Flashcards should be a staple part of any students’ study routine. You can use them to memorize and drill anything from vocabulary to verb conjugations or lexical chunks. The trick is to stick with it and review at regular intervals so you don’t forget all that useful info. (Learn more about how our brains memorize new words and retain information, and how to harness this in my previous post here.)
The most simple flashcards have a word written in your first language on one side and the translation in your target language on the other side, but flashcards have come a long way from the homemade handwritten variety. Now, there are loads of great apps with lots of cool features which you can use to review anytime, anywhere, on the go. Much more convenient than lugging a stack of cards to the library with you.
But, which app is right for you? In this blog post, we look at the pros and cons of 3 flashcard apps – Reji, Anki, and Quizlet. Keep reading to find out more.
At A Glance – The Pros & Cons
For a quick overview, check out the table below to see the best and worst features of Reji, Anki, and Quizlet. We took into account the following factors when comparing:
- Interface and Ease of Use: How easy to navigate is the app? Is it intuitive for users?
- Study Modes & Games: How many different modes does it have? What types of games are available?
- Ease of Creating Decks: How hard/time-consuming is it to make your own flashcards?
- Availability of Pre-existing Decks: Can you download premade flashcards? Is there a variety of options? How good is the quality?
- Built-In Spaced Repetition: Is this app a long-term memory
- Price: How expensive is it?
- Compatibility: Is it available online, on Android or on IOS?
As you can see, Quizlet and Reji scored well on overall usability, an important factor for any app you use on the regular. Reji came out on top for ease of creating decks but Quizlet and Anki definitely have a wider range of user-created and user-rated decks to choose from at this point in time. While Quizlet has a free version, you’ll have to invest some money in Reji or Anki but if you’re serious about studying a language, you always need to spend a little on materials like books anyway. For variety of study modes, Quizlet has the most options with lots of games to choose from.
|Price||$24 per year||$25 one-time||$20 per year|
|Compatibility||IOS (coming soon to Android)||IOS, Android and Web Browser||IOS, Android and Web Browser|
|Study Modes & Games||2||1||8|
|Interface & Ease of Use||9/10||6/10||9/10|
|Ease of Creating Decks||9/10||5/10||7/10|
|Availability of Pre-existing Decks||4/10||9/10||9/10|
For a more in-depth breakdown of the pros and cons of each app read on.
New kid on the block Reji has a slick interface which is easy to navigate and very intuitive. (We may be a little biased!).
It uses the spaced repetition method to help you review and recall information. No need to choose the intervals, Reji will automatically count them for you. It will, however, ask you to record how well you recalled each card.
Reji has 2 different study modes – learn & check. These modes are pretty self-explanatory. Use the learn mode to flip cards and memorize content. Then, use the check mode to see how well you actually learned your cards.
Creating new decks of cards on Reji is a piece of cake, outshining both Anki and Quizlet. Type in your new word and Reji will automatically build a card with translations, images or definitions depending on your personal preferences. We love the silly but memorable gifs! Reji will also supply you with a phonemic transcription and a text-to-speech sound bite for 40 different languages – a must-have feature for learners who want to get the pronunciation right too.
For now, Reji’s Deck Market is fairly limited. It has some precompiled decks available but definitely stands to improve on this front when it’s user-generated market is released.
Reji is the most expensive app of the three at $24 for a year’s subscription but we think that it’s worth the investment. Ease of use and unique features make Reji a standout.
A long-standing favorite, Anki, like Reji uses spaced repetition to help users memorize and retain information but is a little less user-friendly.
As far as its interface goes, Anki keeps things simple. It’s pretty intuitive but sometimes a little confusing. At first glance, you’re not likely to understand what a filtered deck, for example, is.
Anki has one standard study mode – card flipping. You decide how many cards you want to study per day. Then, Anki will display a word, you check if you’re correct by hitting “show answer”, and then categorize the word again, hard, good or easy which corresponds to a time interval of 10 minutes, 4 days, 7 days or 10 days when you will next be tested. Anki then keeps track of which cards need to be reviewed when so that you won’t forget any. That’s actually a pretty neat feature. But sometimes it gets a bit repetitive.
Creating a new deck in Anki is definitely more labor intensive than Reji. You’ll need to add all the info yourself, one flashcard at a time, which can be time-consuming for languages with different alphabets, characters or accents you’re not familiar with. You can make text-based cards with words or cloze passages but the cloze feature is far from intuitive. The good think about Anki is it’s highly customizable. The bad thing about Anki is, you’ll have to invest some time to learn how to customize your own flashcards.
Anki does, however, have a large database of public user-created decks to choose from which list user ratings, how many cards they have and what type of content they contain.
Anki is free for Androids but the IOS version will cost you $25 for lifetime use. You can also use the web version of Anki for free – https://apps.ankiweb.net/.
Easy to use and super intuitive, Quizlet has a range of study modes to choose from. Learn material first and then review using matching games, true or false or writing tests.
The free version of Quizlet doesn’t use spaced repetition so it doesn’t have the same long-term focus, however, for $20 a year, you can get Quizlet plus which does. You can also add your own images and audio to your flashcards if you upgrade to the premium version.
Creating new decks of cards is straightforward but can be a little time-consuming seeing as you need to create the content for both sides of your cards. You can easily copy and paste vocab and foreign characters into new card sets without any issues. Of course, this is easier using a web browser on your computer. Quizlet will even automatically add in the audio which is a definite plus. This feature is supported by 18 different languages – not as many as Reji but not bad either.
If you can’t be bothered to make your own deck of cards, there are plenty of user-generated options to choose from but quality varies a bit so be prepared to invest a little time to find the best materials. You can easily save decks in personalized folders on your profile page.