How to use Skritter after a break?

Don’t do this! (I’m not sure if you’re just joking though)! It would be better to just reset your account if you’d like an easy way to clear your queue. The idea is to schedule items based on your memory of them. If you mark things correct that you don’t remember, they are going to be spaced out with the assumption you remembered it.

The best way to handle a large queue (in my opinion) is to make sure you aren’t adding new words until the queue is low / manageable, and to set a specific amount of time each day that you can commit to without going under or over. Ideally the maximum amount of time you’ll know you will be able to commit to. As long as you spend the same amount of time each day without missing a day, and you’re not adding new items, the queue will start dwindling down though it will take some time.

If you’ve been away for awhile and feel like you might have forgotten a lot of things, really resetting your account isn’t that big of a deal. It won’t delete your custom lists, definitions, or mnemonics, and you can always mark something as “too easy” if you know it well (or even ban it if you know it so well you don’t need to be bothered with it)! That might be a good solution for somehow who gets overwhelmed by seeing a large review number, and it feels really good to be able to get the queue down to 0 daily.

I actually have chinese lessons with a teacher where I need to read stuff + lot’s of online interactions with my friends + living in Taiwan so indeed I have the feeling skritter is over testing me. I quite often use the too easy button but doesn’t seem to do much, basic words keep showing up (i’m using the web browser). But you are right, it’s certainly not ideal since it’s kind of lying to the algorithm. I’ll try to study selective lists as you suggest, I also think it’s an OK way to go through queues.

The thing is I get extremely bored when my list is over 300 and takes me forever to clear it, and as long as the list is not clear I won’t add new words. Yet adding new words is what makes me excited. I would like to add 10 a day, but if I can’t work on skritter for 1 or 2 days in a row, I’ll need 2 days to clear my list and get bored, so I won’t even totally clear it, then I won’t add any new word for a week or so, which will make me even more discouraged. If it’s 1 or 2 weeks out of skritter, it’s really becoming impossible for me to clear the queue the normal way (I already lowered some settings).
I’ll study more your idea of resetting my account, sounds to be actually not a bid deal indeed, but I want to make sure the thousand of custom mnemonics are not lost :smiley:

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None of your custom mnemonics would be lost by resetting your account, that’s correct! This goes for custom definitions, lists, and forum posts for instance as well.

Sorry for my slow reply on this thread. But the question inspired me to make a video about this very topic. Hope it’s useful info!

Note: next video I shoot should have much better framing and lighting. Gwil gave me some great tips and I’m excited to have a second “studio” up and running for more videos in the future!


That’s awesome! Thank you so much!

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One thing worth highlighting is that nuking your account is less serious in Skritter than in many apps. The main reason I’m normally against nuking is because if you do that in many other apps, you don’t only get rid of the data related to what you have learnt (or forgotten, as it may be), but you also lose all your custom stuff (definitions, mnemonics, etc.). In Skritter, those aren’t lost, so if you end up relearning something, your earlier edits will still be available. That being said, nuke with caution, as the process really is irreversible.


I wish there was a work around for really long-time users. I have a review backlog of probably 17 k items. I also need the stimulation of learning new and currently-required vocabulary, and cannot possibly take the time to go through reviews backlogged over starts and stops five years old.

So my solution is just to review selective lists, and go through old lists whenever I have time. Which makes Skritter’s normal review mode useless to me.

The idea of archiving old lists for the time-being is intriguing. Do you have a step-by-step somewhere that explains how to do this?

@Therebackagain if you delete the decklist from the app or website it will remove unique words from those particular decklists from your queue. I called it archiving in the video because that is more what it is doing, and that is the way that we’re building the new system to operate.

The main theory behind what I was saying in the video was basically just taking some time to prune through things from time to time and reflect on whether or not one really needs to be spending time studying and reviewing everything that might be in a queue.

When something is removed it can always be access again by either studying a published lists again, or moving a deleted deck back into the My Lists area. Decklists that you’ve deleted can be viewed at the following links.

Skritter website:
Legacy: (select “Deleted Lists”)

Hope that helps make it more clear!


Being able to retrieve deleted decks is terrific. I think that will solve my problem.

To be clear, “deleting” a deck actually archives it at the site you mentioned, from whence it can be later retrieved?

And deleting a deck removes words permanently from the review list, but they can be re-added at a later point if one wants to retrieve a deleted deck?

Yeah. A little confusing, isn’t it?

If it is a deck you’ve created you can retrieve it. If it is a deck you’re simply studying from you’ll just have to find it from the list of decks again.

Correct, words that are unique to that specific deck will be removed from the total items due on your account. If they’re being studied in another deck, though, you’ll still see them in the queue.

If you study the deck again in the future you’ll have to re-add them to your studies.

I hope that helps!


It helps a lot!

Really good to know this. I have five year old lists with words from textbooks I’ve rarely or even never encountered in any of my reading since. And for newer lists, I just put in words I’ve probably studied before but have not memorised. So deleting/archiving those ancient lists will get rid of a lot of clutter in the review, hopefully make it more manageable.

Thanks much!


Thanks Jeremy for your info about resetting an account. I am using the legacy iOS app on iPad and iPhone. I cannot see how to do the reset.

This is so good. Thank you! I have over 4000 due cards and just wrote a forum post asking for help. I can now delete that post as it is answered perfecetly here

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This really seems to me like a flaw in the software. The queue should simply never get this large. The queue should contain only a number of cards that is reasonable to study in one day. For the rest, perhaps there should be a “hidden queue” of cards that the queue will be replenished with.

For instance, say that if you use Skritter every day, it generates 20 new review cards every day. But if you get behind, the queue will go up to 30 until you’ve cleared your backlog.

