Polar vs. Brainscape vs. Quizlet. Which is the best one for students?


The advantage of studying with flashcards

In times of Covid and online studying, every student wants to keep their productivity and learning to a max. So which tools support you best and boost your productivity?💻 I will answer this question in this blog and tell you which of the three tools presented is best. So read on and find out which tool is best for you!👀

Several studies and articles have pointed out advantages of learning with Spaced Repetition and Flashcards. They show that regular learning with flashcards and the resulting self-testing typically improves performance. And this was the case for every single test person in the study (100%)! The reason for this is a simple one. By testing yourself at regular intervals, you learn actively and not passively (also known as active recall). Thus, the learned material is stored more efficiently in the long-term memory and less so in the short-term memory, which is the case, for example, if you simply read through the same material 10 times the day before the exam 🤷‍♂️😂.

So what’s a good workflow? Ideally, you have your document in one tab with a flashcard program next to it. You take the important information and make a flashcard out of it. Now you can review it regularly and based on your knowledge of the information, schedule another review at a later stage.

The important thing here is that the tool should give you the option to take your proficiency into account. Were you able to answer the question well, moderately, or poorly?👀 This is crucial for when the question comes back again and how quickly the information is written to your long-term memory.

The immense productivity gains mentioned above have had an immense impact on the growth and popularity of flashcard apps. We've picked out three of the best apps and compared them for you.

Polar vs. Brainscape vs. Quizlet

Quizlet is the standard player in this field - it’s been around for a while and it’s an easy way to create flashcards. Nothing more, nothing less.Brainscape is similar to Quizlet in that it allows you to create flashcards. Finally, Polar is a slightly broader take on flashcards - it’s actually a document reader in the first place that allows you to create flashcards directly from what you’re reading and highlighting.

1. Platform Experience

Quizlet is probably the most popular flashcard tool out there. It is especially popular with high school students and the younger among us. One reason for this is its design. With playful design elements and a very simple interface, learning seems to become a breeze🌬️. The uniqueness of Quizlet is that you can easily find the flashcards of others and thus save time and benefit from the knowledge of others at the same time. Quizlet lets you create learning sets, folders, and even entire courses in which you can share your flashcards with others and have your learning material organized in a specific place.

Quizlet Interface

On the other hand, we have Brainscape. Brainscape is one of the top flashcard tools as well. Just like Quizlet, you can create flashcards, but you can also search for topics and learn with presets. The difference, however, is that the themes of the presets are a bit more professional than those of Quizlet. One reason for this is the difference in the target audience. Right from the beginning of the website, you notice the tool is geared toward professionals rather than college or high school students. Another point where Brainscape goes further than Quizlet is the use of Spaced Repetition.

Brainscape Interface

Polar, on the other hand, is one of the newer tools out there when it comes to flashcards. Polar’s uniqueness that you can create flashcards directly from PDFs, web pages and EPUBs. Besides flashcards, you can create notes and build a knowledge base from your reading. Polar also allows you to completely automate the flashcard creation process using AI.

Polar Interface

2. Productivity

Let us now turn to the productivity factor. I don't care what tool I study with or how I learn. The main thing is that I learn 1. quickly and 2. retain the information long-term. So how do our three tools perform here?

AI flashcards

When it comes to productivity, Polar is ahead of the others. This has a special reason. Creating flashcards has been reduced to a minimum here🥳. To put it more precisely. It takes only one click to create a flashcard from a text highliht. As you can see in the video above, all you have to do is select something, press the AI Flashcard icon, and automatically create your flashcard! Some people also call it Voodoo.....👀🔮 Especially efficient is that the PDFs, EPUBs and even web pages don't have to be opened in a separate tool, but everything can be done in in Polar. An unbeatable feature is the Chrome extension. With the extension, it is very easy to download web pages and online articles to work with them directly in Polar, including creating flashcards from those websites.

Spaced Repetition learning is also possible in Polar. All your created flashcards and notes can be found in your annotation repository.

