I’m going to teach you how to memorize vocabulary efficiently! This I believe is the best method to learn vocabulary.

I have seen totals of Arabic Vocabulary in the hundreds of millions, this is truly an enormous number and one that is seemingly impossible to surmount. In comparison, English has a vocabulary in the hundreds of thousands. You’ll never be able to learn ALL of Arabic’s vocabulary. And neither do we have unlimited time to learn words. However, we still need to learn words, and hopefully in the most efficient method possible.

First, let me explain to you the background of this method… This is essentially revision, which in Arabic is called تَكْرَار. However this is repetition/تَكْرَار with a twist.

Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition is a method of reviewing previously learned information.

This is where spaced repetition comes in to place. Essentially what you do is, learn something, then log it away for future revision. While trying to time the moment that you will forgot this information.

Right before the time of forgetting, you review the information. Over time, the number of revisions will be more spaced out less frequent, because the information has transferred to your long term memory.

Not only is this an effective way to learn, but one with the most time savings. There is no need to repeat again and again. Your review sessions just go further out, in case you remember it, and if you start forgetting, your reviews will become more common again, until you remember it very well once again.


Progression of retention with spaced repetition

Following this method will cause you to have fewer and fewer review sessions as the knowledge cements into your long term memory.

How to use Spaced Repitition

Great, now that you know the benefits, how do you actually implement spaced repetition?

It is possible that you manually review information, however it will become very tedious in the long term, and compliance will be difficult. I recommend that you use a free software called Anki to manage all the words. Anki uses an algorithm marking words for review. Click here to go to Anki’s site to learn more about it.

This is the best spaced repetition program that I know of, and one that I use daily.

Using Anki For Vocabulary

This is what my anki looks like right now, to give you an idea of what it will look like. You will create decks for groups of words, and add vocabulary words to each deck. 

Below I have listed the steps that you’ll need to get started:

    1. Download Anki
    2. Create a Deck
    3. Add Vocabulary
    4. Download Anki App on your phone

Some Anki Tips: 

    • It’s a good idea to get the Anki app on your phone as well, Anki on your computer or any other device will sync to all other devices, so you can review on the go
    • Use images rather than definitions as this will activate your visual memory, memorizing an image is more easier than a string of words
    • As you read, capture the context of that word into Anki, there is a Cloze option, which is perfect for sentences, which I will talk about in a future post

There’s a lot of options you can go into, in terms of modifying the revision spacing, creating specific fields etc, but it is best that you just jump in and get started. 

To retain anything, you need to see or hear that thing again and again. This occurs naturally, whatever we notice again and again we will not forget. However words may be read or heard sparsely, lending them to be forgotten easily. Using spaced repetition ensures, that we do not forget these words. Using space repetition with a software like Anki you will notice that you will retain most of what you learn, while reducing the amount of time you review. 

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