How to Score Yourself on Repetitions

This advice applies specifically to Mnemosyne, KhatzuMemo and SuperMemo, since they all share a 0 — >5 scoring system. It may well apply to other SRSes, too.

The “readings” are of course pronunciations for characters.

The “meaning” is the meaning+context+intent of the sentence. Of course, many sentences can have slightly different meanings in different contexts; you should only tackle one at a time — it will make life simpler for you. What I mean is: one sentence, one meaning. Fix a context. So “A bun in the oven”, cannot refer to both baking and pregnancy. Make one “card”/QA pair that’s about bakery, and a separate card about babies. Better yet, give extra context so there is less ambiguity. OK, I’m waffling about a problem that doesn’t often come up, but there it is as advice.

So, here is how I would and do score a sentence:

0: You had no idea whatsoever what the sentence meant, and/or you did not correctly reproduce readings for multiple characters.

1: You had an idea, but were completely wrong about what the sentence meant, and/or you did not correctly reproduce readings for multiple characters.

2: You just missed it. You were slightly off on the meaning OR slightly off on a reading. So, for Chinese-learners: if you give the right sound but the wrong tone, that counts as “slightly” off.

3: You got just got by on this one. You knew what the sentence meant. Maybe you even initially gave the wrong reading but then changed your mind to the right one. Or, gave the right one but changed your mind to the wrong one.

4: You knew exactly what the sentence meant. You read it out correctly with no mistakes in readings, BUT, even though you got it correct, you have/had some doubt. At no point did you give an incorrect reading for a character; you were just slow/stumbling a little and lacked some confidence in your answer. You didn’t instantly give the right reading for one or more characters — you had to think for a relatively long time.

5: You knew exactly what the sentence meant. You read it out quickly, confidently and clearly with all readings correct (no mistakes). This sentence was a cakewalk for you.

Anyway, that’s how I have scored and continue to score my sentences for both Japanese and Chinese. You are of course free to have variations of your own, let one hundred flowers bloom and all that; I don’t think there is a “right way” to do this, as such. As you advance, you might want to narrow your grading down to the part of the sentence that you were aiming to learn (since you advance gradually, almost every new sentence will only be partially new to you). So there you have it, a rough guideline.

  11 comments for “How to Score Yourself on Repetitions

  1. Philippa
    June 6, 2007 at 05:52

    Are there any resources which will add, for example, kanji to Mnemosyne for you?
    Like all the first RtK kanji?

    Thanks
    (and if having something add it for you is against the ‘system’, then please don’t kill me!)

  2. khatzumoto
    June 7, 2007 at 10:53

    Well, what you can do is import someone else’s Mnemosyne data file. I could try to find one and post it here if you like, but it would take me a while (if I even find it!).

  3. Marshal
    August 17, 2007 at 10:35

    Is there any way to import to khatzumemo from a word or excel file? I found online the whole RTK kanji list here:

    home.scarlet.be/ahmo0008/temp/heisigkanjilist.utf8

    and would like to put it into khatzumemo as learn the kanji. Also, I have other voc list s in doc form that I would like to use. I have never used Mnemosyne, so I dont have any of that type of files. Any help?

    Great site by the way-its been very motivational.

  4. khatzumoto
    August 17, 2007 at 23:54

    >Is there any way to import to khatzumemo from a word or excel file?
    Currently, no…I’ll figure something out soon.

  5. Tony
    August 28, 2007 at 14:41

    I think I’ve read in other places on the site that you read antimoon. I’m trying to read antimoon and this site at the same time, so when I got to their part on using an SRS and how they do Q/A pairs I got really curious because I might have read this post in particular wrong. I’m not sure how good this explanation is going to be but here goes…

    On antimoon they talk about doing different kinds of Q/A pairs, for example have some fill in the blank for grammar, some definitions…I don’t know the other ones yet. But you get the idea, there are a lot of different kinds of pairs. So far when I’m reading the site the way it seems that you use Japanese cards is you have one card with the Japanese sentence laid out for you (ie. not blank spaces for grammar) because you want to get the correct Japanese sentence in your head and not be storing the wrong input. (Now that I’m thinking about it, on the first repetition or two you might get that blank wrong but in the long term the input would be stored as the correct sentence, so that part shouldn’t matter, right?) Then in the definition card you have like the reading for the kanji, and definitions or whatever else you need to understand the sentence. I’m looking for some clarification on if the way I read it is actually how you do it or if you have more than one type of Q/A pair. I haven’t seen anything else about the pairs on the site except for the really brief snippet about having good Q/A pairs with context in this post. Can you do a piece specifically about Q/A pairs since that’s a rather significant part of making the cards, like different kinds to use, or could you correct how I’m reading the site so far so I can get a better grasp on what to do before I get knee deep in [trouble]? :p Thanks!

  6. khatzumoto
    August 28, 2007 at 14:46

    To my knowledge, AntiMoon showed various types of QA pairs, but they settled on the last–the sentence/definition type. That’s the kind I have used. It is basically the only kind I have used. It is the type I recommend on this site.

  7. khatzumoto
    August 28, 2007 at 14:47

    Sentence/definition and sentence/translation are both OK, by the way. Although, of course you should move away from sentence/translation ASAP.

  8. JakeTRON
    August 17, 2008 at 09:04

    “As you advance, you might want to narrow your grading down to the part of the sentence that you were aiming to learn (since you advance gradually, almost every new sentence will only be partially new to you). So there you have it, a rough guideline.”

    WOW!! sentences being partially new to me? HOW COOL. I cant wait to finish RTK1 so I can start on the amazing 10,000 sentence project!! I CANT WAIT to have really really long sentences!

    AAA

    I’m SO STOKED!

  9. Thomas
    February 1, 2009 at 08:13

    Any similar recommendation on scoring Kanji? I’m using Anki and I find that I usually mark stuff as 1/4 (failed) if I don’t remember or 3/4 (Good) if I do, and I don’t use the 2/4 or 4/4 options too often.

  10. Kevin
    November 30, 2009 at 02:08

    In response to Thomas (who probably is no longer checking the board)… what I have been doing is using the following:
    1/4 — failed, couldn’t remember primitives or kanji at all.
    2/4 — remembered the primitives, story, etc., but got part wrong, or couldn’t remember the order of the primitives
    3/4 — after some thinking and effort to remember the story, primitives, primitive arrangement, I got it, but it took some effort.
    4/4 — kanji pretty much jumped right into my head from the keyword without much effort.

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