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Today I just want to share I site I use everyday and absolutely love: Memrise

(disclaimer: I do not work for Memrise or have any personal connections to Memrise. It’s just awesome)

What is Memrise?

Memrise is a site that uses mnemonics to help you memorize new things. Mnemonics are little tricks to help you connect a new idea to something you already know. For instance, to help someone remember vert, the French word for green, someone might use a picture of a verdant forest. In most cases this is foreign language vocabulary, but there are also biology and chemistry courses as well. In memrise, this mnemoics are user-generated with popular ones voted up.

How does Memrise Work?

Mnemonics help your brain create connections to the new idea, planting the idea in your short-term memory. Anchoring that idea into your long-term memory is the second part of Memrise’s magic: spaced repetition. Memrise reminds you of things you have already learned in progressively less frequent intervals, gradually fixing the new knowledge in your long-term memory. Ideas you remember well are repeated less frequently, those that you don’t are repeated until you remember them.

Does it Work?

In my experience it does. I have used Memrise to improve my Mandarin vocabular and learn Basic Spanish. After two months of practice, I now believe I have a solid Spanish base that I could survive and develop mastery in an immersion environment. With Mandarin, my pronunciation and reading ability has improved tremendously. I can now understand most of what I read.

Where Memrise fails is where quality user-generated content is missing. This is definitely the case for less well-known languages or the more advanced levels of familiar ones. However, as the service becomes more popular, this should become less of a problem.

Simply put, to memorize use Memrise!

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One thought on “Memrise: The Best Way to Memorize

  1. Interesting…I played around for a few minutes on the site. In my opinion, memrise suffers from a problem that a lot of other spaced repetition software apps suffer from: faulty/sucky implementation of the social aspect. Almost none of the “picture” mnemonics felt useful.

    In theory, share flashcard decks and mnemonic devices (perhaps the best known example of the latter that I have encountered is Koohii.com’s kanji story platform) is an effing brilliant idea. In praxis, it so far hasn’t worked that well.

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