Anki vs Quizlet || Which is Better? Plus a Bonus Recommendation

Anki vs Quizlet || Which is the True Flash Card Champion?

When trying to learn Chinese vocabulary, flash cards are one of the best methods.

So let’s put two of the most popular flash card apps to the test – Anki vs Quizlet.

Here is our ultimate guide to which one we think is the best.

Anki vs Quizlet || Quick Introduction

Anki vs Quizlet || Key Differences

Anki vs Quizlet || How They Work

Anki vs Quizlet || Their Interfaces

Anki vs Quizlet || Pros and Cons

Anki vs Quizlet || Which One Should I Choose?

BONUS || Bonus Recommendation

DOUBLE BONUS || Free Anki Study Decks

Anki vs Quizlet || FAQs

Flashcard apps are a great way for learning vocab, however you won’t get fluent in Chinese just using them.

Instead you’ll need online classes such as our Flexi Classes or Online 1 on 1 Classes.

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Anki vs Quizlet || Quick Introduction

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with either of these flashcard apps, here’s a quick introduction to both Anki and Quizlet.

If you’re already pretty familiar with the concepts of the app, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.

Anki

Anki vs Quizlet

First launched in 2006 Anki at it’s heart is a straightforward flash card app that uses spaced repetition technology to make memorising and learning more effective.

Initially primarily made as a learning resource for language students, Anki has since become widely used by students of all areas, especially medical students.

There are four main versions of Anki:

  • Anki Desktop – completely free program which you download to your computer, has all of Anki’s features.
  • AnkiWeb – Online version of Anki that can be used alongside the desktop program, however it has quite limited uses and you need to download the computer version for the full experience.
  • AnkiMobile – The iOS version of the app which is a paid companion to the free computer program.
  • AnkiDroid – The Android version of the app, it is free like the computer version and was made by different developers.

Quizlet

Quizlet was launched to the public in 2007, one year later vs Anki.

It is a flashcard app that also uses games and tests to help students learn and memorise.

Anki vs Quizlet

Like Anki, Quizlet was originally launched as a web based flash card program to help language students learn vocabulary. However, it has also become popular with students of all subjects.

You can either use the web based version of Quizlet or you can download either their Android or iOS version, the basic ones of which are all free.

There are then also two upgrade subscriptions available to purchase:

  • Quizlet Go (US$2.99/month)
  • Quizlet Plus (US$3.99/month)

You can see how the three different packages compare:

IncludesQuizlet FreeQuizlet GoQuizlet Plus
Online AccessYesYesYes
Offline AccessNoYesYes
Ad-free StudyingNoYesYes
Advanced Creation ToolkitNoNoYes
Quizlet Learning Assistant (uses AI technology)NoNoYes

The free version of Quizlet is quite limited, especially when it comes to creating your own flashcards.

If you want to try out Quizlet Plus they offer a free 7 day trial.

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Anki vs Quizlet || Key Differences

Anki vs Quizlet – they’re both digital flash card apps so what are the key differences between them?

Let’s look at a quick comparison of the two…

SpecificationAnkiQuizlet
PriceFree for Android and desktop, $25 for iOSFree for standard version, Quizlet Plus $3.99 a month
Limited usage for free versionNoYes
Spaced RepetitionYesNo (it was discontinued in 2020)
Number of study modes and games15 study modes, 2 game modes
Can you create your own decksYesYes
Can you import already made decksYesYes
Uses gamificationNoYes

Now, the main overall difference between the two is that Anki is much more of a basic straight forward flash card app, whereas Quizlet has more gamification qualities to it.

The other major difference is that Anki uses spaced repetition technology vs Quizlet, which does not.

Quizlet Pro did used to use spaced repetition technology but this was discontinued (more on that later).

Anki vs Quizlet || How They Work

Now that we’ve had a look at the key differences between the two lets look at how Anki works vs Quizlet.

Anki

As we’ve said Anki is very much a simple digital flashcard system without any gamification.

On Anki you can either create your own flashcards and “decks” or you can import decks created from other users.

For Chinese learners these user created decks are great there are loads of different HSK vocabulary decks already created which saves you a lot of time and effort.

But what does going through flashcards actually look like?

With Anki the approach is very much the same as when you use physical flashcards but with spaced repetition built in.

The premise is simple: you’ll be presented with a flashcard and you have to guess what is on the other side, you then reveal the other side and mark whether you got it right by selecting how soon you want to see the flashcard again.

For example the first time you see a flashcard you’ll be presented with three options:

  • Again <1 minute
  • Good 1 day
  • Easy 4 days

The next time you then view this flashcard the options will then change depending on what you selected, how many times you’ve viewed the flashcard etc.

