Review of Mnemosyne vs. Anki vs. SuperMemo

Originally Published March 6, 2008
Updated June 1, 2008
Postscript added February 4, 2009

There are many spaced repetition flashcard programs available now. Unfortunately, to know if spaced repetition software really works you have to use it for at least a few months (and for the best results, years). Since restarting after months of work is not usually a good option, it is important to choose the right program for you from the start.

I assume in this review that you're looking primarily for spaced repetition software, and not a souped-up flashcard package. There's a significant difference between the two: flash cards are traditionally intended to help you learn something once for a test, while spaced repetition software is designed to help you remember things for years. I also assume you're using this software to become fluent in Japanese.

I did my research for the original version of this review in January and February of 2008. After passing the 2kyuu after six months of SuperMemo, I grew frustrated with its bugs and decided that I would try some open source spaced memory software. I tested the basic functions of several programs for a few weeks before narrowing my choices to Mnemosyne and Anki. Of course, a few weeks was not enough time to fully test the spaced repetition algorithms, but it was enough time to get a feeling for the programs' interfaces and their respective philosophies.