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MCAT Flashcard Functionality
MCAT Flashcard Functionality

How do I use MCAT Flashcards? How do I create flashcards?

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Written by Blueprint
Updated this week

When created and reviewed properly, flashcards can be an effective tool to memorize discrete pieces of information needed for the MCAT. Luckily, Blueprint has taken the hard work of making flashcards off your plate for MCAT studying!

Flashcard Functionality

Simply select the subject(s) and/or topic(s) you would like to practice, decide whose cards to include in the deck (ours, yours, or all) and you’re ready to go! You start with a default daily goal, which you can update at any time.

Study Modes

The Blueprint flashcards have two main study modes - study plan and a la carte.

  • In study plan mode, you'll see flashcards which correspond to completed modules added to your deck.

  • In a la carte mode you can choose which topics to include in the deck. À la Carte is the perfect mode for your final weeks of studying: you can use your Exam analytics to pinpoint precisely where you need to focus.

Study Plan mode for flashcards

Date Range

This setting is only available when using Study Plan mode. Study Plan mode pulls cards from Learning Modules that are in the Completed state. Date Range lets you control the size of your deck a bit more by offering four options:

  • All (default): We’ll pull cards from all your Completed learning modules to date.

  • Past Month: We’ll only pull cards from learning modules you’ve Completed in the past 30 days.

  • Past Week: We’ll only pull cards from learning modules you’ve Completed in the past 7 days.

  • Past Day: We’ll only pull cards from learning modules you’ve Completed in the past 24 hours.

Review Styles

There are three review styles in the Blueprint flashcards - spaced repetition (which we suggest for most of your study time), comfort level, and all cards.

  • Spaced repetition will show you card at frequencies dictated by your comfort level with each card. Cards that you are less comfortable with will show up more frequently until they become more comfortable.

  • Comfort Level will allow you to choose which comfort level of cards you'd like to see and all cards will include all 1600+ Blueprint flashcards in your deck.

  • All cards includes all cards, both Blueprint and your own

Card Types

This setting allows you to control whose flashcards will be included in your deck. There are three options:

  • All (default): When this option is selected, the deck will contain both Blueprint flashcards (including any you may have edited) and any cards you have created.

  • My Cards: When this option is selected, the deck will only contain flashcards that you yourself have created from scratch. It will not include any Blueprint cards that you have edited - we still consider those to be Blueprint cards.

  • Blueprint Cards: When this option is selected, the deck will only contain flashcards that were created by Blueprint. This includes any Blueprint cards that you may have edited.

Comfort Level

When you are shown a card, click, tap, or press Space bar to see the other side. You must select a comfort level for that card (Low, Medium, or High) before advancing. This tells our spaced repetition algorithm when to show you that card again.

Showing and Hiding Cards

You can also choose to hide the card (click “Don’t show this card”) or bookmark it.

If you accidentally click Do not show and want to bring it back, you can find the card on your Flashcards page by going to Blueprint Cards and selecting Hidden. From there you can unhide the card.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Try out the keyboard shortcuts for a click-less review session.

Daily Goal

Your Daily Goal is there to help keep you on track. You can edit your Daily Goal at any time, from 10 - 100 cards. If you achieve your daily goal, your streak tracker will update, and you can choose to keep reviewing or stop for the day.

At midnight (based on your computer’s time zone), we reset the Daily Goal progress back down to zero. If you happen to be reviewing cards during this time, you’ll see a message letting you know about the change and you can keep on reviewing cards.

Analytics

The Blueprint MCAT Flashcards analytics page will help you understand your performance over time. Here are some key features of our analytics!

  • Hot streak: The number of days in a row that you have met your Daily Goal.

  • Card Comfort level: This graph shows a dynamic breakdown of the latest comfort level rating for all the cards you’ve rated to date.

  • Totals: Realtime totals of unique cards viewed, average ratings per day, and total cards rated.

  • Comfort Level over Time: This graph shows your comfort level ratings breakdown each day. Zoom in/out to see your progress through the course.

  • Comfort Level by Subject: These 7 donut graphs show your comfort level breakdown by subject using the latest rating given.

  • Bookmarked Cards by Subject: This bar chart shows you the count and percentage of cards within that subject that are currently bookmarked.

  • Flashcard Achievements: Your badges live here. Badges will be filled in as you earn them, so check back often to see new ones!

Badges

Each subject area has 4 badge levels with set thresholds for unlocking:

  • Apprentice Badge: review 25 cards in a given subject

  • Scholar Badge: you’ve marked 50 cards Medium comfort in a given subject

  • Genius Badge: you’ve marked 75 cards High comfort in a given subject

  • Sorcerer Badge: you’ve marked all cards High comfort in a given subject

If you later change your comfort level for cards, we won’t take any badges away! There are also badges not related to content:

  • First Day: let’s kick things off with a badge - you made it here!

