Edit [March 20th, 2013]: The tip below still applies, but I just got done doing a much more comprehensive post on what Anki is and how to use it complete with a video demonstration (by me) that I highly recommend you see here: My Most Important Language-Learning Tool: Anki – What it is, why it’s awesome, and a video on how to use it!
So, I just got Anki and started messing around with it (it’s SRS for those not familiar, and quite popular with language learners), it’s awesome and does precisely what I would want it to do but I’ve just got a quick tip for those thinking about using it:
If you’re going to use Anki, if at all possible, start doing it right when you begin learning a new language, because if you do you can likely download a premade deck of words/verbs/idioms/whatever to memorize and you won’t have to make your own initially if you don’t want to.
I can’t do this. Why? Because I’ve been working on Spanish for a couple years now and I’m well into the intermediate stage and the pre-made Spanish decks you can download all start off with really, really simple stuff like “el” = “the”, “de” = “of”, “si” = “yes”, etc. I’m not going to waste time wading through all of those (probably at least a few hundred) to get to the ones I don’t know yet. I’m at the point where I just need to make my own based on any words, expressions, or grammar rules I encounter while in the process of reading actual Spanish material that I don’t already know.
Just a tip, in case you’re just starting in on Spanish, or any other language, and you’re thinking “Meh, I’ll get around to trying that Anki thing in a few months or something…”: you probably shouldn’t, you’d be best off starting right now because those pre-made decks they’ve got start at the very beginning which is perfect for you now but not something you’re going to want to mess with once you’re a few months into the language.
A quick note before we finish up: if you’re interested in teaching yourself Spanish…
I have a short post and video (that are free to read and view of course, won’t cost you more than a few minutes of your time) on how to do precisely that with the system that I put together which allowed me to become fluent in Spanish in just 6 months after years of trial-and-error by watching Spanish-language TV shows (like telenovelas, hence the name of the system) and movies, reading Spanish books and comics, and listening to Spanish music. If this sounds interesting to you, check it out by clicking the link below (the following link should open in a new tab or window for you when you click it so I’m not asking you to leave this article here):
I also include some quick and valuable tips for learning Spanish as well as a couple of the most useful free Spanish-learning websites that I recommend.