Whether you’re in your first year of architecture school or nearing the end, using Anki flashcards app is sure to be of huge help in your architecture studies. Although being able to start using this in your first years may be a bigger help to you in the long run, and I’ll be explaining why.
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I posted in the past about how I used Anki for architecture school as we used to have this mock-up board exam where we had to review all subjects we had learned so far. I decided to make an updated one and explain how it can still be used post-graduation.
What is Anki?
Anki is a flashcard app or software which can help you study and remember things easily and more efficiently. It will help you remember things for the long term because of its spaced repetition feature that will automatically “schedule” due cards on the daily depending on how well you know each card.
What makes this the best flashcard app I have used is its features such as synchronization, flexibility, media embedment, optimization, extensibility, and is open-source – all for free in either Mac or PC. It’s also free for android users but costs $24.99 in the App Store.
Anki syncs across your devices so you can decide to continue reviewing on the go or when you get home. Its flexibility also allows you to layout cards and adjust timing among other features to customize. Since you can embed audio clips, images, markups and videos, you’ll be able to maximize your learning regardless of what type of learner you are.
The app can also handle 100,000+ cards without problems! So you can definitely use it for all your subjects. If you want to go beyond these extensive features, they also have downloadable add-ons from their website you can choose from.
According to them, “Because the code and storage format is open, your important data is safe.”
Spaced Repetition Feature
This is perhaps my main reason for suggesting and using this app. I, for one, didn’t consider myself to be good at memorization and so it was a bit of a struggle until I got to know this app. If you don’t know what spaced repetition is, according to Microlearning, “By definition, spaced repetition, also known as distributed practice, is an extremely effective learning approach where lessons are retaken at increasing intervals until knowledge is fully embedded in long-term memory.”
This is exactly what the app does for you. Everytime you review a card, you get to schedule it for some time depending on whether you thought it was easy, hard, or got it wrong. To explain more properly, take a look at the step-by-step below.
How to Make Architecture Flashcards with Anki
The first thing to do after downloading and opening the app is to create a deck. I created a separate deck per course so I could update each in a much more organized manner (as seen in the image below).
To create a deck, you just have to click the “Create Deck” button below.
After creating a deck, you can choose to create a subdeck which I did per topic, again just for the purpose of a much more organized update / addition of cards.
To create a subdeck, you’ll just have to create a separate deck (in the same way) then drag it below the deck you’d want to be a parent.
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When you’re set up on your deck, click on it and choose “Add” from the menu. It’s fairly intuitive to understand this interface, pretty much similar to other flashcards apps, but what I do like to add are the tags. They also help me categorize and organize cards which I can do in the “Browse” section.
To add images, I just drag and drop the images I look up from Google Images. You can also screenshot images and drag them to the textbox if you’re referring to images on handouts.
Depending on whether you have other add ons, that’s pretty much what I do per card and I click close. I like to sync my cards every time I finish studying a subject but you don’t necessarily have to do that as the app syncs every time you open and close it.
The default limit for the app is 20 new cards per day but you can customize this in the settings. This means I get to study 20 new cards every day regardless of how many old cards or due cards I currently have for that day.
The green are the due cards (for review) while the blue are the new cards.
This app is meant to be used every day. It helps us remember terms for long term while helping us look at them and recall them over and over whether it’s after a minute, ten minutes, or a day, and so on.
The more familiar you are with a card, the greater the “space” for review of it is.
Anki Additional Downloadable Features
There are hundreds of additional features you can download for free in the Anki Flashcards website. The add-on I particularly downloaded is the heat map which adds to my motivation and helps keep me accountable as I see visually my progress.
As you can see, I didn’t particularly touch the decks for a long time but now post-grad, I’m trying to review and update the cards again to hopefully place them in my long-term memory.
Why Use Anki for Architecture School
In the Philippines, before you can take an architecture licensure exam (ALE), you’ll be needing 2 years of experience. In these 2 years, I wanted to recall and retain as much information as possible which I may both apply to the apprenticeship experience and hopefully make it easier for me to review when the actual time for board review comes around.
Since I started making these cards in my college years, it was much easier to just add and update cards, and suspend or delete them when I don’t think they’re necessary anymore. I still think there’s a whole lot more to add (it may be never ending) and I do try to add some every review session, in the hopes that I’ll be retaining more as I go on.
If you’re looking for ALE reviewers, I found this one online which has a collection. I don’t rely on this solely but it is something I add to my decks as well.
Anki Flashcards will really make your review sessions way more efficient and you’ll have less pressure on yourself to get it right instantaneously as you know you’ll be seeing those cards over and over again sooner than later.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Anki
Almost all of the things I’ve mentioned are the advantages of using Anki but the disadvantages will always be there. For iOS users, the obvious one is that it costs a lot as opposed to having it free for android. However, I think for its features, it is definitely worth it. You won’t need to buy the app anyway if you don’t plan on reviewing on the go.
Although commitment isn’t really a disadvantage, it just means that it will require a whole lot of will power to be consistent with it every day. I, myself, am not that consistent but I’d still prefer this app over any other flashcards app I’ve used (and I’ve used a lot!)
If you don’t want to download the computer version, they also have AnkiWeb, a free companion.
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That’s pretty much how I use the Anki flashcards app! Tell me about your experience in the comments below!