Polar Annotation Viewer

You can choose whether to review flashcards or annotations. With the spaced repetition feature, flashcards are scheduled based on how well you know the content.

Brainscape Question Brainscape, on the other hand, is a bit more limited. If you want to create flashcards that are not based on a specific text, you should try Brainscape! With Brainscape you can create courses that can be divided into different decks. Each course can cover a specific topic. But that's not all. The ultimate power of Brainscape is rather to benefit from what has already been created by others. Here you can choose from more than **1 million courses** (!)😮. Brainscape Presets These courses cover just about any topic from any field. From astrology to blackjack to corporate law, everything is there. So there is (almost) no limitation. When you select a course, it is simply added to your library and you can start it over and over again. This not only saves time but often also nerves 😬🙄. Of course, it is also possible to learn with Spaced Repetition, even if this is only possible with the premium tier. With Brainscape, you have the choice between 5 categories, into which you can put your answer strength. There is also a mobile app so that learning on the bus or in the subway is no longer a problem. On the other hand, it is not possible to create flashcards directly from a document. Unfortunately, in my opinion, you can't rely on the presets if you’re a student. Every professor uses a different set of materials and it is simply too risky (or just a waste of time at worst 🤷‍♂️) to learn from other people's learning materials if it’s not the same course.

Finally, Quizlet is a very straightforward tool. Just like Brainscape, you can create learning sets and courses, or join already created courses and place them in individual folders. The concept is very similar to Brainscape. However, you will quickly notice that Quizlet is a lot simpler than Brainscape. The interface makes it very clear and supports a simple workflow well.

Quizlet 2 In addition, Quizlet comes with some very useful features, especially for students and groups. For example, there is a **live mode** and a **learning mode**. Especially the live mode can provide learning fun in the classroom and especially for small groups. Small competitions can be created in which you can compete against each other and see who has studied the best🔥. Learning mode is great for those who need to learn something quickly. You can specify the test date and a learning plan is created so that you have all the material in your memory by the deadline. But Quizlet has the same problem as Brainscape here. A large number of presets and courses can complicate the selection process and it is not possible to work directly from documents.

3. Fun Factor

For me, it was always annoying to switch back and forth between multiple tools when studying. Fortunately, Polar covers this which to me increases the fun factor when studying. The AI flashcards and the efficient highlighting of important passages contribute a great deal. What also helps are the personal statistics.

Polar Stats

You can easily track your streaks and learning successes📈. This is not only extremely motivating, but it's also cool to see how much you've accomplished at the end of the day, week, or month!

Brainscape's fun factor lies in the concept. With the colour categories when answering the flashcards, it always feels good to choose the colour on the far right.

Brainscape Categories Another point is that Brainscape counteracts procrastination quite a bit. Because of the many presets, the hurdle to start learning is virtually non-existent since you need one click to get hundreds of flashcards. Thus, it is automatically more fun to start and you are directly in the middle of learning mode😄. Only issue is that you need to rely on other people’s flashcards which might not always be exactly what you’re looking for.

You are a high school student? Then you will enjoy Quizlet. The platform makes everything seem enjoyable and the interface is as easy to use as playing a video game. Being able to organize and structure one's learning materials through the various options, as well as completing competitions with groups, is a plus factor.

Quizlet Folders

Anyone who likes to collaborate with others will have a lot of fun with Quizlet.

Which one should I go with?

What you should use can be determined by a few very simple points. If you're a student or do more academic work, Polar is probably the best option for you. Working directly from documents, as well as the efficient markup flashcard creation system, saves an incredible amount of time. And what student has a lot of time?

If you work a lot in groups or teams, you should give Brainscape a chance. Even though you can't work directly from documents and it makes things slower and more tiring, the presets are worth a try. If you're younger and want to cover more basic topics, you should try your luck with Quizlet. Not only is the learning mode a cool gimmick, but the presets are extremely quick to select.

Posted on: Apr 06, 2021
Polar Team

Written by Polar Team
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