This page contains the personal stories and interviews of SuperMemo users.
It is born from the idea that understanding the benefits of learning from an intellectual perspective doesn’t automatically translate into an affective state that predicates the actual act of learning.
This initiative attempts to support the theoretical framework found on this wiki with stories that are relatable to us as sentient creatures.
I always had a strong learn drive that luckily survived the school system. I knew the existence of SuperMemo when I installed Anki back in 2008, as Anki was based on SuperMemo. I read about it, but I never gave SuperMemo a try as it was not open source.
After growing my collection during a decade and suffering from Anki limitations, I finally decided to give SuperMemo a try because of Incremental Reading. I was having a very strong cognitive dissonance about Wozniak’s writings and SuperMemo being proprietary software.
My initial thought was to document my transition to SuperMemo, recording my whole experience as not every day you see a user with ten years of intense use of SRS being brand new to SuperMemo. One of my initial surprises was the community, which has been very engaging and good-hearted, as well as contributing high quality insights about learning and related topics.
After using SuperMemo for about 4 months, I realized that SuperMemo is not a replacement for Anki, or vice versa. There is not a SM versus Anki. Most of what I do in SuperMemo I cannot do it on Anki. I am developing new habits of incrementalism in reading, writing, video and email, and this is a gamer changer, especially Incremental Reading.
Hundreds of cards… made one… by one… by one…
And then I’d learned of SuperMemo!
By an extremely pleasant path of reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (the fanfiction that changed my life) -> finding the bayesian conspiracy podcast -> then finding the rationalist community on discord and joining the spinoff server the University of Bayes did I run into Raj at the exactly the right time. His relentless and incredibly high praise for the program (He would pay ‘ten times’ its cost and it can legitimately make you smarter than Albert Einstein come to mind) won me over, and I gave the program a try, and instantly fell in love with the concept.
I slowly moved away from using Instapaper (for articles), anki (for learning), and google docs / evernote / wordpress drafts (for notes and article writing) and instead completed all these tasks comfortably in SuperMemo.
I’d also faced a crisis of hobbies prior to learning of SuperMemo, thinking I had to fill up something to do with my time. But learning was the best hobby! Now I am thoroughly addicted to consolidating knowledge and learning new things, and have grown far quicker with supermemo than I did before.
I soon discovered supermemo.guru’s brilliant array of articles and wisdom on genius.
Before SM I used Anki for 6 months. As someone who was obsessed with ‘optimality’, SM’s superior algorithm over Anki was the selling point for me.
Shortly after starting to use SM, I found Piotr’s writings about the pleasure of learning. I didn’t think much of it at first, but over time it all started to make sense: pleasurable learning is the optimal, tools and algorithms are secondary.
Whereas in the past it was all about exams and grades, these days it is about inherently enjoying the study material and nothing can beat that! It creates a force that pulls you to study the material without having to resort to discipline or external rewards and that is optimal.
After I graduated I wanted to develop my language skills even further. I found anki to memorize words and kanji. I used it 1,5 years. It worked pretty well at the start then repetitions piled up.
I have found supermemo before but I thought it was complicated so I didn’t use it for like 6 months. Then I decided to give supermemo a chance. It was the best decision. At first it was hard but I got used to it. Now I read and learn about lots of different subjects. With supermemo I discovered the joy of learning.
Learning and Knowledge are stigmatized in my community due to how high school treated it, I hope that I can be of an effect to lift this stigma a bit and give them their deserved attention.
The joy of learning to me is in the concept of improving myself, we learn to become better and become better by learning, and then the final step in that is teaching someone else what I know, that’s why I learn.
tl;dr, I’m a Medical student and started using SRS in college:
I was the best student at my school in the last year of high school, then I entered medicine and felt like there was too much to memorize.
I knew if I didn’t use efficient methods I would:
I made some quick searches on the internet and rediscovered Anki (I had already found it but never dedicated the time to start using it properly) I watched the Med School Insiders’ Youtube playlist to start that has the basics of formulation and the Anki program.
But I still felt like there was a disconnection between making cards and learning.
At the end of the first semester I got some free time and I started searching for ways to improve my learning method, that’s when I came across the Master How to Learn Blog, where I was introduced to SM and IR.
On the second semester I started using SuperMemo 15 Freeware - SuperMemopedia made a bunch of cards and then I just messed around and didn’t study/use any SRS program at all during the semester (COVID-19 lockdowns started and I discovered that my motivation to study came mostly from the learning college community), therefore I barely passed the exams.
I was pretty reticent about starting using SM because the amount of material I have to learn as a medical student is absurdly high, just like Woz says “the demands of a medical school go well beyond the human capacity to learn” (Dealing with material overload in medical school - SuperMemopedia), but after reading so much good things about IR and SM, I could stop thinking I was doing suboptimally.
So I decided to take action and e-mailed Master How to Learn author that had written about using SM on some different college degrees, namely Medical school, he suggested giving SM a try, and I did, I simultaneously entered the discord community which helped me get through the arduous learning curve to start using SM (namely Incremental Reading).
Today it’s the 110th day I’ve been using SM basically non-stop and I don’t imagine myself stopping using SM while I can do it (dementia, or death may make it impossible XD).
Medical students only:During COVID-19 my college decided to buy AMBOSS and I discovered yesterday that I can import whole articles into SM directly. You can also set the search on the internet to AMBOSS (Useful web search definition - SuperMemopedia).