Written by: Vivian Huynh – Grade 11
Flashcards are a common study method for numerous reasons. First of all, they help with summarizing concepts. Second, they promote active recall. As a form of self-testing, you look at one side of the card and try to recall the information. In addition, the usage of flashcards demonstrates metacognition, because you’re required to reflect on your own knowledge and understanding of the material. Finally, they implement spaced repetition, helping you remember even better.
Not to mention, flashcards are convenient because they are portable and don’t occupy much space. Even better, you can type up your flashcards, or use cards created by other students, and study them on your phone. Studyblue and Quizlet are great free digital flashcard applications. Both are available on desktop, and can also be found in the App Store and Play Store for mobile. They also allow you to organize your flashcards into folders and classes, study offline, share flashcards, and import/export them. Since they’re generally pretty similar, here’s a list of the different features, and pros and cons, of each app.
- Flip Cards
Each time you flip a card, you can choose either the “thumbs up” sign or the “thumbs down” sign, depending on whether or not you were able to recall the information correctly. After you go through your flashcards, you’ll study the flashcards marked with the “thumbs down”. This way you can focus on the concepts you need to work on.
- Take Quiz
Using the information on your flashcards, Studyblue automatically creates a quiz. You can choose from multiple choice, true or false, or fill-in-the-blank.
- Review Sheet
Your flashcards are set up in a format where you can read through them, as if you’re reading through notes.
For all the methods, you can choose to study 5, 10, 20, or your entire deck of flashcards. You can also choose the order: random, least studied, or hardest-to-easiest.
- You can easily customize your flashcards. For example, you can format the text, change the colour, use special characters, and add bullet points.
- Images and audio can be added to your flashcards.
- It’s easy to export your flashcards into an excel file, which is ideal for importing them into another website if needed.
- If you exit a study session, or your app crashes, you can resume your study session (even on another device!)
- You can take notes on the app, or upload notes later, and then manually turn them into flashcards.
- Upgrade to the pro version of the app for free using the “Power Creator Program”. All you need to do is create a deck of 20 or more cards or upload two new notes of 3+ pages each, and share your deck. Once your deck is studied, you get a free month of Studyblue Pro. Continue creating and sharing materials to extend your trial.
- If you find an error on a flashcard, you can’t edit it on the spot.
- Although you can study without the internet (after you’ve opened the app with wifi and downloaded the flashcards), you’re limited to only studying all your flashcards in chronological order.
- Each flashcard has a character limit of 280. If you have too much text, there isn’t a scroll option for you to expand it.
- You can only study the first 5 cards of public flashcard decks unless you upgrade to the Pro version.
- The application is slightly laggy and glitchy, and sometimes has trouble loading.
Similar to the “Flip Cards” mode on Studyblue, you can flip through your flashcards. With Quizlet, you can single out the cards you need to work on by pressing the “star”. There’s an additional audio feature.
In this mode, you type out the answers according to your flashcards. If your answer is incorrect, you have to copy the correct answer.
The application will read out one side of your flashcard and your job is to type out what you hear.
Similar to the “Take Quiz” feature of Studyblue. This mode includes tests in the format of written response, multiple choice, and true or false.
Your instructions are to match the terms with the definitions. There’s also a timer, which helps motivate you to improve.
This study mode resembles a game. In this mode, your goal is to protect the planets by typing the answers before the asteroids reach the planet.
- Clearly, Quizlet has a variety of study modes.
- The fact that you’re able to edit your flashcards as you study is an advantage.
- It’s more difficult to customize your flashcards. For instance, in order to bold your text, you need to put asterisks on either side of the words.
- You cannot add your own images and audio without upgrading to Quizlet Plus.
- On mobile, you can only study each deck of flashcards separately (instead of studying the entire folder).
In conclusion, both apps have several different advantages and disadvantages. They’re both pretty easy to use. Studyblue has more features, and you can easily get the pro version for free. However, offline studying is limited, and the app doesn’t always work perfectly. Quizlet is faster and has a larger variety of study modes, but it has less features in the free version, and the Plus version is more expensive.