  • Review Analytics: who doesn’t love analytics? Earn this badge the first time you review your analytics

  • Perfect Week/Month/Quarter: badges for achieving a hot streak of 7 days/30 days/90 days

Flashcard FAQs

How does the spaced repetition algorithm work?

Spaced repetition is an evidence-based learning technique proven to increase the rate of learning. Blueprint flashcards use your comfort-level ratings to implement a 1/3/5 day schedule of review. For example, if you mark a card Low comfort, that basically means we will show you this card again in 1 day (provided you still have this subject and/or topic selected to study). If you mark a card Medium comfort level, we will show it to you again in 3 days. If you mark a card High comfort level, we will show it to you again in 5 days. Each day, we’ll start by showing you cards in the Low comfort bucket, any that are ready for review from your Medium and High buckets and then move to showing you new cards. In this way, Blueprint flashcards ensure you’re seeing the right content at the right time.

How do I know I’m being shown the cards that I need to review?

If you are an Online Anytime, Live Online, or Tutoring student:

Use Study Plan mode to perfectly align flashcards with your content review. In Study Plan mode, we will only show you flashcards from learning modules that are marked Complete on your Study Plan.

We recommend completing any assigned Learning Modules for the day, then clicking the icon to go to Flashcards. Any flashcards associated with the modules you just completed will be automatically added to your deck.

Can I create my own flashcards?

Tips for Creating Flashcards:

  • Use the purple + button in the lower right corner of your course to create a flashcard without having to leave the page you're on:

  • Focus on concepts, not questions. If you miss a question and want to make a flashcard, identify the concept the question was testing. Don't put the question itself on the flashcard. You will never see the same question twice.

  • Limit the amount of information to one fact per card. Complex systems, such as biochemical pathways, are not well suited to flashcards.

  • Try out "cloze deletion," where a word is missing from a statement and the back of the card has the answer that best fits the blank.

  • Use images when possible, especially if you are using a digital system. A picture is worth a thousand words and can save time! Drag one over or upload from your computer.

Can I save or export a deck?

No. Think of the Blueprint flashcards as one big, dynamic deck. You configure the settings, set your Daily Goal, and then we’ll begin showing you cards based on your selections. In other words, there is no way to create a “Week 1 Cards” deck (for example). Unfortunately, flashcards cannot be exported or downloaded at this time.

Can I add Flashcards to my Study Plan?

You’ll notice a flashcards icon on each day of your Study Plan. This is your daily reminder to do flashcards. They are on each day of your Study Plan, with the exception of Full Length exams or review days, days off, and your MCAT date.

The icon will be in 1 of 3 states:

  • Today: a little bolder, and clicking will bring you to flashcards

  • Completed: after you reach your daily goal of flashcards, the icon will have a check mark by it

  • Upcoming: future days will have a slightly lighter version of the icon, indicating what’s coming up

If you do not complete your daily goal for a given day, we’ll take the icon off of that day once it has passed. These icons are on by default, but if you would like to turn them off, use the toggle on the Flashcards home page:

What topics do the flashcards cover?

Our flashcards are designed to cover all major concepts referenced in the AAMC content outline for the MCAT, with additional emphasis given to topics that are highly tested on the MCAT.

We currently have over 1600 cards, distributed across the following 7 subjects:

  • Biochemistry = ~140 cards

  • Biology = ~520 cards

  • General Chemistry = ~130 cards

  • Organic Chemistry = ~80 cards

  • Physics = ~220 cards

  • Psychology = ~360 cards

  • Sociology = ~170 cards

How much time should I spend on Flashcards?

Depending on how much time you have to study each day, we recommend completing 20-40 flashcards each day. Blueprint experts find that flashcards are particularly useful as "warm ups" to start their studies or "cool downs" to close out their study sessions as well as for "in between times" like when you're waiting to have your oil changed or are on public transit. Consistent use of flashcards helps to keep content fresh without having to spend time fully reviewing.

Flashcards are best used to maintain your knowledge of discrete facts. They do not replace doing practice problems or reviewing more interconnected content areas, such as organ systems and metabolic processes.

Live Online and Self-Paced Students

Live Online and Self-Paced students can best make use of their flashcards using Study Plan mode. This mode will show you cards from Learning Modules that you’ve completed, making it super simple to align your content review with an effective flashcards review session. Use the Spaced Repetition review mode (it’s the default!) to get the most out of each review session.

Tutoring Students

Tutoring students will benefit from flashcards as part of their regularly scheduled MCAT study. Work with your tutor 1:1 to determine what you should focus on as well as your daily goals.

Exam Students

When determining where to direct your flashcard energy, start with your Full-Length analytics page. From here, use flashcards to bolster your knowledge in areas in which you're struggling.

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