When Does Anki End For You? — 15 Comments

  1. Totally agree. The falloff rate is much faster than you’d ever believe (once the new cards stop). I’ve been at the JALUP RTK for 22 months, with the ease turned down to 130%, and I’m at 40 cards a day or less. I have less than one J-E card a day.

    Of course, The One Deck, at 15,000 cards, is much heftier, but it too will get there.

    And just like you said, why stop? As it falls off, Anki becomes even more bearable.

  2. A while back just out of curiosity I wrote a little program to simulate Anki use over time. Here’s a plot showing how many reviews someone would have every day over ten years, assuming they add 10 cards a day, have a 90% retention rate, use the default interval modifier (250) and stop adding at 10,000 cards. This isn’t quite realistic, in particular I’d imagine after some point retention rate goes to pretty near 100% because everything is being constantly reinforced through daily exposure. Anyway, the most striking feature is what Gregory pointed out, the daily count drops precipitously once new cards stop.

    (As a disclaimer I’ll note that I eventually decided that Anki wasn’t for me, but I hope folks who are using it find these results interesting!)

    • I can actually provide a sort of (partial) real version of that graph.

      As you can tell my reviews dropped significantly starting about two months or so ago, when I finally reached 10000 J-J cards (at which point I severely reduced the number of new cards, though I haven’t quite stopped).

      As for the “striking precipitous drop”, well… to a first (and fairly decent) approximation the decay when you stop adding cards just follows the shape of the decay for a randomized card, and it’s not hard to see that that is approximately an exponential tail decay, which is what Octonion’s picture shows… I suppose a perk of being a mathematician is that I knew this the day I started using anki without having to do any simulations….

      • GRAPHS!

        I love ’em.

        I’m currently using Anki JALUP RTK, a self-authored J-E, and The One Deck for Japanese and building out decks for Java, JavaScript, PHP, and generalized algorithms. This simulated graph verifies (semi-empirically) what I keep telling myself. It get easier.

        Thanks for the simulated data. :D

  3. How many reviews would you recommend doing at the height of your new vocabulary acquisition period? I’m going through The One Deck now and I’m not sure what a reasonable rate of exposure is.

    • Think I remember him saying something about 20-30 being a good number and then dedicating the rest of your time to immersion. Could be wrong though.

      85% completed JALUP advanced 0.0!!! So excited

      • I agree with this. I think 25 a day is a solid pace. You would do 10,000 sentences in 400 days at that pace.

        • Wow, 25 seems like super power-leveling speed to me. 10 new J-J cards, plus ~30-40 reviews, takes me ~45 minutes on average. That’s just over 5 hours/week, plus another 5 for RTK (which I’m still trying to finish up), and another 5-10 for active immersion, as time allows. That works out to ~2-3 hours a day, which I feel like is already fairly intense.

          Of course, everyone is different and it’s entirely possible that 25 is the right number for you. You should try it and see how it goes. If it feels like too much, scale it back gradually until you reach a comfortable pace :)

          • Heh, admittedly I may be an anki addict. I definitely prioritize it over my immersion, which has its cons (as Alexandre pointed out in a great article here: (

            Of course it’s different for everyone, but I don’t think 25 is too unreasonable. I just finished a stretch today where I pushed 50 a day for 20 days to crank a quick thousand out, and while that’s definitely an unsustainable pace for me (I had a few free weeks in summer to devote more time) I have heard of much crazier paces to the tune of 100+ per day (especially on RTK and J-E). Just look at Alexandre’s graph above: he went at a pretty brisk pace.

    • Just to add to this, the amount of new cards I used to add varied greatly. There were times when I would add 5-10 cards a day, and there were times when I would add 30-40+ a day. Sometimes I would just save up new additions for weekends.

      Find what works for you right now, but feel free to adjust to a pace that matches your goals. You’ll find that your pace will vary a lot as you move forward.

  4. I didn’t use Anki for nearly as long as Adshap, but while it had an enormous impact for a significant period of my initial use of it, eventually I just… grew out of it. I stopped using it. I can read most stuff, and when I don’t know a word I treat it exactly like described above.

    I doubt I’m anywhere near Adshap’s level, but I feel like Anki just wasn’t actually improving me very much any more. At this point, what I feel I need to do is just keep on using Japanese.

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