How to Use Anki to Study for the DAT

What is Anki?

Anki is a program which helps you remember things through flash cards. What’s unique about Anki is how it presents the flash cards to you.

Unlike physical flash cards, Anki is intelligent. Utilizing spaced repetition, Anki saves you study time by presenting your flash card deck in an efficient manner.

Spaced repetition is simple to understand: Anki shows you the front side of a flash card containing a Biology term, for example. If you can quickly recall what the term means, Anki will not show you that flash card again for another week. If you weren’t so sure what the term meant, Anki will show you that flash card again in a few days. If you had no clue what the term meant, Anki will show you that card again tomorrow.

This results in Anki presenting you with terms you’re not sure about more often, allowing you to quickly and efficiently remember all of the terms in the flash card deck.

How do I use Anki?

For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll show you how to import existing Anki decks other users built into your Anki.

Let’s start by downloading the Anki deck of Feralis’ Biology Notes. You can download the Anki deck here.

Now let’s download Anki. Anki works anywhere – on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and any device with a web browser. You can download Anki here.

After Anki is finished downloading, install and boot up the program. Choose the language you’d like to use Anki in (English).

Your main screen should look something like this:

Click File -> Import. Find where you saved the Feralis’ Biology Notes Anki deck, and import it.

You should now see the Anki deck loaded and ready to go:

If you click on the gear icon to the right of the deck name, you can choose to edit the deck options. You can change the number of new cards Anki will test you on each day, change the order in which the cards are presented, etc. For now, let’s stick with the default settings.

By clicking on the actual deck name, you can begin to study the Anki deck. Click “Study Now” to begin studying.

After you’re presented your first card, you can click “Show Answer” to reveal the answer. Anki will ask you if you thought the question was difficult (“Again”), good (“Good”), or easy (“Easy”). This is where spaced repetition learning takes effect.

Once you make it through all of your cards for the day, you can return to the main screen by clicking “Decks” at the top. Anki will ask that you come back tomorrow to tackle another set of cards.

Summary

Hopefully this tutorial is clear and helps you learn how to use Anki! Anki is highly customizable, allowing you to create your own decks, add / remove flash cards, change the rate in which you see new cards, etc. As you grow comfortable with the program, Anki can become a valuable asset in your study arsenal.

If you happen to have any Anki decks already built for topics covered on the DAT, feel free to share them with me! I’d love to see them. Send me an email using the blue contact button at the bottom-left of your screen.