Anki – These Aren’t Your Grandfather’s Flashcards

28 Oct

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Anki Logo

Image source: Anki

A few years back, I was directed to a simple program called Anki by a friend of mine. Anki is a software program that allows the user to make flashcards and review them, all from the computer. No more lugging about piles of index cards and killing whole groves of trees in the name of memorizing crap. To make things even better though, Anki is much smarter than you…at least when it comes to memorizing facts. Anki’s software is based off an algorithm(I have long since forgotten the name. Ironic? Yeah…) that spaces your flashcards based on how well you remember them when seen.

It does all the work for you!

When you view a card in Anki it looks something like this:
Question: What is the capital of Thailand?

You then hit the space button and your answer on the flip-side is displayed under the question. Like this:

Anki screenshot of answer

There are now four buttons to choose from at the bottom of the screen(Again, Hard, Good, Easy). You pick the button that describes how easy the card was for you to get if you guessed correctly(Hard, Good, Easy). Anki will then show you the card at a sooner or later time interval based on your response. If you didn’t get the card you simply hit ‘Again’ and Anki will give you another chance a little later. Older cards are spaced further out than newer cards.

Constantly Expanding Features

This simple program has really grown up and come into it’s own over the last few years. You can integrate audio clips, photos, and even videos into the front or back of the card. You have complete control over the card set up, the fields used for the card model, and even down to things like how many new cards you want per day. This program is great for memorizing facts and takes the work out of reviewing. You review when Anki says you’re ready to. Simple!

Using Anki with MCAT Studies

I’ve been using it for my MCAT studies by making cards from facts that are based off of the questions I get wrong in the practice passages. I’ve heard of law students using it with great success. I would like to think this could be worked into a med school student’s study schedule as well. Have you tried Anki, and was it useful for you? Do you use a different program/method for flashcards?

1 Comment

Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Study Tips


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One response to “Anki – These Aren’t Your Grandfather’s Flashcards

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