custom study decks

dimm0k's Avatar


11 Aug, 2015 06:57 PM

I've been going through Human Japanese for a bit of time before coming across Anki and luckily for me, there's a HJ deck for use with Anki. Since I'm nowhere near finishing HJ I've had to create a filtered custom deck of the chapters I've completed... even then this custom deck does not seem to have the same options as a regular deck, mainly the option to limit the number of cards to review in a day so I'm left with going through 600 cards. Is there a way around this? Also related, at the end of completing this deck, will I be able to go through it completely fresh tomorrow like the other decks?

  1. 1 Posted by etapley on 12 Aug, 2015 03:21 PM

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    In order to use the normal Anki settings, I would use tags and suspension. If the words are already tagged by chapter, you can suspend the words from chapters you haven't studied yet. (Actually I would suspend everything, then unsuspending the chapters I wanted to study.)

  2. 2 Posted by dimm0k on 12 Aug, 2015 04:03 PM

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    hrmm, the use of suspending seems very useful! how would I go about suspending a chapter from a deck without creating a filtered deck?

    before your response, I was using a filtered deck comprised of two chapters each. so when I finished going through a filtered deck, I would move onto the next... this of course gives every word between the two filtered decks. if I understand your solution correctly, I would un-suspend chapters as I go through them. if that's the case, wouldn't the number of cards to go through each time increase as I active more and more chapters?

    I suppose what I'm getting at is, is it beneficial to be going through so many "learned" (activated) cards on a daily basis?

  3. 3 Posted by etapley on 12 Aug, 2015 06:15 PM

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    What I would do is this: In the browser (are you familiar with it?), select all notes, and then toggle the "suspend" button. Everything should turn yellow.

    Now click on the tag on the sidebar that matches a chapter you want to study. That will display all the notes for that chapter. Select them all, and re-toggle "suspend." Do this for every chapter that you want to study right now. (There are ways to do this all at once but it's simpler to explain this way.)

    Yes, the number of active cards will increase as you go through the deck. This is exactly what you want, and is the whole point of Anki. The numbers won't have to be overwhelming because as you answer a particular word more times correctly, you are shown that word less and less often—so that I have a deck with 5000 words in it, but I answer about 10 cards per day.

    How to start this out is a different matter. If these were truly new words for you, I'd say to choose a specific number of NEW words you want to learn a day, and discipline yourself to STOP when you hit that number. Because in the long run the number of reviews you'll see in a day may reach 10 times the number of NEW cards you see each day.

    On the other hand, I imagine you're in a different situation because you actually already know lots of these words. So it's not sensible to go through those 600 words at 15 a day since that means it will take 40 days to get through the words you already largely know and reach the words you really want to spend time on.

    I had this problem with my Spanish deck. I speak Spanish very well, and I started (mainly for fun) with a very comprehensive vocabulary deck. I went through the easy cards as if they were new to me. It was a big mistake, because I spent hours (and HOURS) going through those cards over and over! It would have been a better idea for me to suspend the cards that were easy, or to start out with a greater interval.

    At what I guess to be your stage of learning, I'd recommend doing this: In the browser, display all the notes from the chapters you've covered. (You'll need to type the tag information into the search line instead of clicking, so that you can use the "or" command.) Now, look through the list for all the words that are so easy for you that you estimate that you'll clearly remember them, say, three months from now, even without further review. Select them all. Now go to the "edit" menu and choose "reschedule." Enter that you want to schedule these cards at an interval of, perhaps, 80 to 100 days. The cards will be randomly assigned to be viewed between 80 and 100 days from now. And if you get them right at that time, they'll be re-scheduled at an even greater interval.

    Next, go through the list again, but add "is:new" to the search line, so that those already-scheduled words don't appear. Find the words that you think you'll remember in TWO months, or in two weeks, or whatever. And re-assign those to appear at that time.

    The words that you're pretty unsure about, leave untouched. Those are the words you'll want to see fairly often at first.

    Once you've done that, the task of answering ALL THOSE CARDS won't seem so overwhelming—because they'll be spread out in a logical manner over the next few weeks and months. And you'll spend your time studying words that actually need studying, rather than seeing over and over the same cards that you already mostly know. Sorting out where a particular card belongs in that shuffle is exactly what Anki is good at.

    If I've missed something, please let me know!

    I'm really glad that Anki has a filtered-deck feature—it's quite useful on many occasions—but I'm becoming convinced that new users should avoid it, because it it's easy to miss the beauty of what Anki does if you don't experience Anki's power over time before you start trying to take control.

  4. 4 Posted by dimm0k on 12 Aug, 2015 08:51 PM

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    etapley, you have not only blown my mind, but you've just made this tool even more valuable! Thank you for the detailed explanation and examples to illustrate! Had it not been for this explanation I would have wasted countless hours going through cards I already knew, but this will definitely help cut that down... A LOT! Also thanks for the generous guess at my skill level, which is far below that in my opinion...

  5. 5 Posted by etapley on 14 Aug, 2015 11:23 AM

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    When you start seeing review cards, don't worry if you keep missing some of them. The idea of Anki is not that you will learn every card— it's so that you will learn LOTS of cards. If you allow some amount of forgetting, you will master more material than if you insist on mastering the material at 100%. If you're American this can be quite counterintuitive and honestly may not be the ideal short-term study method if you're preparing for a test, so for that you may need custom study. But it IS a better way to learn lots of information in a reasonable amount of time for use in the world.

  6. dimm0k closed this discussion on 22 Oct, 2015 02:16 PM.

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