Flashcards are a favourite study method, allowing you to learn large amounts of material, then weed out the parts you already know. But writing out hundreds of index cards and carrying them around so you have them handy whenever you have a few minutes to run through them is a pain. Fortunately, like many other aspects of life, there are apps that allow you to do this more efficiently, sans paper. Here are some of our favourites.
StudyBlue lets you crowdsource your flashcards from others who have created flashcards on similar topics. You can find and create groups, where you can share relevant flashcards with people who are studying the same subject. The app lets you add images and audio to your flashcards, quiz yourself and set study reminders. The app is free to use.
Quizlet is one of the largest online flashcard sites. Their app syncs with their website, letting you study flashcards from your phone. It’s easy to navigate and has a simple, clear design. You can study your flashcards by playing games, making quizzes, or just by flipping through your flashcard set. Quizlet Learn creates a study plan based on a deadline you give it. Like StudyBlue, you can upgrade the app’s features by paying for Quizlet Go, which lets you study offline and removes the app’s ads. Quizlet Plus, which includes more options to personalise your studying and chart your progress, is $66/year. Both paid tiers offer a 7-day free trial.
StudyStack gamifies your flashcard experience. With the app, you can learn by playing crossword puzzles, hangman, matching games, hungry bug (a game similar to snake), unscramble and others. When you play the games, you get pieces of a pie indicating your progress. Like other apps, you can search for other flashcard sets, quiz yourself, and interact with the flashcards. But, unlike other apps, you can have more than two sides for each flashcard. The experience lacks some polish, but it makes up for it with creative features — and it’s free.
Brainscape was intended just for flashcards: there aren’t fancy features like quizzes or games, but Brainscape focuses on strategies that help you learn the information on your flashcards in the shortest amount of time. The app claims to be able to double your learning speed by adjusting the timing of each flashcard based on how well you know the topic. It also has collaborated with educators and publishers to create flashcards for different topics and suggests new information on each topic. Some flashcard sets are free, but many require a paid subscription. Pricing begins at $14/month, with rates of $57 for a semester, $82 for a year, or $178 for a lifetime subscription.
Studies is the perfect app for people who take notes on their laptop and want to easily turn them into flashcards. Most notably, it lets you organise your flashcards in stacks (collections of flashcards) and groups (collections of stacks or groups). This is helpful because you can customise your study sessions with different groupings of notes. For example, you can review all your flashcards at once, a group of flashcards, or a customised set. On its desktop app, you can add tags to your flashcards and view statistics about your study session, including how long you’re likely to remember the information on the cards. There is no free tier or free trial, however; you’ll need to drop $7 to give it a try ($34 if you want to use it on your Mac PC).
AnkiApp is another easy-to-navigate flashcard app. At the end of each study session, it gathers data on how well you know each flashcard and uses that data to later sort out which flashcards to quiz you on. You can use other people’s flashcards or make your own with audio, text, and photo. AnkiApp Unlimited offers access to additional study analytics and syncs your studying across devices; that’ll run you $14/year or a $34 one-time purchase.
This story was originally published in July 2017 and was updated on Nov. 16, 2020 to provide more thorough and current information and updated screenshots.