Rationality Freiburg

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Anki: Optimize your Learning

Start: Friday, December 8, 2023 6:00 pm
End: Friday, December 8, 2023 8:30 pm
Location: Haus des Engagements, Rehlingstraße 9 (inner courtyard), 79100 Freiburg (Map, Coordinates: 47.98934, 7.83945)
This event on meetup.com
This event on lesswrong.com

Update 2023-12-10


I strongly recommend you do the following things. Nevertheless, I will assume some people have not done them and give time and instructions to do it during the meetup. So even if you don’t have time to prepare, come anyway! Why should you do it before? Because it’s not the same having 20% of people needing assistance during the live setup than having 100%.

  • Bring an electronic device to the event, either a laptop, an Android phone/tablet or an iPhone/iPad. If you have no device you can participate by using paper flashcards that I’ll provide or collaborate with someone that has an electronic device.
  • Install Anki (Windows/Linux/macOS/Android/iOS) on the device you are bringing: https://apps.ankiweb.net/#download (Note that the iOS app for iPhone/iPad costs $25 - money well spent so I encourage you to buy it - but everything else is free).
  • If Anki is already installed please ensure you update to the latest version (for PC 23.10.1, AnkiDroid for Android 2.16.5, AnkiMobile for iOS 23.10)
  • Sign up for AnkiWeb (free): https://ankiweb.net/account/signup

Optional additional preparation:

What will we do?

I have been using Anki for 1279 days, every day (ok, I missed around 10 days total). That’s 3 and a half years. It has been one of the single most significant improvements in my life.

I will explain what spaced repetition is, how it works and how you can leverage it to remember anything you want to remember for as long as you want to. Memorization has a bad reputation but in fact every thought and creative insight you have, uses memories stored in your brain. Reading a book and being able to remember the core ideas years down the line is valuable. Attaching names to concepts is valuable. I will show many concrete examples of how and why I use Anki, pitfalls where I ran into difficulties and lessons I learnt.

Last but not least I will guide you in starting using Anki during the meetup. You will install it on your device (if at all possible, please do this before the meetup, see the “Preparation” section above). You will then take a piece of text and convert it into good Anki cards. Creating Anki cards is easy. Creating good cards is hard. Your success will hinge in making a habit out of using Anki and on having great cards.

What can you use Anki for? For studying any subject (school, university, privately). To summarize books, articles or research papers. To test yourself on small exercises. Some examples from my collection:

  • Names of people, using their photographs
  • Food allergies, names of children and spouses of friends
  • Small mathematical exercises (e.g. what is the derivative of f(x) = (3-6x)^5? Two cards will be dealt off the top of a well-shuffled deck. What is the chance that the first card will be the seven of clubs and the second card will be the queen of hearts?)
  • Important phone numbers
  • Vocabulary and phrases in multiple languages
  • Grammatical rules
  • Correct spelling of words (e.g. desert/dessert, ocurred/occured/occurred)
  • Meaning of words/expressions (e.g. gregarious, dichotomy, fatuous, to suss something out)
  • Ingredients for favorite cooking recipes
  • Computer shortcuts (e.g. how to drag the selected but hidden object in Inkscape?)
  • Identifying keys, intervals and notes in sheet music
  • Core ideas from books (e.g. from Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People”: Take care to […] people’s names […])


You are worried you have nothing to contribute? No worries! Everyone is welcome!

There always is a mix of German and English speakers and we configure the discussion rounds so that everyone feels comfortable participating. The primary language is English.

This meetup will be hosted by Omar.

There will be snacks and drinks.

We will go and get dinner after the meetup. Anyone who has time is welcome to join.


Learn more about us.


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