If you cannot find the answer to your question on this page, consider signing up to be our Patron to get individualized help.
We wish we could help everyone, but because we are medical students our time is extremely limited

Frequently asked questions


Why is Anki so good?

Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard software. Put simply, this means you'll do a card today, then tomorrow, then 3 days after that, then 7 days, etc. By showing you flashcards right before you are theoretically about to forget them, this method is both effective and efficient. Check out this video for more

What are the best settings? How does the algorithm work?

The honest answer is there are no "best" settings. It is very important that you understand the anki algorithm and what the settings do so that you can tailor them to your personal needs. For starters, we recommend following our recommended settings. There is another popular video on YouTube by Conaana and we have posted our thoughts on their settings vs ours here

How do I make good quality flashcards?

We have a video on how to make effective cards. Another good place to start is to read this article about the 20 rules of formulating knowledge

The sidebar in my browser is small and I can't resize it

This is an error with the Nightmode add-on. To fix this you can disable Nightmode completely or go to view->Nightmode->uncheck "enable in dialogues" If the browser looks funny after disabling Nightmode in dialogues, you can go to view->Nightmode->choose what to style-> uncheck "Browser Package" and "Browser"

What is "Ease hell"?

Ease hell is when you've hit "again" or "hard" so many times that the ease of your cards is very low. This leads to you doing more cards than is actually necessary. The most often cause of this is a user who doesn't understand the anki algorithm. See this video explaining ease hell and how to fix it. For example, we had a friend who hit hard on every other card and despite all of us having the same number of cards in our decks, they were doing 1000 reviews/day and we were doing <500 reviews/day. Even with this massive difference in reviews/day, we were all performing roughly the same on tests.

How can I use a controller with Anki?

Check out this video for how to set up a controller. For windows, we recommend Joy2Key and for mac we recommend Enjoyable. The Anki iOS app recently had an update that allows mapping a controller in the settings.

What should I set my max interval to if my test is in 1 month?

This is one of our most commonly asked questions. We would actually recommend that you leave your max interval at 6 months or more, despite your test coming before that. If your card is scheduled out to 3 months, then theoretically you should remember that fact for 3 months. If you feel you need to review your flashcards more before a test, we'd recommend using the custom filtered decks. Beyond that, practice questions will actually be better than additional reviews and help you better synthesize the information.

How do I randomize cards from each subdeck?

There are a few ways to do this: 1. Upgrade to the V2 Experimental scheduler 2. Use the Hoochie add-ons (there are 3 different add-ons- papa, mama and baby). See this video

How can I keep using Anki 2.0 after Jan. 2020?

You can use Anki 2.0 by having both 2.0 and 2.1 on your computer. With this setup, you can do your reviews on 2.0, then close that and open 2.1 to sync. This video shows how to switch between the two. The most important thing is to make sure the profile you are using is named the same thing on both 2.0 and 2.1

How do I manually install add-ons?

This video explains how to manually install add-ons from files. If the file you have has a .ankiaddon extension, you can drag and drop the file into the "add-ons" dialogue box on Anki 2.0

How do I make up days that I have missed?

This video explains a few ways to do this.

How do I study ahead?

This video explains how to do this. NOTE: We would not recommend using Anki's built-in function for this (our video explains why it is bad)

How do I skip days or take the weekend off?

This video explains the best way to do this. Please note that this is not something you should do often. The Free Weekend add-on can be used to take days off every week, but we would not recommend this. Anki is most effective when used every day. If you self load balance as we describe in this video, you can make your load a little lighter on the weekends or days of your choice.

How do I change the font, color, background, etc of my cards?

This is done in the styling section of your cards using css and html. We are not coders, but a friend helped us put together this video explaining the basics of css and html so that you can at least change the basic styling of your cards

How do I get started with Anki?

The best way to get started is to watch our "Anki 101-Basic Skills" playlist on YouTube. We show how to download Anki, create an account, setup everything and make effective cards. After that, do your reviews every day and enjoy the extra time you have by making your studies so much more effective!

What does it mean to "bury" a card?

