I have a few friends who love to discuss efficiency and studying tactics. Through them, I came across a few useful blogs and resources, but my favorite one by far is Anki – “friendly, intelligent flashcards”!
When I was teaching in Taipei, I realized that I wanted to attend grad school, but had difficult finding the time to study my GRE vocab (for the upcoming GRE in Thailand … yes, I had to go on a whirlwind trip to Thailand to take my GREs).
Anki to the rescue! In its own words,
“Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it is a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.”
Basically, these flashcards work by displaying each card based on your personal assessment of whether the information was Easy, Good, Hard, or Again. Depending on your choice, the card will pop back up after a certain amount of days or at the end of your stack (depending on your options). You study for 15-20 minutes a day (although you can adjust it for longer) and at the end of each session, Anki provides you with a nice summary of various stats that could be useful.
Furthermore, popular flashcard topics (like GRE Verbal Vocabulary) already exist, so all you have to do is download one that a previous user created! So much better than writing in 2,500 words by yourself, right?
Lastly, Anki also works with many smartphone platforms and it’s free!
Personally, I never got past the first couple hundred words and wasn’t very diligent with studying. I tried out Anki and I tried Smart.fm (another memory device, which I felt was useful, but was definitely slower since there were mandatory games and such). Both were helpful in different ways but I love Anki because I think it is both effective and encouraging in its design.
To learn more / download, go to http://ankisrs.net/!