Looking for some advice/help with question design

I use Anki to remember fairly atypical things and am seeking a bit of advice on how others would best design cards for the types of information I wish to recall.

Basically, many of the things I wish to remember are story-like in their nature, e.g. Q: Summarise the history of Hong Kong.

Rather than long chunks of hard-to-remember text, I see two options:

  1. Reformulate the question to allow for answers to be formatted as bullet points,

Q: What are the key events in the history of Hong Kong? (four)
A: bullet 1, bullet 2, bullet 3, bullet 4.

  1. Split the topic up into separate cards, with one answer per card, e.g.

Q1: What led to the Opium Wars? A: Short narrative.
Q2: What was the main outcome of the Opium Wars? A: Short narrative.

Going by the minimum information principle, my understanding is that answers should be as short/atomic as possible, so even in the second case I would be concerned about ending up with short paragraphs containing multiple bits of information vs. A more straightforward response, perhaps supplemented by an “Extra” field to which I could add context.

A secondary but more minor concern is splitting a topic up when keeping it on a single card may be more beneficial to remembering a particular chronology for example, as my brain is then forced to join the events together every time it seeks to learn the card.

I’m curious how others have handled this issue and would be very grateful to see any examples of how “unconventional” flash card knowledge like this is successfully handled!

Thank you in advance!

I would create a short factual answers, e.g.

  • British victory
  • Treaty of Nanking

and add extra context (text, images) in a supplemental field that is displayed underneath the answer.

Splitting up “the history of Hongkong” in 20 or 50 separate cards is fine, if you care about the topic.

One of my cards on the history of the Rome asks when the empire was divided into an eastern and a western half. The answer is simply the year with some details as extra content. I have maybe 20 cards on the history of Rome and can easily add new cards if there is something interesting.


Thank you @ferophila. If each bullet point has its own context / explanation, would you recommend separate “Extra” fields, or just put everything in one field, separated also by bullets etc.?

One extra field, this keeps things simple.

Thank you @ferophila! Apologies for my slow reply. I had one final quick one on this, if I may, you’ve been very helpful so far:

Is it fair to say then that Anki is not ideal for remembering stories/chronological events?

Since everything seems to point to bulleted answers/lists as being the best way to facilitate recall, whereas where there is a chronology or cause or effect involved, this does not quite capture that, since beyond “data point or event A” there is supplemental or “connecting data” that would lead to “data point B” and so on, but this is lost…

Just curious about your thoughts on whether I’m reading this correctly?

Thanks again, have a great end to your weekend!

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