Need help with Anki steps & intervals

I’ve been thinking about using Anki again, but once again I’m running into the same problem I’ve had for the last 6 years: I don’t know what settings to use! Learning steps, intervals, etc. I know what all the different things mean, but I’m not sure what is ideal for a note type with multiple cards and a learning phase longer than just one step.

My main problems from before were:

  • reviews in the learning phase piling up
  • SRS timings were weird (they seemed too short at first and then way too long too quickly)
The specific settings I'm talking about:


  • Learning steps
  • Graduating interval
  • Easy interval


  • Relearning steps


  • Starting ease
  • Easy bonus
  • Interval modifier
  • Hard interval
  • New interval
Some other context that might be helpful:
  • My note type has 2 cards each. I used to use a note type with 5 cards each, but I think 2 is better for my needs now
  • I’m using the current timezone handling (not the legacy version)
  • I rarely press easy. edit: i.e., I only press good and again, and sometimes hard
  • I would like to keep the learning phase longer than one step. iirc the default settings of 1m 10m make it so the learning phase is only 10 minutes. I want my learning steps to last a few days and to use more steps (similar to WK apprentice)
  • This isn’t something to replace WK atm (it’s not even for Japanese), but after level 50 or 60 I would like to switch back to Anki if I can get this set up right

Every time I try to look into this I find a lot of info about what each setting means (which was very helpful at the beginning!), but not much about what specific numbers people use other than “don’t use default.” So that is what I would like to know.


(I hope this is the right category for this question, I wasn’t sure if I should put it in Resources or Campfire)


Thanks for sharing. I can’t answer all of your questions but in case you are interested, feel free to look into the Anki setup I and will share with you in the following.

As for learning steps: I posted my setup (and it’s drawbacks) here:

According to some advises from other durtles here in the forum you might only want to actually click on “again” or “good”. Personally, I use “easy” for items that somehow found it’s way into my deck although I already are somehow familiar with them and “hard” if I managed to recall the item but still feel like I would like to see it more often.

As for the algorithm used by Anki: you can have a look into the respective WP article. The mentioned a variation of Super Memo as the underlying algorithm. Whether or not that one works for you is something you have to decide for yourself, I guess.

I’m not sure what this means, sorry :blush:

I admit, I did not answer many of your questions but I hope it still helps. At least as a starting point. Good luck with your studies :four_leaf_clover:


Thank you for sharing! I originally had a setup something like 1d / 2d / 4d / 7d. I reset my settings to default a while ago so I don’t know for sure, but it was something like that. But maybe I should start at 4h or something like that? Maybe that’s what my problem’s been

Yes, that’s what I meant when I said I rarely click easy. Maybe I should have made it more clear (I’ll edit the original post). I basically only click good and again.

By that I mean for each vocab word there’s 2 cards.

  1. target language word → image (or english word)
  2. image (or english word) → target language word

Here’s a screenshot of what I mean:

I don’t quiz myself on sentences or anything like that anymore, but I have them on the card just for reference

My old setup was like this (5 cards per vocab word):

But I found that was a little excessive

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Happy to (try to) help you :slight_smile:

I’m genuinely curious: Why would you want to do that? I see a lot of people recommend this here but I’m not sure about the benefits of artificially lengthening the learning phase instead of just letting Anki’s SRS take over.

To start with, I would recommend that you find out what is wrong for you with the default settings. I personally used them for quite a while and then analyzed what I liked and didn’t like so that I could adjust accordingly. (I have quite a good understanding of the settings and what their effects are, but I’d really recommend you stick with the defaults for some time and then adjust, not the other way around…)


I could ramble about Anki settings for days, but fortunately just going to bed so keeping it short. Here are my settings:

Learning steps are based on the same science/interval Anki uses for SRS. I have experimented with more steps but found it annoying some cards don’t leave learning and don’t get marked as leeches.

These settings have worked super well for me adding about 15 cards per day for about a year. I don’t really get overwhelmed by review and they stay at about 100-150 a day. I only do Anki once a day.

The Lapse setting is something I recently changed, so maybe 20m is more conventional.

Also the most important setting: Change New Interval to something else than zero! I would start at 50% and experiment what works for you.


I’ve been using Anki since 2014 and for most of that time I just used the default steps and intervals


Mainly b/c cards in the learning phase don’t become leeches, and clicking “again” doesn’t add to the leech counter. So assuming the leech threshold is set to 4, if I get it wrong 3 times before it “graduates” to a learned card, then get it wrong 1 more time, then it’s not marked as a leech (and therefore not suspended if you have leech action set to “suspend card”)

Of course, the problem with the learning phase is that you can’t bury sibling cards until the next day like you can with new cards or other review cards… which is part of the problem I’ve been having. So maybe I should keep the learning phase a bit shorter than WK apprentice length

I guess I don’t really remember the reasons for not using the defaults (it’s been several years), so yeah maybe I should try them again! And figure out what exactly I should change from there, like you said @NicoleIsEnough

Thank you all for the input!


Yes, this is exactly what I’m looking for! I also only do Anki once per day so these settings seem to suit my needs :smiley: Thanks for sharing!

