How to Use Spanish Flashcards to Get Fluent Faster
One of the first steps towards fluency is having a solid set of Spanish flashcards at your disposal. Master your flashcards faster with these foolproof strategies and tips!
Why Flashcards are Effective
Flashcards were invented over 100 years ago, in the 1800s. These cards are still widely used today so they clearly get the job done. But how do they do it?
Flashcards use something called active recall. This is essentially your brain’s “search” for information. For example, when you’re looking at the English side of a flashcard and trying to remember what the Spanish equivalent is, you’re engaging in active recall. This tactic helps create neural connections to the new information.
You engage in metacognition when you start with the first side of the flashcard and flip it over to read the second side. You are essentially checking to see if your guess was right. When you check if your answer was correct you are self-reflecting and evaluating your active recall. This reflection is a great way to ingrain information pathways in your brain.
Flashcards let you practice at your own pace. This means you can spend more time practicing the phrases that are hardest for you to remember and less time on the easier ones. This process is known as spaced repetition. You are always challenging the weaker areas to make them stronger!
Why it’s Better to Make Your Own Spanish Flashcards
Creating your own Spanish flashcards, rather than using someone else’s, has several benefits.
Writing out the information helps you study. So, even before you begin using your cards, you’re already learning!
When you make your own flashcards, you get to personalize them. Do you have a specific acronym or unique picture that helps you remember a certain vocab word? Write it down! Personalization goes a long way to help with memorization. It helps create strong neural pathways so your brain can pick up on the word faster later on.
Ultimately, it’s better to make your own Spanish flashcards so you have the freedom to personalize them to your interests and be as creative as you want. However, if you’re in a pinch there are also plenty of free pre-made flashcards to choose from!
How to Make the Perfect Flashcard
Now that you know why it’s so important to make your own Spanish flashcards, here’s some tips on how to get started!
Pick a Method
Pick your favorite method: paper or online.
Some people prefer to have a physical copy of their study material in their hands. Paper flashcards give you something tactile to touch. The act of writing the information down on paper can also help you learn the material faster.
However, online flashcards are more convenient. You don’t have to carry a stack of cards in your pocket wherever you go, instead, easily pull up your Spanish flashcards on your phone anywhere! Online flashcards also let you add audio clips or even transform your flashcards into quizzes.
Ultimately, both types will get the job done, so pick the one that works best for you!
Choose Your Material
Now that you’ve figured out what method to use, you need to choose your study material. There are over 90,000 words in the Spanish language, studying them all would take up too many cards! Instead, it’s important to prioritize useful words or key phrases.
It’s almost always better to use phrases rather than singular words. Sentences give you context and can help you better understand how a word is used. A word in Spanish might have multiple meanings in English and vice-versa. Context enables you to understand its meaning and practice using it in a sentence.
Take the vocabulary word tiburón for instance. This word means shark, and it doesn’t really stand out on its own. But, if you add it to a goofy sentence, it stands out a lot better. Check out this huge difference:
Tiburón — Shark
¡Este tiburón es rosado!
This shark is pink!
The sentence is a lot more memorable. It’s dramatic and a little bit silly. Play with your flashcards and create sentences that you’ll want to remember!
Add Images and Acronyms
The Picture Superiority Effect states that people remember images better than they remember words! Add pictures, acronyms, or colors to your flashcards to help trigger your memory.
Silliar is always better when it comes to creating the best set of Spanish flashcards. The key with flashcards is to build an association between two pieces of information in your mind. Your brain is naturally trained to pick up on unusual things. This means that goofier and wackier flashcards will actually help you learn faster!
Audio is not only another way to practice your flashcards, but it also teaches you great pronunciation! Many online flashcard programs will let you link audio files onto your flashcards. Take advantage of this resource and practice sounding like a native!
Teach Yourself Spanish Using Flashcards
You’ve perfected your personalized Spanish flashcards, now it’s time to use them!
Shuffle Your Cards
You might think that categorizing your flash cards into similar groups is a good way to study. However, you actually want to mix up and shuffle your cards with dissimilar ones. If you always practice similar words together, it’s easier to confuse them. By separating the cards with ones that are unrelated, it’s easier to learn the material and keep it straight.
Flip the Cards Over
Don’t always just start with the English side! Switch it up and practice starting from both sides. This helps you really learn the cards rather than just memorizing a pattern.
Read Them Out Loud
Two senses are better than one! Create not only visual, but also auditory links in your memory pathways by reading each card out loud.
This is the most important step! You have to keep practicing what you learned so that you don’t forget it. You’ll want to practice more often in the beginning. Reshuffle your Spanish flashcards every few days. Once you get more confident you can space out the repetitions more and more until you’ve fully committed your Spanish flashcards to memory.
Speaking is One of the Most Effective Ways to Learn a Language Fast, Sign Up for a Free Class!
Congratulations, you are now a flashcard master! Keep the learning momentum going with a 1-on-1 session with a native Spanish speaker. The more you speak from day one, the sooner you will be fluent. Sign up for a FREE class today!
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