What's a good self-study program?
September 13, 2012 5:25 PM   Subscribe

What's a program that will help me stop memorizing the answers to practice exam questions and actually test me on the material?

I've been using Anki for quite a while to help me with my studies (both language and other stuff). From the books I have been using, I've gotten pretty good at creating decks to study from the practice exam questions. However lately I've noticed that I think of the answer before I've even read the options (for example, the letter "C" just pops into my head, even though I have no idea what "C" is). Is there a program, similar to Memrise, for example, that I can feed questions and answers into and have it randomize the order of the answers so I am not just memorizing the correct choice? If I can do this with a large number of questions at once, that would be preferable.
posted by princeoftheair to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you set the flash cards up to not have A B C D answers, and just have the actual answer? Side 1 says "sun", side 2 says "soleil" - that kinds thing? I have Mental Case for IOS that does this well.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:58 PM on September 13, 2012

I've removed some of the answers where I can figure them out on my own, but for questions that start with "Which of the following...", I like the idea of having to go through and figure out which answers are incorrect and why. This is usually where I find myself knowing the correct choice before knowing the correct answer.
posted by princeoftheair at 6:49 PM on September 13, 2012

Can you export cards from the deck, edit them (say for spelling mistakes) and then re-import them an have Anki remember whatever statistics it keeps about the cards? Or will Anki forget about those cards (treating it more like deleting some cards and adding some new cards)?

I'm wondering if you could export the questions and jumble the answers yourself depending on how they're formatted. If you had (field1: question) (field2: answers) (field3: correct) for instance...

Q: 3+4[tab]A: 1[br]B: 42[br]C: 7[tab]C

You could pop those through a script to change the questions and answer...

Q: 3+4[tab]A: 7[br]B: 1[br]C: 42[tab]A

From a quick Google Anki stores stuff in a SQLite database, I'll bet some enterprising Anki user and script writer could write a helper program of this sort of thing behind Anki's back.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:35 AM on September 14, 2012

If you have an iPhone or iPad, Flashcards Deluxe for iOS does this! The app allows you to randomize the presentation order of the answer choices. Also, it's super easy to import a large number of questions from a text file or spreadsheet. I study by taking practice exams too, and this app is indispensable for that purpose.

If you have a Mac, there is a program called Cram that will do this too, but importing is pretty painful (one question at a time).

For Windows, I think starQuiz will let you do this. It's a bit pricier than the others ($40 vs about $30 for Cram and $3.99 for Flashcards Deluxe). I can't remember if it has a bulk import option, but I recall that entering questions seemed to be a bit slow.
posted by madforplaid at 6:19 AM on September 14, 2012

You can create your own sets on Memrise! It might feel weird opening up your personal study to other people, but you can think of it as a side-effect of using the platform, it can be helpful to others without you having to do anything, and you have no obligation to maintain the course for anyone but you.
posted by lokta at 6:47 AM on September 14, 2012

Thank you all for your comments, and sorry that I didn't know more about Anki and Memrise before I asked. I'll play around with all of these and see what works best.
posted by princeoftheair at 7:51 PM on September 17, 2012

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