1/31/2016

How I study vocabulary- Online vs. Flashcards


Hey, everybody!
I am still studying vocabulary. Whearas a lot of people in my grade do not study vocabulary actively anymore, because they claim to have no real need for learning them, I am one of this persons, who is still studying vocabulary regulary.
I mean, one obviously learns a lot of vocabulary by using the foregn language (e.g. watching movies, reading books, talking in class) but to my mind studying vocabulary can be very beneficial in class. Movies often do not cover the sometimes really political topics, that are talked about in class. I feel, that my sentences increase in quality and difficulty, after I started studying vocabulary again. I just use the learned words automatically and do not have to try to avoid or praphrase them.
I think, I started this active learning of vocabulary about one and a half year ago, basically because I started learning Japanese vocabulary again.

Last schoolyear, I used to study with a vocabulary app called 'Anki', what is really popular for good reasons. The convenience is, that one does not have to create all of the vocabulary oneself but can take them from the various pre- arranged stacks to almost any topic or language. It is very easy to adjust or create cards and stacks, there are regular reminders and it is generally just very handy.
At the beginning of this schoolyear, however, I switched to studying with flashcards again.
The big disadvantage with flashcards is, that they can become really much quickly and then they are space onsuming, what makes them a little harder to take along. Furthermore, they can get mixed up or get lost.
I am, however, currently preferrring flashcards for a couple of reasons. I think, that writing the cards myself also helps catalyzing the learning process, because I a) learn by writing it down and b) are more familiar with my own handwritin and therefore more willing to learn the card. I also like, that I can adjust and change my own learnign system. Although Anki prevents a rather advanced system of how the cards are studied, having the control about it myself is just more flexible and variable. I can also decide, what to write on which side, which way to test, how often to test etc. For some reason, I also just like the feeling of having this flashcards in my hand. The last and for me most important reason is, that I am not longer staring at a screen when learning vocabulary. I just develop a headache when staring too long at my smartphone's screen.

So, for this reasons, I developt my own system of studying vocabulary with flashcards.
I have two cardboxes: one for English (middle) and one for Japanese (right). Each of them have five sections, but the English cardbox's fifth section is currently filled with smaller card stacks (e.g. for presentation). The cards at the left side are blank cards in various colors. The diffrent colors have no particular meaning (at least for now). The cards in the middle above the Englisch cardbox are not yet studied English vocabulary. Above the Japanese cardbox, I have some other small items and post its for my calendar.
The system, I study with, is written in my calendar. At a post- it on the calendar's first page, I wrote the days, the cards are kept in one section:

So, as you can see, the amount of time, a card is kept in a section increases rapidly. This makes sure, that the cards are actually firmly sticked in one's brain.
In my calendar's monthly planning section, I write down the sections, I will go through the day, in light blue in the botton right corner. As I am studying the first section daily, there is no need to write it down every day.
I learn vocabulary twice a day. It is part of my morning routine to go through the day's pile after getting ready. In the evening, I go through the same cards again after I showered. At this point, they are not put in a diffrent section but just repeated shortly.

So, that is my vocabulary studying system, that is currently working out very well. I really hop,e you found this article helpful and learned something.
See you tomorrow!

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