This is the spaced repetition at work and this combined with the ability to customise this with how well you yourself judge your knowledge of the card is what makes Anki such an effective tool for memorising and learning vocab.

However, the repetition of simply flipping cards and marking whether you are confident in knowing them can get very boring and, depending on your learning style, may end up feeling like a chore.

If you’re looking for other web based platforms that use spaced repetition technology you might want to also check out Glossika and
Hack Chinese.

Spaced Repetition is also the main focus of Hack Chinese

Quizlet

Although also a flashcard app Quizlet works in a very different way to Anki.

Rather than just having a straight forward card flipping type approach Quizlet has a number of different learning modes and games to make memorising vocab more interactive.

To start of let’s have a look at the different learning modes offered by Quizlet (free version):

  • Flashcards – digital flashcards which you flip to reveal the answer.
  • Learn – you’ll be asked to either type or select the answer to the flashcard.
  • Write – you’ll be asked to type the correct answer to the flashcard.
  • Spell – you’ll be played the audio or definition for a flashcard and have to type or “spell” the answer correctly.
  • Test – creates a test for you with four different categories: written, matching, multiple choice and true or false (you can adjust the categories and number of questions.)

There are also two games available called “Match” where you match up the word with the correct definition and “Gravity” where you have to type the correct answer to a falling “word meteor” before it crashes into the planet.

Previously, if you paid for the Quizlet Plus subscription this also included a feature called “Long-Term Learning” which used spaced repetition technology.

However, this was removed in 2020, which does weaken the effectiveness of Quizlet for memorising vocab.

Anki vs Quizlet || Their Interfaces

Next let’s look at the interfaces of Anki vs Quizlet.

The main things to look at are how intuitive they are, their ease of use and how they look and feel overall.

Anki

First of all let’s face it, Anki is not the prettiest flashcard program. Its interface feels and looks clunky and old fashioned and just quite outdated overall.

For first time users Anki also isn’t that straight forward to use, for instance the meaning of options like “bury card” aren’t immediately clear and there isn’t any kind of interactive tutorial to get you started.

Anki vs Quizlet

Although there is an Anki manual available through the “Help” button, this is quite wordy and may intimidate some users who are just looking to jump right in and get started.

However, if you persevere you can adapt and change Anki to be more to your liking. This is because it has more than 500 add-ons available, most of them written by third party developers, which can completely change the set up of Anki and even give it an element of gamification.

There is pretty much no limit on what can be added to flashcards such as audio, images etc.

It can just be relatively time consuming if you’re doing it yourself.

But there is tonnes of user created decks already, (search Chinese and the list is huge) so unless you are really wanting something super specific you should be able to find a deck which you can then download and edit.

Another slight issue with Anki is the process of syncing between the computer version and the phone version.

This doesn’t happen automatically like in most flashcard apps and you instead need to remember to sync whenever you switch between the two.

Quizlet

Quizlet, on the other hand is a lot more user friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

The design is still relatively simple, however feels much more new and fresh than Anki which really resembles a blast from the past.

Even for first time users, it’s super easy to use and very intuitive. It’s immediately how you navigate around the page, add new flashcard sets and enter different learning modes.

Anki vs Quizlet

There is loads of free user content available and also sets that can be purchased if you want professionally made content.

You can of course also create your own sets, however be mindful that on the free version of Quizlet you can’t add things such as images and audio.

Many of the user created free sets do contain this, but if you want to create your own you’ll need to upgrade to Quizlet Plus.

One annoying thing about the free version of Quizlet is that it does include ads, which can sometimes be a little distracting.

The other slight annoyance is that Quizlet will often be pushing for you to upgrade to Quizlet Plus or to try a free 7 day trial which can get irritating.

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Anki vs Quizlet || Pros and Cons

Anki

Pros👍:

  • For android and desktop users it’s completely free, with all content add-ons etc. available.
  • It uses spaced repetition which is one of the best ways for learning vocab.
  • You can add words from programs like Language Learning with YouTube to your Anki deck.
  • Easy and completely free to use offline.
  • There are loads of add-ons available so that you can customise your learning experience.
  • Loads of ready made user decks.

Cons 👎:

  • The app/desktop program has a very clunky and old fashioned feel to it and isn’t very intuitive.
  • Only one standard study mode which can get repetitive and boring.
  • For iOS users you have to pay $25 for lifetime use.
  • Syncing between desktop version and mobile version isn’t automatic.

