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How to Use Flashcards for MCAT

Written by Nassim on Jul 21, 2022

Are you studying for the MCAT? If so, you’re likely looking for every possible edge to help you succeed. One study tool that can help is flashcards. Flashcards are a great way to review material quickly and efficiently. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to use flashcards for the MCAT. We’ll also provide tips on how to create effective flashcards. Let’s get started!

Are Flashcards Effective for MCAT?

If you’re planning on taking the MCAT, flashcards are a tool that can be extremely helpful in your preparation. Flashcards are simply cards with information on one side and a question or prompt on the other. You can use flashcards to test yourself on essential facts and concepts. MCAT Flashcards are handy for memorizing difficult material or for practicing quick recall.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using flashcards for MCAT prep:

  1. Make sure you’re using high-quality cards that are accurate and up-to-date.
  2. Get organized by grouping cards into categories so you can focus your studying.
  3. Don’t be afraid to personalize your cards by adding your own notes or mnemonic devices.

With a little bit of effort, flashcards can be a powerful tool for acing the MCAT. So don’t forget to add them to your study arsenal!

How to Make Your Own Flashcards for MCAT?

One of the best ways to prepare for the MCAT is to create your own flashcards. Flashcards are an excellent way to review key information and test your knowledge concisely and effectively. Plus, making your own flashcards ensures that you are familiar with the material in a way that works best for you. So how can you make your own flashcards? 

Start by finding a quiet, comfortable place to work. Then, gather all of the materials you will need, including pencils, paper, and highlighters. Next, choose a subject area you want to focus on, such as biology or chemistry. Once you have chosen a subject, begin by finding key facts and concepts that you want to include on your flashcards. As you create each flashcard, be sure to include both the question and the answer. You may also want to include additional information such as definitions, formulas, or diagrams. After you have created all of your flashcards, please spend some time each day reviewing them. Then, as you become more familiar with the material, you will be well on your way to acing the MCAT!

How to Use Flashcards for MCAT?

Flashcards with multiple repetitions are the best way to memorize MCAT content. If you learn the basics of making beautiful flashcards, you will be able to memorize all the content you need to know with a little effort in the process.

Rule # 1: Understand Before You Make a Card

If you are learning a new lesson, you may be tempted to jump on the flashcard and create a new card for each term you come across. But you should make sure you understand everything you do for the flashcard.

For example, suppose you were to create a deck of advanced physics. If so, you should start by making sure that you at least know the math well. Do you know what different variations mean? Do you have an idea of ​​what happens when you change the variables?

Creating flashcards without understanding them will lead to frustration if you keep getting them wrong.

Rule # 2: Use Simple Cards (One Fact per Card)

An example of a bad flashcard would be:

Question: Proline

Answer: Proline is an amino acid that has an insoluble chain. Proline can interfere with the second formation of protein.

Instead, it may help if you break it down into a few simple flashcards:

Question 1: Is the side chain in proline polar / nonpolar / aromatic / charged?

Answer 1: Nonpolar

Question 2: What amino acids can disrupt the second protein structure?

Answer 2: Proline

You should check your answers on each flashcard. If you are learning a complex concept, break it down into many simple pieces.

Also, clarify the question! In other words, make sure you’ll easily understand what the flashcard is asking you next time you read it. If you just wrote proline before, you will never know what the answer should be. Does it look like a building? Polarity? Weight of cells? Make it clear.

Rule # 3: Make Flashcards for Confusing Topics

If you are trying to read two confusing words easily, you can just make them two different cards. Instead, make an extra card that asks you to describe both of them.

For example:

Q: What is the difference between amphoteric and amphipathic?

Answer: Amphoteric means an object can act as an acid or base. Amphipathic means that an object has both hydrophobic and hydrophilic elements.

Rule # 4: Use Pictures on Your Cards

If you use pictures on your flashcards, you will remember them better. It’s that simple.

If you use Anki, it is very easy to add images. For example, on a Mac, you can simply press Command-Shift-4 to take a screenshot that you can attach to your Anki card (for Windows, the shortcut is Windows + Shift + S).

Also, you can use an Anki plugin called Image Occlusion to create beautiful flashcards where you close the drawing section and enjoy using it. This is especially helpful in memorizing items such as biochemical methods.

