Resources for Making Flashcards

Although there is nothing wrong with making traditional paper flashcards, there are many online services and programs you can download that both allow you to make flashcards in a more traditional style as well as to use pictures or sounds or otherwise customize your ‘cards’ in many useful ways. What follows is a list of a few flashcard websites or programs you can use, with descriptions of how they work and some of their strengths and weaknesses.

Unless otherwise noted, these are all Spaced Repetitions Software (SRS), which have you rate each card while you work through a deck, based on how easy it is to recall. Using this data, the system brings back cards for review each day. This way you get more time to review cards that are harder in the short term, and in the long term, just as you are starting to forget some of the cards that were easier at first, they will be brought back automatically for review by the program.

  • Anki: This program can be downloaded on both your smartphone and your computer. The computer application is free, but the official phone app is quite expensive if you have an iPhone. The phone app is free for Android phones. If you create a user profile in the program, you can sync your data between systems when you use the program. This means whatever system you use it on, you will be able to maintain your learning schedule. Anki allows you to create flashcards with more than just two “front” and “back” fields, and you can also create customized card types for different languages or subjects. Cards can include pictures and audio either copied from the internet or uploaded from your computer. The interface is somewhat outdated and clunky, but with the help of the manual on the Anki website, you can find out quickly how to navigate it.
  • Mnemosyne: This program only exists as a computer application; there is no smartphone app. Mnemosyne is free to download. Compared to Anki, you have much less ability to customize the cards you add to your decks, since there are only three pre-programmed card types. You can add pictures and audio as well as text to your cards.
  • Repetitions: Repetitions is very similar to Mnemosyne. The interface is slightly different, but it is similarly restricted to only three card types, and the cards can include any pictures or audio that you upload or copy and paste into the program. Unlike Mnemosyne and Anki, however, Repetitions comes with a free phone app for all platforms that automatically syncs with your computer, so you can keep up with your learning schedule even while you are on the move.
  • Quizlet: Quizlet is a very popular online flashcard service that is free and exists both in an online and phone-app form. It is not an SRS, though, so you have to spend time managing your own review schedule for your flashcards. Also, to add pictures or audio to your cards, you have to take part in the paid membership plan. Otherwise you can only use text and pictures from the set of images provided on Quizlet in your cards.