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Comprehensive Memrise Tips and Tricks

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Download the PDF for better text quality. If you don't know about memrise, visit www.memrise.com.

Download the PDF for better text quality. If you don't know about memrise, visit www.memrise.com.

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  • 1. last edited September 8, 2012 Comprehensive Memrise Tips and Tricks There’s more to memrise than meets the eye!Are you aware of the official FAQ explaining all basic concepts of memriseand the excellent unofficial user guide? This compilation of tips and tricks,collected in the forums and in personal experience, repeats some frequentlyoccurring issues and reveals many undocumented features. Before you postin the “how to...” or “feature suggestions” forums, you should search in thethree completely different types of documentation. Features marked by a star are probably obsolete or solved entirely dif-ferent in memrise 1.0. Since i do not work for memrise, there is nothing ican do about memrise bugs and missing features but telling memrise aboutthe problem and people about workarounds. Feedback concerning errors,feature changes or features i didn’t mention is highly appreciated. I can editthis PDF file by replacing it on Speakerdeck without deleting and recreatingthe forum post. The best way of reading this antediluvian PDF is downloading and print-ing it. Unfortunately, links are not supported by Speakerdeck, but thelinks work in Acrobat Reader when you download my original PDF file fromSpeakerdeck. Links also work on slideshare, however, the PDF text qualityis poor on slideshare. Please tell me if you know which slideshare clone isthe best. I hope this document enriches your memrise experience. Best regards, azrael42 1
  • 2. Memrise beta issues fixed with memrise 1.01. *Help! I cannot edit my own definitions. You will be able to edit your definitions again, as soon as memrise 1.0 is released. If you can’t wait that long, read the user guide on how to become a curator who can edit words of his topic. For some background on the controversial introduction of this feature read for instance this thread, the posts by benwhately reflect the official memrise opinion.2. *The water all button does weird things! Until memrise 1.0 is released, this issue can be solved by the elegant and simple Google Chrome Add-on ”Memrise button”. It essentially provides a water-all- wilting-plants-of-the-topic-with-the-most-wilting-plants-button. If you are learning many courses, installing Chrome is justified by this add- on alone. Apart from that, Chrome seems to be the favorite browser of memrise an, in general, browsing with Chrome, Safari or Opera seems to be significantly faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer (according to my personal experience; can someone confirm this?).3. *Private courses will be possible in memrise 1.0. Currently, the only way to create an almost invisible course is to precede the course name by an underscore e.g. ” mycourse”. However, the words of the course still belong to the public wiki and can only be edited by curators. Underscore courses are not linked anywhere except for the list of the 5 most recent courses.4. *Pronunciation/Description field learning does not seem to work at all, at least in the topics i am learning. I assume that we have to wait for memrise 1.0 which introduces a flexible way of choosing the learning fields.5. *When can i finally influence the direction of the typing tests? In memrise 1.0.6. Where is the edit button in the forum? An edit button has been requested already 1,314 times, but i did not forget the star in front of the item. I heard that the basic functionality of memrise 1.0 has priority and the forum is improved “later”. As a temporary solution i suggest activating browser spell checking (especially when 2
  • 3. you are posting in a non-native language) and accept the remaining typos (everybody does them) or repost and delete the erroneous post or hammer your keyboard with your fists (Disclaimer: The author is not responsible if the keyboard is destroyed in the process). Keep in mind though that deleting a post does not delete the mail notification in the inbox of the people involved in the thread. And please don’t delete opening posts containing answers useful for other people since all answers will disappear with the opening post. Features frequently asked for that already exist 7. What do curators and moderators do and how can i join the club? See user guide. 8. How can i review mems when i answered correctly? Use the down arrow trick : after submitting a correct answer, you have approx- imately one second to quickly press the down arrow in order to show the complete flashcard of the word. This can be used to review sam- ple sentences, extra info, etymology or alternative definitions (press “s” for “show more”) of words you already know or to upvote a mem after you know that it worked. Mems are currently inaccessible when your answer was almost correct (yellow) which doesn’t make any sense (@memrise, please fix this issue). 9. Is there a way to get rid of very easy or very difficult words? Yes, when you mouse over the black bar in the top left while learning a word, a context menu opens containing the option ”ignore item”. Words can be unignored any time under the ”Seeds (New words)” tab.10. How do i plant more than five seeds in one go? Choose more ”learning options, new words only”, go through the words and press stop whenever you like. Automatically stops after 50 words. You still need 6 further correct answers for each word until it can be harvested, but it works well in combination with the ignore button if the course contains many easy words. However, when learning new and possibly difficult words, memrise obviously recommends to plant 10 seeds by following the ”Plant seeds” routine twice and continue to grow the 10 seeds completely. 3
