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The Power of Multiple Choice

Jonathan Lindstrom
Posted March 7, 2020

With traditional paper or on-line flashcards, it is easy to skim the material without really reviewing. Or to imagine I’ve memorized a flashcard when I only know some pieces. For how many vocabulary words can I recognize the character but have no clue what the tones might be?

Multiple Choice

Wasted Minutes™ divides every flashcard into separate facts (character, Pinyin with tones, multiple meanings) and then pairs up these facts in every combination forwards and backwards. These “fact pairs” are turned into multiple-choice questions:

  • Given the character, do you know the Pinyin? The tones? The meaning?
  • Given the Pinyin, do you know the character? The meaning?
  • Given the meaning, do you know the character? The Pinyin? How about the tones?

Multiple-choice questions offer the student powerful advantages over the traditional approach.

Activity Required: At the most basic level, flashcard review is now an active process. No more staring blankly as the flashcards go by. To get to the next card, the student must scan the material, make a decision and physically select a choice.

Adaptive: Each review question is scheduled separately so the facts that need more study get that extra practice. So the student can recognize the meaning from the character every time? Great! Don’t ask that question until tomorrow. Oops, the student picked the wrong tones? No problem. Show them the right answer and schedule a review in a few minutes.

Process of Elimination: Wasted Minutes™ build each review question on the fly for each student. The other, wrong choices for the multiple choice come from the other flashcards the student is studying. Even if a student is stumped, finding the right answer by process of elimination is actually a review of their other vocabulary!

We’re pleased to offer students of the Chinese language a fresh, dynamic approach to vocabulary flashcards. Sign up for a free account and give it a try today!