Anki — the sole reason I ever made it through college, and saver of my ass thousands of times over.
While other students struggled to study and cram for a test the night before, all I had to do was relax, fire up Anki, and review for about 20 mins.
I had articles and long lists of facts to memorize and there just wasn’t enough time.
Before using Anki, my grades suffered because I wasn’t very good at memorizing facts, dates, and other bits of information required for my other classes. I started going to the library in order to focus more. It helped but was only a band-aid fix for my problem.
It was by accident that I discovered Anki. I used to study Chinese and we were required to memorize Chinese characters (lots of them.) After long hours of googling the best way to remember them, I came across Anki and another free program called memosyne.
Using these two programs, I blasted through all of the required Chinese characters for my course and I passed with flying colors.
Anki has many uses besides using it to memorize characters
I had the bright idea that I would use Anki for all of my college courses. So, I began inputting facts, dates, and information straight from the book and into Anki.
Before long I had amassed over 700+ facts and I was reviewing each deck for an average of 10 minutes a day. At the time I was taking 4 courses.
My most memorable moment came when I had to take a final examination. In order to get high marks you had to know well over 300 multiple choice questions. I easily got a 98% using Anki and I only reviewed for about 20 minutes before the test.
So what is Anki?
Flash cards are nothing new, but Anki is like having smart flashcards.
Having a physical deck of 200+ cards isn’t practical.
Carrying around 200 physical paper flashcards takes up space and is tedious to make and take with you.
Anki solves all of these problems because it is a mobile app and they also have a desktop version.
At the core of Anki is the “spaced repetition system.” This is an algorithm that tracks whether you know a card or not.
It’s important because when you have 200+ flashcards you don’t want to waste time going over the ones you already know, which is the case when you have physical flash cards.
Having an algorithm that tracks and only show cards that you need to work on is a smart way to quickly memorize long lists of information.
In addition, inputting cards into Anki is 1000x faster than making physical ones.
If you have a program like Dragon Speak, then it’s even faster.
Dragon Speak is a voice to text program that works as fast as you can talk. While its not the scope of this review, Dragon Speak allows you to quickly make flashcards. Highly recommended.
Going through your Anki cards requires a commitment of about 10 mins a day per subject. One can easily go through 100 cards in a short 5-10 min burst.
When you know all the cards, it’s even faster.
The drawback of using Anki, is that you have to be consistent. This is fine if you just want to retain enough information to pass a test you care nothing about.
If you want to keep your gains or in this case “knowledge gains” you have to review at least 1-2 times a week, with 5-10 min sessions. More if the subject you are working on is complicated, like law.
Stuff that comes out of a book, is very easy to input into Anki and retain.
How Anki can benefit law students
Law students have grueling amounts of work to put in. Often they are expected to be adequately efficient with inadequate amounts of time.
Having Anki flashcards that you can easily review case studies and legal jargon.
This app was immensely helpful when I did take a law class. If Anki can be used to memorize complicated Japanese Kanji and thousands of Chinese characters, law is no different.
Who Anki is for ?
If you like flashcards, but want a more efficient way of reviewing, then Anki fits the bill. You can review cards anywhere as long as you have the mobile app or the desktop version.
In addition, making changes to flashcards is easy. Anki allows you to sync your cards to a cloud based server, so you never have to worry about your iPhone dying or computer crashing.
Check it out on the iTunes store.