Korean Anki: A Great Tool for Learning Words

Korean Anki decks are wonderful tools for learning new words and reviewing ones you’ve learned before.

Anki is an SRS system, which stands for “spaced repetition software”. It’s a great tool for learning Korean. So let’s learn more about it!

Laptop computer on a desk with a coffee mug and a cup full of pencils nearby

How does an SRS work?

The software runs on your computer and/or smartphone and emulates the function of vocabulary flashcards. The “spaced repetition” portion means that you have a stack of flashcards, and the frequency with which you see them depends on how well you know them. The repetition is spaced out according to how familiar you are with the flashcard content.

For example, imagine you have a stack of index cards that you use to make traditional flashcards that you review every day. On one side you write “banana”, and on the other side you write “바나나” (banana | banana in Korean). You review the words daily and try to memorize the word for banana.

Anki srs korean banana

However, some words you know well, and some words are still a challenge. Maybe you have another card for “coffee” and “커피” (keopi | coffee in Korean). If “banana” is very easy, but “coffee” is very difficult, you could simply keep reviewing “coffee” more times until you get it right.

Once “banana” becomes too easy to review daily, how do you decide how often to review it? You could put it in a separate “every other day” stack, or even a “weekly” stack. That’s when things can become challenging to manage. A Korean Anki deck helps organize this system to build a solid Korean vocabulary, AND do it in a fun way.

There are many SRS systems available, so we encourage you to evaluate them and decide what’s best for you. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll discuss the points with the Anki SRS system in mind since it has great functionality and flexibility. Here are 5 advantages to using Korean Anki.

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

Smartphone & Tablet Applications

 SRS Apps for Studying Korean

One of the barriers to doing vocabulary reviews is that you have to have them with you. Possibly you’re traveling or commuting and don’t want to carry around extra weight?

Or, maybe you’re in line at the bank and realize that you have some time to kill but didn’t bring your vocab.

Anki has apps that are available on smartphones and tablets. Some also have web interfaces. If you’re like most people who have their smartphone with them 24/7, then you’ll always have access to your study material.

Customized Reinforcement For You

Anki SRS Custom Korean Study

Ever have a custom-made outfit? It feels great because it was made specifically for you.

Just like custom-fitted clothes, you want a flashcard system that’s fit for you!

With Korean Anki, you can either download vocabulary decks that someone else made or you can make them yourself. We recommend that you make them yourself. This is because you can put exactly what you want on them.

For example, maybe there are multiple meanings to a word, but you only want to learn 2 out of the 4. You can design your flashcard to fit your own preferences.  And it’s always good practice to use Hangeul.

Or you may want to start with simple word groups like the colors in Korean or months in Korean.

In addition, entering the vocabulary in yourself further reinforces your knowledge of the material since you’re reading it, entering it, then will be reading it again. We recommended creating your decks on a computer versus a smartphone since you likely can type faster, even on a Korean keyboard. Also, you’ll be able to cut and paste much easier.

Korean Anki Gives You Accountability

One of the key pieces to learning Korean vocabulary is consistency. Even if you can’t open a book each day, getting some exposure to the language is quite key. Korean Anki decks that are setup with reviews each day require you to do the reviews on that day. If you don’t, they’ll carry over to the next day.

For example, let’s say you have 10 cards to review today, and that takes you 4 minutes on average. If you don’t do them today, they’ll carry over to tomorrow, and you may have 20 cards to do tomorrow, for a total time of 8 minutes. If you miss both days, then the 3rd day will be roughly 30 cards at 12 minutes.

To avoid them stacking up and to keep the Anki system running smoothly, it’s best to do you flashcards each day. Knowing that your obligations will stack up is one element of motivation you can use to keep yourself accountable to studying daily.

A Sense of Accomplishment

For goals, people often talk about “moving toward” and “moving away from” motivations. The accountability motivation in #3 is a “moving away from” motivation because if you don’t do it today, it’ll come back to haunt you tomorrow.

An abandoned haunted house for Halloween holiday.
Don’t let your unfinished Korean study haunt you tomorrow

There’s also a sense of accomplishment when you clear your deck for the day. Even though there are no streamers and confetti dropping from the ceiling, there is still a mental reward from seeing your review count going to zero for the day. That “moving toward” motivation combined with the “moving away from” motivation helps you keep your language learning on track.

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

Fun & Bragging Rights

CafeLatte in a white mug
Treat yourself to something special after you clear your flash cards!

Who says vocab memorization has to be boring? With Korean Anki, you can make a game out of it. Time yourself to see how fast you can do 10 words, and then try to beat your time. Look at your estimated time, and try to finish 20% faster. Give yourself a reward at the end, for example you can say “I’ll reward myself with my favorite drink at the café as soon as I clear my flashcard deck”. It’s a great motivator.

Not only that, but you can also brag to your friends about how many cards you have in your deck, and how many reviews you do each day. Are the friends in your social group not adding any new cards to their flashcard decks? Maybe you need to add some different friends to your social circle! Maybe even some Korean friends. ^^

If you’re not familiar with Korean Anki, hopefully that information was useful. If you are, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below about deck count or largest number new cards in a month!

Photo by: Luke Ma

Photo Credit: Bigstock

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14 thoughts on “Korean Anki: A Great Tool for Learning Words”

  1. Anki is now sadly broken for Korean learning. It has been broken for a couple months now. You can still make cards, but the sound file add-on is broken and no longer maintained. I just thought you should know. I LOVE Anki and have been using it for learning Korean for several years. The add-on was great – importing sound from Papago and Google Translate, as well as the Hanja. But now it no longer imports anything – the add-on writer has disappeared and no longer supports it, and our attempts to get it supported by someone else has failed. So you have to do it the long way and get them yourself, just like any other language. :-(((

  2. it would be great if you could provide the anki flash cards based on the vocab provided in your lessons. i would pay for that…..

      1. Anki may have tonnes of features, but it’s clunky as hell as ugly. Quizlet and Tinycards have the same features with a better UI.

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