If you follow my blog, you should know that I am a fan of spaced repetition and Anki. You must have already tried them, and if you didn’t, you should. The principle is simple: it is a learning technique that is generally used with flashcards (but not only) whose questions come up frequently at a time interval depending on: your ability to answer correctly to your card, the complexity of the card, and its age.
This technique exploits the psychological principle of the spacing effect. It allows you to consolidate your long-term memory through a retrieval system or evaluation system if you prefer. Some studies have shown that the recovery phase should be considered as an active process of long-term memory consolidation. If you think about it, all this takes us to ANKI.
Anki, available on Desktop and Android for free, and on IOS for $25, is a software used by many medical students. It allows you to optimize your learning thanks to a system of spaced repetition and flashcards. You should know that to use Anki effectively, you do not need any Anki add ons.
Anki Add-ons are plugins that allow you to enhance your experience using the software, but not only. It certainly enables you to save and optimize your time among other features; those which are not negligible when you know that you will spend hours making and remaking your flashcards.
There are hundreds of Anki Add-ons, some of which are more necessary than others. From my little research and my experience came this list:
1. Speed focus mode
We start strong with your best friend or your worst enemy: Speed focus mode.
This Anki add on not only allows you to do your cards in record time but also puts you in a stressful situation that increases your level of attention, in similar conditions to an “exam,” if I may say. You should note that this add on will only benefit you if you know your cards already and are in a revision spirit. If you are still not comfortable with them, you may feel frustrated that you cannot answer your questions effectively. To consolidate your knowledge, you need to do the exercise of going to your memory and looking for the requested information.
Download Link: Speed focus mode Anki 2.1
2. Frozen Fields
If you are one of those who make their cards themselves, this Add-on will save you a lot of time. Frozen fields allow you to copy and paste from one card to another when making your cards.
If you want to make several cards on the same theme using the same image, you have to select the small snowflake.
The blue select icon to the left of the cell blocks it to move on to the next card.
3. Image occlusion enhance
There are two main types of cards when it comes to Anki: we have the close deletions, the questions, and the cards made using the occlusion image. With this add-on’s help, you will create maps starting from an image diagram or chain of reaction. It will allow you to cover one or more information on the medium and thus test yourself on the omitted information.
This will allow you to practice your visual memory because you will need to replace the missing word and remember it.
4. Image resizer
When making your flashcards, an image you want to introduce might be too big. Image resizer is the solution. Once installed, the image will be automatically resized by Anki. In the event that the dimensions set by Anki in default do not suit you, you can resize them in the dimension that you wish.
Download Link: Image resizer Anki 2.1
5. Pop-up dictionary
As the name suggests, the Pop-up dictionary is the knowledge add-on. It allows you to find a definition by double-clicking on the word you want. Thus a page will appear with the other cards which present the same word. So give more detail on the concept sought.
Download Link: Pop-up dictionary Anki 2.1
6. Pop-up Wikipedia (beta)
I can’t express enough how useful this add on is to me. As its name suggests, this plugin automatically provides searching for the word selected on Wikipedia. It is an advanced version of Pop-up dictionary.
Of course, you could easily open a Google page and perform the search yourself. Still, this Anki add-on makes things more convenient and avoids procrastination.
This add-on is easy to use. You will have to double click the word you’re questioning yourself about and pressing on Shift+Command+W (or Shit+Ctrl+W on Windows). A Wikipedia page will pop up to give you all the information you need.
Download Link: Pop-up Wikipedia (beta) Anki 2.1
To use Anki effectively, it is recommended that you practice as many cards as possible every day. Thus, you will be able to benefit from the effects of spaced repetition.
To cover all your subjects, it is surely reasonable to say that you have many flashcards by now and redoing them becomes very quickly long and tedious.
This Anki add-on allows you to overcome this problem by letting you reprogram your cards at a later date or placing them at a different interval. Thus, a card that should normally reappear after 4 days will be reprogrammed at a later date.
Tricks associated with this add on:
When placing a “-” in front of the desired date, the card will be repositioned but then will return to its original place. A “p” will apply the action will go to the previous card, so don’t panic if you answered too quickly.
Download Link: ReMemorize Anki 2.1
8. zzz_Make It Harder To Quit
This add-on, while not very popular, fights against procrastination. It allows you to think twice before leaving Anki without finishing our flashcards. The 10 seconds that this add-on gives you before closing the application lets you tell yourself that you can do it. And so, prevent you from putting off your flashcards until the next day.
Download Link: zzz_Make It Harder To Quit Anki 2.1
9. Night mode (dark mode)
Here I am, thinking about the eyes, the road to the soul. What could be more unpleasant than a large blank page on your computer at night when you do your cards. It’s not very healthy, it tires the eyes, decreases the number of blinks, and causes eye strain.
Night mode is not only aesthetic, it also allows you to overcome the harmful effect of blue light.
Download Link: Night mode Anki 2.1
10. More Decks Stats and Time Left
With the number of cards accumulated on Anki by now, you can quickly feel overwhelmed. This Anki add-on will allow you to organize yourself over time. It will give you information on your progress, on the speed with which you respond to your cards, in addition to the number of cards that you made during the day and in how long. Thus, you will be able to deduce from it, crucial information such as the time you put into making a certain number of cards to be able thereafter to organize your day and your program of revision.
Download Link: More Decks Stats and Time Left Anki 2.1
11. More Overview Stats 2.1
This add on presents the same functionalities as the more decks stats and time left but with a somewhat different approach. With different categories (more detailed than in the first case) and a color code, it will allow you, among other things, to know the details of your cards (mature or young), to highlight your progress, as well as the number of cards you may have seen or not.
Download Link: More Overview Stats 2.1 Anki 2.1
12. Load balancer
This add on is so great it allows you to divide the number of cards you have left to do per day until a deadline: your exams, for example. To do this, it will reschedule your cards, generally your mature cards, evenly over time.
Before installing this Anki add on, I advise you to adjust the settings according to your needs and then install this update as soon as possible to organize yourself from the start. As you should know by now, being organized is the key to success.
After installing it, you should know that you will no longer be able to change the graduation and easy intervals.
On the other hand, if you install this update too late compared to your due date, you will no longer enjoy the advantages of spaced repetition. Your cards will be reorganized so that the mature ones will be put back to a date that may be too far in time for you to remember them.
Download Link: Load balancer Anki 2.1
I guess now I can say that in order to have a better functionality of Anki you have to combine its different add-ons. As I previously mentioned, installing anki add-ons will offer you another view of the application, especially if you tried it before and did not like it because you were not satisfied with the features it was offering or you felt lost in front of the amount of card you have downloaded or have made yourself.