What is a flash card?

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Flash cards are useful for drilling new letters, syllables, words, and other information. They are normally used in a classroom, but can also be used more informally.


A flash card is part of a set of cards on which are written items to be studied. They are “flashed” (shown quickly) one by one to a learner to elicit a quick response.


Here are some other uses for flash cards:

  • Use two matching sets of them with games such as How to play the Memory game .
  • Have learners practice tracing the characters on the cards with their fingers.

  • Make up your own games using the cards.

Here are some features of flash cards:

  • Flash cards are sets of cards printed with information to be studied, such as

    • definitions
    • formulas
    • letters
    • multiplication tables
    • prefixes
    • syllables, or
    • words.
  • If there is an answer or solution to what appears on the front of the card, it is printed on the back so that the person showing the cards can see if the learner's answer is correct.

    • The front of a card shows a mathematics problem. The back shows the answer to the problem.
    • The front of a card shows a term to be defined. The back shows the definition.
  • Flash cards can be made from

    • index cards
    • cover or card stock, or
    • other heavy paper.
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Page content last modified: 16 March 1999

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