Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

CFA Events Calendar

View full calendar

CFA Events Calendar

View full calendar

Recommended Discussions

See how our partners can help you ace your CFA exams.

Anki and other SRS/flash card study methods

MarekMarek Posts: 10 Associate
edited May 2013 in General CFA Topics
I consider my CFA anki deck my secret weapon in my fight to pass the CFA Level 1 in a couple of weeks. The concept of SRS has been something I discovered a few years ago and it has been a huge help in all my studying efforts since then.

Does anyone else swear by anki as much as I do?

Here is a quick reading list if you have no idea what I am talking about:
Also if you want to put in formulas you can either image search them or make them yourself here:


  • Honestly, if I was planning to do this, I would have to do it way earlier than now. But, if someone was willing to hand it over to me all ready and done, I'd gladly accept it :P

    Just that it sounds like a lot of work and time, which I don't have.
  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,547 Sr Partner
    Spaced repetition is something I hear more and more nowadays...
  • @SidMenon Hmm, I would say the investment/return payoff is pretty worth while, & you wouldn't need to make a deck for the entire syllabus, just parts which you might find particularly difficult to memorise. (e.g. it is really good for formulas).

    @Zee That's because it is awesome :) It is like the industrial revolution has come, ... for memorising things
  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,986 Sr Partner
    Can you tell me more about this method @Marek? Sounds interesting, but sorry haven't had a chance to refer to your links yet...
  • Sure @Sophie, the idea is exactly the same as making regular flash cards - but the added advantage is that there is an algo which determines the spacing of how often you should see each card based on how easily/not easily you remember each fact. So things you are just starting to learn you will see several times the first day, then maybe once the next day then 3 days after and so on. It is basically automating the memorisation process.

    Like I say, best for formula memorisation. Or for lists etc. My method is to go through a topic, immediately make flash cards for most LOSs or whatever is most appropriate, and then spend an hr a day or so going through the flashcard bank I have. Less if I am up to date, more if I neglect it for a few days and have more cards waiting for review.

    Have started my prep rather late so will see if it is enough of a silver bullet though!
  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,986 Sr Partner
    Ah that's really interesting @Marek, makes sense too. It's great to use this technique for the formula, definitely. Seems really effective in studies too. Thanks for sharing this with us all!
  • Hey @Marek, is it possible to share the flashcards that you made with others? I hope I'm not asking too much.
  • @Sophie No probs
    @SidMenon Sure, but 2 things:
    1) Making the flash cards yourself, for the bits you know you will need to remember and in a format/wording that you wrote, shortly after you have learnt a concept makes them considerably more useful than generic ones - or ones you did not make yourself. (i.e. the memory tied to the flash card is not just what it says, but it makes you remember when you created it, your thought process around it, the moment you understood the concept etc.) So, my flash cards are at times worded in bizarre ways that help me remember things, but might just confuse you. And I have not made flash cards for things I know anyway, and my preceding knowledge likely won't overlap yours.
    2) As I mentioned, I started my prep late, so I only have about half the syllabus covered at the moment. Hence crazy 2 weeks coming up, but a relatively limited deck for someone else.

    Having said all that, perfectly happy to share my deck as it is right now. Email me marektheduda at
  • Thanks @Marek. I'll try to make the best out of your cards! :)

    I've sent you a mail!
  • I used spaced repetition (Anki +another program) heavily to learn Japanese/Chinese in uni and it was extremely effective. Particularly for learning the thousands of characters so I have no doubts that it works. I tried to make cards for CFA level 1 earlier this year but I found it was taking too much time to make the cards for topics such as FRA where the explanations are quite long so I stopped doing it and it is probably too late to start again as the point of SRS is to put the info in your long term memory over a period of weeks and months. Though will consider for Level II (or Level 1 in December.....!)

    For CFA I think flashcards would work really well for learning formulas and other short concise parts that you just have to memorize. I totally agree with what Marek says about not making generic ones and making them for stuff you have just learned.

    That said though, it definitely isn't the holy grail as it is simple but not an easy way to learn stuff as you really have to concentrate pretty hard to go through potentially hundreds of cards a day (which will happen eventually if you add around 20/ 30 per day). It has to be done religiously as skipping a day can be quite damaging memory wise, as well as just making it harder to catch up the next day.

Sign In or Register to comment.