The Jewish Eye
Exambusters Hebrew Study Cards
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - May 10, 2006
The key to learning any foreign language, including modern Hebrew, is consistency and perseverance - and a lot of memorization! A time honored and effective method of memorizing vocabulary words and phrases is the use of study cards (also known as flash cards). For those not familiar with flash cards, they are made by taking a card or piece of paper, and on one side you write the word you want to learn in Hebrew, and on the other side you write the English translation. The only problem is, that making up these cards can be time consuming and when dealing with a non-Latin based alphabet like Hebrew, beginning students may have difficulty writing out the Hebrew words in a legible manner. One recourse is to invest in a set of pre-made study cards - and the best Hebrew study cards that I've come across are available from Exambusters.
Exambusters offers two sets of Hebrew study cards - one set is available on printed cards about the size of a business card, and another set on CD-ROM. They also offer study cards that cover a range of subjects from Biology and World History to Japanese and Algebra.
The Exambusters Hebrew Study cards present hundreds of cards covering topics such as the Hebrew alphabet, numbers, grammar, verbs, common phrases, and general vocabulary words organized into thematic topics such as travel, food, people, nature, shopping, and school. The cards are designed so that on one side you have one or more terms, in English, such as a list of four colors like 1) white, 2) yellow, 3) purple, 4) brown. Other cards feature a set of phrases in English, such as: 1)That's mine, thank you. 2) Look at this. 3) You look very nice. On the back of each card is the word or phrased in printed in Hebrew, without vowels (nikud), along with a phonetic pronunciation guide. The study cards on the CD-ROM version are presented in a similar fashion except that rather than flipping the cards over by hand. You do it with a click of your mouse.
The study cards can be used alone, or with a friend or family member with that person quizzing you on the correct answers. You also have the option of going though them with the English sides first, and giving your answers in Hebrew, or going though them 'backwards' by looking at the Hebrew side and giving the English translation of the Hebrew words. You can do this with both the paper and the computer version of the flash cards. Also, both the hand held and CD-ROM cards can be mixed, or you can study a specific category at a time. In addition, these cards are not only useful in practicing and improving your Hebrew vocabulary, but they are also well suited as a method of review for class, and for use in preparing for the New York Regents Hebrew exam and the SAT subject exam in Modern Hebrew. They will also serve travelers preparing for a trip to Israel.
Study Cards on Paper vs. CD-ROM
The cards work the same way in both the paper CD-ROM versions of the Exambusters Hebrew Study Cards. There are, it appears, more words and phrases presented in the CD-ROM version. The packaging on the paper version does not indicate how many words are presented. However it does have about 385 cards with 2-6 words or phrases on each card, along with the corresponding answers. Whereas the packaging on the CD-ROM version says that it contains 1800 questions and answers. Other than the number of words and phrases, each version is, as far as the cards are concerned, very similar. Each version, however, has its unique advantages.
In regard to the paper cards, you can easily take a handful and put them in your pocket and study them while waiting in line, riding the bus, or doing other similar activities. They are also a fun game to play during car rides especially if you have a sibling or someone else with you who is also studying Hebrew. The CD-ROM version, on the other hands, offers you the option picking a specific category or topic of words to study without having to shuffle through all the cards searching for the ones you want. The computer version also lets you take sample quizzes and exams, and it keeps track of your test results. The computer version also offers a screen saver mode that will give you additional practice. The main drawback to the CD-ROM version is that it only works on computers running Windows XP, and it will not work on a Macintosh.
Personally, I think that each version has its advantages and I'd recommend getting both versions if possible. The paper version to study while you are on the move, and the computer version for use on your home computer. However, depending on your preferred learning style, you may prefer one format to the other. You can find more information on these study cards, as well as view samples of the cards, online at: www.exambusters.com. In conclusion, these study cards are an excellent means, for high school and college students, and travelers, to study and review a wide selection of essential Hebrew words and phrases. They are also well suited for use as an aid to help you to prepare for the New York Regents or SAT Hebrew exams and as a review tool for those studying for in class exams and quizzes.
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- Before You Know It Deluxe - Hebrew, by Transparent Language.
This is an innovative flash card program that includes supplemental learning activities. In addition to the Hebrew vocabulary lists that come with the program, users can easily make and add their own lists - on any subject.
- Talking Hebrew Word Book
An innovative, interactive computer program that will help you learn more than 600 modern Hebrew words and phrases.
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