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About Flashcards on Brainscape
Introducing the Knowledge Genome
The Knowledge Genome Project is Brainscape’s Herculean attempt to distill a world of knowledge into the most fundamental Q&A pairs (aka flashcards), resulting in an easily navigable, yet vast web of flashcard classes, organized by subject.
In other words, the Knowledge Genome is our nerdy way of saying: here’s the knowledge captured in Brainscape and, thanks to our organizational skills, finding it is super easy!
So, how does it all work?
Well, every night, when you’re gently burbling away in your sleep, our little software minions get to work analyzing all the new classes that have been created by other students, teachers, and professors around the world, classifying them into one or more "tags" or categories.
When you click on a tag like Medical & Nursing, you’ll see an astounding variety of topics related to healthcare and medicine. And if you click on Medical Exams (within Medical & Nursing), for example, you’ll see every collection of medical exam flashcards ever made, not only by our users but by our teams of subject matter experts, too!
Oh, and we order them based on popularity, allowing the cream to rise to the top, which means that you don’t have to hunt around for the best flashcards!
Also, within each class, you’ll find decks, and within each deck, you’ll find flashcards. Organized like this, it’s super easy to break down vast and complicated subjects into easy-to-navigate, neatly organized bite-sized question-and-answer pairs, which you can use to learn so much faster.
(Have you ever seen a more impressive legal use of hyphens in a single sentence?? I haven’t!)
Flashcards for Any Class
Since Brainscape has been around for ... awhile (I mean, it would be unladylike to give away our age), we’ve seen quite literally millions of top students, teachers, professors, and publishers contributing flashcards to our Knowledge Genome. And the flashcards they make are the product of years of education, training, and experience … so we have a veritable goldmine of information here.
There are flashcards for virtually every high school and college class, as well as for specific academic pursuits. This includes classes such as medical school flashcards, law school flashcards, USMLE flashcards, AP Exam study guides, financial exam flashcards, and learning Spanish … among thousands of other topics.
In fact, if every digital flashcard in Brainscape were an actual cardboard flashcard weighing one gram, the total mass of our Knowledge Genome would turn Earth into such a grossly distended superplanet, the sun would swap orbits with us, thereby FINALLY giving credence to Ptolomy’s (daft) Earth-centric model of the universe.
He would be stoked.
How Are the Tags Organized?
The organization of the tags in Brainscape's Knowledge Genome was based on several hundred hours of research into K-12 and university course catalogs, as well as various medical, law, and other professional knowledge taxonomies available on the web.
I know: the pursuit of rigorous organization is a merciless and punishing mistress.
Anyway, what we did was apply these knowledge taxonomies to our own Knowledge Genome, so that if you’re studying for the USMLE, you’ll find the perfect flashcards under the taxonomies that make the most sense, i.e. "Medical Exams" and Medical and Nursing Certifications. You will not find them nestled under a taxonomy that doesn’t make sense for a medical exam, like Foreign Languages.
Of course, not all knowledge fits neatly into the various class tags we’ve researched and so rather than confuzzle you, Brainscape’s tech nerds added a master A-Z classes directory, which only requires a proficiency in your ABC’s to navigate. Failing that, you can use our "Search" functionality to hunt down the class you’re after.
Failing THAT, I’ve heard that bloodhounds have a remarkably good sense of smell ...
What if I Don't Find the Flashcards I Want?
Okay, forget bloodhounds. If you’ve pored over Brainscape’s A-to-Z directory and even run a manual search, and still can’t find the flashcards you’re looking for it’s quite possible that you are the first-ever person to create flashcards for your chosen subject!
Plant that flag: you’re a pioneer, baby! (Seriously, what ARE you studying?)
If that’s the case, it’s time to make your own flashcards using our easy web-based content authoring system. Not only will you then be able to study custom content using Brainscape's unique Confidence-Based Repetition study system, but you will also be able to contribute your flashcards to our Knowledge Genome. And, here, they can be used by other learners around the world! (Unless you decide to make them private, of course).
Whichever way you go about curating your flashcard collections—using others and/or making your own—Brainscape’s scientifically proven study algorithm will walk side-by-side with you the whole way, helping you to learn faster and remember for longer.
So now that you understand our Knowledge Genome, go ahead and find your next flashcards to get started with Brainscape! And check out the Brainscape Academy for thousands of more tips on how to optimize your learning.
Learn Faster with Cognitive Science
Speaking of how Brainscape works ...
Our "secret sauce" is a new learning system we created called Confidence-Based Repetition (CBR). Ooooooo, sexy acronym! Now, CBR is a modified version of spaced repetition that optimizes your learning by automatically determining how your study time is allocated.
There are three main steps in the ongoing CBR cycle:
The first step is active recall. Rather than simply "recognizing" the correct answer from a series of multiple choices, Brainscape (or really any flashcards) force you to recall the fact from scratch, thereby strengthening the neuron connections that your brain uses to encode that information.
The second step is metacognition. As soon as you manually reveal the answer to a given flashcard, Brainscape asks you to rate, on a 1-5 scale, depending on how well you think you know the material. This act of self-assessment further deepens your newborn neural connections.
The final step is spaced repetition. Brainscape uses your self-reported confidence rating to determine exactly how frequently to show you the flashcard again, with low-confidence items repeated more often until you increase your confidence rating.
Our algorithm is designed to repeat concepts at the sweetest possible time interval so that you don’t forget but also don’t waste any time studying what you already know.
If you continue to use Brainscape, your hippopotamus, sorry, hippocampus will get better and better at building and strengthening the neuron connections in your prefrontal cortex. And THIS will improve how quickly and permanently your brain encodes long-term memories.
So now that you understand our Knowledge Genome and how Brainscape works, go ahead and find your next flashcards. This is the start of your learning journey and we’re so excited to be coming along for the ride!