Whether you went to grade school 15 years ago or 45, you probably used flashcards to help you memorize facts (like multiplication tables). While this kind of rote learning doesn’t replace critical thinking, it definitely has an important place in studying for a license exam. In fact, for the real estate student needing extra help with those pesky formulas, definitions, and other bits of information requiring straight memorization, nothing beats flashcards.
Why? Flashcards fire up your active recall. Active recall refers to the way your mind responds to a demand on your memory. Rather than simply reading and re-reading the information, or choosing one answer among many (as when answering a multiple-choice question), you’re forced to formulate an answer from scratch. This act of trying to come up with the right answer helps consolidate the information more permanently in your memory. According to recent studies, the act of mentally retrieving information actually reinforces your brain’s neural pathway for that particular memory. When you use active recall, you retain the information better.
Of course, flashcards aren’t the only tool you should use to study for the real estate exam. Remember, before you can grasp large amounts of complex information you have to understand the concepts underlying that information. As we’ve explained in a previous post, one of the best ways to do that is to try explaining the concepts to somebody else. We like to think of this "explaining" exercise as the flashcard equivalent for the conceptual realm; when you’re forced to explain something without an external aid, your mind assimilates the information more efficiently.
So, as you prepare for the real estate exam, try adding a stack of flashcards to your study repertoire. You can easily make your own, or you can purchase them directly from Rockwell.
Remember, Rockwell Institute is here to answer all your questions about preparing for a real estate exam!