Non-random presentation of cards (Basic (and reversed card))

For the last 3 months I have been constructing a single deck (no subdecks) all of whose cards are type ¨Basic (and reversed card)¨. I have not attempted to study them at all until today, so the entire Deck is ¨New¨. In the Options for this deck I have Order set to ¨Show new cards in random order¨ and under Tools>Preferences I have ¨Mix new cards and reviews¨. I am using Anki version 2.1.15.

I finally began studying this morning. I expected that the cards would be selected at random (in both directions), but this is most definitely not what I am seeing. The first four to be selected (all of which were added close to the start of the 3-month period) were presented (so to speak) front-to-back, and then the same four were presented again but back-to-front. A similar very obviously non-random pattern was observable for other cards subsequently.

It may or may not be relevant, but if I click on Tools>Check Database, I get the following message:

¨Found 13502 new cards with a due number >= 1,000,000 - consider repositioning them in the Browse screen. Database rebuilt and optimized.¨

I have no idea what this means.

My question is: what is going wrong, and how can I ensure that I am presented with cards (in both directions) in a genuinely random order? Thanks.

Update your anki version (you’re using an old one), activate the v3 scheduler in preferences, and then Deck Options > New card gather order > Random


Thanks. I’m not at all familiar with these sorts of procedures, but guided by the Anki Manual and your instructions - giving the words, many of which I did not really understand, their most natural interpretation - that all seemed to work. I won’t really know until I see what happens tomorrow, but thanks again.

One further question: under Deck Options>New card gather order I see options ¨Random notes¨ and ¨Random cards¨ but no ¨Random¨. I selected ¨Random cards¨: is that what you meant, and what is the difference please? The Anki Manual is no help here.

Difference between cards and notes is explained here:

Yes, I understand that a note is a sort of template for a card, so that in the case of Basic (and reversed card) you get two cards for each note, but what effect does selecting New card gather order = ¨Random notes¨ have, as opposed to New card gather order = ¨Random cards¨?

My understanding is that if you choose random notes (with bury sibling deactivated), anki will gather notes randomly and show you all the cards from every gathered note.

On the other hand, if random cards is selected Anki will select cards completely randomly


I see. Thanks again for your help. Today it seemed to work fine. I was surprised though to find that as the New Cards appeared - each for the very first time - the time shown for Easy varied - apparently randomly - anywhere between 4 days and 8 days (ie could take any of the values 4d,5d,6d,7d,8d). The times for Again, Hard and Good were always set to 20 minutes, 1 day, and 2 days respectively, which afaics from the explanation in the Anki Manual seems to be in line with my New Cards Learning Steps settings (20m 2d 5d). But what is going on with the Easy button timings? (My New Cards Easy Interval is 6)

(Apologies for what may appear to be a never-ending series of follow-up questions. It is really not my intention to drag this out indefinitely. Thanks for your help so far anyway. Much appreciated)

No problem at all. That’s explained here:


Brilliant! I have - for now anyway - no more questions. Thanks again, and have a good weekend!

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