dictionary and once a week I make a review of them. Also it’s easier for me to use the particular word afterwards if it was once put into a sentence.
    I also consider reading books in the target language an awesome exercise (I do it a lot with English-my second language, while my first is Polish), but I’m too lame to read books in Spanish at the time being (been studying for a month).
    Good luck with your studies 🙂


  4. Sarrah J. Woods
    December 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on Lifelong Learners League and commented:

    Since I wrote this post on my personal blog last year, I’ve discovered Duolingo, the awesome, free app for learning languages. I highly recommend it! But I still also recommend the simple, old-fashioned flashcard method. Most of the words I learned through the cards are still with me!


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This entry was posted on October 2, 2013 by in Discoveries from Learning and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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