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Learn languages with flashcards.
Import any Anki deck or make your own with Avokado's awesome editor.

Most of the times flashcards are used to learn languages, but can also be useful to absorb any information you need. You might have seen it in movies when people prepare themselves for an important speech on a wedding day or get ready for business meeting or negotiations. They write down key theses on cards. That's how a lot of students try to put it all together in their heads before exams.

Such flashcards can be made at home by yourself, but there are a lot of apps today which allow you to work with and manage virtual ones. Let's discuss such method in general and figure out which cards are better — digital or physical?

Flashcards applications

Many of the apps listed below are virtually universal and suit many purposes but it still depends on what your goals are and what you intend to learn.

Of course you have a choise

swipe me
Brainscape Chegg Ankidroid Avokado
Price $9.99 monthly
$79.99 lifetime
and in-app purchase
for extra content
Free install and in-app
purchases for features
and content
$24.99 for IOS,
free for Android
and desktop use
$3 monthly
$40 lifetime
before we upgrade to
Avokado 1.1
See details here
Free trial You should make your
own cards to try the app
No No Play around with decks we
suggest or go staight to Anki
directory. All features already
Device agnostic Apps for web, Android end IOS Available only on IOS 9.0+ Available IOS 9.0+
Android v2.3.3+
and desktop
Responsive browser app
works everywhere
Works with Anki format
(i.e. you have acces
many fields)
Doesn’t work with Anki format.
Pre-made collections available
only for paid accounts.
Doean’t work ith Anki format.
Works with Cram
Yes Works with Anki. Cram will be included in v1.0 release
Cool design from 2018 ? ? ? Yes
Create own cards.
Include multimedia
(images, audio etc.)
Advanced editor avalable
only on paid account
Yes, but 'rich text editor'
is a paid add-on
Yes Yep. No strings attached.
lets try

We recommend downloading several apps to try and choose the best for your personal taste and needs. Especially if you're new to flashcards. Now, let's get down to the practical part.

Physical or digital?

Both, digital and physical flashcards have their own pros and cons. Crafting a stack of actual cards can be quite time consuming, regardless of material you use. It is difficult and sometimes absolutely impossible to update physical cards. Once a card is worn out you have to throw it away and make a new one and card exchange becomes quite a complicated experience.

If you're a busy person you definitely should take the app route: cards last infinitely, easy to create and update, instant exchange, and all your cards fit in your pocket. If you plan to educate kids than it's much better to go visual and make or buy premade pack of physical flashcards.

Physical flashcards are a lot of fun and even creating them can be entertaining for you and your kids.

Advices on apps

Biggest piece of advice we have for you, is to create your own cards, if you have time.
Creating your own cards helps make learning process more efficient, conscious and more engaging.

This is defintly a must do if you learn language in class or courses of some sort.

Lack of time? Bad excuse

  • That's an illusion you use to lie to yourself. Stop it. The main purpose of flashcards is to be used anywhere, anytime. Traffic jam, subway commute, midday dinner, late night bath you name it.
  • Using flashcards is easy. If you manage to leave comments and replies on social media you definitely can find a few spots for flashcards in your schedule.
  • Learn in short sessions: 10-15 minutes.

Speaking of excuses, we rarely start a job if its completion takes hours and we only have 30 minutes. We say to ourselves: No way I pull off finishing this in 30 minutes!

With flashcards you have to follow a simple strategy. Define from the start that you're going to spend only 10 or 15 minutes and remember that it's going to be effective. Ten minutes can be enough to repeat and go through about a 100 words. Just think of it. So, don't lie to yourself get to work.

And by the way: your flashcards are literally in your pocket and it takes merely some seconds to open the flashcards app and start learning.

Use synergy

Synergy is the interaction of two or more factors to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

So share your digital cards with friends and other people in the community. It's going to maximize your potential. Be synergetic.

Avoid chaos

This is a serious concern not only for physical flashcards. Don't download tons and tons of cards, don't jump from stack to stack and don't overload your cards with pictures and text. To achieve great results stick to fundamental information on each subject.

Your main goal is to be able to perceive information on each card as quickly as possible.

Stick to the topic

Be careful and do not succumb to "learn-it-all" temptation. English first, math later do not mix.

Make sure each collection of cards revolves around a certain topic or subject. Collections with cards on multiple subjects lead to informational overload and you eventually lose your focus.

Test yourself often

Don't be afraid of tests and exams. They're for your good, especially when they're just electronic and you're in charge. The more you test yourself the better and it is very similar to real life practice.

