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Flashcards: Tips & Tricks - How to Color Code and Use Spatial Recognition

In this article, you will learn how to create, color code, and use spatial recognition with flashcards to not only memorize information but also connect and remember ideas and relationships. You can learn these skills by watching a tutorial video, reading step-by-step instructions, or downloading a free & printable Quick Reference Guide.

Video Tutorial:

In this video, I explain tips & tricks on how to create flashcards and how to use flashcards for more than just memorization of information. You can find step-by-step instructions and a free, printable quick reference guide below.


Step-By-Step Instructions:

The four sections outlined below will help you become an expert at creating and using flashcards to memorize definitions and remember how different things are related to one another.

Flashcards Tips & Tricks

1. Creation of Flashcards

Making flashcards is relatively simple. The basic supplies you need to make flashcards are a list of terms or concepts to study, index cards (or really just pieces of any type of paper), and something to write with. The basic process is to take a small piece of paper like an index card and write the term to be studied on one side and write the definition of that term or word on the other side. Repeat this process for the rest of your words to be studied and you have yourself a set of flashcards.

A couple tips when it comes to making flashcards:

  1. If you are using index cards to make your flashcard set, try cutting the index cards in half to get more flashcards from one pack of index cards.

  2. You can make flashcards out of notebook paper or printer paper by folding the paper over and over into a small rectangle (roughly 2" x 3"). Then unfold the paper and cut on the folds. You will end up with small rectangular pieces of paper that you can write your terms and definitions on just the same as index cards.

  3. Try using an online flashcard generator such as You can read more about getting started on and watch a tutorial video here:


2. Basic Use of Flashcards

The most basic way to study with flashcards is to quiz yourself one card at a time on what each word means or in reverse by looking at the definitions and seeing if you can remember what word matches each definition.

For best results, try to break your study sessions up into multiple shorter study times. For example, study the flashcards for 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, and 20 minutes at night instead of trying to sit down and study them for one straight hour. Giving your brain a break between multiple, shorter study sessions will help engrain the information in your brain space more clearly and for longer.


3. Color Coding Flashcards

If you have a lot of terms or concepts you are trying to remember or study using flashcards, there are a couple techniques you can try to help your brain remember the information easier and in a lasting way.

First, when creating your flashcards, try breaking your list of terms into different categories and then using different color flashcards for each category. You can do this by using different color paper or index cards. If you only have white paper or white index cards, you can color code them by using different color pens or markers when writing your terms and definitions.

Having the categories separated by color will help your brain to remember the information in each category and begin to help you connect the information within the category together. If you color code your categories and study 4 different categories of 25 terms each, your brain will have an extra support in trying to recall the information when you sit down to take a test. If you can remember what color or category a word belonged to, rather than your brain just trying to recall one of the words or definitions buried in the stack of 100 flashcards you were studying, your brain will just have to recall one of the 25 flashcards in that category that were the same color.

Categories & Colors Example:

  1. Muscular System Terms (White flashcards)

  2. Skeletal System Terms (Green flashcards)

  3. Layers of Skin Terms (Pink flashcards)


4. Using Spatial Recognition with Flashcards

One of the best ways to utilize flashcards for studying is to hang your different categories of flashcards in different locations around your room or house and study them while hanging on the wall or on an object like a mirror or door. Example: put one category of flashcards on the refrigerator and one on the microwave.

This method is helpful for three reasons. First, it gets your body out of a sitting position at your desk or the space where you normally study. Simply moving you body around and standing instead of sitting can help stimulate your brain and increase memory while studying.

Secondly, just like separating categories of terms by color, separating them by physical space as well will assist your brain in recalling information and definitions within different categories. If you could remember the word you are trying to identify a definition for was part of the category on your microwave, rather than trying to remember one of 100 words in a stack of flashcards, your brain would only have to try and sort through the 25 words you had studied on your microwave.

The third way spatial recognition can assist in memorizing and learning is perhaps the most important and most useful. Instead of just hanging the words in a simple pattern, hand the flashcards in a way that represents how each term is related to the other terms. Example: hang the cards for the "layers of skin" in the same vertical order that they exist on the body. This will help your brain remember not only the definition of the term but also how that term relates to other terms in that category.


Downloadable & Printable Quick Reference Guide

Click here for a free printable "Flashcards: Tips & Tricks Quick Reference Guide for Students." This guide gives helpful tips and instruction on creating flashcards, the basic use of flashcards, color coding flashcards, and using spatial recognition with flashcards to assist learning.


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