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Leitner Flashcard Method

What is the Leitner Flashcard Method?

Imagine traditional flashcards - those little cards with a question on one side and the answer on the other. The Leitner Method adds a sprinkle of science and organisation to enhance your memory retention power. You might remember reading my previous blog posts on Retrieval Practice and Spaced Repetition (no? feel free to go and have a look and then come back here) - the Leitner Flashcard Method combines these two concepts making it an extremely effective form of revision. I wish I knew about it when I was studying for my own exams; it would've saved a lot of wasted time!

How Does it Work?

There are various ways you can go about setting up your Leitner flashcard system. Below are detailed steps on one way you could do this, using four boxes to store your flashcards.

Step 1: Gather your Materials

First things first, grab some index cards or small pieces of paper. These will be your trusty flashcards. Write a question on one side of the card and its corresponding answer on the other side. Keep it short and sweet to make it easier to remember.


Step 2: Set Up Your Flashcard Deck

Now, let's organise those cards. Arrange them into different decks based on their difficulty levels. You'll have multiple boxes, and each box represents a specific study phase.


Box 1: The Newbies

This box holds all the fresh flashcards you've just created. At this point, you're just getting started, and the goal is to familiarise yourself with the material.


Box 2: The Growing Pile

When you correctly answer a question from Box 1, it's time to promote that card to Box 2. This box houses cards that need a bit more reinforcement.


Box 3: The Refresher

After acing a card from Box 2, it moves to Box 3. These are the flashcards that need occasional review to cement the information in your long-term memory.


Box 4: The Masters

Congratulations! When you've successfully answered a card from Box 3, it advances to Box 4. These are the cards you've mastered, and they require the least frequent review.


Step 3: Daily Review and Progression

Now comes the fun part. Set aside some time each day for flashcard review. Start with Box 1 and work your way through each box. If you answer a card correctly, it moves up a box. However, if you get it wrong, it moves back to Box 1 to revisit it more frequently.

If four boxes seems a bit much, here's a different way to set up your Leitner Flashcard system from Impact Wales (Impact (@ImpactWales) / X). This method uses only three boxes and is the same as the one outlined in the video at the end of this post.

Benefits of the Leitner Flashcard Method

  1. Efficient Memorisation: By organising the flashcards into different boxes, the Leitner Method optimises your brain's ability to retain information effectively. You focus more on challenging concepts while occasionally revisiting the easier ones.

  2. Active Recall: This method encourages active recall, which means you're actively retrieving information from your memory instead of passively rereading notes. It strengthens your ability to recall information during exams.

  3. Tailored Learning: The method allows you to tailor your study sessions based on your progress. You'll be spending more time on the areas that need improvement while spending less time on the mastered material.

  4. Time-Saving: Say goodbye to endless hours of ineffective study sessions. The Leitner Method is designed to be time-efficient while maximising retention.

  5. Fun and Engaging: The process of moving cards through different boxes adds an element of gamification to your learning experience. It keeps you engaged and motivated to progress through the boxes.


The Leitner Flashcard Method is a proven and efficient way to boost your memory and learning capabilities. It's flexible, adaptable, and suitable for learners of all ages. Time to grab those flashcards and level up your learning journey with the Leitner Method!

Source: Mometrix Academy (YouTube)


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