Anki is gaining popularity as a powerful learning tool that is fun, easy to use and makes for efficient studying. It’s a free review app that I use on my android supporting smartphone and laptop – and as a nature conservation student, it has been great!

I came across it initially while searching for a way to retain as much of my study material as possible for an extended period. I used to spend a lot of time studying for a test during the semester then move on to other materials for other tests that were coming up. However, because I wasn’t reviewing my earlier work I’d lose more than half of the already covered material. The result would then be going back to re-study everything for exams causing a lot of lost time and frustration on my part.

The app works by allowing you to review already studied material in intervals of days, weeks and months based on your rated difficulty to recall it. It’s in flashcard format and uses spaced repetition by quizzing you. Once you answer the question you are requested to indicate whether recalling the information was easy, hard or extremely difficult.

For example:

  1. Easy – review after 4 days,
  2. Hard – review in 1 day,
  3. Very difficult – review again in ten minutes or same day.

The easy cards get pushed to the back for another time so that you can focus on the ones you find difficult. The easier you find recalling the information, the further in time the cards get pushed. By using spaced repetition, you get the most out of your learning and study efficiently because you spend more time on material that needs more reviewing and less on what doesn’t.

I use the Anki app for all my modules and it has helped me immensely in retaining information especially for plants and animal anatomy. What I add to flashcards depends only on creativity and ingenuity.

I found that the app doesn’t need an expensive phone or special equipment and it doesn’t drain battery. It’s also quite convenient. I find myself using it everywhere especially when having to wait in queues for long periods such as at the bus stop, bank, home affairs and so on.

While traditional handmade flash cards also work for reviewing and revising, they aren’t as durable as the Anki app and can get lost. They also don’t allow you to add pictures, voice notes or videos. All these features on the app aid recall and memory retention in less study time.

I highly recommend trying out Anki while preparing for tests or exams. But although it’s a great app on its own, one needs consistency when putting in the time and work to review school work and study materials.