During my life as a college student, I had many life issues come to me and stir trouble, so much so, it effected my ability to study. It’s a horrible feeling, the kind that makes it harder to get back on track when life throws heavier weights to lift. During my attempt at research to find useful tools that would effectively improve the results I get from my studies, I came across Anki.

What’s a Spaced Repetition System?

Anki is a flash card app. Plain and simple, it’s an app that lets you create your own custom digital flashcards. What’s so special about that? I’m ahead of you. It integrates a Spaced Repetition System or SRS for short. An SRS is a learning model developed specifically with the use of flash cards in mind, it works by playing with an honor system and the theory behind the learning curve.

As you come across a flash card in for the first time, if you know what the material is with confidence and can recall it you place it into a pile denoted as “known” or something similar. If you happen to have terrible recall with another flash card you must throw it back to the starting pile. Until you feel confident enough to move it to the “known” pile. This is the most basic form of the SRS system, however there are other algorithms and other theories for setting up these review piles. See here to read more.

The Good, the Easy and the Try Again.

Anki takes the guess work out of finding out when you should be shown the card again to review the material you’ve learned. Anki will use an algorithm to calculate the time and responses you share through the app, to decide when you’ll be shown the cards you’ve come across. It will add the digital flash card to a “good” or “easy” pile. It will then reintroduce the flash card to you after a set amount of time. Say, 15 days after. This way it improves the retention rate of your learning ability.

Anki has a large user base that share the decks they’ve made for all sorts of subjects. From learning languages, natural sciences, economics, the list goes on. Anki isn’t just an app that’s loaded with an algorithm and calls it a day. The flash cards you create can have audio and images in them make the ability to recall the material all the better.

What I like the most about Anki is that you’re not tied to just the desktop application, you can download the Anki app on your Android phone for free or unfortunately but still worth it to pay a one-time fee of $4.99 for the app on iPhone. If you’re created an account, you can sync up your decks to your mobile and learn on the go. For a busy worker/student you’ll find will suit you immensely.

Are you Gaming on Anki Enough?

What’s great is that Anki truly feels like you are gamifying the way you learn and in return as you win the game, you’re winning in your studies. It takes away the mental stresses of studying so you can focus truly on learning.

The hardest part of Anki is learning to be consistent, in this world of impatience learning to be patient with the software and keeping at it is going to pay off its dividends in the long run. It’s hard to sound cliché but making a habit out of using Anki is going to benefit your life in unspeakable ways.

Overall Anki is a great app that you can use for learning things in timed intervals. It helps your retention rate, and it has a great community backing that provide sets of cards for you.