Tarot cards have been around for centuries. They seem to have started off as playing cards, but were later developed into the divinatory tool we know and love today.
There are 78 cards in a tarot deck split up into five suits. The suits are the Major Arcana and four Minor Arcana, which are Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles (sometimes called Coins). Each of the Minor Arcana correspond to one of the four classical elements, while the Major Arcana's elements vary by specific card.
Money, creature comforts
The Major Arcana are numbered from 0 to 21 and have their own meanings. These can vary a bit from deck to deck, but generally it's something like this.
Innocence, new journey
The High Priestess
Moving forward, control
The Hanged Man
Materialism, sex, food, drugs
Disaster, fall from pride
That's a lot to remember! And look, that's just 22 of the 78 cards. AND there are reversals!?!?!?!?!
Luckily, there are a few ways to "cheat." Of course, there's good old-fashioned reading and memorization. Labyrinthos is a great resource for learning about the cards, and they have an app that lets you learn keywords as a flash card game. Another resource, if you want to get really in-depth information about each individual card, is Biddy Tarot.
Buuuuut if you would rather have a few simple tricks up your sleeve... You really just need numerology and elements, at least for the Minor Arcana. Just remember which suits are which elements and what the numbers/characters mean and you'll generally have a pretty good idea. Here's a chart to illustrate this for you.
There are some common themes we can make out if we look at these the right way.
Aces are about something new, the beginning, individuality.
Twos are about important decisions.
Threes are about groups.
Fours are foundations.
Fives are competition.
Sixes are perfecting an area of your life.
Sevens are wise.
Eights are about control.
Nines are experienced.
Tens are complete.
The Pages are young and energetic.
The Knights are dedicated.
The Queens the gentle rulers.
The Kings are the intense rulers.
There's also, obviously, a ton of symbolism in the art for the cards. When doing a reading, take note of anything that catches your eye, even if it doesn't fit the typical card meaning. There's a reason you're noticing it. Different decks will have different art and different details, which is why they'll "speak" to you differently. Find a deck that resonates with you (I love my Golden Thread deck) and learn its "personality."
Now, reversals... can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is that a reversal (when the card is turned upside-down) is either the opposite meaning or the same meaning in a different way.
Let's take the 4 of Wands. Upright, this card symbolizes home and stability, a supportive family. Reversed, this card would be a lack of support, homelessness, fighting with your family, etc.
I just gave a few simple keywords to give you a basic idea of the meanings, but there are multiple meanings to each card. Sometimes you won't know which meaning is "right." You can usually figure it out from the context of your question or from your first thought when you see it. Trust your instincts, right?
Tarot cards take a while to really master, and I don't really even consider myself an expert. (I think I just have a good relationship with my deck.) If you're interested in learning about tarot, check out the links I've talked about here.