Using Quizlet to Memorise Commands, IDE Shortcuts, and other things for Software Engineers
In this blog, I’m going to persuade you to try using Quizlet — or a flashcard application of your choice — to see if memorizing commands and keyboard shortcuts can help improve your productivity.
Finding flashcard content
Some examples of content that could be placed into a flashcard system include:
- Angular CLI commands
- Git commands
- Keyboard shortcuts for IDEs e.g. VS Code, Eclipse…
- Definitions of searching and sorting algorithms
- Categorizing programming design patterns as Structural, Creational, and Behaviour
- Memorizing imports for libraries e.g., mergeMap belongs to rxjs/operators (yes…there’s auto-import, but it’s still good know)
How should you study?
Let’s start with an example. Suppose that you’re an Angular developer and you want to memorize VS Code keyboard shortcuts.
Well, a good place to start might be to get the PDF of all the commands e.g. Visual Studio Code Keyboard Shortcuts for MacOS.
Only…you’d be wrong!
This isn’t the worst place to start but definitely not the best.
You should instead search for “top VS Code” commands and memorize the most common, say, 20 commands, as a priority before learning other shortcuts.
This might be all you need to carry out most of your daily tasks.
Google has almost one million hits on this question, so it shouldn’t take you long to formulate a list of commands to learn.
Get started with Quizlet
Head over to https://quizlet.com/ to sign up and download the app on your phone or tablet.
It’s better to create flashcards from the website: it’s just easier with the copying and pasting of question-answer pairs.
You can then use your phone or tablet app to learn and revise flashcards — except for a couple of tests that require you to type in the answer, where a laptop is obviously better.
Creating new study sets
It’s much faster for you (and less for me to type) if you head over to Quizlet’s YouTube channel for tutorials and how to add your first study set:
Tip: When you’re not familiar with something, it can be really hard to memorize a large set of flashcards in one go. I found that keeping it to somewhere between 7–15 cards per set is ideal.
Memorizing the cards
You have five ways to memorize flashcards:
The easiest to start with — you’re presented with a card and need to select the right choice from four possible options.
A little harder — you’re presented with a card but no options this time. You need to say the answer out loud to yourself. Did you get the right answer? Swipe right. Otherwise, swipe left to add the flashcard back to the pack.
As it sounds, you’re presented with a flashcard and need to type the answer, which is, of course, best done using the Quizlet web interface.
This is seriously addictive. You’re presented with a grid and need to match question and answer pairs. There’s a stopwatch that records how long it takes you to complete each round.
Much the same as Write — I don’t use it often.