Reading Resources => Vocabulary => Topic started by: brennaw on May 04, 2020, 04:31:35 PM

Title: Using Anki for spaced repetition flashcards
Post by: brennaw on May 04, 2020, 04:31:35 PM
Flashcards are a classic tool, but I know when I was studying language, after a couple years I reached a certain point where the pile of flashcards I had became overwhelming - I simply had too many to store! Even using virtual tools like Quizlet, it doesn't escape the issue of not knowing what to review - you can have 30 different vocabulary lists, but when should you go over them, and how can you remember?

Spaced repetition apps attempt to manage that for you, and have become very popular over recent years, but they all have different degrees of usability. I'm here to sing the praises of a system called Anki:

They have a web client, desktop app, and an Android version available for free; iOS users unfortunately have to pay. It's also, admittedly, not the most user-friendly software of all time. However, Anki has a degree of flexibility that isn't matched by anything else out there. 

You can create flashcards with multiple fields and completely customize how they display - if you want to include sample sentences, collocations, whatever is needed for deeper vocabulary learning, you can do so with Anki.

Anki will also manage your review schedule for you. Every day, it will present you with a set of vocabulary cards to review - you can answer whether you got the card wrong, correct but it was hard to remember, correct but easy to remember, etc. Each time you answer for an individual card, Anki will adjust the amount of time it will wait before presenting you with that card again. The continuous exposure to vocabulary and managed reviews make it a great tool in my opinion.

However, I have a few tips for making the best use of Anki, based on my own experience:

Anki has a bit of a learning curve, but I genuinely think it's worth it. It also has excellent documentation, available here: