Using Flashcards to Prepare for Your Licensing Exam
Flashcards have been around the block a few times — they were “invented” in the early 19th century and continue to be effective learning tools 200 years later, even in this high-tech digital age!
We at FIRE Solutions encourage you to incorporate flashcards into your daily study habits. FIRE Solutions does not offer any prepared flashcards as we feel that each student should build their decks of flashcards based on their own strengths and weaknesses. Below are some tips for creating and reviewing your flashcards.
What to Flashcard
- An Executive Summary found at the beginning of each lesson highlights key points of the module sections. These Executive Summaries are a good starting point for creating your flashcards.
- You should also consider creating flashcards as you review the questions you missed after taking a quiz or exam. This will help you focus on your particular areas of weakness.
- After completing the online quizzes and exams in the FIRE Solutions courses, you are provided with an Assessment Summary that directs you back to the sections of the lessons related to your missed questions. You should make flashcards covering these sections so you will be able to correctly answer similar questions in the future.
- Do not use prepared flashcards or online "flashcards" such as Quizlet. You can't be sure of the quality of information provided, and are better off creating your own.
- Keep the flashcards as brief as possible — use them to list formulas, key concepts, or rules. Avoid using flashcards to commit large blocks of text to memory or for broad, general concepts.
- Write out one flashcard for each formula, rule, or concept that you want to commit to memory or are struggling with. The act of writing it out in longhand requires you to slow down and focus on what you're writing, which leads to better memorization. Reading something five times isn't likely as effective, as we tend to not focus as well, even when we try to.
Using Your Flashcards
- Use the flashcards to “drill” yourself on a regular basis — you might consider starting each day by going through your flashcards and ending each day by doing the same. If you commute by train, ferry, or bus each morning and afternoon, you may want to use this time to drill yourself.
- Ask friends or family members to go through your flashcards with you. This will require you to verbalize the correct information instead of just calling the information to mind. You may not answer completely or correctly if you're not held accountable to someone else to give the complete and correct answer. You may also be asked to expand on your answers, which helps you grasp larger concepts while studying more detailed information.
- Having friends or family members drill you not only makes studying more fun for you, it gives your friends and family a vested interest in the outcome, and makes them more supportive of your study time.
- One of the beauties of flash cards is that you can do a little studying here and there throughout your day — keep the flash cards handy, and drill yourself on a few while you're waiting for your lunch order to be prepared or sitting in the doctor's waiting room. You don't have to go through your entire deck of flashcards each time you drill yourself — at times you may only get through three or four cards, and that's fine.
- As you learn the information on a flashcard, take it out of your deck so you're not drilling yourself on things you've committed to memory. Keep the flashcard handy, though, so you can revisit it again in the future to ensure you haven't forgotten it.
- One method of determining which flashcards to keep in your deck and which to take out is to put a checkmark at the top of the card if you get it right, and an “X” if you get it wrong. Once you find that you have three checkmarks in a row, you can move that flashcard out of your deck so you're not reviewing it each day. Again — keep the flashcard handy, and revisit it in a week or so to ensure you still remember what the flashcard has taught you.
- Consider using different colored flashcards for different subjects. By doing so, you can easily sort your flashcards so you can focus on one subject.
Flashcards likely played an important part in learning your elementary school basics, such as multiplication tables and vocabulary — let them help you to learn the rules and concepts needed to pass your securities licensing exam! With the exams focusing more and more towards scenario-based questions, it is important that you know and understand the rules and concepts so you are better able to apply them to the situations presented.