Question: What's 4 by 6 inches, can be created in minutes and, if used properly, will ensure that your high-schooler will never fail a test?

According to Shauna Cahill, owner of The Successful Tutor, they are home-made flash cards.

"I believe in them so much," said Cahill, who has been using the cards since she was in middle school and now incorporates them into lessons she gives her clients on how to quickly and effectively learn virtually any subject matter.

So how do these miracle cards work? Cahill said they're used to help students process information they're given in class in a convenient form that helps them both learn and recall information. Boiled down to their simplest form, a student will "translate" a lesson's key points (from lecture or from a teacher's website) and then write out the concept on a two-sided card, topic on one side and answer on the back.

"It has to be as basic as possible," Cahill said.

The beauty of a flash card, she added, extends beyond dissecting class information but becomes even more valuable when a student begins studying for a test. At that point, Cahill said, the cards are ideal in reviewing information as well as identifying which topics need further study.

"It makes studying for tests so much easier," she said. "It turns out when you use them effectively you work less. You take students who may take two or three hours but if they use my system they can get as much done in 30 minutes."

Currently, Cahill is working on a flash-card prototype that she hopes to take to market in the near future. E-mail or call Cahill at shauna@thesuccessfultutor.com or at (480) 794-0177.

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