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Test without the Stress: Study Tips and Tricks to Maximize Your Grades

Test without the Stress: Study Tips and Tricks to Maximize Your Grades

Study and test tips and tricks. Flashcard apps help study time. Tutoring at The Cognitive Emporium

Spring time often means test and stress time for students and  parents.


There are so many things to consider when preparing for the test outside of the actual content to be learned that it can be overwhelming. To ease the stress, take advantage of helpful tips and tools to make studying easier.

For example, the need to memorize information is often a source of stress. But the tips I have for you below will help you and your student feel in control of the process of memorizing content.

Flashcards remain one of the most effective study tools. Picking the best flashcard app, and using it correctly, can save you a LOT of time. There are a variety of flashcard apps available, but keep in mind that there is no one best app for everyone. Instead, the best app is the app that fits best with the student's individual learning style.

That said, however, there are some key features that a flashcard app needs to have to be an effective tool. Below, I've listed the features to look for when selecting an app along with helpful tips on how to make the most effective use of it.  As there are so many to choose from, to get you started finding the best app for you, we've also listed our picks of the best flashcard apps for you to try based on features and ease of use.

The best flashcard app for you  will need the following features:

  • Pictures: If your visual memory is stronger than your verbal memory, picture associations can make it a lot easier to remember.
  • Voice-over: We all learn better when we hear information as well as read it. This might be most important if you are studying a foreign language, generally have difficulty remembering, or have weaker attention skills.
  • No distractions: The best flashcard app might be the simplest design.  It's often worth the price to upgrade to avoid the distracting ads which can be very disruptive, especially if you have difficulties with attention.
  • Create your own flashcards: The process of creating the flashcards helps you learn.  And when you create your own, you know you are studying accurate information.  Never rely on open-sourced flashcards to study from as they haven't been checked to verify they contain the correct information.
  • Random order: You want to mix up the order of your cards each time through the stack.  Otherwise, you might remember the information only in order.  You can be sure the test questions won't be in the order you studied, so be sure mix it up!
  • Categorize your cards: Its best to learn and review by chunking information. If you have 20 vocabulary words to learn, master five before moving on to the next.  As you progress in your studying, you want to group your cards by which ones you mastered and which ones still need more practice.

Helpful tips when using flashcards:

Space out your studying. 10 minutes a day for 6 days will be far more effective than one hour the night before.

Say your answers aloud while you study.  It might feel weird but you are far more likely to remember the information when you hear yourself repeat it.

Change up where you study. Just as you shouldn't study your cards in the same order, don't always study in the same place.  Mixing it up helps you learn.

Best flashcard apps for test practice:

  • Quizlet: Quizlet enables students to practice with flashcards using pictures, voice and text, but also by playing games and answering in multiple formats (true-false, fill-in-the-blank, etc.).  It is easy-to-use and offers a good variety of practice. Considerations: Free version is distracting with lots of ads. Can only categorize as mastered or not, rather than rating your mastery.
  • Flashcards Deluxe: This app has the best set of features, including options to self-assess, write in answers, use pictures and voice over. Considerations: Among the most challenging to learn to use. Will need to upgrade for more than 6 decks.
  • Make Your Own: All the technology in the world doesn't beat handmade flashcards. The act of writing is the best way to begin studying

Tips for making your own flashcard decks:

  • Use colored flashcards to chunk related information.
  • As you test yourself, self-assess and create stacks: (1) need to study, (2) almost there, and (3) got it.
  • Keep groups of cards organized with a paper clip or rubber band and take them with you.
  • Shuffle them as you would a deck of cards.
  • Because of their format, card decks are easier than an app to have a parent or friend quiz you with.
  • It might not be a student's first choice, but this "old school" approach is still the most effective option.

What study tips do you use that have been effective in improving your child's grades? Share your tips in the comments below...