How to flashcard/FAQ

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Saint Jerome in His Study

A short frequently-asked questions section meant to accompany How to flashcard. Actionable responses to common questions.

As with the parent page, this page was written by User:Kevin Wang and thus reflects many of their particular thoughts.

This page is under construction.

Forgive the mess.


How should I card <thing>?

Your mileage may vary but here are some reasonable approaches for various common things that one might want to card.

This topic is also discussed in the following section(s):

  1. Learn the types of cards
  2. Use images
Topic Example Additional notes
VFA
Example 1:

Card faq1.png

Example 2:

Card faq2.png

Art has an obvious visual component, which you should take advantage of. Besides the benefit of providing direct interaction with the subject matter, using an image can improve retention. Despite this, it is often useful to include cards of other types for efficiency's sake to ensure that you have good coverage of the facts you wish to retain.

Ex. 1 is a front-back style card which uses an image as its front. This has many of the disadvantages of other cards of this type; namely, it primarily tests on a single atomic connection. In this example this is fine, as the set of relevant information is the compact set of <the name of the work, the artist, some basic context>. The year, the state it took place in, and some of the specifics are likely never to be asked about. Nevertheless, it is still useful to provide these other bits of information, as the simple act of exposing yourself to this extra information will give more for your brain to hold onto and will make this card more useful as a reference outside of reviews. If you wanted to test on any of these (perhaps you become convinced of its importance), you could simply create a new card.

Ex. 2 is a cloze style card which excludes any images. In this particular case, there could be an image included (of Alice Prin, of Violin d'Ingres, or of one of the other works inspired by Prin) but it would make it difficult to properly test on certain pieces of knowledge - it would likely be easier to simply create a second front-back card with the image (for more details on the trade-offs, see: Should I use an image on a card?). As is, this card is taking advantage of the major advantage of a cloze-type card: you can test yourself on multiple pieces of information related to the primary fact.

An important part of studying visual art (and thus of carding) is to describe in words the components of an image. Spending the time to explicitly describe overall appearance ("a train billows smoke as it approaches the faint outline of a rabbit") or small details ("a handkerchief with the artist's signature held by a portrait of their sun") can improve your ability to recognize a description of a work at game speed.

Poetry Carding faq3.png Besides the obvious stylistic differences with prose, poetry has a lot of aspects that affect the way you would want to translate it into cards.

Some major factors:

  • Poems are short. There are, of course, very long poems. But in general it is possible to know a significant fraction of the lines in the poem and, indeed, questions often expect players to know quotes to get points. Writing cards on specific lines is significantly more viable than doing the same for a short story or novel, both in terms of practicality and points.
  • Poems are often published in collections. This is also true of other shorter forms of literature, like short stories. Knowing when and where a poem can be read is a more complicated question than for novels, where publishers and editions are rarely of relevance. Include information about collections on the backs of your cards, as well as dedicated cards for collections of note.
WIP

Should I use an image on a card?

Having an image in a card can help you remember it, because it gives you something extra to think about. In general, it is good to include them - like everything, though, there are exceptions.

What is the image? Recommendation
The image is the primary subject of the card A front-back card may be better suited for your purposes.

It is technically possible to embed an image into your card and then have a list of clozed facts beneath it - when there is a single fact (or set of facts) and a single cloze, this is equivalent to a front-back card. However, having more information available can make each individual card easier or even trivial.

The image does not directly help answer the card This would likely be fine in a cloze card (where such an image would always be visible) or on the front of a standard card.

Some examples:

  • an image of someone not known for their appearance (e.g. a portrait of an arbitrary historical figure)
  • the appearance of a generic looking feature (e.g. a picture of a mountain)
  • a completely unrelated image (maybe don't do this)

Avoid using images of things you already have associations with (e.g. don't put an image of Saoirse Ronan in your card on Little Women if you've seen the film, as you may not bother reading the actual facts you've included).

The image is evocative enough to provide an alternative route to answering the card Such images can still be useful, but should be kept off the front of cards. They can act as useful tools for anchoring facts on the back of a card, though.

Some examples:

  • a diagram whose text contains the answer to the card you are answering
  • a picture of the answer that you recognize (like a famous portrait of a historical figure)
  • the answer to the card, but restated (e.g. a formula or equation which is also described in text)

Remember, the goal of a card is to help you associate two pieces of information - short-circuiting that process will prevent you from gaining any benefit from your cards.

I keep failing a card, how can I remember it better?

The platonic ideal of a flashcard contains a single fact on the front which you are able to perfectly associate with the corresponding answer on the back. If you are unable to successfully recall the back, it is time to move away from this template.

This topic is also discussed in the following section(s):

  1. Amending old cards
  2. Prepare for lapses
  3. Bad cards produce bad buzzes

Some options - try one (or multiple of these):

Summary Details Example(s)
Add additional information to the front There may not be enough information on the front of the card for your mind to latch onto - alternatively, you may not have provided enough information for the fact to obviously point towards the answer (or at all). This is particularly common for basic cards like front-back "work-author".

Specific things you might want to add:

  • the pronoun of the answer you are looking for
  • the genre of the work being discussed
  • context to make a fact unique (the year it was created, extra information, etc.)
Carding faq1.png

This card is actually not unique, as the novella by Leskov was (quite significantly) adapted to an opera by Dmitri Shostakovich. This can be pretty straightforwardly resolved by saying that this card is referring to the novella.

Carding faq2.png

Add additional information to the back Adding information to the back of a card will not help you the next time you see it, but it may improve your odds every subsequent time. This is, in some sense, an alternative to writing a second card on the same subject - it may make more sense to add information if you are either okay with repeating yourself or if you truly do not believe that you will be tested on that additional fact.

As a side note, cards created through cloze deletion only sort-of have a back - the closest they get is the contents of any individual cloze.

Add a new card on the topic A lot of times you have a perfectly reasonable card which you simply can't remember.

A good example would be a front-back card where you simply can't remember what author wrote a book. There's nothing theoretically wrong with the card and the information is presumably something you wish to retain, so what can be done?

One option is discussed in the previous row (adding information to the back) but another is simply to create additional cards about the topic. Maybe you can't remember facts about the book because you don't know any details about it - it's just a name to you. Writing a card about the book's plot and character could give you context you need for it to finally stick in your mind.

Abandon the card entirely Listen - sometimes you wrote a card and it's not good. I would personally advocate for trying to make it better, but sometimes it's better to replace it with something brand new or just ditch it wholesale. Suspend note anki.png

In Anki, it is possible to "suspend" a note/card - this will prevent it from appearing in your reviews until you unsuspend it.

You can also just delete it.