How do I cram best?

kaminix's Avatar


11 Feb, 2014 10:31 PM

So I have a problem. I love Anki, but the time I have to spend using it is finite. Moreover, the time I have to spend with it varies day by day. Some days I can be in the mood to study several hours, other days no more than 15-30 minutes. So what I'm looking for is a way to use this extra time I have to review cards I'm already studying so I'll learn them faster. The aim being to make the cards mature quicker and make room for new cards. Currently it's mostly about kanji, but I have other more general language decks (french, esperanto, geography, biology...) for which I'd like to get more done as well.

I realise I need to do a filtered deck, but how do I do it? Should I let it reschedule cards? Won't that prevent card schedules from being longer (iirc Anki will schedule cards with the same intervalls used last time if reviewed ahead of time). If I don't reschedule it feels like I'd be cheating instead - consider this for example:

  1. I reviewed a given card two months ago. It was then scheduled to come back in two and a half month.

  2. Among other cards (likely similar to it since I prefer to add new cards in batches, not X number a day), I review this one in my filtered deck.

  3. Since it's only been two months and not two and a half since reviewing it last, there's a much higher likelihood that I'll remember it. And I do.

  4. The card is not rescheduled and appear two weeks later again. Now I will most certainly get it right.

Hence cards which I may in fact not know very well will be pushed further away from me.
On the other hand if I don't reschedule I'll have my batch of anywhere between 50-200 new cards due in two weeks. Decide to review them and reschedule review times, then voila - they're back two weeks later. Making no new room for new cards to be learnt.

I'm not 100% about the second case. I've heard long ago that this was the case but it's possible that it's either been changed or that I remember it wrong. Eitherway, to put the question in a much shorter fashion: How do I best study my cards on a day with lots more free time than usual, without clogging up my card review queue for weeks to come?

  1. 1 Posted by Heather on 13 Feb, 2014 06:26 AM

    Heather's Avatar

    My understanding - and I did ask this quite some time ago - is that when you review ahead of timd and set it to reschedule, it does adjust the interval and ease - but it factors in that you saw it early....

    Soif you had an interval of say 2 months, and you study it a couple of days early, the resulting intervals would be close to what you would get if you waited the entire time - but not quite. If you instead studied it almost 2 months early - just a couple of days after you previously studied it - then it wouln't change that much.... almost like you hadn't studied. Something in between would be in between.....

    So I believe it is best to reschedule.

    Btw - I have wondered myself about the almost cheating thought with the scheduling. My kids are memorizing some scriptures. I've wondered if them overhearing their sibling practice a scripture... or it being practiced at church... can eaffect their memory of it without it being properly reflected in ANKI.... possibly causing an interval for a scripture that isn't really warrented.... but I just had to decide that I do the best I can, and ANKI does a pretty good job with its algorithm... and sometimes life isn't perfect.

  2. 2 Posted by smelt on 13 Feb, 2014 07:36 AM

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    I use a filtered deck containing every card that I've failed in the past 2 days. It simply allows me to work on the cards which are giving me the most problems. I go through this deck 2-3 times during the day and by the next day, I'll end up passing most of the stubborn cards.
    "rated:2:1" with no rescheduling.

    I also use a deck that captures all of the most recently learned cards that I have only seen a few times. When I see a set of new cards for the first time, I'll go through this deck maybe 10 -20 minutes later, then maybe an hour or two later. These same cards will also end up in the first deck, so they get some added reinforcement there too. This allows me to get most new cards pretty well embedded in my medium term memory - otherwise I forget them many times on a one day interval.
    "rated:2:1 prop:reps<20" with no rescheduling.

  3. 3 Posted by kaminix on 13 Feb, 2014 02:58 PM

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    You're correct in a sense, I want to review early. Yet still avoid not failing cards that ought to be failed since that would ultimately make it take longer to learn them (for example passing a card that in reality I need to relearn may have it take up to a month or two extra before I get to relearn it - a lot of time). It's good to know the rescheduling does take into account that a card was reviewed early though. That's quite a game changer in this regard.


    Yeah I have one of those too. It searches the deck I have the most problems with using "(rated:5:1 OR tag:leech) -is:new" and card count set to 50, so it also mixes in a few cards that I may not have failed recently but have problems with overall (leeches, as I do "tag only" for them and have quite a high threshold).

    Perhaps that is the best method afterall. I'd like to have a way to review cards that I otherwise wouldn't see too though, as a long term thing. When you get into the higher review times I lose a bit of faith in the algorithm used as 2+ years until next review seems like a bit much for just about any card (depending on the subject of course).

  4. 4 Posted by smelt on 16 Feb, 2014 02:29 AM

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    You can limit the length of reviews. Default is 10 years, but I've been considering limiting it to a year or so. However once I get thousands of cards in play, I'll end up spending 10 minutes per day on old cards that I have little chance of forgetting. Overall I think the algorithm does a pretty good job if maximizing quantity of remembered data which matches my goals well. However individual goals may be different.

  5. 5 Posted by raigu on 16 Feb, 2014 08:34 AM

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    @ Smelt & @ kaminix

    I like how you both agreed on the same way to tackle this issue. Like I'm positive so many others have, including me
    My question is: How do you propose you create a filtered deck (like the one you both mentioned)?
    I'm still a bit wet behind my ears when it comes to these kind of alternative methods.
    But I have to tell you lot, I tried to copy paste the quotes i.e "(rated:5:1 OR tag:leech) -is:new" in "Create Filtered Deck". But it was of no use.

    Thanks in advance,

  6. 6 Posted by kaminix on 20 Feb, 2014 01:15 AM

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    Where did you copy-paste it? What part of it didn't work? Did you make sure to specify a deck as well (if you have multiple decks)?

  7. 7 Posted by raigu on 20 Feb, 2014 08:41 AM

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    Thanks for taking your time and helping me. This is what I did:
    I opened a deck (just before you click "study now") + clicked F.
    In that little field (Options for Filtered Deck) I pasted "(rated:5:1 OR tag:leech) -is:new"

    Didn't work :(

  8. 8 Posted by kaminix on 20 Feb, 2014 02:53 PM

    kaminix's Avatar

    Okay, a few more questions:

    1. Do you get the wrong cards or none at all?

    2. Is this a brand new deck or have you studied cards from it before? Have you failed any cards in this deck within the past five days?

  9. 9 Posted by raigu on 24 Feb, 2014 07:26 PM

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    1. I get none at all.

    2. This is not a new deck and I have failed cards.

    Thanks once again!

  10. 10 Posted by kaminix on 24 Feb, 2014 07:29 PM

    kaminix's Avatar

    Hm. Did you paste it with the quotation marks (")? You should just paste the text inside of the quotation marks without the marks themselves.

    If you paste with quotation marks it will look for cards containing the text (rated:5:1 OR tag:leech) -is:new (which is extremely likely not to be a single card ^^).

  11. 11 Posted by smelt on 28 Feb, 2014 03:20 AM

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    You could make it real easy on yourself and when you finish studying your deck, press custom study followed by review forgotten cards. That will create a filtered deck with all of the cards you missed today. Then experiment with adding some extra code to the search and see what it does.

  12. System closed this discussion on 22 Feb, 2016 11:40 PM.

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