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How should I count my cards if I make more than one card per note?

February 22, 2024 — Tatsumoto Ren

I have reached almost 4,000 cards but it represents only 2,500 different notes because for most of them I create a reading card and an audio card with the same sentence. It actually really helps for learning both listening and reading. What do you think about, it and how should I count the number of cards I've reached?

The number of words you know is roughly equivalent to the number of unique sentences you have mined into Anki. With targeted sentence cards (TSCs), each note should have one target word. So one note helps you acquire one new word. Therefore, to count your "known words," just count the number of unique notes you have. Still, how much media you understand matters more than how many cards you have mined because you can mine a lot but immerse very little, or vice versa.

Personally, I wouldn't make both listening and reading cards for the same sentence. I don't think it would be worth the extra time and effort. With two cards per note, you may end up knowing the target word a bit better than with just one card. But you're also spending twice as much time studying it. Are you really getting twice the benefit? It's probably closer to 1.25x.

Keep in mind, especially early on, the goal of using Anki isn't to learn a word perfectly. It's creating a mental dictionary entry so you notice the word during immersion and absorb content more easily. One text card per note will likely be enough for that purpose — to let your brain know the word exists, what it looks like, sounds like, and means roughly. Then immersion will fill in the gaps.

So personally, I'd just make text cards and let immersion smooth everything out. You could add audio to the back of cards if you want, but not the front. When I learned Japanese, I never used audio cards since I saw them as pretty much useless. I mostly made sentence cards or targeted sentence cards. It worked very well for me.

However, if your current technique works for you, by all means keep doing it. We all have slightly different learning styles. If you found an approach you enjoy and that's effective, trust your experience over any advice.

Tags: faq