How many hours should I put to finish a memory project about 1,100 English vocabulary?


Has anyone finished this sort of project?

I’ve been in lockdown for almost a year. I can’t speak to anyone and my vocabulary is limited to 20 words or even less than 20. This damages my brain and human cognition. I don’t need to mention that I’m Chinese and English is not my first language. I lost interest in reading books and I don’t know why. I have a strange habit that reading has to be on a train.

My friend told me it might be because I have been using the same words over and over again. So I decided to take some time to memorize those words properly.

My resource is this book

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The most efficient technique for this is using spaced repetition software, like Anki or Mnemosyne.

Mnemosyne has a default limit of 15 “new or forgotten” cards per day. If you forget a few, then this would be about 11 new cards per day (and 4 forgotten.

Therefore it would take you 100 days to finish this.

However you will already know some of these words. If you only need to learn e.g. 80% of them then it will take only 80 days.

You also have a lot more time available than the typical person, so you can learn significantly faster.

However after finishing the memorization you’ll want to continue with this for a few more months to keep the words in your longer-term memory, and then of course it will be useful to practise using these in context (e.g. having conversations online, etc.)

So I’d expect this project would take 10-30 minutes average per day, for 40-80 days.

Maybe someone here will have a real-life experience they can share.

I also think that you should use Anki for 1000+ Vocabs.

I was also memorizing high frequency words of SAT with a premade Anki Flashcards. To make it more stick, while going through the flashcards, I came up with mnemonics associating the Pronounciation of the word and it’s meaning. Coming up with mnemonic is a crucial step here because I could just memorize a word with mnemonics just by reading it 3-4 times.
On the other hand, a new word without mnemonics took me 10-20 reps to memorize.

To come up with better mnemonic, you can take help of this website:

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Did you make the website? @Talha

Nope. Found it on a google search


Your approach is good but Anki is a bit complicated.

Instead, I’d recommend using a simple solution.

First, I would follow the principle of Leitner system where you put content from box 1 (new) to box (standard system has 5).

Second, my review system requires a very simple manual. I divide cards in 2 types. Space repetition cards and flashcards. Space repetition card is for content I need to re-read it again. It’s sort of passively review. Flashcards is sort of Q&A. It has to be atomic. In accordance with the philosophy of logic, it has to be proposition which you can evaluate and judege.

Third, when I first review or want to review a flashcard, in this case that it will be a question on the name of file, and I’d add the tag #box1 to the file. the name of file is the question and write the answer in the body.

For this purpose, I’d just recall them.

Screenshot 2021-02-13 at 13.01.52

I can then review all cards that the saved search shows me following the rule of Leitner system. As the saved search is a regular file listing, I can also sort by creation and update date.

I double-click the file to see whether I knew the answer and update to #box2 (etc.) if I answered correctly.

Tbh, it’s not ideal system. Once the number of memory items has increased I would update the whole system.

More importantly, it’s to get used to it. Hack your brain! Do it and do it and do it

@Talha it’s tricky. I didn’t see any mnemonic pic on the site.

The system you describe looks similar in effect to whatever algorithm Anki and Mnemosyne use. Theirs has more nuance, although to be honest I don’t know how much better it makes the learning experience.

I’m surprised however that you describe Anki as being complicated, when as a user you just put the cards in and answer them. The algorithm detail is abstracted away. Which part do you consider complicated—the flashcarrd creation, the algorithm, how you use the software, or something else?

To be clear I’m not a spaced repetition fanatic—for my own mental calculation training I’ve been experimenting with my own alternatives recently and starting to use them with my students.

Leitner system is not a very efficient system, especially when you will try to learn a lot of things,terms,words… It quickly adds up and you end up wasting times on reviewing things that are not needed to be reviewed!

If you want to strengthen your learning, you need to create big gaps between two review sessions and let you brain forget…

It needs experiments.
Everything does.
Blindly following any written rules is not ideal or I would say we can be intelligent.
When the changes arise, then we should elaborate on reasons and adopt them.