Rule # 5: Avoid Long Lists

If you put a long list in response to a flashcard, you will probably be unable to edit it. Here is an example of a bad flashcard:

Q: What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

Answer: Bradykinesia, tremor in hands, arms, legs, or head. Muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, and impaired balance.

If you see this card, your chances of remembering that entire list are very small. And it will just bother you!

Instead, see if you can break the list into smaller pieces with more content. Probably as follows:

Q: What is the sign of Parkinson’s disease that can be seen on the legs?

Answer: tremors in legs

Or, if you can avoid using the list on your flashcard, at least say how many items there are in the question. For example:

Q: What are the three personality disorders in Cluster A?

Answer: Paranoid, schizotypal, and schizoid.

Rule # 6: Overlapping Cards Are Actually Helpful

There are many ins and outs in science that you need to know while preparing for the MCAT. So you can have a flashcard in mind but later realize that you did not cover all your basics.

If so, creating a second flashcard that incorporates any new information you have acquired can be helpful. And if it is not completely in line with the card you made earlier, that’s fine. The more you connect with the information, the more likely you are to remember it, so a few cards in it will only help.

What MCAT Flashcards to Use?

AAMC sells flashcards. For $ 10, you can buy flashcards at AAMC. But let’s be clear about what a product is.

The fact that it is an official AAMC preparation product means that many people will buy it without first testing it. But AAMC flashcards are 3×5 small cards. A clear scientific question is printed on one side, and the answer is printed on the other side.

If you are looking for a hundred and fifty different science questions, go ahead and buy a card deck. But spending $10 for 150 different science questions is fairly worth it.

Other AAMC Flashcard Alternatives

Do not be fooled into expecting AAMC flashcards to be anything new. You can go to one of the major publishing companies, such as Barron’s MCAT Flashcards, which you can download from Barnes and Noble. 

For many readers these days, the flashcards you can find on your phone are the best. But if you have an old-fashioned reading style, then Barron’s print flashcards are perfect.

AAMC Flashcards vs. Digital Flashcards

When you think about how people learn through flashcards, they are designed for you to read, play, and replicate content. For example, one side says, “Write down all the hormones released by the anterior pituitary.” Then the other side of the flashcard overrides the responses. It’s about digging into scientific facts, not practicing questions, roles, and techniques.

Choosing digital cards can be a plus because you can use repetitions as a learning method. For example, a good flashcard app will give you a multiplication algorithm with spaces. The basic premise is that if you do well on something, you should do it repeatedly. And if you still have difficulties recalling the content on the card, you should review it repeatedly.

Using Anki on MCAT Flashcards

Another popular option is the Anki App, a card display algorithm. It does not provide you with a prepared set of flashcards. You can download Anki and make your own cards or use the built-in function to download and share flashcards with everybody using Anki.

You can browse the internet and download the Anki decks for MCAT. But be careful as you rely on the quality created by other users. Anki also offers a free app that you can use on your computer, but you have the option to upgrade to a premium version if you like and then use it on your phone as well.

How Many Flash Cards Should I Study per Day?

Anki is a flashcard program that is popular among students studying for exams like the MCAT. The program allows users to create their own cards or download pre-made decks and then uses an algorithm to determine how often each card should be shown based on the user’s previous performance. So, how many Anki cards should you study in a day? 

While there is no magic number, the general consensus is that you should aim to study around 100 new cards per day. This may seem like a lot, but Anki’s spaced repetition system means that you will only need to review each card a few times before it is permanently committed to memory. In other words, Anki is an efficient way to learn, and studying 100 new cards per day is an achievable goal.

 When to Start Using MCAT Flashcards

If you are thinking of getting started, then start using the flashcard app to learn early in your first year. This ensures that all the content you read does not just disappear from your memory when you’re taking the real exam. Because then, when you take the MCAT, a lot of it will still remain active in your memory.


If you’re planning on taking the MCAT, flashcards are a tool that can be extremely helpful in your preparation. Flashcards are simply cards with information on one side and a question or prompt on the other. You can use flashcards to test yourself on essential facts and concepts. MCAT Flashcards are handy for memorizing difficult material or for practicing quick recall. To get the most out of your MCAT Prep, be sure to use every resource available to you, including our FREE MCAT Question Bank, Diagnostic Exam, and Live Video Sessions


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