Study More Efficiently with Mental Case

Flashcards have long been a great way to study – whether you’re preparing for an exam, learning a new language, or want to memorize the flags of the world. Mental Case is an application for Mac, iPad, and iPhone which takes the concept of flashcards and makes them far more useful than they could ever be on card.

Today we’ll be taking a look at the Mac version of Mental Case. Could it make a big difference to your study? Read on to find out.

Overview

Mental Case helps you to create digital flashcards which can hold rich text, images, video and sound. These are organized under different stacks in which you have collections of notes. A traditional flashcard only has two sides, but with Mental Case, sides are renamed “facets” and you can have as many as you like.

Mental Case opens on the Notes Browser, which lets you flick through notes by dragging your mouse across them, which feels like a natural motion. Notes can be rearranged and there are three different views available, all which are useful for viewing the facets hidden under each note.

Mental Case Notes Browser

Mental Case Notes Browser

Creating a New Stack

Creating flashcards in Mental Case is a fairly painless process. Upon creating a new Stack, you are prompted to name your Stack and choose between Question and Answer, Multiple Choice, Reversible Note, Simple Note, or Translation. These simply create a template for your notes so that it’s easier to create them specifically for your needs.

At the bottom is the Learning Schedule, which is actually quite clever. If you choose long-term learning, you will be tested often at the beginning, and over time the space between revisions will grow further and further apart, to ensure that the information stays with you. Alternatively you can choose to target a specific deadline or do some short term cramming, which will have a more intensive study structure.

These learning schedules are scientifically based, and Mental Case will list the stacks that are due for testing each day.

Creating a new Stack

Creating a new Stack

With your Stack created, you enter the Note Editor. Here it is straight forward to add content to each facet of your notes. In the example below, I dragged an image of various flags into facet 1 and then wrote the name of the country on facet 2.

Create Notes with the Note Editor

Create Notes with the Note Editor

Downloading Flashcards

Whilst creating flashcards is part of learning, it’s not the fastest process. Thankfully, Mental Case includes access to two flashcard stores (FlashcardExchange and Quizlet), from which you can download endless pre-made sets to suit your needs.

A quick browse through and I found myself revising my knowledge of the Japanese alphabet in no time. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now but Mental Case made it a whole lot more appealing.

Download pre made flashcards from the online

Download pre made flashcards from the online

Revision Time

When it comes time to actually learn your flashcards, Mental Case makes this a fun and interactive task. The slick animations certainly add to it. To start a revision slideshow, you simply select the stack of notes you wish to study, click the ‘play’ button at the bottom of the screen and choose “Notes in Selected Stacks”.

This switches Mental Case to display your notes with the answers hidden. You can either just flick through them, or type the answer underneath the notes and see if you were right or not. This will grade you as you go, or you can choose to grade yourself instead of typing each answer out.

One drawback with Mental Case that you’ll notice below is that the text is really tiny on the card. In the Note Editor I made the text larger, but after going back to the slideshow it was small again. Perhaps this is a bug which needs looking at, but studying alphabets would certainly be better with a much larger font.

Slideshow mode for revising and testing

Slideshow mode for revising and testing

A neat feature is the “Show Statistics” button which allows you to have a look at your progress over time and for the current study session, which helps with a bit of motivation.

Check on your progress

Check on your progress

Conclusion

Mental Case is a well designed application that would definitely benefit many who need to learn heaps of new information. It is super easy to create your own interactive flashcards, even easier to download pre made ones, and offers a great way to revise and follow your progress. It has a few small things which need some work – I had to restart the app a couple of times when the interface layout got confused, but all round this is a great app to aid with study.

Mental Case is available for $29.99 and offers a free 14 day trial. Let us hear your thoughts on Mental Case or if you’ve got any other must-have apps for studying!


Summary

Mental Case is a study app for Mac, iPad and iPhone which uses digital "flashcards" to help you learn more information.

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  • http://toptopgames.com Cyrus

    Man, 29.99 is a hefty price. I bought Smartr, a similar program for only 2.99

  • Jared

    I’ve tried Mental Case, iFlash, and more flashcard websites than you can shake a stick at. A lot of these programs are fine if you’re just looking to cram in a few dozen or hundred facts for a test at school or the like.

    But anyone looking for a serious flashcard app should highly consider Anki. Nothing I’ve tried is even half as good. Plus it’s free (as in beer and speech) and cloud syncs to mac, windows, iPhone, and android. http://ankisrs.net/

    Anki is an eyesore and the learning curve is high, but it simply does the job better than other apps. And if you’re like me and learning a language, you’re not going to have hundreds of flashcards, you’re going to have thousands. Anki makes using spaced repetition to review all of them thoughtless.

    Just my advice for those looking for a good app. Personally, anki is the reason I’m fluent in Japanese.

  • Drew McCormack

    I’m the developer of Mental Case. Thanks for the nice review.

    One suggestion: you can change font sizes for each facet by clicking the settings button on the facet. When you get things how you like them, best to save the settings as a ‘template’, to reuse for other cards and stacks.

    • Jane

      I was wondering what type of language fonts mental case supports? I need to use it to make biblical Hebrew flashcards, which is different than a modern Hebrew font because it has vowel markings, will mental case allow me to do this?

    • Jennifer Guillemaud

      Hi Drew,

      I agree this is an awesome review. I’ve been a loyal iFlash user for the past few years, but am disappointed that development seems to have halted – meanwhile your program has many attractive features I’ve been waiting for. I’m not sure if you are familiar with iFlash, but on several blogs I’ve seen mention of the difficulty and time-consuming nature of trying to import data/cards from iFlash over to Mental Case. I’d really like to convert, but I literally have thousands of cards, many with images, and not sure this is an undertaking I have the time for. Any suggestions to make this transition quicker/easier?

      Thanks!!

  • Fred

    I like study for mac, great interface, simple and gets the job done

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  • http://hairchalking.net/ Kellin G

    Mental Case looks like a great program. It would be a great tool for someone in college trying to cram for a test.

  • Chris

    The price’s been brought down to 9.99$, hallelujah!

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