I’ve recently begun using Anki, a “spaced repetition system” (SRS).
Anki is software that helps its users to remember large amounts of information in an efficient way. It can be used to learn many things, but it is especially useful for learning vocabulary.
An SRS is an efficient way to learn vocabulary words. In Anki, you can create “decks” of “cards”, metaphors taken from traditional “flash cards”. On each card, you can enter information, including the word or phrase that you want to remember (i.e., the “front side” of the card) and its translation or meaning or an example (i.e., the “back side” of the card).
For instance, you could enter “खुश” one the front side of a card, and “happy” on the back side, or you could enter “X को Y पता होना” on the front and “for X to know Y, e.g., मुझे यह पता है” on the back.
However, Anki is far more efficient than traditional flash cards. When you study using Anki, the software presents a card to you, and you can rate your confidence (e.g., “I have no idea” / “I know that” / “I know that very well”). Based on your rating, Anki adjusts the cards it will present in the future. Anki uses a statistical algorithm to select which cards to display. This is vastly more efficient, because Anki will only present a small subset of the words to you each time, and it presents the words that you need to study the most. Thus, you spend your time studying what you need to study, and you don’t spend too much time studying. The idea of spaced repetition is that the better you know words, the less often you need to study them. Anki exploits this fact to make studying more efficient.
Anki can be fun – it’s almost like a game, and the sessions don’t last very long. There’s no need to stare at long lists of vocabulary for hours.
Anki offers a lot of additional features too. It can be used online, and you can synchronize decks across multiple computers, for instance.
I’ve enjoyed using Anki so far. Here’s one way that I use Anki: I read news articles online, such as BBC Hindi, and I enter any words that I don’t recognize into Anki so that I can learn them. I also enter some words that I know but that I want to remember. I typically do this in the mornings, then review in the evenings.
There are many other SRS available besides Anki, but Anki is very popular.
Try Anki, and let me know how your experience is.