Spaced Repetition – Language Learning

When learning a language one of the challenges you face is learning vocabulary, and a lot of it. So how do you learn so much so quickly? Well SRS or spaced repetition systems are the answer.

But what are they, and why are they useful? Here is a graph to demonstrate

When you learn new or unfamiliar information you don’t remember very much of it at all, however with many repeated reviews you can learn it for a much longer period of time.

You will learn a word, see it in a couple of seconds, and then again and again over ever increasing intervals of time, to a point where it’s only showing you the word you learned every couple of months or so, because that’s all you need!

This is essentially your way to learn words quickly. It works quite well, it’s not for everyone but it works for me.

Here you can learn many words in a matter of days, the most extreme being when I needed to learn like a hundred words in only 3 days because I had a deadline to find. It can work quite well.

Anki vs Memrise? I would always choose Anki, I like making my own decks instead of borrowing other people’s and Memrise has a much easier way to create your own decks! As well as that it’s just a lot more easy to use. Anki is still good though, perhaps it’s most useful feature is putting you in control of whether you question right or not, whereas Memrise makes you match it exactly – but I make my own Memrise decks so it’s less annoying for me!

Then that brings me to the advantage of Memrise over Anki, and that is the way that it knows which words your struggling with.

In Anki you can have flashcards that you simply cannot remember, and they show up every day and you always get them wrong – to a point where if you study for long enough your mostly reviewing really difficult and unimportant words you can’t remember.

Memrise has a fix for that, well perhaps that’s not quite right, the vastly superior alternative Decks does. Decks comes from Memrise, but it has one key advantage that means you should never use Memrise again. It’s the difficult words option.

In Memrise you have to pay to review the specific words you find difficult, but in Decks you can look at them any time. This eliminates the tediousness of going thorough words you know very well in an attempt to remember just one thing!

The inclusion of difficult words, and being able to review them, actually means that I don’t have any words that I continuously and always forget, the way they let you review the difficult ones makes it so you have a much harder time forgetting them, which is always a plus!

The difference between choosing Memrise or Anki is just personal preference to me, however I think the inclusion of Decks pushes it over the top. But obviously, that’s up to you to find out.

If you can relate to those issues of struggling with an anki deck, like I have in the past, I recommend at the very least trying this out, what have you got to lose?

Discovering Decks and the difficult words option makes this post a little outdated, but if you want to make the most out of Memrise here are some tips here

The part that is outdated is this difficult words option. In the post above I go into detail about having many decks so that you don’t have to keep on going through the same one to get to the difficult words, but obviously having the difficult words option means that it’s less important to create your own separate decks.

But I cannot verify that yet for certain, since I’ve not built a deck to a massive enough size, and always created a new one once the number of flashcards got past 60. Will have an update on that soon, so follow if you’re interested to see my verdict on that, though you’re probably better off finding out for yourself since I will still continue to build many decks, very slowly, because I just like to organise my work like that.

Anyway, if your attempting to learn a language, drop me a message about how it’s going sometime, would be interesting to exchange information and advice 🙂

And here is the link to Decks if you want to try it out for yourself! https://decks.memrise.com

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