An Introduction to SRS Programs

A very important aspect of my studying is utilizing SRS programs. So what is an SRS? SRS stands for Spaced Repeition System and a lot has been said on the topic. Here are a few great pages to start with (many with much, much better advice than what I have to offer):

>Khatz of All Japanese All The Time (AJATT) has a ridiculous wealth of information, but here is his page on SRS programs, with this description:

“Generally speaking, it’s a piece of electronic flashcard-like software that helps you to long-term-memorize large quantities of information by effectively working on only a small subset of the information each day, using spaced repetitions.”

A site suggested through Khatz has some great information about the classification of different SRS programs, as well as a description of the system as well. This is definitely worth reading if you’re torn on what SRS to use. I definitely suggest you take the time to read it, that is why I made that link ridiculously long.

Before I continue, I strongly suggest reading those blogs as much as you can, they are very helpful and will provide much more information than I could ever hope to here.

But, back to me.

So what do I do? I use, in total, three different SRS programs. A lot, right? Well, no, actually, I use each one for their particular strengths. The three I use are: Anki (the first one I started with), Mnemosyne and Surusu (an online SRS developed by AJATT’s handsome curator Khatz).

Anki I prefer to use for audio/picture or any rich media content. I feel it is best suited for it and handles it much better.

Mnemosyne is great for basic text cards and can be used on a variety of topics, so not just languages by math, science, etc. It’s also a very “light” program compared to Anki, which was a nice feature for me. It’s also ultra-portable, it can be installed to run off a USB, allowing you to go anywhere.

Surusu is a new one for me. I actually stopped-started with it a few times before really breaking into it. But, now it’s turned into my SRS of choice (other than a weird quirk where I can’t play the audio I inserted, it just tries to download a php page rather than playing the audio, weird). But, I love how this is WEB-BASED, SIMPLE, and CLEAN. It’s no frills—and it’s effective.

Being web-based allows me to do a few things. I can add media anywhere I want. I can review the decks at any time: taking the train on my way to/from work, AT work when I should be doing potentially other very important things, at home, at my friend’s house, through the free-to-download Opera web browser on my Wii (though it doesn’t display all Chinese characters properly..) etc. etc.

I definitely suggest trying them all out, finding out which one works best for you and go for it. Make the SRS work for you, don’t conform yourself to the SRS (that goes for your decks, too. More on that later).

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