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Jane Birkenhead, November 21 2018

TOEFL speaking - 3 quick flashcard tips to help your studying

You probably already use flashcards in your TOEFL studying. Perhaps you use them for noting pronunciation or grammar errors. Or maybe you use them for writing down new vocabulary. I encourage all my students to make flashcards in their TOEFL lessons, and to review them frequently.

Flashcards are a great way to record things you need to remember for TOEFL. They work well because you can shuffle them and change their order in a way that you can’t change the order of a written list in your notebook. This makes your brain work harder to remember the information on them but it’s also a very effective way to make the information stick in your long-term memory.

Also, flashcards are portable. You can put them in your bag and take them anywhere you go. Then, when you have a spare 2 or 3 minutes, you can pull them out and do some TOEFL studying!

Here are 3 quick tips for making really effective flashcards.

1. KEEP THE FLASHCARDS SIMPLE

Firstly, use big, clear writing. It’s better to use marker pens (like Sharpies) than pencils. If your writing is messy, then take extra care with your letters. Try printing rather than using cursive (joined-up) writing. Make your flashcards easy to read then you’ll want to read them! 

Don’t fill up the flashcards with too much information otherwise they will look crowded and cluttered. Make sure there is plenty of white space as well as writing. 

It’s a good idea to focus on just one pronunciation point or grammatical error for each flashcard.

2. PERSONALISE YOUR FLASHCARDS

These are your flashcards so write down something that helps you to remember.

For example, if you’re correcting pronunciation, for TOEFL speaking, you should write down the error that you make and then the correction. Write the incorrect version, then actually cross out the error and highlight or use a different colour for the correct version. Use familiar words or sounds to help you. This will help your memory.

3. ADD COLOUR TO YOUR FLASHCARDS

Colour makes things stand out and that also helps with memory. Be creative and use your favourite colours to enhance your flashcards.



These are some flashcards I recently made in lessons with my TOEFL student - a Spanish speaker. 

I always make flashcards with my TOEFL students so that I can keep a record of their errors and track their progress as they correct them.



Flashcards are fun to make and they are are very effective studying tool. Here you can sign up for my free online course Vocabulary Flashcards for TOEFL Studying

It’s a short course that will take you about an hour to complete. Then you’ll know how to how to make amazing flashcards for vocabulary learning as well as for grammar and pronunciation errors.

Written by

Jane Birkenhead

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