New to Anki -- Best way to do as many cards as possible in a little more than a month?

Hello All!

I’m new to Anki and as a result am struggling with the interface and the best way to achieve what I am desiring to get done. Here’s the situation:

I’ve recently – within the last 3 or 4 weeks – downloaded the MileDown Kaplan deck as part of my MCAT studying regiment. Problem, though, is that I’m trying to get as many cards done as I can each day, as I am testing in a little over a month.

If any of you have also used this deck, you’ll know it contains subsections – biochemistry, biology, gen chem, ochem, physics, and behavioral. In attempting to figure out how to hit as many chapters within each subsection as I can, I’ve been doing about 30 new cards per day of one section. I realize, however, that that amount of cards/day does not suffice. My goal in doing so is to see cards from different “chapters” (1-12) within the subsection I am working on that day, as I’m too late into my studying process to hit chapters 1-6 of each subsection like I could’ve if I found these at the start.

Could anyone suggest an alternative method that would allow me to hit as many cards as possible before I test? Should I just alter the ‘new cards/day’ limit to a much higher number? Does any of this make sense? Am I crazy? Any thoughts?

Thanks, everyone!

Hi LKeif!

Altough spaced repetition is really meant for long-term memory, Anki is also a great tool for cramming. I’d say your craziness-level depends on how many cards the deck contains :wink:
Without that info, I can only give you some general advice. Take it with a grain of salt, what works for me might not be ideal for everyone.

New cards from each subdeck

With the current default scheduler (V2), if you study a parent deck (say one of your subsections), new cards will be gathered one subdeck (chapter) at a time until that one is done, then from the next one. If I understood correctly, you don’t want that behaviour, but mix new cards from all chapters of a subsection on each review session.
With scheduler V2, you need to do this manually: Put each chapter in a subdeck - if they aren’t already - and study as many new cards from each as you want, then move to the next one - and so on. The new cards limit of the parent deck is applied to the subdecks as a whole.

2021 (V3) scheduler

The new 2021 scheduler (V3, introduced with 2.1.45) should make this a bit easier. You should in theory be able to automatically gather cards from each subdeck, when you study the parent deck.

However, as that new scheduler is still in beta and hasn’t been tested by many people yet, I would not recommend switching to it just yet.

How to get a rough estimate

The add-on Anki Simulator is super helpful to set up your deck options ahead of an exam. You can play around with your deck options (steps, new cards a day, max. reviews, …) until you get a prediction that looks promising. It doesn’t work on Anki 2.1.45 (currently in beta) though.

How to set up your deck options

If you are new to deck options, I’d highly recommend the following video to get started:

How many new cards?

For medical knowledge, from my own and some friends’ experience, I’d say the upper limit for new cards lies between 200 and 250 new cards a day for regular mortals.
Depending on your deck options, such an amount will most likely lead to a very steep slope of daily reviews, as you can see on the following screenshot of the Reviews graph. These “towers” are my last two exams. The first one is about a month and a half, the second one less than a month.


This is not how normal Anki studying should look like though. Normally, it should be spread out nicely without a steep increase in daily reviews. More like this:


Also, review counts above 1000 a day are straining. Personally, I can only do about a week of that until I need to step off the gas for one or two days.

Suspend cards

Don’t hesitate to suspend cards that are either too easy or don’t seem useful to you. This way you can thin out the deck to only study high-yield cards. Remember, you’re doing this for yourself, nobody is judging you if you didn’t complete the full deck.


While I don’t know how many cards are in your deck, there is certainly potential to increase the new cards limit. 30 a day probably won’t cut it. A bit more than a month should be enough to study ~2500-3000 new cards, if you really want it.