Learning steps have definitely been part of the problem (like I said in another reply), so maybe I’ll try getting rid of them. I do like having them not marked as leeches since I suspend leeches, but yes sometimes they can get trapped in learning…

Good idea, thank you for the suggestion!


I guess it depends how I don’t like default settings, but throwing everything to 10 minutes, then 1 day, isn’t what I want to do. (You know, a few hours is enough to make me forget. WaniKani interval is more logical IMO.)

  • It can also be that I don’t understand Anki creator’s method. I think he is still active on Reddit.
  • The default is new day starts at 4 am in my local timezone.

So, I also don’t use default settings, but only what I set is interval of 1 10 240 480 (in minutes). After that is “graduation”.

Another thing I probably have been using wrong, is subdecks (rather than tags). I also noticed that tag-filtered deck, does not only create a specialized deck. It also remove selected cards from the deck.

The problem with too few/short learning steps is that the Anki takes over and starts adjusting the ease factor before you have had time to properly learn the card. Everytime you press “again”, the ease factor drops 20%. However, after you start getting it right, the ease doesn’t come back up, even if you now know the card (This could be considered a design flaw. In the new V3 scheduler you can add custom rules with javascript however, so this could be fixed! :stuck_out_tongue: ). Many people end up in “ease hell”, where all their cards have very low ease and they are doing tons of needless reviews. I think this contributes to a lot of peoples Anki burn-out (also that people don’t suspend leeches, when they should). Better to have good learning steps which let you learn the card properly; I “graduate” the card after 6 days, which is a reasonable time frame to believe it’s not just in my short term memory anymore.

Also Cards in Learning don’t Lapse, they just start the learning phase from the beginning. Thus the leech counter doesn’t increment, so you can press again without any consequences.

Ahh, I meant suspended. When I had 1d 6d 15d steps, some difficult cards just stayed in Learning forever and didn’t get suspended as Leeches. I’m heavily going with the “quantity over quality” approach, so I don’t mind specific cards just getting suspended if they don’t stick.

I don’t like WK intervals for vocab, because all the same day reviews feel a bit wasted. I get over 90% correct on the 1d reviews, so it’s just a lot more efficient to have longer steps. Having learning steps shorter than 3d feels kinda worrisome; you’ll quickly be in ease hell. Unless you have learned the cards very well before you review them in Anki (which could be considered the “proper” way to use Anki, but I think more people use it to learn “lists” in context)


It’s hard to really argue, as I don’t understand your workflow.

But I don’t really remember well for the first time, nor after 10 minutes. Of course, I tried my best to remember, but naturally, I improve my mnemonics and notes along the way as well, to improve my memory. It occasionally doesn’t work right (or remember well enough) the first time.

Not sure if I have a real workflow :stuck_out_tongue:. I use word lists for the book I’m reading from floflo/koohi/self-made and usually pre-learn some words as I go. For the new cards I suspend it if I already know it or press again if I don’t (then it comes back after 20 min, which I think is the minimum for preventing the word being in very short term memory). Very rarely I press easy if I know the word but want to keep it come back later for extra review.

Often words with kanji I know just feel like freebies, since the meaning is pretty straightforward to extrapolate. I don’t really use mnemonics anymore, unless there’s some really tricky new kanji I want to nail. Overall I don’t spend much time on the new cards.

I think this probably only works after you have a pretty large vocab and immersion base. It’s a lot easier when you can draw lots of lines between stuff you already know and the new stuff. Granted, my mature card retention isn’t super high or anything, and I have a fair share of suspended leeches, but that’s part of the plan for me.

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Thanks for clarifying that one. I had totally forgotten on the option creating multiple cards from the same source. …and I feel the same, five cards based on the same item sounds little bit exhausting :slight_smile:

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I’m heavily going with the “quantity over quality”

Do you mean “quality over quantity”?



I am using the same intervals, so I am just trying to understand how using these intervals is “low in quality, but high in quantity”. I heard 1d 6d 15d is better for long-term retention. Doesn’t this mean better quality?

You say “leeches don’t get suspended forever” (And of course, I agree. There is a 15 day learning period). And yet you also say “I don’t mind if some cards get suspended”. I don’t understand what this means either.

Do you mean it is possible to study more cards since you will get fewer reviews, so this causes more quantity? If so does this mean lower quality?

Just want to know what to expect from these intervals. Thank you!

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Sorry, I didn’t have time earlier to read more into what I had written 6 months ago so just made a quick reply :sweat_smile:.

Yes, that’s why I don’t use the 15d as a learning step. If the card doesn’t stick, I want it to get suspended. I only have 1d and 6d as learning steps.

Yeah, basically. The cards that don’t stick get suspended so you have more room for new cards, since the old ones don’t bog you down as leeches. You don’t have to learn every word through SRS.

I guess the quantity trumps quantity also encompasses the fact that I don’t really spend a lot of time creating sentences or mnemonics, just getting myself exposed to as many new words as possible.


I read the whole thing again, and I understand now.

My intervals are exactly the same as yours (15m 1d 6d). I always thought “graduating interval” (15d) is still inside the learning phase. That’s why I said “15-days learning period”. But it turns out it comes after the learning phase. Maybe I read about “15m 1d 6d 15d” setting, and it confused me at some point.

I think what you do makes sense, and I will set my leech options to something similar as well.

Thank you!


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