So far the only piece of Spaced Repetition Software that I have personally tried out is Supermemo, Anki, and a little Mnemosyne. As you could somewhat gather from previous posts on here I was becoming somewhat frustrated with Supermemo’s archaic functionality. What I did notice though was the extremely high level of retention I had after using SRS for a while. Because of my job I have had to pretty much halt most of my progress in Mandarin when I studied for an exam. This stoppage usually has lasted about 2-3 months. I thought that this would really hurt my progress but the SRS repetitions seemed to have helped me remember a lot. I don’t like stopping for that long and I am in the process of trying to figure out how I can continue to study for actuarial exams and still keep my Mandarin up. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Unless I can figure out a manageable way I will have to continue halting the Mandarin study during exam season until I have finished my exams. Those exams must take precedence over my Mandarin studies. Anyways…
I think one of the only reasons I stuck with Supermemo for so long was that I didn’t want to have to input all my characters/words into another program and start all over. And that was with only 300 or so elements. Imagine if you get to a point where you have 1000+ elements? Starting over doesn’t seem so fun or practical. That is why I highly recommend that you try out a couple programs in the beginning and see which features you like/dislike. I know that some of the programs cost money but honestly, it’s worth it. Re-doing 1000+ elements and getting a new program to the point at which your old program was will take you a solid 10+ hours, and that’s being generous. At $10 an hour you’ll exceed the cost of Supermemo and FullRecall combined in no time at all. Therefore it is worth it that you find which SRS you like using and dealing with. It doesn’t have to be perfect but you definitely must like working with the program otherwise no amount of effort/motivation will keep you working with it.
Due to the fact that I have become so dissatisfied with Supermemo, I am moving on to Anki and Mnemosyine. I am going to try both out for a bit and see which one I like the best. In my prior use I liked Anki’s features and it just seems to jive with me in a way that Supermemo didn’t. Also there is a much quicker update cycle for Anki and Mnemosyne. If anyone has any comments on either please let me know. While I am excited to start a new piece of SRS I realized I need to change up my plan of attack. I would frequently get burnt out from entering in characters I “should know” and reviewing them constantly only to find myself forgetting them very quickly. I just got into a rut and was already so sick of using Supermemo that it caused me to stop doing my SRS repetitions for quite some time.
While exploring the language learning blogoshere I stumbled upon Khatzumoto’s 6 part series on how to more effectively use SRS. I don’t know how I missed it as I have been to his blog many times but after reading through it I recommend that anyone planning to use SRS give it a read. It has a wealth of information and it effectively described why I had trouble staying motivated and some appropriate solutions that I am going to try and implement. I wont paraphrase the piece as I feel any such effort would fall short , so head over there and give it a read. Its worth it.
This week I will be really thinking hard about how to implement some new techniques to using SRS and I will post my new plan of attack in the coming days. Maybe it will help some others with their SRS use, maybe not. Until then, 再見!