TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How it works
- Which subjects are best for flashcards
- How to find what you are looking for
- Starting to study / studying effectively
- Tracking mastery, stats
- Advanced study functionality
- Developing good study habits in Brainscape & other resources
How it works
Brainscape is a web and mobile "adaptive flashcards" platform that helps you learn twice as fast and remember information for longer.
Our Confidence-Based Repetition (CBR) algorithm super-charges your learning by repeating flashcards in precisely the right pattern of repetition for you, based on intelligent personalization and decades of cognitive science research.
Brainscape can be used on the web and mobile devices as a free study tool, although a Pro version includes some updated features and functionality. You can either create your flashcards, find flashcards created by others, or study one of the Brainscape Certified Classes if you are studying for a certification or standardized exam.
Which subjects are best suited for Brainscape?
Brainscape is the perfect tool for studying any subject that requires that you internalize a lot of knowledge into your brain. We avoid using the word "memorize", since we hope that you will be using a combination of tools to truly understand your topic at hand.
Brainscape flashcards can be created for any subject where knowledge can be broken down into clean Questions and Answers -- using either text, images, sounds, gifs, or any combination thereof. This can be for a class at school, a standardized exam, a foreign language, an employee training process, or any number of settings.
Some subjects that work especially well for flashcards:
- Scientific understanding
- Technical questions
- Verb conjugation
- Labeling diagrams
- Product info for salespeople
- Debate prep
- Faces & Names
- Restaurant menu items (e.g. What are the ingredients in a Pasta Milano?)
- History (e.g. Describe the causes that led to World War I)
- Maps (e.g. Where is Baghdad?)
- Police or Military protocols (e.g. What should you do when the perpetrator does X?)
- Compliance training (e.g. When should you submit a Form T-117 to HR?)
- And much more!
How do you find what you are looking for?
While you can certainly create your own flashcards in Brainscape, and many of our learners do just that, we also have a large Marketplace of public flashcards that have been created by the millions of learners who have / or are currently studying in Brainscape.
When you search the Marketplace in the mobile app or on the web (e.g. by clicking Find Flashcards on the website or the mobile app), you will see a Search bar at the top of the screen. Additionally, on the website and app, we allow users to explore a hierarchical content tree called the Knowledge Genome. This can be used to get a better idea of the types of subjects Brainscape offers, e.g. by digging down the tree from Science → Geology → Rocks, and then exploring all the Classes created by users for each subject.
For those looking to study for a specific certification or standardized exam, search Brainscape’s Certified Classes (flashcards created by educators who are experts in prepping learners for exams). We are continually partnering with experts to create more of these, but feel free to let us know what you’d like to see.
Sampling flashcards is always free, however you need a Brainscape Pro account to remove any study limits on flashcards you find, including both (i) flashcards created by other users (where you didn't receive a personal invitation link), and (ii) flashcards created by other publishers.
How to start Studying
"Studying" in Brainscape (as opposed to just "browsing") means using Brainscape's adaptive flashcard spaced repetition process. You will be taken through flashcards and asked to rate your confidence in each card, which helps power the Confidence-Based Repetition system and is proven to help you learn faster.
The Study button at the top of your Dashboard or Class IS the main way to study (though just the Class screen on the web app for now). If you want to progress linearly through your flashcards -- in other words, from the beginning to the end of the deck on order of the flashcards--make sure you have set your study mode to "Progressive Mode". If you prefer a random stream of flashcards from all over a deck, goggle that setting to "Random Mode".
Study Mix on the web allows you to create a curated set of flashcards in a deck. Smart Study on Mobile integrates the effective learning concept of interleaving into a study mix of various classes. The user can set the frequency for each class that appears in the study mix.
Once you begin studying, you'll be able to rate your confidences on the answer card. Your job is to answer the question from memory, then flip the card over, read the answer, and score how well you knew it on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being 'not at all' and '5' being 'perfectly'. This allow you to be able to reinforce your learning and focus on mastering your weaknesses (cards rated lower will appear more frequently). Here’s a helpful article on studying effectively.
Tracking your mastery
To help you keep track of your learning, and help you determine where to focus your study efforts, Brainscape has created a "Mastery" statistic at both the Deck and Class level.
Your Mastery is a weighted average of your confidence in all the cards of a specified Deck or Class. If you have not studied any flashcards, your Mastery would be 0%. If you had marked a 5 (perfect confidence) for every flashcard, your Mastery would be 100%.
Caution: While your goal is to gradually move all cards studied to a confidence level of 5, don't get too excited by watching the progress bar move to the right! Be honest with yourself, and give yourself a 5 only when you truly think you will never forget it ever again. Be a little stingy with the 5s.
Brainscape offers many ways to track learning stats, and we are constantly adding features and functionality around this very concept.
If you are studying a Brainscape Certified Class, you will see where you stack up on the Leaderboard. If you are studying a class you or others created, you can see your stats and the others studying this course (although the stats of other classmates will be hidden unless you are the class Administrator or creator).
Brainscape is increasingly adding more ways to track your progress and the progress of your learners (if you are creating/sharing content with your students or employees) through our Learners Tab on the web if you are the Admin of that class. We have license options for those looking at tracking detailed metrics for each of your learners, or managing advanced editing or privacy permissions. This is a helpful resource for more information about how the Learners Tab works.
Make sure your mobile device's automatic app updates setting is turned on, so you can be sure to be getting improvements to the Learners tab and Learner Stats in general regularly. Additionally, our team will reach out for any new updates to our platform impacting additional metrics and learner stats.
Advanced Study Functionality
Brainscape has additional study features available for those looking to move beyond the standard mastery tracker, including:
- Reset Mastery/Confidences: Brainscape flashcards' confidence ratings are meant to evolve, gradually gaining more confidence and eventually rating your cards a 4 or 5. Sometimes, you may downgrade your ratings if you don’t recall a concept as well as you originally did. If you want to reset the statistics for all cards in a given Deck or Class, because it has been a while since you studied, or you over confidently rated the first time, you can Reset Stats with Pro access.
- Reversing Question & Answer
- Bookmarking flashcards
- Setting notifications: this is an area that Brainscape has explored deeply in the past and is working to release updates on both our mobile and web interfaces soon.
- Preview/Browse -- allowing users to flip through cards without repetition on web or mobile app, but optionally rate their confidence as they go, so the next time they do a real Study session, it will be pre-curated.
Developing good study habits with Brainscape & helpful resources
Any study tool is only useful if you incorporate it into your daily routine. There are some principles around building strong study habits and at the core what Brainscape is all about. Brainscape’s Academy and YouTube channel have loads of resources on this topic, so please take a look and know that we are rooting for you!
Here are some tips that we’ve borrowed from that helpful article linked above to get you started:
- Anchor new habits to old ones
- Start one micro-habit at a time
- Keep the chain going
- Bribe yourself to study
- Discover your best time to study
- Use peer pressure to study better
- Combat the forces of FOMO
- Be unapologetic about studying
- Give yourself consequences
- Sort out your study environment
- The hidden benefits of daily study habits
Remember, if you are subscribed to receive email updates about new features and functionality and if your app auto updates with new releases, you’ll never miss an update or communication about great new features and functionality. You can always contact our help desk with questions.
Feel free to join the discussion on Discord.