  • 4. 11. Multiple choice tests are too easy because the choices are completely unrelated. The multiple choice engine prefers words with identical part of speech as answer choices, which makes the “part” field particularly useful for course creators in non-lingual or grammar topics. However, this preference does not always seem to work espe- cially when watering with the ”Memrise button”.12. How can i bookmark a course for future learning? Start learn- ing the course, plant one seed and press the stop button when the second word is displayed. Now the course will be displayed in your garden without interfering with the memrise button watering.13. How do i know which answer to type when different words have the same definition? It the definitions are completely identi- cal, the answers of both flashcards are accepted as correct. You can use the down arrow trick (8.) to check which flashcard was actually pre- sented to you. Consequently, very similar, but not identical definitions of different words should be avoided. The best solution that has been suggested so far is making definitions clearly unambiguous by adding a short extra info in parenthesis or by adding multiple translations separated by comma or semicolon.14. What does the underscore in the alternative definitions mean? Alternative answers preceded by an underscore (” 2ndanswer”) are ac- cepted as correct alternative answer, but they are only shown in the edit page of the flashcard and not when pressing ”show more” while learning.15. How can i conveniently upload a long list of words? Only curators can upload spreadsheets and the procedure is explained in this sub-FAQ. Keep in mind that several of the main languages have been flooded with ten thousands of wrong entries and almost identical double entries. Thus, please be careful with this feature even if you are a curator, correcting or adapting 5000 words is not entertaining for anyone. Make sure that you use a reliable source containing (almost) no errors and (almost) no entries that already exist and format the spreadsheet thoroughly according to the conventions of the topic in question. If your language has no conventions yet, try to establish 4
  • 5. conventions by adapting the standard Mandarin conventions or the Spanish FAQ 2.0.16. Memrise has plenty of forums. As you may or may not have noticed, there are, apart from the global forum (click Community and then Forums in the top main menus), an individual forum for every topic, a discussion tab for every course and for every individual word.17. Private messages are not yet supported, the possibly best way to reach another memrise user is posting in his garden wall (on his profile page) and the user will receive a mail notification. Note that this is not a private message, though.18. You can improve long and sophisticated forum posts by up- loading PDF files or Word Documents on slideshare and embedding the document as explained in 21. Audio, Pictures, Videos and Slide shows19. How can i upload audio? Currently, only curators and moderators can upload audio in the form of recorded audio files. Improved web- based recording features have been announced to be implemented after the basic features of memrise 1.0 are properly set up. However, there is a way to mass upload audio with the help of the memrise staff.20. *How can i download audio? This feature is really well hidden at the moment. Open the source code of the page and search for ”mp3” (or other audio formats) to get the URL of the audio!21. How can i embed videos in mems? The syntax is embed:URL and it also works in forums. Note that you have to enter the URL as external link, e.g. embed:http://youtu.be/TVp8mPg7Z44?t=2m54s, and the embed command automatically creates the embedding HTML code (you need to press F5 once). The embedding trick with external links also works with Slideshare, Speakerdeck and possibly any similar website! 5
  • 6. 22. *How can i use pictures in word definitions? The syntax is img:URL. Although this works with both external and internal URLs, it seems to be preferred by memrise if you upload the picture on the memrise server by opening any forum/discussion page, clicking ”Start a new discussion” and following the ”Upload photo” button dialog. This produces a link that can be copied and pasted directly.23. *Using text and pictures in the same definition. Pictures in def- initions work in all topics, not only ”famous people” or ”art history”. It’s even possible to combine text and picture both in the ”question” and in the ”answer” field. In the second case, you need to add a pure text version as alternative answer, look at this flashcard. The feature can be used for instance to create fancy quiz courses like this one.24. Free picture sources. LukeMeister posted this excellent list of free pictures sources which includes a short and interesting discussion of license issues. He recommends Compfight and i like to add that Wiki- media Commons worked very well for me for all the non-lingual topics. If you wonder whether license issues are important for memrise or not, you should note that pictures are used commercially in memrise 1.0 and that memrise might get into trouble if thousands of anonymous users violate copyrights. So far, memrise seems to be not nearly as strict as wikipedia, but i found reading wikipedia’s image policy very enlightening. Clicking on wikipedia pictures is generally a good way to learn about free picture arguments and sources, for instance i found maps-for-free (google maps is not free). Of the US government insti- tutions, the CIA World Fact Book and the NASA library seem to be particularly resourceful concerning free images.25. Picture size. Since i read about problems of mobile users download- ing 5 MB pictures used in memrise definitions, it’s probably a good idea to upload smaller versions of pictures (as long as memrise doesn’t offer an advanced feature to deal with this issue). A good compromise seems to be 800 pixels maximum which seems to the standard format of wikipedia and produces jpg files between 50 and 150 KB and occa- sionally a 500 KB png file. Actually, i started a well hidden discussion about this issue here and have no feedback yet. 6
