We want to support you in creating and organizing the BEST flashcards possible to ensure that you (and/or your students) get the maximum benefit and educational value from Brainscape.
Discover a variety of tips that we strongly suggest you consider for content organization and content creation of a variety of content, ranging from exam prep to studying varietals of wine.
We also encourage you to share your flashcards with others to gather feedback or delegate some of the authoring. It also helps other people to learn more efficiently themselves!
Use this handy checklist before studying your flashcards or sharing them with others.
Organization -- set up your flashcard class
- Divide Classes and Decks into meaningful chunks -- Divide complex topics (Classes) into discrete sub-topics (decks) for a better learning road map.It's helpful to align decks to the same lessons, chapters, or units in your source material. What are classes vs. decks?
- Name your content clearly -- Explicit Deck and Class titles provide context to the learner. Concise titles enhance the simplicity of the Brainscape UX.
- Be mindful of content copyright – It’s best to re-organize and present your content in a different structure where copyright issues or explicit alignment may be an issue.
- Order Decks and flashcards deliberately -- The order should start with the easier, "foundational" content and then proceed to more advanced content. Brainscape will eventually order the cards based on the user's level of mastery.
- Be aware of Deck size -- An ideal Deck size is between 20 to 200 cards. Decks with fewer than 20 cards will be repeated over and over. Decks with more than 200 cards may become frustrating because you don’t get a sense of "completion".
Content -- make your flashcards memorable
- Make the main answer immediately recognizable -- Isolate the main answer or term so that users can still flip through the flashcards quickly. Any additional details can be moved to a footnote.
- Don’t overcrowd your flashcard -- Use the smallest piece of information that meets a particular learning objective and stick to one learning objective per flashcard. Some contextual variations and exceptions exist (e.g. memorizing the planets in order from the sun).
- Proofread your flashcard content -- Make sure to avoid cumbersome sentences, silly grammatical mistakes, and accidental word repetitions. (Reading it aloud can help!) You can also add Grammarly as a spell-check browser plugin.
Format -- make your flashcards easy to read
- Vary your Question types -- Use a variety of formats such as "Define this term", "Describe this process", "Identify the labeled part", “True or false”, “Fill in the blank”, etc. Multiple-choice questions are usually NOT great for flashcards.
- Organize long answers -- If you need to present more information on one flashcard (e.g. essay sections or master flashcards), make sure to organize your answers well by using better spacing, bolding, italics, and bulleted/numbered lists.
- Structure multi-point answers -- Use bulleted or numbered lists for items in a series for easier readability.
- Use Footnotes for supportive commentary --Add a sentence or two of 'color commentary' (such as real-life examples) that augments the simple main answer.
- Highlight key points within your text -- Use bold to highlight key text or italicize supporting concepts to make them stand out and easier to read.
- Record audio for tough pronunciations -- You can even record your own voice to support auditory learners, language learning, and much more.
- Use PNGs over JPGs -- Use horizontal images to match the flashcard format and the optimal image resolution is for the biggest screen format (2800 x 2000).
- Use hyperlinks only when necessary -- Use hyperlinks only if the learner benefits from information available elsewhere. Don't worry: Links will open in another browser tab.
- Be mindful of media copyright -- When using images from standard free public no-royalties image library, make sure to provide the right credit in the image caption field (Photo credit: Joe Schmoe).
Brainscape Flashcard Examples
The below question and answer cards provide a sample of formatting standards.
#1: Example short, snappy answer with a supportive footnote.
#2: Example of a great format with bolding, italics, and an image. lists & even a link for more information.
#3: Example of a great format with bolding, lists & even a link for more information.
#4: Example of a Prompt above the question and an additional image.
#5: Example of a Fill in the Blank question format.
For more awesome information, read Brainscape’s complete guide on making and studying flashcards online.
Still have questions and can't find the answer? Be sure to email our Tech Support Team (firstname.lastname@example.org), or join our Discord channel where you can discuss all things learning, meet others studying for the same exams, and upvote features you'd like to see us add to our tool.
And for more FREE study advice don't forget to check out the Brainscape Academy.