Shattering your Barriers – How I Learned 1000 Cards in 6 days — 14 Comments

  1. Really great article. I’m probably not going to push myself as crazy hard, but I am going to try some of these methods out and see where I get :)

    The idea of previewing the material before seeing the cards in Anki, and then isolating and targeting difficult material sounds like it will work really well with the way my brain seems to learn.

    • YouKaiCountry, thanks for reading! Of course there’s no need to do anything as extensive as 1000 in a week, but I hope applying some of these methods has helped your journey a bit.
      How’s your Japanese coming along since?

  2. Agreed it is a great article. Really in depth and good to hear from a fellow learner. A few things really resonated with me.

    First enjoying the dopamine spikes. Even doing ten cards a ten, I love doing my reviews and then doing a Terrace House episode and it suddenly has a word I just learned. What a great feeling. Finding ways to really relish the small things helps avoid the feeling of a plateau I think.

    I also like how you lay out the three phases of rest. Sometimes I feel guilty when doing reviews, taking a small break to look at my phone. But I think as long as I set goals (I will check my phone after 30 more reviews) and limit breaks it is actually helpful in maintaining stamina.

    Unreal that you did so many cards so fast with such high retention. I don’t think I will do that anytime soon but very impressive to see that it is possible. In general it motivates me to make faster progress.

    • Hey laddr, thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you found some value out of my experiences.

      How’s your Japanese coming along as of late? Avoiding those plateaus?

      • Overall well, just 750 cards left in Jalup before I have completed everything. I hit a major plateau though at the end of last year. I have adjusted my techniques though and each month I feel better and better, I think I am making progress again. In short I think the lack of Shadowing was holding me back. Give me a couple more months and I will be able to say for sure…

  3. First, I want to say thank you for sharing your story. It seems you made great progress. I would love to hear more information about your routine. Can you explain what your day was like during these sprints? Also, what was the aftermath like as well? When you finished one of these sprints I’m assuming you didn’t add new cards for a while right? As well as your reviews must have been through the roof even after the sprint was over right? How did your routine change after a sprint? I have always thought it would be cool to do something like this. I work full time and sometimes my schedule will change leaving me with nothing but free time. I think it would be great if do something like this during those down times. I want to tailor them to me and my habits, so I would love to know what your routine looks like before and after the sprints. Thanks again man great article!

    • Hey Jordan, thanks for reading!

      Yeah, not only was this one week a huge jump for my Japanese, but over the last many months has accelerated the speed of progress compared to what it was before.

      I apologize it’s been so long since the post, but I intend to write another one that should answer those exact questions, my routine, the aftermath, etc. That said, some key components to my routine are reviewing the isolated troublemakers right after waking up (from the previous day) and before resting, using the morning to memorize with 0 distraction, then Anki reviews inbetween everything else I need to do be it school, travel, etc. It’s not very detailed here, but there should be more on that later.

      The aftermath consisted of 2 major parts:
      1) 250 – 500 reviews daily for a week (of Jalup Anki cards). Might seem like a lot, but if you do a sprint like this, your reading / speaking and comprehension lets you blast through reviews. Still takes an hour, maybe two per day, but it’s primarily Anki and in my opinion it was a small price to pay for the progress I made.
      I noticed it was also fine if I only did 150 some days and did 400 other days, my retention didn’t take a dip.
      After the first week of reviews, it gets much more manageable. I wouldn’t have added any extra cards following the week of 1000, but after the review week I did add 250 new cards to test the waters and it was fine. Over time the daily reviews start to drop pretty quickly unless you’re adding new stuff.

      Hope some of this was enlightening and valuable to you. How’s your Japanese coming along now?

      • Woops, axed part 2.
        2) My desire to read Japanese material and learn new words skyrocketed. Coming away with 1000 new words, I plowed through my old material (particularly manga), and started working my way through harder content. This prompted comprehension of lots of words that I knew, but also recognition of words I didn’t know, which led me right back to learning more words.

        Spoilers I guess, but it wasn’t more than 2 months later that I finished my 8000th card (Jalup + some other stuff), doing roughly 350-500 a week on top of everything else. After that I conducted research in Japan for 3 months, all the while devouring 1-2 manga volumes a day. Maybe to put this into perspective, the weeks before the crazy madness week of 1000 I was slowly reading Death note to take a breather from Yotsubato. While in Japan, it was everything just short of light novels.

        Anyway, that’s a lot about my story, but maybe some of that makes sense and can be applied to your journey, upscaled or downscaled. Regardless, I would say the energy put into learning 1000 bred new energy rather than consuming it all.

  4. Absolutely wonderful article! I really like the idea of “learning” the material before reviewing. I can’t wait for previewing to be added to the Jalup Android app now!

  5. I think this is very misleading. You did not “learn” 1000 words in 6 days. You became acquainted with them. You do not go into details about how you memorise the words besides staring at them and using anki with an alleged high retention. You could be a native speaker of the toughest language in the world in a matter of 6 months if you keep going ;)

    • Hey Leeroy, thanks for reading! I’m sorry you thought it was misleading, I hope you at least found something valuable.

      Yeah, you’re right I didn’t really get into memorizing the words. The article was quite long, so I intend to write another article on the routine and the how. But rather than write this one about my memorization process that’s specifically for mass learning sprints, the article is geared to helping the goal of any reader through 9 principles that would help them break through their current barriers.

      And maybe you’re right, that they aren’t necessarily learned, and I don’t think I stated what I meant by learned either, so that’s my bad. But I’m glad you commented so I can clarify that!

      Learned in this context is:
      – Be able to write, without prompt, any one of the retained (93%) words / grammar points from memory correctly, including Kanji, and comprehend.
      – Be able to read, recognize, pronounce, and comprehend any one of the retained words / grammar points in context or out of context
      – Be able to hear, recognize, and understand any one of the retained words / grammar points in context, albeit with slight delay, without looking it up
      – Be able to speak any one of the retained words / grammar points within context, although allowing incorrect usage (because otherwise that would be OP) but still comprehensible by a Native

      All of these are with J-J, so for me, learned in this context would also include knowing and able to verbalize / write the definition, in Japanese, for all retained words.

      If that’s what you mean by acquainted, then yeah, that’s what I mean! But this is definitely by no means mastery, which should be the next step.

      And indeed, if someone had the juices to output 1000 every 2 weeks and then use the rest of that time reviewing and consuming Japanese material while writing and speaking (14 hour days, doesn’t seem fun), you honestly probably could get near that level. But that would be one heck of a resolve.

      Anyway, hope any of this was helpful for you!

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