I think the point of what you are saying is valid, BUT that is then NOT an SRS algorithm….it’s some other type of flashcard algorithm.

Skritter bills itself only as an SRS algorithm system. As such, how much your brain will “forget” is based on a set of equations and the “forgetting” values change based on time. It doesn’t matter if you want it to “pause” or not….your brain doesn’t stop forgetting because you go on vacation or get busy.

And Skritter reflects that fact merely because it’s SRS-based and using SRS equations.

One could add “pause” to the Algo, but then it’s NOT an SRS algorithm any more.


I’m not entirely sure that’s right. I see what you mean, but I think there’s a way to do SRS without overloading people. Again, I’m talking about only giving them as much as they can reasonably handle at one time, not actually forgetting about what they need to review. Anything over what should be tackled in one session should be in a “hidden queue.” That’s not “not SRS,” it’s sane SRS.

There are two principles that could be used to determine how much you review in a day. I’m talking about flashcards and SRS in general here, not Skritter specifically, although Skritter is obviously included:

  1. What the algorithm deems necessary to retain the knowledge the student has
  2. What the student thinks is reasonable based on many and various personal factors (time, motivation, etc.)

I don’t see a way that you could take 2) into account without infringing on 1). If an item is due, it means the algorithm thinks it’s reached a certain threshold and it’s time to review it. If you don’t review it because you don’t have enough time or motivation, that doesn’t have any impact on whether or not you ought to review it, like @apomixis said.

Now, that doesn’t mean that SRS can’t be sane, but artificially lowering the due count to make it feel better is not the way forward, I think. If you haven’t studied for a long time, you will have forgotten many things, and that is reflected in the number of items due. That doesn’t feel good at all, I know, but that’s how memory works.

However, since it isn’t very helpful to give you thousands of reviews in one pile, we have introduced other ways of coping with this, such as a goal mode where you can chip away at the due queue 100 items a day, or however much you think you can cope with. Obviously, the more the better, but that is related to how much time you have, not scheduling of items. This is akin to your hidden queue, with the exception that the queue isn’t really hidden. Think of it like this: We want to show users what they ought to study, without misleading or hiding the fact that they are behind. At the same time, we want to give users the ability to set manageable goals, because trying to clear a huge queue in one day is often impossible and very demotivating. If you think the large number is distracting, try the continuous mode, which doesn’t show you the count at the top.

There are other things you could do, too, and Skritter could be better at suggesting these or helping you manage the problem. For example, you could focus on certain decks first, reviewing the most important things first. You could consider getting rid of decks that you might not really need anymore. If you’ve taken a very long break, nuking your account and starting from scratch might not be such a bad idea. There are even more potential solutions, but some of them would require new features that are tricky to introduce (such as going through all reading prompts and only then going through writing prompts).

To summarise, it seems to me that all these solutions merely make it easier to cope with a situation which only has one solution: catch up by studying and reviewing more (or delete stuff so there’s less to catch up on). Not studying for a long time has real consequences and that’s not something an app can fix. I have myself tackled queues of several thousand individual characters in Skritter more than once, so I know it can be frustrating! But the large number is a reflection of how much I had potentially forgotten. The solution then lies in helping me (and you and other students) cope with that large number, not to artificially decrease it to make people feel better. If anyone has ideas for how Skritter could make coping easier, do let us know!

I think what is reasonable to study in one day can’t be determined by an algorithm. It is entirely dependent upon personal circumstance.

People build up large vocabs on Skritter when, for instance, they are in an immersion situation and are absorbing dozens of new words/characters daily. Usually in this circumstance they are spending as much as several hours on Skritter a day.

Trouble is, when your circumstance changes, such as returning to non-immersion life, the huge vocab you have built up can’t be maintained so easily if you have, for example, only half an hour a day to review. This results in a large cue on Skritter, which reflects the reality that you are slowly forgetting what you once knew.

If you can, it’s best to plan ahead and build up vocab at a pace that you will be able to maintain over the long term.

But that’s not realistic, so Skritter has come up with some coping mechanisms for how life actually goes.

The algorithm, however, is reflective of actual memory, so there’s no way around that: you will actually forget a large vocabulary if you are not constantly using it.

The good news is: slow and steady works in recovering vocab, too.

Language-learning is life-long, as I see it. Just the way it is.

Personally, I need to “fix” a large number of lists of vocab I once thought I needed but have proved low-value. I put them in there; if I’m going to cope, I either need to take them out again, or get down to re-learning them.

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I think there’s an easy way to “fix” this. Why can’t you add an option which hides the real due number somewhere in the settings or so, and just show the number of due cards of one’s daily goal which everybody can individually set. Like this, you wouldn’t need to mess around with the SRS and could still tackle the psychological obstacle of high number of due cards. For me personally, that would be totally fine, because I finally only care about the number which I’ll see at the starting screen. Again, this should be optional for all those people who really want this. But I believe this could improve long term motivation for using Skritter. Indeed, I find myself in the same spot of not having enough time to scale down the number of due cards and this definitely is not motivating at all.

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So I just ran into this problem after a half year hiatus from regular studying and came back to over 4000 cards due, which was obviously overwhelming. I was tempted to reset, but what ended up working for me was going to my due cards and selecting the dropdown at the top to only review 100 cards. So @Farham what you’re suggesting there pretty much exists already. It could be improved by allowing for a more granular selection, but basically I found limiting to 100 took me ~15 minutes (painfully grinding through as I’d forgotten so many of them), and if I had extra time, I’d just go through another 100, or 50, etc.

This method kept me a lot more motivated to at least hit 100 minimum every single day, and I was able to whittle my deck of 4000 down to 0 finally after 43 days straight, and now I feel a lot better about my current progress, feel good about re-learning what I’d forgotten over the last month and a half, and being able to finally start learning new words again.