Two Tips to Make Anki More Fun and Effective

1. Gamify Anki

First, we can ‘gamify’ anki with add-ons. There’s a whole video on it here, but I’ve just taken one of the suggestions (I missed out ‘intermittent puppy reinforcement’ 🙃), the Progress Bar. This puts a blue bar along the top of your screen (see top left of the picture below), to tell you how far you are through a deck. This is great because you have a clear sense of progress, which is really motivating to see it fill up over the course of a session.

You should also get rid of the ‘card count’ at the bottom of your reviewing screen (you can do this in preferences), to tidy things up and remove clues for yourself (I found I would look at whether I had reviewed a card before, as a clue to myself answering it. Obviously this isn’t a good thing to do, because in an exam you won’t have that kind of information.)

Note that in the Anki app you can’t get the Progress Bar add on, but if you have the ‘time estimate’ setting (eg 12 mins to go) turned on, that’s pretty good.

You can see my whole article about the best add-ons to use (which also explains how to download the Progress Bar add on), here.

2. Add a Separator to Cloze Cards

Second, we can add a separator to the cloze cards (ie ‘fill in the blanks’ cards). This might seem slightly niche, but it makes a big difference. 

Essentially you are changing the default format of your cloze cards. What you want to do is:

  1. Go into Tools>Manage Note Types (or press ​​Shift + ⌘ + N);
  2. Click on the Cloze note type, then click Cards (on the right hand side);
  3. In the Front Template it will just say “{{cloze:Text}}”. What you want to do is insert <hr> in a line below this. Click save and you’re done. 

Doing this puts a pale dividing line across the bottom of your cloze cards, so that you can clearly see any new information that wasn’t visible while you were trying to fill in the blank.

Before (front)

After (front)

This is both consistent with what you see while you’re using ‘basic’ cards, and also speeds up reviewing (because you aren’t having to remember how many lines were in the cloze card you just looked at, to distinguish what was the front of the card, and what was the ‘extra’ info).

Thanks for reading!

For other Anki tips and advice, see my page here.

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