Quizlet is proud to partner with real students to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Trevor Mahoney, a Finance and Management Information Systems major at Santa Clara University.
Flashcards are one of the oldest study tools used by students, and for good reason: They are an excellent mechanism for memorization and information retention.
With that said, few people are aware of the full extent of these benefits. Many also don’t know the best way to create and use flashcards for their academic purposes. So today, we’re bringing you a guide to the benefits of flashcards and the best ways to use them. We’ve also included a bonus list of 15 Quizlet study sets to help you master the ins and outs of anatomy.
Are flashcards beneficial?
You might be under the impression that flashcards are only for younger learners, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
An academic thesis study from Iowa State University found that college ESL students were able to retain more academic terms in a shorter time period when using flashcards as opposed to not using flashcards.
Flashcards also help you build foundational knowledge of a subject. Just as you need to understand the meaning of each word before you can use them to build a sentence, you need to know the key terms in an academic subject before you can tackle more complex topics.
Flashcards are excellent at helping you master those key terms quickly, in any subject. And when it comes to a subject such as anatomy, understanding the vocabulary of the subject is imperative to studying more difficult concepts.
The best way to use flashcards
Now that you understand why flashcards are so helpful for memory retention and building the foundation for a subject, let’s examine the best way to use them.
Anybody can create a study set, but doing so effectively is a different matter entirely. Right off the bat, consider how you learn best. If you are a visual person, you may want to add illustrations to your flashcards.
If you find that hearing things helps you retain them, use an online flashcard system like Quizlet to read the contents of each card out loud.
One of the best ways to use flashcards effectively is to practice the Leitner Method, introduced by Sebastian Leitner in the 1970s.
This method was designed for physical flashcards, but can easily be modified to suit our digital world. To start, go through all your flashcards. Move the ones you got right to a different location. If you’re using physical flashcards, simply make a new stack. If you’re using digital ones, you can move them to a different folder or area on your computer. Keep the ones you got wrong together.
The next day, or at whatever interval you’d like, review the cards you got wrong again and repeat the process.
Now, go through all the cards in the “got right” folder or stack. As you may have guessed, any you get right go into a third folder, and any you get wrong go back to the first folder. Repeat this process until all of the flashcards are in the third folder and you do not get any wrong.
This can be a little fiddly when using a computer, but Quizlet has actually built a similar function right into its Learn mode.
This type of repetitive training focuses your study on the terms or concepts that need the most work, while lightly reviewing the terms you are comfortable with.
15 study sets to learn anatomy
Now that you know that Quizlet’s smart learning feature incorporates a variation of the Leitner Method, it’s time to share our list of the best 15 anatomy study sets.
Best general anatomy sets
This 142-term anatomy set focuses mainly on matching a term to its definition along with outlining concepts within the nervous system. Pictures are sprinkled throughout.
The second set on this list has 111 terms and is less complicated than the first. Featuring basic anatomy terms, this set covers interior and exterior anatomy alike.
At 218 terms, this is one of the largest sets on this list. Rather than focusing on a number of different topics, this set focuses solely on the anatomy of bones and provides pictures to match each bone’s name.
The last of the general anatomy sets has 105 terms focused more specifically on the intricacies of the heart, brain, ears, and a few other areas of the body. This is a more difficult set and may be challenging for beginners.
Best muscular anatomy sets
Our first muscular set contains 84 terms focused on the muscles of the human body. Something that sets this flashcard set apart is the fact that pictures are provided along with a description of each muscle and what it connects to within the body.
Slightly longer than the previous set, this 110-term set focuses solely on the extension and rotation of muscles, rather than names or where they connect. After studying the functions of certain muscles, this would be an excellent set to review in order to understand muscles in action.
At only 62 terms, the seventh set is surprisingly in-depth. Focusing mainly on the smaller, yet still important muscles, deep within the body, rather than the large muscles that are typically used in a gym setting.
This eighth set combines a few of the previous sets with one main difference: a lack of pictures. If you are in need of a study set that focuses on muscle rotation and you dislike depictions or find them distracting, this is the set for you.
Best speed review sets
With only 47 terms, this set is great for beginners because it takes complex anatomy terms and pairs them with the commonly known English word. For perspective, “neck” is matched with “cervical.”
This tenth set is unique in that it is an anatomy diagram of a skeleton. Rather than featuring a number of flashcards, the diagram includes interactive areas. When you hover over each of them with your mouse, the name of that bone appears.
This 18-term study set is an expedited version of the second study set on this list, perfect for those in need of a speedy review of basic terms.
Finally, with only 15 terms, the twelfth set is an abridged version of the ninth set. With that said, this set also features the matching location of muscles and joints.
Best sets by verified creators
MyRevisionNotes created a 31-term set that gives in-depth definitions for anatomy terms. But be warned, this set is for people who have previous experience in the subject.
Once again, MyRevisionNotes makes the list with a quick 10-term set focused on identifying the name of bones based on a given location in the body. Unlike the thirteenth set, this may be a good option for beginners.
Created by GarnetEducation, the final set on this list only has 26 terms but is fairly detailed. This set takes commonly known terms but applies the traditional anatomy definitions with which they are associated. This set is a helpful introduction for anyone getting started with the subject.
Use flashcards to level up your studying
The use of flashcards is a common technique that has been around awhile, for good reason. By increasing the retention of key information and allowing better time management, flashcards can help you understand material more quickly than many other study strategies.
Anatomy is a topic incorporating myriad terms and concepts. Use the study sets we listed along with Quizlet’s Learn feature to master both the most basic concepts and the more complex themes in class this year.
Looking for diagrams to study anatomy? Check out Quizlet diagrams here.
Trevor Mahoney is wrapping up his last year at Santa Clara University where he studies Finance and Management Information Systems. He has been an avid reader his whole life, which evolved into a passion for writing while he studied abroad in New Zealand last year. He is currently searching for a post-college job and hopes to work at the intersection of business and technology.