Make sure you sync your flashcards

Most applications are available on a variety of platforms so that you can start on your smartphone and continue learning on your laptop from where you left off. That guarantees the continuity of your learning process throughout the day.

Important (or not so) rules

Every new field you enter requires you to get familiar with and follow a number of simple rules. Try following those listed below.

Rule 1: don't create flashcards to memorize facts

Grinding fact after fact creates a terrible and boring learning curve. The only fact you need to know is: flashcards can be useful and interesting at the same time. Gamified data effortlessly finds its way into your memory.

Diversify your learning experience instead of commiting to dull and mindless reading:

  • In your own words, explain why this particular piece of information is correct.
  • Use analogies and mnemotechnics.
  • Use visual aid (pictures, sketches).
  • Use arguments. Try to list pros and cons.
  • Come up with examples of practical use. As many as possible.

Rule 2: establish your own learning system

That's where you have to realise that discipline and consistency of learning is way more important than occasional learning sessions. Build basis for your studies by answering these questions:

  • How often and when are you going to study? Ex.: 15 minutes in the morning on your way to work and 15 more minutes on your way back home.
  • How often should you update your flashcards and how to sort them right?
  • Is it necessary to use pictures and audio files?
  • Is it worth creating your own sets of flashcards or should you be satisfied with what's already present and made by other people?

Rule 3: study everywhere

A huge advantage behind using flashcards to learn is that they're compact. And with a digital app you can have flashcards with you literally at all times.

Whether you wait in line, ride a bus, take an elevator it's always an opportunity to lay your hands on some knowledge.

Work on your consistency and don't turn one week into a barrage of flashcards, while the next week you barely touch them. Try to make it even every day.

Rule 4: simplify complicated concepts

If you study history you know that some concepts are difficult to list on a single flashcard.

That's why you need to split and allocate it throughout several cards. Split the topic into a number of smaller ones or try to split a question in a number of sub-questions.

The subject of language can be approached similarly. When you try to learn rules of grammar via flashcards it can become an issue, since some rules are too bulky, especially for physical flashcards. Try to list only one case of use on each card. It makes for more cards but improves your learning ability and saves from clogging your brain with too much information and facts at a time.

Rule 5: answer out loud

Engaging extra channel of perception strongly improves your learning ability. Japanese railroad workers follow a rule to perform an action and immediately pronounce it. This method allows your brain to identify the information as that of great priority.

When it comes to foreign languages it is especially important. For example, if you learn English, in reality, you deal with four languages due to multiple input/output channels:

  • reading English [visual input].
  • writing English [visual output].
  • understanding spoken English [auditory input].
  • speaking English [auditory output].

Some people are great translators in form of text but can barely pronounce what they translate. So always head for the win and expand your skills in multiple directions.

Rule 6: flashcards are not magic pills

It's a great tool for learning but barely the only one. Combine this method with everything you have:

  • Pass tests.
  • Read books.
  • Grind at rules of grammar.
  • Use help of tutors if available.
  • Practice a lot.
  • Watch educational videos.

Get rid of your blind spots, instead of covering them. Flashcards give essential information, but they won't give you full knowledge and deep understanding.

Rule 7: one question one answer

Don't rush. You're not climbing the top of the mountain in a blink of an eye. To avoid regress follow a simple rule for starters: one question one answer.

Once you've reached the basic level of comprehension, you can make flashcards more complex or even eliminate the information that's already imprinted into your brain through repetition. When is the right time? If you make no mistakes with any of your cards for a week straight, it's time to shift gears.

Rule 8: pair pictures and words

We've already talked about how important can it be to use pictures, but it doesn't mean that pictures can replace words. So remember pair pictures and words! This will help you greatly increase overall efficiency.

Rule 9: the simpler, the better

Additional information that doesn't help you memorize new rules or words is useless. Avoid being tempted to learn all 20 Russian translations for just one English word. Get comfortable with a couple of those first.

Rule 10: productivity can become procrastination

Don't be in a hurry to fill your flashcards with all the words you encounter while watching movies, reading magazines, web articles or books.

There is a list of words in English that is vital to master as a matter of priority. Some of those words are parts of commonly used phrases, while lots of words and phrases you might pick up from classic literature may never come in handy.

Rule 11: learn first, memorize next

Instead of simply memorizing a word, start by going a bit deeper. Learn about it, read about its origins, read about the very subject of it. Instead of memorizing the translation try to grasp the very meaning of it. Feel the context.

If you're up to learn a periodic table, start with reading about Mendeleev, than read about each element of the table. Wikipedia is out there to help you. That's a very efficient method: deep understanding is key to accumulating and storing knowledge.

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