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Keeping up

SGRuixue   September 26th, 2010 8:30a.m.

Hi everybody, I have a question about how to best keep up study. This past summer I went to a full immersion school and learned a LOT of new vocab. Now I that I am back at work and not studying for 8,9 hours a day, my reviews are overwhelming me. I keep hitting save me but don't like that either because words I need to see sooner are pushed back. How do you recommend I deal with this? I haven't been studying because I feel overwhelmed. What do you all think about maybe getting an option to preset the number of reviews you see a sitting? Would that defeat the purpose of the algorithm?

Mandarinboy   September 26th, 2010 8:42a.m.

The simple fact is that you have the backlog since they actually are due. I would say the best is to simply ignore the numbers and work on getting back on track. Turn off the new word addition automation so you do not have to deal with even more words. Maybe change (lower) the retention target. The higher number, the bigger your review log will get. Even though it might be hard to not look at the numbers that is what you have to do. This happens me all the time when I am back from travels etc. Takes some time but try to get a few every day and you will eventually be back on track.

west316   September 26th, 2010 9:21a.m.

I did this only once, and I can't really recommend it, but, if you know all of the lists you studied, you can nuke it all. After you nuke it, you start reloading the lists. This is in essence restudying everything. You set the retention rate a bit lower, say 90% or 92%, and then set the add new word speed to its maximum.

It will take a few months, but you will get caught up. I now have all of my textbooks uploaded along with roughly 3/5 of HSK5 done. I don't plan on ever doing that again. Even that 5k monster queue can be beaten with enough diligence.

Thomas   September 26th, 2010 9:56a.m.

Try to take bigger stabs at your reviews when you have no other pressing obligations. I am usually happy with an hour on the Skritter clock, but sometimes go for 3 or 4 and really knock a large review pile down by a few hundred. My schedule has been rather open the past few years.

Don't forget to mark those 1's (forgot) and 1's and those 4's (easy) as 4's. It will save you a lot of time later on.

If characters are too difficult or I'm sick of them, I'll make it a 4 just so I don't have to see it again while I'm knocking others down with much higher efficiency, then marking the troubled individuals as 1's or starring them later on. You could delete some one by one, but I have found those odd words to be useful in unexpected situations.

nick   September 26th, 2010 10:20a.m.

Yeah: lower the retention rate, try to find some time to clear the queue every once in a while, don't add new stuff yet, do mark 1's and 4's, do delete words that aren't useful, don't nuke or rely on save me, and don't worry too much about the number.

Another thing that helps with big queues is to manually set it to study one part at a time. I find I can clear a ton of reviews faster if I just do readings, then tones, then writings, then definitions.

ntozubod   September 26th, 2010 5:24p.m.

I am using Anki for some things and like a feature that makes it easier to control the situation of big queues. The user can add tags to cards (actually to facts) and used these to control what is currently active. When the queue becomes too large and the study too unfocused, the situation can be fixed by marking certain tag values as Inactive. The SRS then treats those cards as being set aside and not subject to review. The remaining active cards result in a smaller deck and are typically easier to get through.

The idea of Nick to focus on readings, tones, etc. can than be extended to chapters, course vs non-course, and other distinctions that are meaningful to the user.

This is not a criticism of Skritter but I think a lot of us would like a way to soft-Nuke temporarily parts of our deck and bring the stuff back under our control.

I have personally nuked my state several times and it sucks big-time. However, it helped me pick myself up again after a long pause when Skritter had ceased to be fun.

Right now I use only a subset of Skritter because I am leary of this situation but I will have to try Nick's idea. Skritter continues to change and improve and I need to continually re-evaluate how I use it.

Thomas   September 26th, 2010 7:20p.m.

@ntozubod you can effectively cram only those lists or sections you are interested in if you haven't been adding words straight to the queue. Of course, you'll have to switch between cramming the different lists, but it should have the same result.

I had a six week spell where I was into only learning one of my lists and didn't want to study the rest. I did not see much overall progress during that period and I do not recommend it. Instead, study everything and delete those things you don't want.

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