Saturday, 13 September 2014

Language Apps/Websites Review: Memrise

After a long, long delay, I'm finally here with the second review in this series! In this post, I'm going to be talking about Memrise, a site that uses Space Repetition System (SRS) to teach you.

What is SRS? Simply put, the site tests you on the vocab that you've learn just when you're about to forget it. In a way, it works a bit like Anki, but I find it much easier to use and more addictive to play.

Memrise has both a webpage and a free app, so here's my review of each:

Website

My profile page
You need an account to register for anything, but once you do, you can see that everything is really nicely arranged for you. The Pinned courses are the first few courses you choose (or the ones you specially select), and they're a useful shortcut if you have many many courses at one go.

While you can have friends, I haven't found a way to search by username yet (anyone know?). I've had to get the link to add people as friends ><

Courses page
You can also search for courses. That is slightly easier to navigate, although if you're searching for a course created in something other than English, remember to change the "I speak _______" section at the top left (just below courses, and above "top categories"). As a matter of rule, the more people taking the course, the more reliable it's likely to be, since there's tons of feedback. Of course, if you're taking a niche language, there may not be that many learners.

The real beauty of this website is the "Create" a course function. This makes it the perfect supplement to your Japanese language class/course. You can use it to create an effective way of revising. I can personally attest to the efficiency of that - I used this for my Bahasa Indonesia class and I got an A! It made studying a lot easier for me, because I am not the best at memorising vocab.

App
The app while loading
Memrise has a free app as well, but the iPad version seems to be a scaled-up version of the iPhone app (not sure, since I haven't tested it). It's not hard to use, but it's not optimised for the iPad.

My app homescreen
The app is useful for revision, but not for creating courses (I don't think it's possible) or for searching for a new course (possible, but very difficult). I find it easier to revise on the app than on the website, but easier to create a course on the website than the app.

There's also the ability to save courses to revise them offline (otherwise, it's no internet. no revision), but I don't like that. When I tried it, it didn't synch my results, and I ended up having to do everything again. Rather annoying, even if it is good revision.

Overall
Price: Free

Pros:

  • Very customisable
  • Effective for remembering vocab - with some ingenuity, you can use it to practice grammar as well. 
  • Convenient to use (There's an app and a website)
Cons:
  • There are bugs in the website and app
  • If you're not going to create a course, you'll be dependent on the community to create a reliable course
Bottom line: This is a great site/app to use as a supplement to your Japanese class/self-study course. There is no software to download, it's easy to create a course, and most importantly, it's effective in helping you to remember the vocab. 

If you need more detailed instructions on how to create a course or you just want to add me as a friend, leave a comment or drop me a message! 

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