I decided to write this blog post due to the amount of time I have tried different formats for grammar cards. There have been so many times I downloaded grammar decks or created grammar decks and ended up trashing them. I have finally found a card style that works for me and I have been using it for a few months now.
Why I am focusing on the JLPT?
While there were a lot of grammar points that I knew how to use, I feel like my knowledge was too general sometimes. Using textbooks combined with youtube videos has really helped me make my knowledge of Japanese grammar more solid. But in the end, learning about grammar is really interesting to me! I love reading my textbook and finding each grammar in different contexts in media.
I need to pass the JLPT for professional reasons, but I don’t think everyone needs to focus on the JLPT to be able to pass it. I believe that reading as much native material as you can would be one of the best ways to study for the JLPT. JLPT focused studies does not work for everyone, but I am finding it useful for now. I am unsure if I will continue to use textbook when I start preparing for N1.
For those who value immersion, I think that studying for the JLPT can count for immersion hours as well if you study the material in Japanese.
Why do I make flash cards?
As opposed to just understanding the meaning of grammar points and being able to use them naturally, I want to be able to explain them well in Japanese to students. My partner and I plan on opening a small Japanese Language school in the future and I think that my experience of learning Japanese as a second language could help me to be a good tutor. I am taking the sets now to gather more experience and knowledge to help me with this future role.
What resources do I use?
When making my cards, I used explanations and examples sentences from Shin Kanzen Master Grammar N2(新完全マスターN２文法) and Nihongo No Mori(日本語の森). I use the application Anki for my SRS cards.
I will start out by posting a image of my card set up and then explain each part of it.
What is SRS?
SRS stands for spaced repetition software. What sets this apart from normal flashcards is that there is an algorithm within the software that will effect when and how often you see each card. This algorithm is personalized by how well you are able to remember each original card. For example if you look at the image below, you can see 4 options at the bottom that I am able to choose from. This card is not new to me, so the options are different from the first time you are seeing the card. In the case of this card, if I had a difficult time remembering it, I could chose the button that indicates the card will be shown again to me in a month and a half. If I had an easy time remembering the card, then I could chose the option that leads to me next seeing this card in 4 months.
Who should use SRS?
I really recommend the use of SRS to students studying anything. The first time I went to university, I was just an okay student. But the second time I went, I used SRS and graduated at the top of my class with a perfect GPA and honors. SRS is pretty much like magic. Language learners can specifically reap the benefits of using this learning software.
I have been using SRS cards to advance my Japanese for the past year. While they have been extremely helpful, I am trying to slowly limit my use of them. My overall goal is to stop studying Japanese completely and I am hoping that reading novels as a hobby will help me reach that goal.
1. On the front of the card, I type of the example sentence fully, then remove the grammar point and replace it with XX.
2. Based off the descriptions that I find that make the most sense to me, I add the explanation of the grammar point to the front of the card.
3. On the back of the card, I write the grammar point towards the top of the card
4. I add the example sentences written in its complete version with the grammar point added.
I try to make at least 4 cards per grammar point. This helps to me to both see the point in different contexts and to see the point in different parts of the sentence structure.
For me, taking the time to type out the examples instead of copying and pasting has been very beneficial! My typing speed has increased greatly since starting to create cards in this format. Since I do not focus on hand writing, being able to type efficiently is a skill I am very motivated to develop.
If anyone tries this style out, let me know how it works for you!