Burying just sends the card to the next day without affecting anything else. We use this when we've noticed many cards of the same topic are studied in the same day (that way they'll spread out in the future) or in situations where you accidentally flipped a card and didn't get to test yourself on it. See this video discussion different Anki terminology

How do I set up the top bar shortcuts on the iOS app?

This video explains how to do that

My settings aren't working

It's possible that you applied your settings to one deck, but not the subdecks. Go into your settings options at the top right and click "Manage" and then "set for all subdecks"

How do I backup my collection? How do I restore from backup?

Watch this video on how to do this! There are two ways to do this: 1. File->Export and make sure to select a .colpkg file. You will want to include media and scheduling. This allows you to save the file on a separate storage device 2. Sync. Everytime you sync a backup is stored on your computer. This only stores the card's data and not the media and is more of a short-term backup To restore from backup: 1. Simply import the .colpkg file that you exported. 2. File->Switch profile. There will be a button in the bottom right that says "Open backup..." where you can locate files for every time you have synced. Locate the timestamp of the sync you want to restore from and then open that file.

What's the difference between .colpkg and .apkg?

.colpkg is a file of the entire collection. Importing this will erase everything in the current profile and replace it with the file. .apkg is a deck. You can import this into a file that already has other decks and they will remain there.

The number of cards due on desktop, AnkiWeb and AnkiMobile don't match

There is an issue that affects a small portion of people using the V2 scheduler that has to do with time changes (including daylight savings). Follow the instructions here to fix this.

How do I resize images?

We made this video with multiple methods you can use!

My custom filtered deck returns no cards.  What's wrong?

When you make a filtered deck, it automatically adds is:due and only shows you cards due that day. If you don't have any cards due that fit your criteria, it won't show any. Check out this video for more.

How can I make my bulleted lists left justified (but still in the center)?

ADDON: The Wrapper add-on will do it for you if you highlight the text and then click the button in the editor to left justify. ALTERNATE METHOD: Our AnKingMaster note type is set up for this, but below will explain how to do this with any card type.

  1. On the card that you want to do this, click the field with the list/mnemonic and then Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+X
  2. Add this right before your list:
  3. Add this right after your list:
Example: If you are not using the AnKingMaster note type, you will need to put this in the 'styling' portion of your note type: /* MNEMONICS CENTER OR LEFT */ .mnemonics { text-align:left; display: inline-block; } .centerbox {text-align:center;}

How do I randomize the font size?

Delete the {{cloze:Text}} on the front template (of one of our card types) and replace with this: Text copied here: https://codeshare.io/arAVKZ If you want to use your own note type, you need to make sure that the font size is defined in the styling portion of the card by "html" and not ".card" (i.e. html { font-size: 28px; }).

How do I remove the fade animation between card reviews?

Add this to the front template of your card type: Text copied here: https://codeshare.io/G7Ejz1

How do I upgrade or downgrade Anki Version without losing my data?

This video explains how to download new (or old) anki versions

How can I try the beta versions of Anki?

All beta versions and the changelog are listed at this website: https://betas.ankiweb.net/#/

AnKing Overhaul

My deck is missing images. How do I get the images?

There are two methods to getting the images: 1. Update using a deck posted by someone on reddit that has all the images. 2. Determine which images are missing and import the deck those images came from. The first option is by far the easiest

Why am I seeing "The front of this card is empty" on some/all of my cards?

You are likely using one of the older versions of our card type that has a conflict with the Clickable tags add-on Temporary Fix: Turn off clickable tags Permanent Fix: Upgrade to our latest AnKing Overhaul version

How do I show the hints (i.e. the "First Aid" section) without clicking them?

There are two ways to do this: 1. Use the hint hotkeys add-on so you can just hit "h" to reveal the hints 2. Edit your card style so they automatically show. This video shows how to do that.

When will the Boards and Beyond tags be finished?

They're finished as of V6! V7 should have all or most of SketchyPath tagged!

Is this deck comprehensive?

Yes, this deck was made to be comprehensive for USMLE Step 1. It does not have a lot of anatomy or histology that may be covered in the first few months of your curriculum.

What resources should I use with this deck?

