A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

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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