Flashcards are a great way, if not the best way, to memorize a large amount of vocabulary all at once.
Modern day flashcard apps are based on the Spaced Repetition System (SRS), which follows a simple idea: when you get a word right, the time before you see that flashcard again increases 1 day, 1 week, a month, and so on. These intervals are based on research into memory and are set so that you will see a word again right before you are about to forget it.
The two main apps available today are Memrise and Anki.
Anki has a simple layout, but it takes some time to learn how to use and you have to create all of cards yourself, which can take time. The iOS app is $20, while the desktop and Android versions are free.
Here at Italian Online, we prefer Memrise. It’s completely free and it’s super easy to use. You can find pre-made flashcards and can upload them yourself, including voice recordings for every word.
The Mistake To Avoid With Flashcards
Flashcards are designed for just one purpose – helping you remember new words and being able to recall them while listening, reading, or in a conversation. That’s all.
Once you are able to remember it in real life situations, the flashcard has done its job.
In fact, when you are actually able to use the word a few times in real conversations – it sticks, and you won’t be needing that flashcard any longer.
BUT if you never actually use the word, you will most likely forget it once you stop using the flashcard. Unfortunately, most people do not do this and end up forgetting a lot of vocabulary within a few months.
So whenever you add words to your flashcards, be sure to try to apply them and use them in real life as soon as possible. You will be amazed by the results!
Use flashcards upfront to beef up your vocabulary, then USE the vocabulary – eventually, you won’t be needing flashcards anymore and you can start focusing on other aspects of the language!