There’s a reason that flashcards have been a preferred study method for hundreds of years:
They really work!
When you look at the front side of a flashcard and think of the answer, you are engaging a mental faculty known as active recall.
Active recall has been proven to create stronger neuron connections for that memory trace.
And because flashcards can so easily facilitate repetition, they are the best way to create multiple memory-enhancing recall events.
When you reveal the answer side of a flashcard to assess your correctness, you are essentially asking yourself
“How did my answer compare to this correct answer?” and
“How well did I know (or not know) it?”
This act of self-reflection is known as metacognition. Research shows that applying metacognition tends to ingrain memories deeper into your knowledge.
Because flashcards exist loosely, rather than tied to a book or document, you are able to separate them into piles based on whether (or how often) you need to study them again.
This practice of confidence-based repetition is proven by decades of research to be the most scientifically optimized way to improve memory performance.