  • 7. How strict is the answer evaluating of typing tests?26. Text in parentheses in word definitions does not need to be typed, even if the parentheses are in the middle of the text. If you want to enter the text nevertheless, you need to include the parentheses as well.27. A semicolon or a comma in an answer separates two alternative answers, i.e. both sides are accepted as correct. If you want to enter both, the order of the words needs to be correct. In the alternative answer field, you can use the semicolon to enter multiple alternative definitions in one go, which will be separated automatically when you press F5.28. Accents. It is not necessary to type accents in order to receive a correct answer currently. It has been leaked that the user is supposed to have a personal option in memrise 1.0 concerning the strictness of accent testing.29. Capitalization is ignored in all the topics that i know of.30. Punctuation. At the moment, punctuation is almost completely ig- nored by the memrise engine. For instance, ”AD” is correct for ”A.D.” and ”its” for ”it’s”. A notable exception is the hyphen. ”Guinea Bis- sau” is wrong for ”Guinea-Bissau” and vice versa, however ”Guinea - Bissau” is treated by the engine as if it were ”Guinea Bissau” with- out hyphen. The hyphen “-” is correct for the en dash “–” (recom- mended for number ranges), but, possibly unintentionally, not vice versa. Please tell if i missed something or if the engine has changed in the meantime. Keyboard shortcuts31. Speed learning. If you quickly press “Enter” twice when submitting an answer, you move immediately to the next answer. Note that you might significantly reduce the memorizing effect by going too quickly. Memrise even implemented the feature that the following answer is 7
  • 8. ”locked” for a second, in case you press enter twice in the wrong sit- uation. Sometimes, giving up quickly on an answer by submitting an empty answer might be more efficient than intensely trying to remem- ber the answer until the time has expired. If you can hardly remember a word, one or two extra short-term repetitions may save you repeti- tions in the long run.32. Multiple choice tests can be answered by pressing the numbers on the keyboard. Numbers on the ”numpad” do not work (yet), but the feature has been requested by several users.33. A list of shortcuts can be found here. A shortcut for ignoring items is not supported on purpose to avoid accidental ignoring (although i would argue that Alt-I or Ctrl-I or even Alt-Shift-I is rarely pressed accidentally).34. The most useful keyboard combination in my experience is Alt- Shift-E (or browser/OS dependent variants of Alt-Shift) to edit a word in a new tab when encountering a mistake or a bad definition or a miss- ing alternative definition while learning. Actually, i would recommend memrise to either pause the learning timer when the new tab is opened or just open the new tab in the background (in order to edit all the open words after the learning session). For now, the fancy combina- tion Alt-Shift-E immediately followed by Ctrl-Shift-Tab should be a treat for keyboard purists. Formatting mems and forum posts35. Bold and italic type can be entered by {curly brackets} and [square brackets], respectively. The brackets do not work when you write on mem pictures (in white letters on black background).36. Multiple pictures in one mem are possible when you use the img:URL trick instead of the upload picture button in the mem. This feature is useful if you add a longer text to a picture and want to format the text to look prettier and easier to read. 8
  • 9. 37. Adding empty lines seems to be impossible in pure text mems. After all, you can start a new paragraph in the mem when adding an empty line in the mem editor. But you can add a horizontal line in a mem or a forum post with three underscores or three stars ***.38. Headings are created with three hyphens – underneath a line, minor headings with three equal signs =. Font size can be scaled by numer- ical signs # at the beginning of a line. Four signs create the largest font, three and two signs yield a smaller size (still larger than the main text) and one sign creates a medium sized bold typed format similar to the minor headings.39. HTML entities have to be used to create explicit numerical signs, curly brackets, less than signs, etc.40. Enumerations are formatted automatically when the format is ”1. text” and there should be no empty line between the items. All fur- ther enumeration formats involving letters or Roman numbers are not automatically formatted and can be used as subitems. Hyphens at the beginning of a line create bullet points with similar rules as the enumerations. Issues recently added to this document41. Citing forum threads is a little bit hidden since clicking on the caption shows the thread without opening a new page. You have to click on the date information (“3 weeks, 5 days ago”) in order to separately open the thread page containing a citable URL. 9