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Memorize faster, better and easier with online tools

Rahul, Psychology, Class of 2022

In my second year during the Winter term, I decided that I wanted to learn a bit of a new language and so I enrolled in Introductory Spanish (SPAN 111). I’m a psychology major, so learning a language required a whole new approach to studying! On the second day of class, I remember the professor encouraging us to repeat the English alphabet in Spanish, one of the foundational components of learning Spanish. This would establish a base for learning how to spell, write, and read new terms.

When it came to Week 2, I had already been introduced to more than a hundred terms and phrases. I already felt overwhelmed, and couldn’t remember material from the morning by the evening. By the end of the term, I would need to pull several hundred terms and phrases from my head and either write down or vocalize them in a comprehensible, grammatically sound form. I needed to memorize a vast amount of material. How could I possibly know where to start when it came to studying?!

What better resource to call upon than the one I had discovered in my first year at Queen’s? This resource has saved me time and time again with most of my psychology courses and others that have required significant memorization of definitions, basic concepts, and facts. This is Quizlet, a free website that provides a valuable set of learning tools for students.

Quizlet’s main feature for students is creating flashcards. Flashcards are typically best for learning definitions, terms, basic concepts, and facts for multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, and definition/term question types. Quizlet’s flashcard feature is beloved by Queen’s students from every faculty, so try it for memorizing information!

Quizlet’s features

Flashcards – This feature presents you with one side of a flashcard. After you answer the prompt, the flashcard will flip over so that you see if you were correct. If it’s crunch time and I need to study something quickly, I can go through flashcards I add to Quizlet throughout the semester. If I don’t know the answer to the backside of a flashcard, I can star the card, indicating that I need to go back to it. Once I go through all of my flashcards, I go back through the starred cards. To ensure that I’m not simply “recognizing” these starred cards because of the order that they were initially presented in, Quizlet allows you to shuffle your flashcards. After doing this, I would go through the starred cards again.

Learn Mode – This feature allows you to progress from basic recognition to mastery and complete memorization. It’s a smart way of studying material because you can set study reminders with it, thereby prompting you to learn bit by bit until the day of your assessment. What’s unique about this feature is that you get encouraging messages as you study!

Write Mode – This feature allows you to write a term next to its definition and vice versa. Great for when you have to memorize and recall key definitions for an in-class assignment or a quiz.

Spell Mode – This feature provides you with a verbal iteration of the terms you need to study. Then, you spell the term that you hear. Very useful if you’re in language or science courses with long or unfamiliar words that require precise spelling to get full marks!

Test Mode – This feature is neat because you can select what question types you want to be tested on. If the course you are taking has an exam that consists mostly of multiple choice, you can select this option in test mode so that all your questions are in a multiple choice format. You can also select and combine other question types such as true/false, term/definition, matching, and written.

Games – Quizlet can make studying fun! Try the Matching game to quickly recognize terms and their definitions or the Gravity game to the same in a fast-paced setting. There’s nothing like a bit of studying that feels like fun. Just don’t overdo the gaming – you still have to use more effective, traditional study methods too.

In reading this, you might object that “making flashcards takes so long, and I don’t have that kind of time!” Don’t fret. Using Quizlet’s search option you’ll be able to find many pre-made flashcard sets to use for your courses. So, instead of writing a ton of terms and their definitions, you might just be able to save yourself by being able to access these from other users, and for free. Just be careful that the definitions in anything you find online are actually correct – who’s to say the student that made them was as diligent as you? – and that the terms and definitions you use for a course haven’t changed in the time since your downloaded quiz was made.

Is Quizlet for everyone?

No, it isn’t. Quizlet is especially advantageous for courses that genuinely do require a lot of memorization. Almost every course at Queen’s requires you to apply and use information – memorizing is only the start. In Spanish, for example, I still had to be able to conjugate verbs, put together whole sentences and paragraphs, and speak and listen. Being able to cite lengthy lists of vocabulary wouldn’t have got me far enough to do well in the course. That’s why I left plenty of time for other study techniques in my schedule. Nonetheless, memorization is a basic component of most courses, and Quizlet can help you get on the right track to memorizing what you need to know quickly and reliably, all on one platform that can be accessed online.

Resources

Quizlet: https://quizlet.com

How Students Study Using Quizlet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpN02iFQQk0

Advanced Tips for Using Quizlet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4TcCDiRdPY