When you need to recall a lot of information at once, index flashcards are the ideal tool. They provide a compact way to organize facts, thoughts or ideas. Students, public speakers, interviewees or anyone who needs to recollect vital details can make use of them.
There are a variety of colors, sizes and designs to choose from. For most purposes, the 1InTheOffice Flashcards will provide enough space for brief notes and come in a variety of pastel tones to help with organization.
What to know before you buy index flashcards
Traditional index cards are 3 inches by 5 inches. This size is ideal for making compact notes for speeches, presentations or tours. You can fit these small cards into a pocket or discreetly hold them in your hand while talking.
For those wanting slightly bigger cards, 4 inches by 6 inches is a popular choice. These allow a little more room for drawing diagrams or for those who prefer to read large text. Opt for this size if you have a lot of information to put on each card.
If you want to make flashcards for classrooms or games, then you’ll be better off selecting a 5-by-8-inch option. These roughly A5-size cards can accommodate large text and sketches that are easy to see at a distance of a few meters.
Ruled vs. blank index cards
If you plan on writing more than two lines of text on each card, it’s best to choose ruled index cards. These will generally have a double space at the top for a heading and 10 to 15 single-spaced lines, depending on the size of the card. The lines help to keep your writing straight and the card looking neat, which makes it easier to find information with a quick scan.
Blank index cards are well suited to those who like to sketch pictures, draw diagrams or want to get more creative with their notes. If you only need to write a couple of words or one sentence on each card, then you probably don’t need lines to keep it tidy.
Some cards are lined on one side and blank on the other. These are an excellent choice for students or job seekers who wish to revise answers to certain questions. Users can write the question in big letters on the blank side and conveniently hide the detailed answer on the reverse.
Index flashcard features
Having index cards of various colors can help with organization, as each color can represent a specific category. School students might choose one color for history and another for math. Tour guides might want to have a different color for each area of a city or country. Whatever your needs, having your ideas coordinated is paramount.
Vertically lined cards
For use in portrait style, the lines of these cards run parallel with the short edge of the card. This design is ideal for list-making where you only need to write a word or two on each line. They also come in handy for writing short step-by-step guides, such as recipes.
Grid graph cards
Available in lined or dotted grids, these cards are useful if you need to incorporate a graph or chart into your notes.
Bound index cards
Spiral-bound index cards are great for keeping your notes together and in order. Many options have perforated edges so that you can remove cards when you need to. The disadvantage is that you can’t rearrange the sequence of the cards. Ring binders are a better option for those who want to keep their cards neat but want the flexibility to shuffle them too.
Index flashcard cost
For a pack of 300 index cards, you can expect to pay $5-$12 for a decent set. Always check the card count before you buy, as some manufacturers produce 50-card or 100-card packs in the same price range.
Index flashcard FAQ
How should I organize information on an index card?
A. Keep the word count to a minimum. You want to be able to grasp the main idea at a glance. Don’t try to overcrowd the card with too many topics. Ideally, you’ll want a separate card for each topic or point. Write the cards neatly because this will make them easier to read. Use colored pens, pencils or highlighters to make keywords stand out.
Can I put index cards in the printer?
A. Usually, yes, but there are some things to consider. First, make sure the printer can accept different sizes of paper. Then, change the settings on the computer or laptop to the correct paper size.
Which index flashcards should I get?
Best of the best index flashcards
1InTheOffice 3” x 5" Ruled Pastel Flashcards, 300-Count: available at Amazon
Our take: Excellent for those who want to use felt pens or highlighters to stress key details.
What we like: Pastel tones help to distinguish various topics but don’t overshadow the information on the card.
What we dislike: Exact colors may vary from the picture.
Best bang for your buck index flashcards
AmazonBasics 3” x 5" Ruled Neon Index Flash Cards, 300-Count: available at Amazon
Our take: These vibrant cards are perfect for students who want to add a pop of color to their notes.
What we like: The lines are vivid enough to be visible even on the brightest cards. The back of the card is blank for sketching.
What we dislike: Some people find them too flimsy.
Honorable mention index flashcards
Oxford 4” x 6" Blank White Index Cards, 300-Pack: available at Amazon
Our take: These large blank cards are ideal for drawing diagrams or flowcharts. This makes them great for revising subjects such as biology or geometry.
What we like: They can withstand thin markers and highlighters without showing through to the other side.
What we dislike: The cards bend more easily due to their slightly bigger size.
Catherine Bushen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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