For me, spending time on flashcards has become an (almost) daily routine. I have recently already written that you should just do it, about how effective it has been for me, and to tell you how to test whether you should be using flashcards - so take a look if you haven't seen those articles.
In this next in the series, I wanted to go personal (yes, even more personal than writing about my love affair - In fact, I'm going to let you look into my actual set of flashcards, through sample sentences, numbers & dates.
Anki has a feature which gives you a whole bunch of facts about your specific deck. Here are some of mine, covering the deck itself, as well as how I've used it.
- deck created 2.1 years ago
- total number of 'facts' is 1530 (a fact contains english, pinyin, simplified hanzi and (sometimes) traditional hanzi too)
- total number of cards is 3680 (in the early days, a fact only generated two cards: english-to-pinyin & pinyin-to-english; but after a while I extended it to three: english-to-pinyin/simplified/traditional, simplified-to-english/pinyin/traditional, pinyin-to-english/simplified/traditional)
- according to Anki, 76% of my cards are 'mature' (I've basically seen these often enough that they're 'known', 6% are 'young' (I'm currently actively working through them), and 18% are unseen.
- In the last week I did 500 cards, averaging about 70 a day. According to Anki, I missed one day in the last week.
- My average over the last 3 months is 45 cards a day, and over the last year is 52 cards a day.
- Since the deck was created, I have averaged 53 cards a day, and used Anki just under 5 days a week.
- Since the beginning, I have added less than 5 cards a day, but this has only been around 2 a day in the last year. (Remember that by entering a single 'fact' Anki automatically generates a number of 'cards' - so I would say this averages about 2 new physical entries a day, that's all.)
From humble beginnings ...
- The first six entries in my deck are: (know / zhīdào / 知道), (formal / zhèngshì / 正式), (about / guānyú / 关于), (accept,approve / tóngyì / 同意), (after / zhīhòu / 之后), (agree / shuōhǎo / 说好).
- The six latest entries are:
- profit commission adjustment request / 盈佣调整询问函
- There were a lot of groupies at the Michael Jackson concert in Japan / 迈克尔·杰克逊在日本的演唱会招来了许多追星族
- to accumulate over a long period of time / 日积月累
- Unless you say it so that your word becomes another, then it's no problem / 除非你说的词变成另外一个词，否则没问题
- tomorrow;daybreak / 明天;天明
- You have to tighten up the handle, it has become loose / 柄松动了，你得把螺丝拧紧
I think you'll agree that I've improved my skill level over the last two years! And don't let this mislead you ... I don't know all the latest ones. For example, I recently needed to know the word 'loose' while talking to someone and realised I didn't know how to say that. So I looked it up in the dictionary, found a good sentence, and entered it into my deck. A few weeks will pass before this sentence comes up to the top of the pack, and then I will 'learn' it through spaced-repetition.
So that's me
If you'd like to share some of your desk statistics, I'd love to see them - whether you're a beginner or really advanced.
Most interestingly, I would love it if you could leave a comment below to say what your first few words were, what your most recent entries are, and what the time period is in between.
And if you've just started a deck of your own, perhaps since reading this series on flashcards, let us know what your first few entries have been.