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23 October, 2023

Prepare for the DAT Using Anki

Anki is an open-source flashcard software. It is a powerful tool that can potentially take your DAT scores to the next level.
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What Is Anki and Why Should You Use It for the DAT?

Anki is an open-source flashcard software that utilizes the principles of spaced repetition and active recall to maximize study efficacy. Incorporating Anki into your daily DAT schedule will bring your learning to new heights. I personally used Anki from day 1 of my DAT journey and I can honestly say, without exaggeration, that over half of my success on the DAT (25AA, 26TS) can be attributed to this software.

As stated before, Anki utilizes the principles of spaced repetition and active recall — two of the most effective learning strategies. Essentially, you make flashcards and the program then tells you which cards to answer (active recall). Now here is where the magic of Anki comes into play. When you answer a flashcard, you indicate if the card was Easy, Medium, or Hard in difficulty; depending on your answer, you will see the card sooner (the harder it was) or later (the easier it was) — i.e., spaced repetition. With this program, you have off-loaded the questions “what will I study” and “when will I study it” to an algorithm designed to optimize building long-term memory.

While using Anki is a no-brainer, there is a substantial learning curve associated with its use. This article will help you get started quickly and effectively to enhance your DAT studies ASAP.


How to Download Anki?

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to download the software in a way that allows you to sync progress across devices.

  1. Go to Ankiweb.net and create an account.
    • This account is what you will use to sync your progress across devices.
  2. Go to apps.ankiweb.net and click “Download” → Click the download option that reflects your operating system → Follow the prompts and open the application.
  3. Anki is available for both iPhone and Android.
    • iPhone → Download the app from the App Store. For iOS it is $30 USD. I highly recommend making this purchase. Having your flashcards on hand means you can study anywhere and anytime, which is truly invaluable for the DAT. I would easily pay $100 for the app if I had to purchase it again. 
    • Android → Anki is available free on the Google Play Store.
  4. Log into your Ankiweb profile on all your devices. On the desktop version, the option to sign in is under “File”.

If you are having trouble with this process, feel free to check out our YouTube video on “How to set up and study for the DAT using Anki”.


Anki Settings for Your DAT Preparation

At this point, once you have learned how to create and complete flashcards, this is enough to begin integrating Anki into your daily study flow. However, there is one other aspect of Anki that I did not explain: spaced repetition settings. For the purposes of this article and your studying, the default settings work just fine; however, there are two small tweaks I highly recommend making: showing new cards in random order and maximizing the number of reviews per day. This way, you will not answer cards in the same order that you created them and you can do all review cards due on a given day.

  • 1. Click the grey cog and choose “Options"
  • 2. Next to “Order” select the option “Show new cards in random order”  
  • 3. Click the “Review” tab and type “9999” into the maximum reviews/day.

⭐ Congratulations!  You now have a foundational understanding of Anki and can begin using this powerful software to maximize your DAT studying! Be on the lookout for future articles where I go into greater depth on the ins and outs of Anki to help you elevate your studying to even greater heights! Good luck and study hard!