Anki flashcard decks – retain what you learn

Confusing FAA regulations clarified

We know how it goes.  You read a chapter of the AIM, watch one of your favorite aviation YouTube videos, or complete a module from your online ground school.  By the end you probably understand the material – but will you be able to remember and apply it in a few days?  In a week?  In the months and years after your checkride, or during the stress of an actual flying situation?

Luckily, there is a solution – it just hasn’t been adopted into mainstream education quite yet.  It’s called spaced repetition, and it’s a system that has you practice recalling information (i.e., it quizzes you) at the optimal time – just before you would otherwise forget it.  This strengthens your long-term memory.

While you could implement a spaced repetition system (SRS) using paper flashcards, “scheduling” each flash card to be reviewed based on how difficult it was for you to answer the question, there are much more practical and streamlined software solutions exist.  The most popular of these is a free program (on desktop, browser, iOS, and Android) called “Anki.”

From Anki’s websiteAnki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.

Anyone who needs to remember things in their daily life can benefit from Anki. Since it is content-agnostic and supports images, audio, videos and scientific markup (via LaTeX), the possibilities are endless. For example:

  • Learning a language
  • Studying for medical and law exams
  • Memorizing people’s names and faces
  • Brushing up on geography
  • Mastering long poems
  • Even practicing guitar chords!

Anki is most popular with language learners and medical students – who both need to learn massive amounts of information, and be able to recall it quickly.  

It’s very simple to use, and actually quite addictive once you get into the habit of reviewing your cards every day.  You’ll be amazed at how effective it is at strengthening your memory.

The key is to treat this as a LONG-TERM program – even after you finish your checkride.  And review the flash cards DAILY.  You can choose how many new flashcards to introduce each day, effectively controlling how long it will take to review your deck.  You could spend as little as 5 minutes per day on reviewing your deck and still get benefit – but with trial and error, you’ll find the optimal solution that works for you.

This method will prepare you for: 

  1. the written exam – if you can answer each card without having to see multiple choices – the multiple-choice format of the written should be even easier;
  2. the oral example – ideal, because questions on the oral tend to be “open ended” (not multiple choice), and
  3. for real-life, beyond the checkride.  

Get started!

  1. Download Anki, available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android
  2. Download one of our decks (see below), or create one of your own within Anki
  3. Open the deck to load it into Anki
  4. Start studying!

Available deck:

  • Airspace (click to download .apkg file).  This deck covers Chapter 3 (Airspace) of the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) published on October 12, 2017, including:
    • Controlled and uncontrolled airspace
    • Special use airspace

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