How to use an SRS without a computer

For those who don't know, SRS is short for Spaced Repetition System or Spaced Repetition System. It is a technique used to learn Japanese using repetitions of phrases or words in an increasingly prolonged period of time.

To use this technique, it is necessary to use computer programs such as ANKI, which has already been quoted a few times in the Japanese language. Hence, those who do not have much time available to study Japanese on the computer end up being harmed by this.

I found the solution to use an SRS system without needing a computer while studying a little about Supermemo, a computer program that uses a technique similar to ANKI.

How to use an SRS without a computer

To use the Spaced Repetition System without being in front of the computer, we will need a regular notebook, and three very simple tables. The first one I will call question and answer table, and the second of study schedule, and the third table we will call review reference.

The Q&A table

The first table will be the most used during reviews. This is where we will put all our questions, answers and scores to determine when the next review will be. Below is a table showing the Q&A table in more detail and a description of its parts.

how to use a srs without computer - Q&A table - SRS manual

In the table above we have ten columns that will simulate what happens in programs like ANKI. In the first column we put the sentences in Japanese, in the second column the translation of each sentence.

In the revisions columns, which goes from column 3 to 7, we control the amount of repetitions in each revision. Whenever we study the sentences in this table, we will cover the answer column with a sheet of paper or with one hand, read the Japanese sentences aloud, think about the translation and check that we have translated it correctly.

If you have made a mistake, you must mark an “x” in the column of the review 1. After that, let's repeat the same procedure only for the Japanese sentences that we got wrong, that is, the sentences marked with an "x". If new errors occur, we mark the errors in the column review 2 and then we repeat the same procedure again for the sentences we got wrong in the review 2 and we mark the errors in the column of review 3.

This routine is repeated throughout the study until there are no errors or until all five revisions are complete. Even if we get to Review 5 with errors, we should stop and wait for a future review.

column 8, Revision No., marks the number of revisions performed in the revisions table, so we will know how many times we use this table to study and perform the five revisions from column 3 to 7.

In column 9 with title errors, we put the total amount of errors marked in the five revisions (columns 3 through 7) of the table. As you use the Q&A table, you will notice that the amount of errors will tend to decrease.

Finally, in the column Upcoming Reviews, we schedule a date to study again using this table. This way we can better control the spaces between each of the revisions. It is worth mentioning here that this date is not arbitrary, it is added according to another table. the table of study schedule.

The study schedule table

The schedule table is used to organize upcoming reviews of the question and answer table. It was developed in such a way as to work like Anki, using ever-increasing lengths of time between revisions.

Look at the table below:

schedule table
number of revisionsTime frame for next review
14 days
27 days
312 days
420 days
51 month
62 months
73 months
85 months
99 months
1016 months
112 years
124 years
136 years
1411 years
1518 years

Let's say you just created the question and answer table, studied using her five revisions, noted the number of errors, and put 1 in the revision number column. How do we know when to use that same Q&A table again? Looking at the schedule table.

If this is your first time studying using the question and answer table, so her next review will be in 4 days. If it is the second time, the next review will be within 7 days. Just check the revision number of the question and answer table and add the days indicated in the schedule table to the current date. So we will have the date of the next review.

It is worth noting that this table is unique in our notebook, being used for all question and answer tables.

The revisions reference table

I spent a few months testing this method and it worked for me, but a big difficulty I encountered was simply finding question and answer tablesold to study. With the passage of time, the number of tables grows a lot and it was necessary to create another table to facilitate the work of searching and finding the question and answer tables.

Revisions reference table
PageReview date

THE revisions reference table serves as an index of a book. Just number each question and answer table in the notebook (at the top of the sheet or in the footer) and use that number in the column page. Then simply put the date of the next revision next to each page in the revision reference table.

That way, whenever you go to study, just look at the review reference table to know what the question and answer tables are for the day and where they are in our study notebook. Simple, objective and easy.


This study method is very similar to the SRS programs that we find on the internet, but with the great advantage of not having to use a computer to study. I confess that it is much more practical to use the computer with SRS programs, but those who do not have a computer available at all times can take advantage of this manual SRS system.

If you have any questions or suggestions, just get in touch using the form below. OK?

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