For the longest time I’ve been studying foreign language vocabulary with index cards. Problem is there’s no optimal way to dump old words from my stack and introduce new ones. How do I know when I’ve mastered a word? How many new words should I attempt per day? These questions mean I’m experiencing inefficiencies that retard the learning process. Along comes Memrise, a web app that is flashcards on steroids.
Memrise quizzes you on words with a multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank system. More importantly, it helps you memorize words by telling you a mnemonic that other users have found helpful. Here’s what the founder of Memrise had to say about his system in a recent Guardian article:
“The idea of Memrise is to make learning properly fun,” Ed told me over coffee on a recent visit to New York to meet with investors. “Normally people stop learning things because of a bunch of negative feedback, such as worries about whether they’ll actually get anywhere, insecurities about their own intelligence, and a sense of it being effortful. With Memrise, we’re trying to invert that and create a form of learning experience that is so fun, so secure, so well directed and so mischievously effortless that it’s more like a game – something you’d want to do instead of watching TV.”
I’ve been using it for Polish and it’s 100% more enjoyable than paper flashcards. The key elements, I believe, are that it forces you to type in the words and tests you just enough so that you don’t waste time on things that your brain already knows. It also has a built-in braking system that forces you to stay away so you don’t burn yourself out.
If you have spotty internet, you can also try Anki, a software based flashcard system that achieves a similar result.
Read More: How I Learned A Language In 22 Hours