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Use spaced-repetition software (SRS)

The first spaced-repetition soft­ware (SuperMemo) was devel­oped by Polish computer scientist and molecular biologist Piotr Wozniak in 1985. Michal and I discovered SuperMemo in 1993, when it was still a text-only application sold on floppy disks. It transformed the way we learned languages. We quickly experienced a rapid growth in vocabulary, as well as clear im­provements in grammar and pro­nunciation. Every day for eight years, we would spend about 15 minutes reviewing English words, phrases and pronunciations in SuperMemo. On many days, we would spend another hour or two adding new words to our collec­tions. Over the years, many of our classmates became SuperMemo users as well.

When Michal and I started Antimoon in 2001, SuperMemo was still the only spaced-repetition software. Since then, other devel­opers have started using Wozniak’s research to build similar appli­cations. Currently, the most popular SRS apps are Anki and SuperMemo. Both are based on Wozniak’s SuperMemo algorithm.

What is SRS and what can it do for you? ~ Spaced-repetition software lets you keep things (e.g. English vocabulary) in your head. It is based on scientific research on human memory.

  • How does it work? ~ You add some knowledge to your SRS (e.g. 100 English words). Every day, you review part of the knowledge (e.g. 5 words). In the process, the SRS collects information about your memory.
  • Why is it good? ~ You can remember thousands of English words and phrases while spending only 10 minutes a day on reviews. This is possible because, in an SRS, you don’t waste time on reviewing things you know well; you only review things you really need to review.
  • What are the results? ~ An SRS can help you improve your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, ace your tests, understand books and movies, eliminate your mistakes, and amaze all your friends with your progress.

Which SRS should you get? ~ The most popular choices are Anki and SuperMemo.

Me and SuperMemo ~ Tom writes about his personal experience with SuperMemo from 1993 to 2002. He talks about his motivation for using SuperMemo and his excellent results while learning English in high school.

How to use an SRS to learn languages

Getting started with SuperMemo

In this manual, you will learn the basics of using SuperMemo for learning English.

  1. Installing and uninstalling SuperMemo
  2. Starting your first collection
  3. Memorizing and reviewing knowledge

Reviews

Review of SuperMemo for Pocket PC ~ the easiest-to-use version of SuperMemo that lets you learn anywhere. Unfortunately, adding words and sentences with the stylus will slow you down.