How To Use Memrise Effectively – Or How I Learned Three Hundred and Four Words in Three Weeks (at least)

I don’t know if 304 words sounds like a lot for three weeks, after-all 14-15 words a day sounds doable. However I must also specify that this was alongside a lot of grammar study and hanzi memorisation. As well as that, this only accounts for words used by memrise, I didn’t actually use it very much at all in the first week – so the title is kind of misleading – in a good way – you can learn so much more!

Ok this is going to be very simple, you could read this next sentence and then leave if I’m being honest. To make the most of memrise you should create your own memrise decks, and keep them all relatively small in size.

Now is when it gets more complicated, as I actually have to explain myself now!

Have you ever been really annoyed by memrise courses you’ve found online? I know I have, courses made by other people have errors. For example my language of choice is mandarin, and there are lots of courses with spaces between characters where I don’t want them and vice versa, answers to pinyin where you have to type fan1 instead of fan, because it expects you to write the tones, and there are so many synonyms you can get the answer right and still have it marked as wrong!

No, I don’t like that at all. Which is why creating your own is better.

Having complete control over your course will mean you will get less frustrated with it, and be able to add and modify things as you choose!

Essentially it will minimise frustration, also you will have to enter all the words yourself, meaning all the words will be things that you want to learn, so you’re likely to have a better learning experience!

Not only will it minimise frustration, but you will also fully understand the words your entering and the reason why you’re entering them. Sometimes courses online have difficult terms, or things that need a lot of explanation – and by entering it yourself you don’t have to worry about missing any of that!

There is quite a good reason for why you should have many decks, even though in the long term, it could get difficult to manage.

Let’s say hypothetically you have a deck of 60 flashcards, then you decide to add 30 more, but these extra 30 are especially difficult, and you find yourself wanting to go through them a lot.

Here having a deck of 60 puts you at a disadvantage, because pretty much every time you learn 5 new words memrise will treat them just like the rest. So if you want to review just these words then you need to go through 60 flashcards to find what you like.

Memrise is not flexible when it gives you the order of your reviews, and since you don’t have premium, and can’t focus on the individual words you’re struggling with, reviewing will be more difficult – especially since memrise reviews aren’t that great – you’ll know what I mean if your deck does get out of hand – and it gives you the word to type once, you get it wrong, then you match it a couple of times before it goes away for (basically) ever and you can’t get it back quickly without sorting through everything else.

If your learning slowly then it shouldn’t be as big a problem, however if you’re learning a lot of words at once then you need to have small decks for them or it will just be way too annoying for you.

Separating words also makes things simpler for you and allows synonyms. For example you may know in one deck it’s this word for this one thing, while in another deck you need to use another synonym. It means your experience will be better.

If you want an example of how I’ve done it, I have 7 memrise decks currently, and I have three friends who are teaching me Chinese.

So after each lesson with one of them I add the words that we “learned” to the deck and if it’s too big I create another one. Each person has their own deck, and it’s been working fairly well.

It’s also nice to put the courses online so that anyone can use it as well, so it’s not like you’re only making it for yourself, but people in the future.

The best kind of memrise course is one with a forum where you can criticise and ask for changes. So considering that this blog post can act like a forum for you to message me about my courses, feel free to use mine, that is, if you really don’t want to follow the advice from earlier!

This is only for Chinese learners, but please whatever you do when you make your course, don’t do the thing where it has the number next to the letter. I understand that it might help you learn, however I’ve never found that problem with the tones, and if you select the word it will save the audio, and then you can edit the pinyin. That’s the best solution in my opinion.

Of course if you use memrise at all you will learn language quite well, this is just the best way to use it in my opinion. As well as that, please don’t only use memrise for your learning – you need to know more than just words!

Anyway, best of luck on your language learning journey, please tell me what you think, and if you’d like, drop me a message about your language learning journey sometime 😉

 

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