Flash card program needed
December 14, 2009 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm needing a flash card program to help in my classes, and it doesn't have to be free. The main things I need are...

--It needs to be able to handle algebraic notation (like with LaTex or OLE) as well as jpegs.

--Also I'm looking for one that doesn't use only (or at all) the "Leitner box" or "spaced repetition" systems. Those are good, but more important to me is the ability to go through the cards multiple times per day if I want to. For example, if I pretty much know the contents of a certain card, maybe I don't want it to come up for the next 5 sessions. But on the 6th time through the deck I do want it to come up, regardless of whether it took me 1 day or 10 days to go through the deck those next 6 times.

--Syncing online would be great, but it's not necessary.

Thanks all!
posted by atm to Education (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
OS X, Windows, Linux?
posted by demiurge at 6:20 PM on December 14, 2009

Response by poster: Windows.

Sorry, I should've said that.
posted by atm at 6:26 PM on December 14, 2009

I used Mnemosyne to study vocab for the GRE. It supports TeX and images. It DOES use spaced repetition, but you can manually disable that and do the cards however you want. If you want some kind of custom, algorithmic or arbitrary-scheduled repetition, then I'd just go for 3x5 cards and a pen.
posted by mnemonic at 6:28 PM on December 14, 2009

You may have already considered and rejected this point, but I'll risk it anyway. The physical act of writing flashcards was helpful for my memorization process. (Your Learning Style May Vary of course)
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 7:31 PM on December 14, 2009

Response by poster: I prefer using a program because it works well for me and I don't want to write cards, keep up with them or carry them with me, etc. Keying the card in also helps me in a similar way that writing one would.
posted by atm at 7:38 PM on December 14, 2009

Response by poster: Mnemonic,
You say if I disable spaced repetition in Mnemosyne I can "do the cards however [I] want", but, depending on how I rate my answer, will it not repeat a card for x number of sessions?
posted by atm at 8:31 PM on December 14, 2009

I have used jMemorize to learn vocabulary. It's written in Java. I think it handles pictures. The intro. on the webpage says it's using Leitner but as far as I remember it's fairly flexible.
posted by rom1 at 1:34 AM on December 15, 2009

Although I can't speak to it's value from personal experience, I remember a very interesting Wired article (can't find a link, dead tree only) about a man who learns and remembers everything by using an application he wrote himself called SuperMemo. The basis of the program is that it uses an interval algorithm to reinforce topics that you have previously reviewed. I would recommend reading the Wikipedia article on the program.
posted by metroidhunter at 5:13 AM on December 15, 2009

I have had very good experiences using Anki for this purpose. I've learned all 2000+ standard Japanese characters over a summer with the program and a few thousand vocabulary.

On Windows, TeX and graphics support has been present for years. You can also add sound, videos, or whatever. It also syncs online between n clients. It is painfully cross-platform and internationalized: I have variously used the Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, iPhone, and web clients from the same sync account without any problems. Oh, it's completely free too.

It is an explicitly spaced-repetition based program, but there is an override "cram" mode that will let you do what you want. There are also many ways to fine-tune the algorithm, such as how early to advance cards, weights for answers, how to mix cards, and so on.However, I have never found the cram option to be very useful after the first few weeks. Once you have a substantial number of cards and practice with the system, you trust your memory a lot more.
posted by mezamashii at 7:05 AM on December 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks to the repliers so far but none of these meet my criteria. I need a non-spaced repetition system. I am aware of these others and have use Anki and Mnemosyne, but, again, I am looking for a non-spaced repetition program only. (The cram modes don't do what I need either) Please no more spaced repetition suggestions.
posted by atm at 11:29 AM on December 15, 2009

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