Thanks to the passage of time and some advice from frequent commenter, Dev, my number of daily flashcard reviews has decreased from ~400 total to just over 200. It’s time to start learning new characters again.
It’s currently taking me about 30 – 35 minutes to complete my flashcard reviews each day. I attribute this to i. not learning any new cards for nearly 10 days, which has given me time to review the ones I already know; ii. aggressively pushing reviews to later dates (if I know the answer to a card instantly, I rate it as “easy” instead of just “good”).
My original goal for the first three months was to learn the 3000 most common Chinese characters. I learned 1500 in just over 30 days and there are now 50 days and 1500 characters remaining. That means I need to learn at least 30 new characters per day to reach my initial goal. I think this is doable. However, it would also be doable to learn these 1500 characters in a month or even in a week. The question is whether it would be wise to do so or not.
Just as one places restrictions on oneself before making a summit attempt (if the forecast calls for a thunderstorm, I retreat; if it’s past 3 PM and I haven’t reached the summit, it’s too late and I have to call it off; etc), I will place a few restrictions on myself before learning the next 1500 characters. After all, I nearly burned out learning the first 1500.
- 60 cards (30 characters) per day maximum. This will enable me to come close to reaching 1500 characters 50 days from now. Most likely it will take ~55 days. That’s OK.
- Reduce the number of new cards to 30 (15 characters) per day whenever the daily reviews hit 300. 200 reviews takes about 30 minutes. 300 takes 40 – 45 and is the point where Anki starts being a pain in the ass.
- Continue to aggressively rate cards as “good” or “easy” to push their reviews as far back as possible. I still have a 95%+ success rate on the cards, which is probably too high — a 90% success rate would be acceptable and would decrease the amount of time spent studying cards dramatically. I may also take Dev’s advice and modify some of Anki’s parameters to push cards back even further, but I will consider that at a later date.