Are you forgetful about certain tasks and want to boost up your memory? Want to learn and study but don’t want to leave your PC either? Got an exam or test that you want to prepare for, but cannot figure out the right approach? If you have any memory management need, then Anki can be a good option for you. It is a content-agnostic learning tool with the basic aim of making remembering things easy through repetitions.
Once installed and launched, the above window is what you get as your welcome. Anki basically works with decks of cards, which contain facts and their answers. A deck can relate to any topic you want – be it a medical exam, college test, general knowledge questions, learning to play guitar, or anything else. The decks themselves come in two flavors: personal and shared. If you want to create your own deck of facts of learning, use the Create option. Otherwise, there is a huge public library of decks created and shared by the Anki users community which you can go through by clicking the Download button. When you download a new deck, Anki will automatically add it to its database.
When a new deck is loaded, Anki presents you with some options to configure how the cards in that deck should be presented to you. These include the number of cards per day to be shown, duration of a session, question limit per session, and the order in which cards are displayed etc.
When satisfied with your options, Start Reviewing to begin your session. The screen will now present questions to you based on your selections. Let us explore the questions screen a little further.
With every question you get either a text field to enter your answer (depending on how the deck was created), or you can simply hit the Show Answer button to reveal the correct answer. The software works on the premise that if reminded at the right time, a person will never forget any piece of information. Hence, once the answer is revealed, you decide the difficulty level, based on which the software will pose the same question to you after a certain amount of time. Hence, if you knew the capital city of UK, and certain that you remember it, you can choose Very Easy and Anki will not bring this question up for the next whole week.
The two black bars at the bottom of the screen show your progress, depending on how well you can guess, and how better you remember. For example, if you need to review 10 our of 20 questions again (i.e., you mark them ‘again’) your progress bar will show only a 50%, and so on. The remaining items from left to right indicate the number of questions marked for review, total remaining, and total new facts remaining for the day.
Anki also allows creation of own decks and cards, and it supports not only text, but also graphics, audio and video, so you can make your learning experience as interactive as you like.
Under the settings menu you’ll find preferences, which provide some control over the program’s interface. You may choose to create a free account with Anki so that you can sync it across multiple platforms. Anki is available for a huge variety of desktop and mobile platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android to name a few.
The salient features of Anki, as reported by the developer, include:
- Review anywhere. Anki lets you study on your own computer, online, on your cell phone or other portable devices like an iPod touch.
- Synchronization features let you keep your information across multiple computers.
- Shared decks allow you to divide work between friends, and let teachers push material to many students at once.
- Intelligent scheduler based on the SuperMemo SM2 algorithm.
- Flexible fact/card model that allows you to generate multiple views of information, and input information in the format you wish. You’re not limited to predefined styles.
- Fully extensible, with a large number of plugins already available.
- Optimized for speed, and will handle reviewing decks of 100,000+ cards with no problems.
- Clean, user-friendly interface.
- Open Source
We tested Anki on Windows 7 x86 system, and it worked seamlessly. The developer’s website contains a seven-part useful video playlist explaining the working in better details.