First, bear with me as I get into a very, very brief history.
Though the tarot has been around for hundreds of years, it wasn't until the late 1700's that the cards began to be used for divination purposes in Europe. Jumping ahead to 1909, the now well known Rider-Waite deck was created. This deck is probably what most of us picture as far as the classic illustrations of the tarot.
At it's core, the tarot is telling us a story of the Fool's journey, which symbolizes our journey through life. The Fool is the first card (card 0) in the 78 card deck. I would suggest you lay the cards out 0-21 (The Major Arcana) and try to see the story, or the journey, of the Fool- The good, the more difficult, and the lessons learned and earned.
There are two sections in the deck- The Major Arcana (the first 22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (the remaining 56 cards). The Majors represent big moments in our lives. They tend to carry more weight in a reading, and are here to show us life's beginnings, endings, lessons, etc. If I was doing a reading and pulled a major arcana card, I would see there were bigger life shifts happening.
The second half, the Minor Arcana, are the remaining 56 cards. These will represent the struggles and joys we experience each day on a smaller level.
Within the Minor Arcana, you will find 4 suits-
Cups, Pentacles, Wands, and Swords.
These are the more traditional names, you may find different creators using different terms.
As the Fool moves through the journey within the cards, and as we move through life, we will all inevitably experience the same types of things- but not in the same way or at the same time. We are, after all, our own main character.
If you remember one thing with the tarot, just know that it will always follow the same 0-78 card symbolism. There will always be the same characters and themes. The artwork may look different, pentacles may be referred to as coins, and so on, but the Fool still begins his journey and travels through a Major and Minor Arcana along the way. The tarot is always the same story and each deck tells that story, just perhaps in a different form.
After using tarot for a while, you will begin to remember what each card means. You may intuit it a little differently from reading to reading, just because the question or situations will change, but the overarching "definition" of the card stays the same.