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Notecards have historically comprised ~40% of the points on each exam. We recommend that you spend the bulk of your time on notecards in short, frequent sessions (~30 minutes per day). Our notecard mastery algorithm uses your feedback to automatically choose the best notecards for you.

screenshot of notecards dashboard
screenshot of a notecard in action
screenshot of a notecard in action
Notecard problems involve a simple two-step process:
  1. Identifying the notecard associated with the problem
  2. Reproducing the back of the notecard on the exam
Spending time memorizing notecards is one of the highest value study activities you can do. This is because:
  • Answering a notecard question takes significantly less time per point than any other type of question - there are no silly math mistakes, or a need to come up with a thoughtful argument. Since all points are equal, it makes sense to do these first.
  • Notecard questions are the easiest type of question - you either know it or you don't
  • Relative to math questions, it is much harder to get points on a notecard question if you don't have the notecard memorized - with math questions, one can often 'derive ' answers even if they don't have the exact formula memorized. Getting partial credit on a notecard question you don't have memorized is incredibly difficult.
How to Use
  1. Mark "I got it" (aka succeeded) on a notecard if you can faithfully reproduce 75% of the items on the back (or at least explain them in your own words).
  2. Memorize all notecards marked as "High Importance", memorize as many notecards as possible marked as "Medium Importance", and only spend time on "Low Importance" notecards if you have time.
  3. Use the notecard dashboard analytics along with the custom notecard deck build tool to spend more time on notecards you have not yet mastered.
  4. Want a challenge? Try doing our notecards in "Reverse Mode" (predict the front given the back).
screenshot of notecard deck in action
screenshot of notecard topic mastery
Notecards Breakdown

To aid with your studying, notecards are broken down by the following dimensions:

  1. Topic - Location within the syllabus. There are three tiers total within the syllabus tree: topic, source, and chapter.
  2. Mastery - Based on your self-grading history with the notecard, we assign a mastery level to each notecard: new, learning, nearly mastered, and mastered.
  3. Importance - We have an extensive database of past exam questions, topics, and how they map to our notecards. Based on a combination of an in depth analysis of this data along with our instructors' expert opinions, we have assigned an importance level to each notecard: high, medium, and low.
  4. Categories - Our instructors have handcrafted categories across notecards so that you can group similar notecards together. Want to focus only on definitions or formulas? This is where you can accomplish that.
  5. Starred - You can star / unstar individual notecards so that you can more easily come back to them later.
General Guidelines
When working through a notecard deck:
  • Do not flip the notecard over until you have fully attempted to answer the notecard.
  • Use the scratchpad notes provided, or pen and paper, to answer the notecard. When you use multiple senses to encode a memory, you increase your ability to encode the memory for later retrieval. For additional retention, say your answer out loud to yourself.
  • If you can't quite remember the notecard, use the hint(s) provided. They will commonly tip you off on how many items are expected on the back (which can help you gauge if you have listed 75% of the items in the list!).
  • Once you have finished attempting the notecard, flip it over. Read through the back carefully, put yourself in the shoes of an exam grader, and be honest about what percent of the notecard you successfully listed.
    • If you listed at least 75% of the notecard, click: "I got it"
    • If you listed between 50% and 75% of the notecard, click: "I ALMOST got it"
    • If you got less than 50% of the notecard, click: "I need to review"
  • How is the next notecard determined? By default we use a spaced repetition algorithm, so that notecards you are less familiar with are shown more frequently than notecards you have already mastered. However, if you would like your deck to more closely imitate a real life deck and do each notecard once before repeating, click the "Next Notecard" toggle so that it reads Content Order
Extra Goodies
  • Use the notecards dashboard to view your progress and determine which notecards to focus on next. The "Topic Mastery By Topic" section is a great place to determine which sections you haven't yet mastered.
  • If you are just starting out, click the "Auto-Build Deck" button to let our algorithm pick out a set of notecards for you to start with.
  • Once you get a bit more experience with the notecards, dig into the custom deck builder and focus on the areas with the most room for improvement.
  • If you want to add a specific notecard to a deck, click the "Search & Add" button at the bottom. You can use free-text search to find the problem based on what you remember of it.
  • Use the history tool at the bottom of the dashboard to revisit old notecard decks. Our system tags decks in various ways to help you tell them apart.
  • Have a question about a specific notecard? Submit a comment to a notecard's dedicated comment thread and get a response from your instructor in less than 24 hours.
screenshot of notecard deck builder
Keyboard Shortcuts

When using notecards, various shortcuts are available for your use:

  • ⬅ arrow key: Go back to the previous notecard
  • ➡ arrow key: Go to the next notecard
  • spacebar: Flip the notecard
  • h key: Show hint
  • l key: Show learning objective
  • 1 key: Grade 'I got it'
  • 2 key: Grade 'I ALMOST got it'
  • 3 key: Grade 'I need to review'