How to Memorize Anything

I wish I knew about this program when I was in nursing school — it would’ve made memorizing anything possible. But it’s been a couple years out and I learned about this amazing program.

It’s called Anki.

It’s flashcards. On steroids.anki

And the best part is that it’s free to download. Unless you decide to download it on your phone (iPhone / Android).

You know how you cram everything in for an exam, only to forget in a few hours or days later? Yeah, that won’t happen anymore.


This flashcard system is based on science of how people remember and forget things. It uses a spaced repetition system so that the card shows up right before you’re about to forget the information on that card.


The great part about these flashcards is that you won’t have to review every single card every single day to remember. It spaces itself out depending on how well you’ve remembered the card. You will look at the card, decide on an answer, click on the card and see the answer. You will choose whether or not you got the question wrong (leading you to seeing the card sooner), or right. You can pick how easy or difficult it was for you to remember the answer. If it was easy, then the card will show up days later. If it was difficult, the card will show up sooner. If it was ‘just right’, then the card will continue down its algorithm.

While initially the Anki was created to remember languages, it can also be used to memorize nursing concepts. I used it personally to study for the CCRN, the certification exam for critical care nurses. So I know that this works.

It may look seemingly difficult but it’s actually easy to use.

You have to commit to it, and Anki will be there for you.

Posted in Nursing.
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  • jomo

    I’m going into my last semester of nursing school and I used Anki my second semester with great success. That say in nursing school not to memorize but the fact is memorization gave me the base I needed to use critical thinking when exams came around. Do you have any advice on how you would organize the semester around ANKI if you were back in MedSurg 2?

    • Hi Jomo,
      Thanks for reading my blog! I’m glad to hear that you’re almost done with school. Like you said, it is definitely required to memorize basics in order to use critical thinking. If I were to do Med surg 2 again, I would look at a PowerPoint slide, understand the concepts, and then write questions/answers that can be answered with a word or two (not too many lists). After doing this for the whole PowerPoint, then I would review the Anki flashcards everyday as they come up. Spaced repetition does help but only if you understand the concepts behind it. Good luck with your last semester! Let me know how it goes.