Flashcards are an easy way to learn almost anything, from a foreign language, to vocabulary, to a specific subject, like medicine or law. Here are the best flashcard apps available for PC, Mac, smart phones, tablets and online resources.
What are flashcards?
If you’re too young to remember traditional paper flashcards (and now feel old for knowing what they are), they’re a great way of exercising your memory “muscle”. Used mainly for studying, flashcards are a small piece of paper about the size of a cue card. On one side is the question, and on the other, the answer. If the word “casa” is printed on one side in Spanish, for example, on the other side the word “house” would be written. People would use flashcards to study by flipping through the cards, trying to memorize words, names or dates, and flipping over the card to check your answer.
Well, as with most things, even flashcards have gone digital these days. Below, we’ll give you some of the best flashcard apps for all your devices!
Anki is a powerful, multi-purpose application. Flashcards created using Anki can contain text, sound, images, and formatted documents in standard LaTeX. You can create your own set of flashcards or download one of the thousands of sets created by a huge community of Anki users. The app also uses a repetition method known as SuperMemo, which defines how well you know the information based on your speed of recall. If you really don’t know the answer, Anki will ask again tomorrow, and if you answer a question correctly, you’ll be asked again in 3 months. Anki is available on many platforms and allows you to synchronize between them.
Studyblue allows you to easily create flashcards with text, sound and images. You can, for example, take a photo or draw something, and then add more information manually or verbally. To create the perfect Evernote notebook (Evernote is very popular with students, so check it out!), users can import Studyblue notes and make them into flashcards. Flashcards can sync between your online profile and apps for Android and iOS.
Vocabla focuses on the study of words. To make expanding your vocabulary more fun and addictive, Vocabla introduces competitive elements, with achievements and points in the rankings, just like in games. The unique feature of Vocabla is an add-on for Mozilla Firefox, which allows you to add words and create flashcards directly online. If you don’t understand a word, highlight it by clicking on it twice until the the word pops up (you can also add the word to Vocabla).
Edukoala is pretty similar to the previously mentioned app, but its uniqueness is in the way it lets you learn new words: every time you unlock your Android phone. In the settings, you can choose to be challenged with words, instead of the traditional code or swipe pattern, to unlock your phone. Edukoala will display a question and three possible answers; answer the question correctly to unlock your Android. It’s an interesting approach, but as the developer admits, it doesn’t work on every phone, and you’ll need to download a different app for each language you want to learn (the app offers English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, Japanese, Norwegian, and Greek).
AnyMemo is a powerful app that lets you import and export flashcards as SuperMemo PPC XML files, CSV files or text files, as well as letting you create flashcards in text, audio (MP3, OGG, WAV) and using graphics. A cool feature of AnyMemo is that it will let you record how well you answer a question. Unfortunately, you can’t synchronize AnyMemo because it’s only available on one platform: Android. But, you can use Dropbox to get around it.
Owners of the iPad Smart Case have another cool option too. Evernote Peek is an application developed by the creators of Evernote, which you’ll use to login or create an account. Flashcards can be downloaded as ready-made kits in Evernote Peek or as a note in Evernote. So, how does Evernote Peek work? Start by lifting only a small section of the Smart Case. To get the answer, raise the second part of the Smart Case. Give an answer (whether you know it or not), and then close the Smart Cover. Repeat the process from the beginning, flashcard after flashcard, and you’ll be learning in no time!
Flashcard may be an old study method, but it’s one that’s been revamped to handle our close relationship with technology. Given all the time we spend with our computers, mobile phones and tablets, virtual flashcards are the perfect opportunity to study or learn something new, whether on the subway, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or on your daily commute!
Do you study using flashcards?