Memrise..good? Bad? What does membership actually get you?


I’ve been messing with for a few days but I don’t really know what to think. I like the layout but it doesn’t really feel like I’m being taught anything. And what do you actually get for membership? It keeps perstering me to get it without telling me what it is I get :sweat:


I used to use Memrise a lot, but now only sometimes as a supplement (about 3400 “words learned” at this point). It has its ups and downs like Anki and WK. I like that it is a lot simpler and more self-contained than Anki, but it also lacks some of Anki’s versatility and features. The ‘mem’ system is ok, but it’s kind of hit or miss and not all courses have mems, but of course, it’s nice to make your own. There are also some scripts you can use like disabling the timer and multiple choice options, but I wish there was an ignore script and that things didn’t always get kicked down to the first SRS level, especially for just a typo.

I think after an intermediate level, it’s best to avoid the pre-generated courses though, unless there is a specific need or you’re following a book. Nowadays, I just put words I find useful to learn into my own deck - words that aren’t in WK and I’ve come across a couple times or it’s a common word/JLPT word or something from the Sou Matome series I’m following.

As for pro, from my understanding, you gain very little. Things like “difficult words” and some graphs. Most likely not worth it.


I think you can disable those annoying promotions by removing daily targets from your courses.


I was using Memrise in the beginning because it was just easier and nicer to look at than Anki. As far as I remember, you got the ability to see videos of natives pronouncing words in the courses that are provided by Memrise and there was also some feature that would let you train your problematic words or something like that.

But it is not like they wouldn’t tell you what it does. I did forget the details but I was definitely aware of what it would do when I purchaased it. Quick Google search gave me (for the iOS app, there are probably other links for other platforms somewhere):

Pro Modes: Speed Review, Difficult Words, Listening Skills, Meet The Natives, Grammabot (on selected courses), Chatbots (on selected courses), and Offline Mode.

All in all it might be worth it if you are using it heavily. It would have been OK for me if I kept using it but I switched to Anki soon after because I prefer the flexibility that Anki provides.


@Visceral very detailed response, thanks. I have only been using it on the app so far, is it better on computer? I don’t like my hand being held but it doesn’t really explain how you’re supposed to use it. Just kind of throws you in.
You say WK has flaws? It’s the best thing I’ve found so far. I feel like I was stuck at a wall before I found WK, and the further suggestions in the community. What about it bothers you? Hope that isn’t too off topic


I use a pre-built course in Memrise to introduce myself to Genki vocab before I start the chapter (knowing that I’ll really “learn” the vocab when I use it to do the exercises). I only use it on my computer, where you do get type-in questions and not just multiple choice. I would recommend trying it on a computer and seeing what you think.

Personally, I like Memrise better than Anki (although I agree that the “pro” promotions can get annoying :stuck_out_tongue: ) . I don’t like Anki’s interface, and I don’t really feel like spending a massive amount trying to set it up/modify it. I also like that Memrise doesn’t rely on you to decide whether or not your answer was correct (I’ve heard that there’s a way you can get Anki to do this, too, but again - not really interested in spending 50 hours trying to figure out how. I want to learn Japanese, not learn how to make flashcards).

I have a feeling that I’ll want to make a switch to something else eventually, but for now, Memrise seems to work just fine. I think it depends a little bit on where you are in your studies, too. I haven’t tried to make my own “course” in Memrise, so I’m not sure how well it works when you get to the point where pre-made stuff isn’t adequate for what you want.


I’ve had Memrise Pro for years, I use it mainly for Chinese, but have also dabbled in Korean, Japanese, Russian and German. I mainly have Pro for the offline mode (so I can use it on the tube), but the difficult words feature can be useful to show you a list of vocabulary you trip up on. Other than that it’s not much different from the free version, so if you don’t need those features it’s not really necessary. I’d say it’s definitely best to try and do the majority of the work on the desktop version, as the app is largely multiple choice. The desktop version has a script which forces only typing tests so there’s no multiple choice, tapping tests or anything like that.

I’d also note that I personally don’t think Memrise works particularly well for Japanese due to having pictographic/ideographic characters - it’s much better suited to languages which only use phonetic alphabets. (This is less of an issue in Chinese as each character usually has only one reading, but I would still prefer a WK style platform to learn meaning + reading and have them linked, since the options are either learn meaning and reading as seperate items (therefore doubling the number of items) or learn the pinyin but not being tested on the tone). If you were to set up a vocabulary deck with the question and English and you had to type the answer in Japanese (similar to Kaniwani) then I think it would be effective.

Another difference between Memrise and WK is that you control how much you learn and at what pace, so if you’re not careful the reviews can get very overwhelming, but also it means that if you have a time-based goal (such as an exam date) you can manage yourself to get there in time. I’m currently aiming to finish HSK5 by the end of the year, learning 25 - 50 items per day, but my reviews are well up into the 300-a-day area, and if I miss a day for some reason I can easily hit 500+. It’s probably worth noting that I don’t use mnenomics, so the quality or lack thereof of the ‘mems’ doesn’t bother me.

(Also, I didn’t know that speed review was a Pro feature, but that can be kind of useful if you’ve been slacking and your reviews are like 1000+, although I’m not convinced it helps you learn much, but it’s good for getting the number down a bit so it doesn’t look as scary.)

Ah, lots of text, I hope some of it was helpful! :sweat_smile:


I like it more on the computer since you can disable multiple choice questions, but can’t on the app (multiple choice is too easy and you won’t know the word as well as if you had answered from memory). Plus, you can learn and review on the app, but can only edit your course on the website version.

Of course WK has flaws - no learning program doesn’t. But I wouldn’t be level 47 if those flaws stopped me from continuing. WK is also what helped me break through the difficulty of kanji. But things like the radical-kanji inconsistency (in the process of being overhauled apparently), often times weak mnemonics, context sentences with somewhat misleading usage, curated content (both a blessing and a curse), etc. Really, the list goes on and there are many threads already existing on the forums that detail people’s grumblings with WK. But since I’m still here, the pros outweighed the cons.


I found memrise pretty much useless except for the course that teaches you common katakana words. After I did that, i never had a problem with katakana!

Otherwise, theres better alternatives for everything else


Thanks for all the replies. Seems I will have to give the desktop version a go. I was hoping for a good alternative to anki, I have heard so much about it so I gave it a go but I don’t really get on with it. Obviously it must work for some but I don’t like the bland layout, and the way you have to do the programming yourself. I work at a call centre and it’s dead on the late shifts so I tend to study on my phone.


There is a deck with a layout that mimics WK, so the feel is still nice. You can just use other people’s well-known/well-made decks and avoid the effort yourself. It’s mainly lacking the mnemonics and odd radical system of WK.


I just want to point out that you can use typing tests on the app. I’m doing a course right now on my iPad that using both multiple choice and typing (seems you have to type the answer to bump up the SRS level).

I’m actually surprised how well Memrise has worked for me. I didn’t like the multiple choice questions at first, but honestly, after over a year, I have just as good recall on my Memrise vocab as my WK vocab, if not better. The audio for these words is sort of seared into my brain after hearing them so danged often through the tapping questions.

I have some caveats, though. I only use it on mobile since I can use the Japanese keyboard on my iPad. And the courses are user made, so I find some pretty useless for me, and some are great. There’s so much variation in testing directions and answer types and audio, you have to find something that works for you, or make your own.

Oh and I don’t use pro, and yup it is annoying how often they push it. =P