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How to Create Flashcards to Study for Numeracy Tests

One of the best ways to learn any facts, including maths for numeracy tests, is to use flash cards. These are normally postcard-sized bits of card with a question on one side and the answer on the back. You can buy them ready-made, or you can make your own – making your own is better because by writing down the question and correct answer, you’re helping your brain remember the information.

Here are the steps to making your own flash cards:

  1. Decide on the facts you want to learn! If you’re just starting out, you may like to work on your times tables, or if you’re confident with those, pick some different questions that you struggle with.

  2. Get hold of some cards or make your own. Fold a sheet of A4 paper in half, in half again and in half once more. Unfold and cut along the creases.

  3. On each card, write a question from your list of things to learn on one side and the answer on the back.

  4. Repeat Step 3 until you run out of things you want to learn!

Once you’ve made your flash cards, it’s time to train yourself:

  1. Shuffle your cards. This is important so that you don’t just remember the answers in order.

  2. Look at the question on top of your stack of cards, answer it, and check your answer.

  3. If you get it right, put it to one side. If not, put it to the back of the pack.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve answered all of the questions correctly.

  5. If you’ve gone through the whole pack without making a mistake, give yourself a treat! You’ve earned it.

Some variations of learning from flash cards include:

  • Taping them up. Put cards and post-it notes around your flat (apartment) or house when you're studying.

  • Playing games. You can replace the questions in any quiz board game you like with your flash cards. Try playing Trivial Pursuit with maths questions. You don’t even need board games – you can get a friend to be Chris Tarrant and play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? or even sit in a big black chair if Mastermind is more your cup of tea.

  • Getting your friends and family to help. Have a family member ask the questions so you aren't tempted to cheat. Your partner doesn’t need to know the answers herself, just be able to check if you got them right.

Once you’ve learned a fact so well you can answer the question in your sleep, you can file that card away. As you come across new things you want to learn, add a card for each of them.

You’ll find yourself improving in both speed and accuracy in a really short space of time.

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