The truth is you could easily use any resource with this deck. We prefer to use the resources the deck was made from as they are both very good quality, and it simplifies the workflow. Check out our "AnKing Overhaul" page to see what's in the deck. There are links to the original deck posts and you can read up on exactly what resources were used to make the decks

When I import, it only imports some of the cards?

This is probably because you already have Zanki, Zanki pharm or lolnotacop cards in your deck. You need to either update those cards (following our video tutorials) or delete those cards prior to importing this deck

How many cards/day or cards/week do I need to do?

This is variable. We recommend following along with your curriculum. For example, if your curriculum covers all of cardiology in 4 weeks, you can check how many cardio cards there are in the deck (~2000) and then decide how many to do per week based off of that (~500). It is likely that some units will be busier than others.

Which Pathoma Neoplasia section should I do?

Both neoplasia decks (Bluegalaxies and lolnotacops) are very well made. We used the Bluegalaxies version first and supplemented with lolnotacop, but you could easily do either.

Can I upgrade to this deck without losing my scheduling or edits?

Yes you can! The only Zanki-family deck (that we are aware of) that will not update to this is the UltraZanki deck. Follow the instructions on our instructions page and videos and you will be able to keep your scheduling and edits.

How do I fix cards that have a b' or b" on them?

This is an error caused by an old version of the special fields add-on. If possible, revert to your backup. Delete your current special fields add-on and re-download. If you cannot revert to a backup, the add-on page has details on how to remove the b' from your cards.

When trying to update, I'm getting an error when trying to export my deck.

This is an issue we haven't completely figured out, but it appears to be due to the special fields add-on. Most people have been able to fix this by deleting their version of special fields and downloading this temporary fix for it.

How do I submit an error or update that needs to be made?

You can submit any errors (content, grammar, etc) or additions that need to be made by using this form. You can see all submissions that have been made and addressed using this link.

Why do little red exclamation marks show up on my card after a while?

That is a timer that is built into the card type to help keep you on time. You can turn it on/off or change how long it lasts. All customization is explained in this video.

I moved cards out of the original deck. Can I still update?

Yes! As explained in our special fields video, Anki looks for the note ID, so it doesn't matter where the card is located.

Which fields should I protect?

We would recommend you protect Lecture Notes, Missed Questions, Pathoma and Boards and Beyond.

Can I move fields around so they are closer to the top or bottom?

Yes, you can customize the card type in a million ways. This video explains the basics underlying the card styling.

The First Aid, Sketchy, etc field is covered up by the tags on mobile

The fix for this was introduced in V5 of our card type. You can either copy and paste that card type (download for the card or text of the styling can be found here) or add this to the styling section of your card: .mobile .card { padding-bottom: 5em; }

How do I get Errata updates if I am protecting the Text and Extra fields?

This video explains it all :)

Can I update from an earlier version to the latest version?

You can update from V1 to V6 or V3 to V4 or even V5 to V2 if you really wanted. The Note IDs stay the same regardless so you can always update to any deck that shares the same Note IDs

I don't like the image zoom on hover. How do I turn it off? Or switch to click?

This video discusses that topic In the more recent versions of the Cloze-AnKingMaster note type, we set "active" as the default, but you can change it back to "hover" if you would like If you really don't want the hover, you can delete these lines in your card styling OR change "hover" to "active" and then it will zoom when you click on the image: /*Image hover zoom*/ #firstaid img:hover { transform:scale(1.5); } #sketchy img:hover { transform:scale(1.5); } #physeo img:hover { transform:scale(1.5); } #additional img:hover { transform:scale(1.5); } .mobile #firstaid img:hover { transform:scale(1.0); } .mobile #sketchy img:hover { transform:scale(1.0); } .mobile #physeo img:hover { transform:scale(1.0); } .mobile #additional img:hover { transform:scale(1.0); }

Show hint automatically on cards

If you're on the older style AnKingMaster note type, delete the "hint:" from the back template. For example, change {{hint:FieldName}} to {{FieldName}} On the back template of the new card type: Cut this text: And paste it here:

Med School

What is the best Anki deck for medical school?

Its ours! We've taken all of the best decks and merged them together. Check out our "AnKing Overhaul" page For a description of all the most common decks and how they came to be, check out this video

What are the best resources for step 1?

