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February 11, 2013, 12:00AM PT in Exam Preparation Blog  |  0 Comments

How to Get the Most Out of Flashcards

FlashcardsMost of us have used flashcards at some point while going through school and remember how helpful they can be while trying to take in new information. You'd make them for subjects like social studies, biology and history. What is the capital of Iowa? (Des Moines) What does H2O stand for? (chemical makeup of water) Who was the 14th president of the United States? (ummm….Franklin Pierce)

Flashcards are great to flip through when you have a few minutes to spare, and carrying flashcards with you makes it easy to take in small amounts of information at a time, which is ideal. Instead of trying to apply everything you've read in a chapter all at once, try breaking it down into smaller, bite-sized pieces and focusing on one small section at a time. Once you have a clear understanding of what was just covered, you can then move on to the next topic.

Some of you received flashcards with the study materials you purchased from ACE, such as the Essentials of Exercise Science flashcards. These are great for learning the information covered in ACE's Essentials of Exercise Science Manual. With more than 90 illustrated cards covering everything from anatomy to nutrition, these flashcards are ideal to use along with your reading. If you didn't purchase the flashcards, consider making your own. You may even find that simply making the cards helps the information sink in.

Here are some tips to help you get started if you want to make your own flashcards:

  • Choose the most important concepts.
  • Make them relevant.
  • Don't try to fit too much on one card.
  • Use your own words.
  • Use pictures.
  • Focus on practical application.
  • Use color.
  • Use word associations.
  • Use mnemonics.

When using flashcards to prepare for the ACE certification exam, in most cases, you shouldn't just memorize what is presented on the cards; instead, focus more on the "why" and "how." Of course, the anatomy chapter has a lot of information to memorize and regurgitate, and there's no way around that. Creating flashcards to help you remember this content will put you on the right track and hopefully speed up your study process. For example, a flashcard asking, "What are the four muscles that make up the quadriceps group?" would likely be helpful to your study of anatomy.

Here are some study tips to get the most out of flashcards:

  • Change the order of the cards.
  • Review, review, review.
  • Always keep some with you.
  • Use with friends.
  • Come back to cards that are challenging.

Flashcards are one of the most commonly used study aids—and for good reason. Use these tips to get the most out of your studying and you'll be amazed by how much information you will be able to recall and retain.

By Christopher Gagliardi


Chris Gagliardi is the Study Assistance Administrator at ACE. Chris holds a BS in Kinesiology from San Diego State University, as well as a Certificate in Orthotics from Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine. As an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, as well as a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and NASM certified personal trainer, Chris takes great pride in sharing his enthusiasm for fitness with others and is committed to life time of learning. The idea of leading a healthy lifestyle was first introduced to Chris at the age of 12 when his father brought him to the gym for the first time. This first gym experience ignited a passion for life long fitness that would only grow stronger as the years went on. Chris has worked in the field of Health and Fitness in many capacities over the past 10 years, working with both youth and adult populations.