Quizlet

Pros 👍:

  • Very easy to use and it’s super intuitive.
  • It has a number of different study modes so that you don’t get bored of just looking at flash cards.
  • Test feature is really useful for tracking your progress.
  • The design is clean, simple and easy to navigate.
  • It has tonnes of user created flashcard sets that are free to use.

Cons 👎:

  • It no longer uses spaced repetition which is one of the most effective ways of learning vocab.
  • To get all the feature of Quizlet you need to pay to upgrade to Quizlet Plus.

Anki vs Quizlet || Which One Should I Choose?

When looking at whether you should choose Anki vs Quizlet you really need to look at two things: your preferred learning style and your study goals.

If your main aim is looking to learn vocab as effectively as possible and you are happy with a straight forward, simple flashcard app then Anki is definitely the one for you.

However, if you’re looking for a more fun and engaging way to learn then Quizlet is the app for you.

Anki-vs-Quizlet

As Anki uses spaced repetition it is definitely the more effective of the two flashcard apps for getting you to learn vocab.

It’s actually a real shame that Quizlet removed this as a feature as that would have been a real game changer for them.

But many users, myself included, find it very difficult to motivate myself to use an app that is really quite boring and repetitive.

In order for me to want to learn and also enjoy learning I personally prefer Quizlet because it is more of an interactive learning experience with different study methods and also some games.

This is why what your study goals are should also impact which app you choose out of Anki vs Quizlet.

For me, currently I’m just trying to learn some extra Chinese vocab in my spare time, I’m not working towards a particular goal such as taking a HSK exam.

I just want to broaden my vocabulary for things I use in everyday life such as jewellery, clothing or makeup, not vocab for a specific reason.

But, if I had been looking for a flashcard app to use when I was studying Chinese at university and had tonnes of vocabulary to learn then I would have chosen to use Anki.

In a nutshell for users who are specifically looking for an app to learn vocab in order to take a HSK exam, or for Chinese classes then Anki would be the better choice for more serious learners like this. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and fun way to learn which still works, but perhaps not as quickly then Quizlet should be the app for you.

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Bonus Recommendation

After comparing Anki vs Quizlet I wanted to give my personal bonus recommendation which is the flashcard app Memrise.

Using Memrise instead of Anki or Quizlet

This is my personal favourite flashcard app for three main reasons:

  1. It uses gamification and has different study modes.
  2. It also uses spaced repetition technology.
  3. The free version of the app has loads of free user created flashcard sets available (you need to search for them on the web version as they don’t show up on the app).

For me I need an app that’s more engaging than Anki, however I really like the fact that it uses spaced repetition as this is such an effective way to learn. This is why for me Memrise is perfect.

Of course Memrise won’t be to everyone’s taste and there are some issues such as how the quality of user created content can vary a lot.

Also some of the learning styles such as multiple choice type questions can act as a crutch and mean that you don’t always properly learn the word as you’re able to guess.

WANT YOUR OWN ANKI DECKS IN CHINESE? Check out our post showing you the different Anki Decks we have created in various Chinese dialects.

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DOUBLE BONUS || Free Anki Decks

One final little bonus for you, shown below we made a load of free Anki decks which are available to anyone.

Here are the links to all the current LTL Anki Decks.

As you’ll see we don’t just cover Mandarin and the dialects of Chinese, but also a host of other languages including Vietnamese, Thai and even Mongolian!

We’ll continue to add to this list going forward.

Mandarin

Cantonese

Shanghainese

Taiwanese

Korean

Japanese

Russian

Vietnamese

Thai

Mongolian

Italian

Spanish

French

German

If you like the Anki Decks we’ve shared we’d really appreciate a big thumbs up from inside the Anki app!

Anki vs Quizlet || FAQs

Which is better Anki or Quizlet?

For long term learning overall Anki is probably better than Quizlet because it uses spaced repetition which is a really effective way of learning.

However, Quizlet does also have some good features, which is better for you really depends on your learning style and study goals. For example if you’re working towards a HSK, Anki would be the best app for you.

Does Quizlet use spaced repetition?

Quizlet no longer uses spaced repetition, there used to be a feature in Quizlet Plus called “Long Term Learning” but this was discontinued in 2020.

Does Anki really work?

Yes, Anki really does work to help you memorise and learn. It uses spaced repetition technology which is one of the most effective ways to learn.

What is the Anki method?

The Anki method is using the free Anki digital flashcard program to learn and memorise vocab, facts, etc. It uses spaced repetition technology which is one of the most effective ways to memorise things.

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  • LTL Avatar Alexander Krasnov
    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Language School!

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