it has been a while! To start things off, I really need to inform you about a fantastic new method I've come across which I've been actively integrating into my study system. Till now, the tool worked like magic. It is literally the holy grail for medical students, and a super efficient technique to upload and memorize facts with minimal effort! And the best thing; those facts stay in your memory forever if you utilize the software correctly, attuned to your learning style.
So what is this exotic tool called exactly? It's Anki, a free, open-source project that you could download right now. The App features a pragmatic layout that has been optimized for efficiency.
This app wasn't made to look fancy, but the system behind it is just marvelous. The software is basically a digital scheduler for digital flashcards. So you could quickly create decks per country for different flashcards, with state on the first side, and the corresponding capital city on the other. You have other options for your flashcards though, for example cloze deletions (gaps in sentences that get revealed) or image occlusion (certain areas of images hidden, that get revealed).
Then, when you study those flashcards (which usually only takes about 3-6 minutes at most), you can tell the app if you got it wrong, or if it was hard for you to remember, good, or even easy to recall.
As you can already tell by the picture, your response to the software then has the app schedule the flashcard for you, to either show it almost immediately again if you got it wrong, or have it question you again in 2 days. This effect then compounds, and the deck you had to study almost daily in the first week, only bothers you once a month after just 3 successful study sessions.
This continually increased delay in reviews of the same flashcards is designed to beat the forgetting curve by Hermann Ebbinghaus. We have bad memory retention, but if we utilize this technique, we are able to remember these information connections long-term. This process is called spaced repetition — objectively an s-tier study method, backed by science.
I've tried the app myself and emerged as a huge fan. This technique is so much better than any other studying method, and it takes so much less time! You can literally do it in your short break or on the bus and be done with it for the day (yes, you should check the app on a daily basis). Those 10 effective minutes every day can save you hours of studying and are long-term, ever lasting, whilst extensively preparing for a test often only used the short-term memory.
Although this app is fantastic, it has a simple downside: Flashcards are not made for complex information or abstract concepts. In other words; you can only memorize facts and information pairs with spaced repetition. Formulas, vocabulary, anatomy, and other general facts are the key area to learn with Anki, but that is it! It is not an “all in one” study tool, as comprehension and skill is still necessary for you to excel as a student. You should instead use active recall for memorization and comprehension of complicated concepts, but that is another topic for another blog post.
That's all I have to report about Anki, be sure to check it out yourself. It is completely free software for desktop and android, as the project is open source. You could also use it for free on IOS, by using it in the browser via AnkiWeb. If you want a cleaner solution, though, you can buy it for €30 on the app-store.
Wait a minute… that's really expensive!
Indeed, it is, but if you can afford an iPhone, you can surely afford the best investment in personal education you'll ever make.
Besides, it is the only income source aside from donations for the Anki foundation (the creators of Anki) which supports further development, so there's no reason not to support them. Be wary of fake apps though, there are a lot of apps that might have Anki in their name, but are called “Anki flashcards” or something else. Don't fall for those fakes! They can't offer you what Anki can, as I only scratched the surface of the features this app has. Look out for the logo with blue stars and you're good to go:
Well, I wish you a good rest of the day. May Anki support you on your never ending journey of studying. :)