3 Must have Anki add-ons: Your guide to an efficient learning set up.

Anki. Used by med students and now becoming increasingly more and more popular with college students as the best way to create, maintain and revise content. Now Anki has what I like to call a marmite effect, where some people fall in love with it while others can’t get it to work for them but hopefully after this article you have put some add ons on your Anki account to make your experience smooth and simple.

First, what is Anki? Anki is a flashcard website built on using a powerful algorithm to bring back cards that you are just on the verge of forgetting to maximise your ability to retain information. It requires you to use the website everyday to help you keep information that you otherwise wouldn’t. It has an advanced tagging system as well a variety of different types of flashcards at your disposal like cloze or occlusion. But the thing that makes Anki stand out from other flashcards websites, is your ability to customise and its massive community that constantly adds more functions to the ankiweb that are as easy to apply as putting in a code. Yes it has its own web and yes it’s amazing. It has thousands of different extra pieces you can add to your account, made from developers and people who are just really passionate about the website. A quick youtube search will show you hundreds of tutorials on how to use it and how to tweak its algorithm to match up to you perfectly. But this article isn’t about maths and algorithms, it’s about efficiency so here are the 3 most important Anki add ons you must have. 

Starting off strong with the Image occlusion enhanced add on (code is 1 3 7 4 7 7 2 1 5 5) which may be a bit of mouthful but is single handedly an absolute game changer. This add-on creates another type of flash card into your arsenal, allowing you to hide parts of an image to test your knowledge on that hidden information. The cards generated by this add-on would be best described as image-based cloze-deletions. This will save you hours on drawing diagrams and is based on visual/ image based learning which has scientifically been proven to increase retention of information. There have been countless times where there has been a diagram that you can’t draw or is already perfect in getting the point across, but you can’t recreate it, however with this add on you can simply and quickly create multiple flashcards on a diagram, as long you can have an image of it. 

Next is an add on that will help you stay motivated and on track. The review heatmap add on is a simple yet effective visual tracker to help you keep going. Anki does require you to use its website every day as that’s how the algorithm best functions and the review heatmap shows your current streak of days, longest streak of days, what days you missed and your average daily card count. Its main feature is the coloured squares on the homepage each representing a day you have completed. It’s really satisfying seeing your streak go up and square get filled, or inversely, it’s a real eye sore when you miss the day which is the magic of the review heat map. It comes in 5 colours ( Flame, Magenta, Ice, Olive and Lime) as well as 2 calendar modes ( yearly continuum and monthly). It doesn’t have an add on code like other add ons and has a slightly more complicated installation compared to typing a code but there are many tutorials on how to install it. Its done like this as the developers are constantly tweaking and improving it in the background so no need to worry about updating it all the time.

Last but not least is The true retention add on (code is 6 1 3 6 8 4 2 4 2) which gives you a more realistic and accurate representation of your statistics especially on your graduated flashcards ( these are cards with intervals with larger than 21 days) with a simple shift  right click of the stats button. We use this because the normal stats incorporate your newly added cards which naturally should have more mistakes as you are currently learning them which will inaccurately represent your actual scores as it artificially decreases the correct percentage.  The most important stat on the true retention add on is the true retention stat itself, it should be between 80% to 90% with 85% being the sweet spot  as any higher than these boundaries means these cards are to easy and you need to increase your interval modifier so you see the cards less and any lower than the boundaries means that your cards are to difficult. The add on shows more information that you should take the time to look into and understand so you can quickly find the flaws in your studying and fix them.

Anki is not a miracle worker, it requires hard work, persistence and willingness to stick to it. There are pre made decks, different flash card types, hierarchical tags and many more features designed to help and most importantly everything is free of charge so you have no excuse to not try it for a little while. Some honourable mentions are the customise sidebar add on and the advanced browser add on, both just tidying up and improving your overall Anki experience. I hope this has helped you guys and if you guys need any help with using anki, the Anking is an amazing youtube channel going over everything Anki. Good luck.

Image credit (in appearance order):

Alex Fraser via Phatcore

RF Studio Via Pexels

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