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Beth Gonzales

How to Make Your Own APUSH Flashcards

Flashcards have been a studying go-to for decades. They are simple to make, simple to use and quite simply, an essential tool to have in your studying arsenal. Making your own flashcards is one of the easiest and most effective ways to study for your APUSH exam.

Why make your own APUSH flashcards?

Although flashcards have the reputation of being one of the most boring ways to study, there is a reason why they continue to be a preferred method for students: they work! Research shows that writing something down leads to higher levels of memorization. The process of actually making the flashcards helps your brain remember key bits of information—and you haven’t even started studying yet!

How to make your own APUSH flashcards

There are two ways you can make your own APUSH flashcards: by hand or online. If you have time, consider creating both paper and digital flashcards; each method is beneficial in different ways.

APUSH flashcards for the physical world

Purchase a pack of 3×5 index cards—the perfect material for creating flashcards. They are inexpensive (a set of 100 costs less than $1.25) and incredibly portable. If you find the size too large for your needs, simply cut them in half. Index cards come in while ot multi-color packs. Color-coding your APUSH flashcards can be an additional benefit to your study plan.

Making flashcards for the physical world offers several study benefits.

  1. The repetition of writing relevant information on each card reinforces the connection between your brain and what you need to remember. This leads to an increase in your informational recall, resulting in potentially less time studying overall. Who wouldn’t want that?
  2. Flashcards also offer the potential to skip over certain cards you may already know, therefore creating a stack of cards you need to specifically focus on. It is possible to arrange cards in any fashion you choose; by time period, events or people.
  3. Although increasingly rare, there are areas of the world that don’t have digital access. Sometimes having a paper-pencil study option can be a good thing. You can study hands-on flashcards anywhere at anytime.

APUSH flashcards for the digital world

Create sets of flashcards online using free sites such as Quizlet, StudyBlue or Cram. By designing your own flashcards, each set will contain the exact material you need for APUSH prep.

Making flashcards for the digital world also offers benefits.

  1. Writing everything by hand takes time. If you already have typed notes from class, transferring them onto online flashcards can be a breeze. Just copy and paste.
  2. Easily monitor your learning. Flashcard sites allow you to test yourself on key skills and keep track of your progress. You can clearly see which type of historical content is giving your trouble—and focus more time on those specific questions.
  3. Your online account gives you access to flashcard sets and study games already created by teachers and other students. There is a wealth of information online that you don’t have to create yourself! Keep your studying focused by searching for sets that cater to your specific study needs.

How to choose information for your APUSH flashcards

Your APUSH flashcards should cover all 9 time periods outlined in the APUSH course description. Find important dates, people, events and ideas within these time periods. This will be the information you use to develop your flashcards. You may also want to look at practice exams, such as this one from AP College Board, to review questions and collect information.

How you write the information on your flashcards is up to you. You can choose to write a question and answer, select information about an event or about a specific person. The important thing is that the front side of your flashcard contains a main idea, while the backside shows the information you need to know. Consider utilizing a combination of all of those options for a totally comprehensive study tool.

Looking for more APUSH study resources? Visit our high school blogs at Magoosh to discover more fun methods to incorporate into your AP study plans.

ACE your APUSH exam! Start here.
About Beth Gonzales

Beth is an educator and freelance creative designer who devises innovative and fun-loving solutions for clients. She works with families, students, teachers and small businesses to create and implement programs, campaigns and experiences that help support and maximize efforts to grow communities who critically think, engage and continue to learn.


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