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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!