A few weeks ago i noticed that i had much difficulty to remember new vocabulary. The grammar points and vocabulary taught in げんき 2 aren’t any more difficult, or the explanations given in the book harder to understand, than those in げんき 1. I thought that maybe I had hit a plateau, and maybe i should go slower, to let the new information sink in before i move on to the next chapter. This brought not the solution i was hoping for. All i knew was that i had to make a change in methods.
Having found out that going slower does not solve the problem, i started by changing the way i was learning, step by step. First i was memorizing the vocabulary as i always did, later on i was creating my vocabulary list, and when i was done working through the grammar points, i was creating my worksheets, and adding the vocabulary to my SRS. A day or two later i was reviewing the chapter, the vocab, the dialogues, and the grammar points, and doing all the exercises. On the weekends i was adding the grammar points in condensed form to Evernote to review them there. And I was reviewing the vocabulary on a day by day basis with Anki.
The first and luckily the only thing i was altering, was to keep my vocabulary list open, when i was doing the exercises. When i was trying to solve the exercises, i just had to look up those words, i wasn’t able to remember. This was the biggest mistake i could have ever made. Using Anki to review the vocabulary was another mistake as it turned out. The first mistake was causing just another problem, but the second was the real cause for it. I forgot how i was working with げんき 1, and that i was not using Anki at all, to review anything. I was memorizing the vocabulary, i kept my books shut when doing the reviews, i was reviewing the chapters again after every third lesson, and i was trying hard. I was using the words in the context of sentences i came up all by myself, or exercises i was developing, and i was trying to use the new words as often, and in as many ways as possible. This was working perfectly! I did not need, nor did i know about SRS software back then, to review anything with it.
The first thing i was ever using an SRS for was RTK 1. It was working so well, that it did not take too long to be convinced, that i would continue using it as a learning aid. After finishing RTK 1, i was reviewing げんき 1 again, put the vocabulary into Anki, and reviewing it thenceforth. I had not been using any of those words in at least 6 months. Over 700 words i had learned up to that point were sticking rock solid, and i had no trouble remembering them at all. But instead of using the good habits i had developed while working with げんき 1, i was entrusting the workload to the SRS, which made me lazy. Thinking that the SRS would give me enough exposure to a word, so that i would eventually end up remembering even those that just doesn’t seem to want to stick, was leading me into a trap. It also led me to drop most of my good habits.
So the only change needed would have been to stop using the SRS in my learning process. That is, i should have stopped using it, until i could be certain that i have memorized everything properly. And only after i have finished the book, i would have then added the vocabulary to the SRS, to review it from that point onward. There is still one more chapter until i can finish げんき 2. Once i have finished the book, i will review all the chapters once more, but this time i will do it proper. Without using the SRS, and the way i was working through げんき 1, using all the good habits i had developed, and also with the methods i was describing in some of my other articles. I just wish i had discovered this earlier, because it really hurts to stumble and fall over something so trivial as this. But it is never too late to change something that does not work. I will move on, and i will be able to master the book, no doubt about that. And this time it will be easier as well, and it will not take very long, to do those 10 chapters.