There aren't necessarily any "gold standards." Many people will argue some resources are better than others, but the truth is they are all good for learning the material initially and practice questions will be the real key to success. Pathology resources: Pathoma, Boards and Beyond, Physeo Physiology resources: Boards and Beyond, Physeo, First Aid, Costanzo physiology Memory Palace resources: Sketchy, Physeo, Pixorize Question Banks: AMBOSS, UWorld, Rx, Kaplan

What is the best Anki deck for anatomy?

We have yet to find a "gold standard" Anki deck for anatomy. When we did our anatomy unit, we made our own flashcards using google images and the Image Occlusion add-on. If you find a really good one, please let us know!

How do you balance step 1 prep (Anki) and lecture studying?

We made a whole video on how to do this. It's not always easy, but very possible.

What is the best Anki deck for pharmacology and microbiology?

Our AnKing Overhaul deck covers both these topics really well. Some people prefer a deck that has all the facts on one card instead of split up like the AnKing Overhaul. If that is you, check out the Pepper decks on our Extra Decks page.

How do I increase my chances of matching?

There are a lot of things you can do to increase your chances of matching and we would recommend you meet with a counselor at your school to discuss specifics. Every specialty looks for things that are different from other specialities. A good place to start is to look at the data from Charting Outcomes in the Match. There is a separate report for MD and DO schools and they breakdown the average statistics of those that matched and didn't match into every specialty.


All premed questions:

We have answered all frequently asked premed questions in our Premed tips articles If there are questions that we haven't addressed in our blog posts or videos on the MCAT, let us know!

How do I study for the MCAT?

We have two videos on how to study for the MCAT: How to Use Anki For the MCAT How I Studied For the MCAT (to get a 524)

What's the best Anki deck for the MCAT?

There are constantly new decks being made for the MCAT and they are all very different. Here is a good list of the many decks with pros and cons for each.


How do I make boxes on Image Occlusion that don't become a mask?

Check out our video on Image Occlusion where we explain how to do just that!

Pop up dictionary isn't working

The current pop-up dictionary is a beta so it may not always work when you double tap on a word. First try the keyboard shortcut ctrl+shift+d. If that doesn't work, try these steps: 1. If you have Nightmode on, go to View->Night Mode->Choose What to Style-> uncheck “Reviewer cards” 2. If you downloaded it from the ankiweb, delete the add-on and try downloading it manually from the github

What add-ons do I need?

NEED? Technically none. WANT? Check out our "Best add-ons" page for all the add-ons we love!

Edit field during review isn't working

Did you add edit in front of the field in your card template? See this video for an example of how to do this For example, if you have a field {{Extra}}, you need to change it to {{edit:Extra}} in order for it to be editable. Be careful not to do this to Cloze fields unless you have the "Edit Field During Review (Cloze)" add-on

With Rememorize, what's the difference between 7 and -7

Our video explains this. "7" will reschedule the card's due date AND interval (meaning its next interval will be 7*ease "-7" will reschedule the card's due date, but NOT the interval (it is essentially "burying" the card for 7 days)

Should I use load balancer?

There are times to use this and times not to use this. As medical students, we do not use this the majority of the time because we prefer to have a higher review count during the week and a little bit less on the weekends. This video discusses the load balancer add-on. If you are going to use this, we recommend the load balanced scheduler add-on.

How do I get all the stats on the home page?

We have the review heatmap, more overview stats, and more deck stats and time left add-ons

Speed focus isn't working

This add-on doesn't always work when the nightmode add-on is turned on. If this is the case, update to Anki 2.1.20 or later and there is built-in nightmode that works much better. Another conflict is the Life Drain add-on which also uses the "P" key to pause so you will need to change the shortcut on one of the add-ons or delete one of them.

Export cards selected in browser is exporting all cards

There is a conflict between this add-on and the old special fields add-on. If this is happening to you, update the special fields add-on and the export should work properly

I get an error with the special fields add-on?

If your error says there is an issue importing "Typing", you need to update to a more recent version of Anki. If you're on a version prior to Anki 2.1.20, we made this video to help you update.

Try searching one or two words
related to your question!