Using Anki Efficiently For Studying: “Root Cause” Edition.

4 min readJul 4, 2021

Look, if you ever feel Anki just takes you forever because:

  1. The flashcard creation process just takes too long; or
  2. You’re stuck in a state of permanent catch-up with mountains of due reviews

…then here’s a quick advice from me:

STOP trying to “use Anki faster”.


Wait a minute.

“Anki Takes Too Much Time” Is A Symptom, Not A Problem

You see, many Anki Beginners that I read about on Subreddits and forums out there, State the same drawback of it being too time consuming in different forms like :-

  • “I want to become faster at creating useful cards”
  • “I’m spending too much time creating my flashcards, and I feel even more behind of what I have to study”
  • “Making flash cards in Anki is a very cumbersome process.”
  • “I can’t keep up with my reviews”
  • “Making flashcards take me a really long time”
  • “Reviews take too long”
  • “I’m making too many flashcards”
  • (and perhaps the most indirect) “How much time should you spend in Anki review?”

Perhaps you’re one of them.

In that case, let me unpack the ONLY 2 reasons why you might be inefficient when using Anki:

First reason: You still have underdeveloped formulation skills.

Many people don’t even realize this. It’s like they’re treating Anki as a magic bullet that will solve all their problems. It’s not.

It’s totally normal to be slow at creating flashcards AT FIRST.

If you feel like that applies to you, then let me guess,

Maybe you don’t know what your flashcards should look like — specifically, what criteria to base them on.

Or maybe you don’t know how you should think about flashcard creation. (After all, mindset changes everything. Later I’ll show you why.)

Or maybe you don’t trust the flashcards you create.
Head over to my article on how to create Better Flashcards if this sounded familiar to you.

Second reason: Using the wrong optimization strategy.

Specifically, this one:

(I’ll reveal them later, don’t worry.)

You may not even realize how this optimization strategy is messing you up.

Listen, if any of these sound true to you…

  • You have a lot of knowledge, but you find it hard to bring them together in a coherent, “big picture” way
  • You perfectly remember a specific flashcard, but when you’re asked about the same concept in a different angle, you fail to recall it
  • You can complete a Cloze flashcard, yet you’re not able to use the idea behind it to understand higher-level concepts

…then you’ve already fallen into this exact trap.

Wanna know the solution? Here’s a quick hint:

It’s outside of that box.

It requires a different frame of thinking about “efficiency”.

It has to do with interactions rather than combinations.

Actually, let me show you just how different this solution is:

Now, don’t worry if none of these makes sense for now; you’ll learn all about them in the next few articles.
Before we continue, though, I want you to know that this Guide is NOT for everybody.

First off, I made this for students who:

  • Are tired of constantly getting behind of their lectures
  • Are preparing for upcoming exams — big or small
  • Are spinning their wheels regarding what specific study tactic to employ in their situation

Also, I have to emphasize that this Guide is NOT written for language learners.

Sure, you’ll get a LOT of value from this, but just realize that it’s going to be less specific for that, alright?

Second, this Guide isn’t for short-term thinkers.

I guarantee you that if you’re someone who constantly seeks instant gratification, this course is going to make you uncomfortable.

What you’ll learn will be incredibly hard to swallow.

I guarantee it.

Third, if you fit into these three criteria:

  • You’re looking for a quick “hack” to work around the underlying causes of your study problems
  • You’re just here to passively skim through the information so you can find something “new” (This isn’t social media.)
  • AND you’re not willing to change both today

…then you can close this tab right now so we can save each other some time.

Now let’s get started with a big picture view of everything.

The Big Picture

Here’s what you’re going to discover:

  • Lesson 1: How the specific way you’re optimizing Anki for efficiency makes you spend even MORE time in the long run.
  • Lesson 2: Why knowing all the best study tactics don’t really matter much.
  • Lesson 3: The 2 things you might be ignoring that makes Anki almost entirely useless.

Expect that this Guide will take you a couple of minutes to finish. These lessons aren’t your ordinary article — you have to read them a bit more deeply if you like to get the benefit.

Continue to them from here.




Dissident Hindu. Medical Student. Calisthenics Advocate. Knowledge Management Enthusiast.