Would you be surprised to learn that the humble index card is a simple yet invaluable ally in the fight to crack the dean’s list? It’s true. A deck of index cards is kind of like ketchup. No one is really sure when they’ll need it next but, it has so many different uses that it’s always a good idea to have some on hand. Here are a few favorites:

  • Learn new information by creating a simple, fun memory game. Just take 10 index cards and write a different multiplication or division problem on each one. On 10 other cards, write the corresponding answers. Arrange all 20 cards facedown and look for the problems and answers that match. You can do the same with French vocabulary words or important dates in history.
  • Organize research papers by writing one fact or idea per index card and arranging the cards in a logical order before drafting the paper. Bibliographies are also easily created by keeping track of sources on index cards.
  • Cut cards in half and create flash cards for learning math problems, vocabulary words, formulas, equations, geometric shapes, concepts, foreign language words and phrases, and almost anything else!
  • When you’re preparing for a big test, index cards can be your best weapon. Just put the information you need on a set of cards so that you can take advantage of study time whenever and wherever it might pop up.
    • Review your cards frequently so that the material is always fresh.
    • If you think you know an answer, but can’t put it into words, you don’t know it well enough.
    • Test yourself someplace where no one can see you so you can recite answers aloud.
    • Study with a friend from class. Use each other to make sure you are explaining accurately.
  • Run an index card underneath a line of type while reading to stay focused. It can also be used as a straight edge in a pinch.
  • Keep index cards on hand to quickly jot down ideas, phone messages, tasks and homework assignments.

Remember, success is in the cards!