I realise I’m probably 20 years behind the time giving my opinion about Anki – but better late than never, right?
I simply have to share with you that I think Anki is a brilliant tool. In case you need to know, Anki is a flash card tool that allows you to make your own lovely flash cards – flash cards that can be used to aid your memory in ANY area of study – it does not have to be Mandarin related at all! I should actually kick myself as I’ve spent quite a few $ on another tool and I didn’t shop around first… I was impatient and therefore impulsive and made the wrong decision with the first tool I trialled.
Unbelievable but Anki is free. I have not though checked / downloaded the mobile versions and that might be a different story so I’ll only comment on the desktop version that I’ve trialled thus far. After I’ve been using it for a few days, I can honestly say I’m willing to make a decent donation for the use of this tool. (Anyone who’s done some kind of coding themselves will appreciate this tool – it is actually a very clever piece of software.)
I started off by creating my own decks manually for the simplified characters I’m studying using James Heisig’s book – “Remembering Simplified Hanzi: Book 1, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters”. This (blimming hell) was very time-consuming (even with the use of an IME to input characters). Instead of continuing down that path I was told to look for pre-made decks (thank you aplenty – helpful hint). I downloaded a couple of decks and found one that was to my liking. Now that I’ve downloaded this deck, I would like to share with you the details of this exercise – how / where to download the deck and also share with how to change the deck slightly so it is to your liking.
Download Anki (I downloaded the desktop application):
After the installation – open Anki then click File > Download > Shared Deck. Choose a deck for download – preferably match the one highlighted in my screenshot below.
After you’ve downloaded the deck you should see it added to the list of decks that you can open within Anki. (If this is the first deck you’ve downloaded then you’ll obviously see only a single deck in the list.)
Customise study options for BOTH new cards and revisions
It’s probably best to test yourself and study in random order – that way you won’t necessarily use the previous character(s) to help you remember (or guess) the next character in sequence – doing it this way will be a “truer” test and it will tax your memory more.
Clicking the ‘change’ button (bottom right-hand side of pic below) will allow you to add more chapters – each of the characters in the Heisig set has been assigned a chapter field. This means you specify which chapters’ characters you’d like to test and review.
Changing the card (layout) template:
Click the magnifying glass icon (prev screen). This will show you a list of all the chars that have been created in this deck (screenshot below). Click on the ‘card template’ button.
You’ll notice an answer and a questions field. The deck you’ve downloaded may not be set-up exactly like mine. If you simply want to flip the answer and question then click the ‘flip’ button (see below). If you need to move text from the question to the answer field – locate the bit of code in the question field and insert it where you need to in the answer field. Can be a bit tricky if you’re not sure what to move around – let me know if you need help. (Probably best to copy and paste the code into another file if you want to make changes so that you have a back-up in case you need to revert.)
If you click the field tab, you’ll see all fields that has been assigned to this deck – e.g. Lesson Number, Heisig Number, Hanzi, Keyword, Pinyin etc. It means that all of that data is available for you to refer to on the ‘card templates’ tab – meaning you can write it out in either the question or answer field. Pretty nifty.
I think this is largely what you need to know in case you want to use this Heisig deck, but this post may be useful in general too…
Cheers and enjoy!« Previous:
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