Mental Case: Quick and Easy Flash Cards

LogoUsing flash cards is a great way to study for an exam, but sometimes they can be annoying to make. What if you just want to make a short note? Or one with a picture? With Mental Case you can easily create flash cards or short notes.

Mental Case has a very clean interface; the toolbar on top lets you create cases and notes and start viewing a slideshow, and a bar on the left lets you select your cases so you can edit your notes.

It is very simple to create a new group of flash cards, or case, with Mental Case — simply press the “Add Case” button and type in a name. Then you are given some options to choose from. You can pick how often you want the notes to show up in your lesson and how quick the slideshow for that case goes. Creating notes is also easy. Once you click the “Add Note” button, the main area of the window changes to the note editing view. Notes have many options: First you type in a question on the left, and then the answer on the right. For both of these you may add a screen shot, image, or a picture from your iSight. Mental Case also has shortcut keys to quickly add a new note. You can add a text note, an image, a screenshot, or a new flash card with a question and answer using either a simple shortcut or the Mental Box menu item. These notes will show up in your lesson at some point, reminding you of your note that you might otherwise have forgotten about. If you want to take your notes anywhere you can export them as images to your iPod or iPhone or simply print them.


Mental Case also includes a lesson feature. Notes are automatically added to the lesson at a set interval, which you can change in the preferences. You can then have Mental Case automatically start a lesson when the number of notes in the folder reaches a set amount. Or you can just click the menu item and click “Study Lesson”. The number of notes currently in the lesson is displayed by a badge on the dock icon. If you only want to study notes in one case then you can select the case and click “View Notes in Case”. The background then dims and the slideshow starts. Slideshows have many different themes to choose from and you can pick how quick the slides are in the preferences. The top left part of the slide tells you which case that note is in. If it says “Prompt” in the top right then it is the question. The bottom right shows you which slide you are on and the question or answer is placed in the center. If you want the text aligned to the left or right you can also change that in the preferences.

Under the slides there is a controller. The left and right arrows advance a slide or go back, and the play button starts and pauses automatic advancement. By pressing the Tab key you can toggle to mark if you got it correct or wrong. You can also delete the note, restart the slideshow, or mark the slideshow as completed. The X button closes the slideshow.


Flash cards are tedious to make, but Mental Case makes it quick and easy to create many cards. It is a great way to study and has many more options than old fashioned flash cards. It is available from Maccoremac for ⚬25 ($39) or ⚬10 ($15) for students and free for teachers.


29 Responses to “Mental Case: Quick and Easy Flash Cards”

  1. xguse on May 5th, 2008 9:26 am

    I use Genius a lot which is the same idea except that its pretty much just text. One good thing about Genius though, is that it has some kind of algorithm that repeats the cards at intervals that have been shown to best strengthen the synaptic connections that you are trying to form. Does this have anything like that?

  2. DS on May 5th, 2008 1:20 pm

    Random, but isn’t that Lightning McQueen’s mouth, from Pixar’s “Cars”?

  3. James C on May 5th, 2008 11:07 pm

    ha, i think you’re right

  4. Drew McCormack on May 6th, 2008 11:38 am

    Mental Case does have features like the ones you are referring to in Genius.
    It uses spaced repetition to determine when notes get added to the lesson. Basically, the time intervals between studying a note get longer and longer. This is known to be a very efficient way to study.
    MC also has the possibility to mark notes as wrong in the slideshows,which causes them to appear more often to help you learn them better.

    Drew McCormack
    Mental Case Developer

  5. Rees Maxwell on May 6th, 2008 12:17 pm

    Another flash card app that you all should check out is iFlash from Loopware ( It’s been around for a loong time. It is in active development again, and there is a HUGE community of flash cards that you can download for your computer / iPod. Give it a try. (I don’t have any association with them, other than being a happy customer.)

  6. Patrick Chukwura on September 16th, 2009 5:02 pm

    Another option is Cram ( Cram is an app that allows you to use multiple choice testing and digital flashcards to prepare for any type of study material.

    It pairs with the iPhone/ iPod and has thousands of flashcard and tests that are already made that can be downloaded to the Mac and iPhone version.

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