I figured this caused some stir (okay, well, like TWO people but they’re worth typing this thing up) when I mentioned I deleted by RTK and Sentence decks.
Yes I really did.
Yes I deleted my 4,000+ RTK deck. That I meticulously went entry by entry through this dictionary.
And, honestly? No regrets. I actually feel like a weight has been lifted!
For some time now, those decks have seen little to no action. And when I’ve been employing my recent Hanzi/Kanji study method, along with one mentioned by Khatz over here, I’ve just found my RTK to be downright boring and tedious to do. I would open up my RTK, do a few entries, and just felt that either a) I forgot the keywords since it’s been so long, b) it was pretty boring and I LOVE writing so this wasn’t a good sign, c) it was getting stagnant. Yes, despite having more than 4,000 entries, I still found it so boring that I stopped doing entries for months. When I replaced it with the above mentioned study method, I just had much more fun doing it. I learned the characters in context, I had keywords/definitions to back me up (infinitely better than lone keywords and out of context situations), and I just had fun finding them in different situations.
Now, as I said in that entry, it may have been easier having been studying and amassing a base of generally recognized characters, so I can’t say if this would work well for beginners. What I can say is, I’ve felt I have gained more recognition and retention—that is, when I did RTK, sure I could remember to write with KEYWORDS, but what about when I really needed it? On a document? Forget it! Only by studying them in CONTEXT (like my current address in Taipei!) could I really start to retain how to write them. So maybe RTK would be good for a general base of 300-500 then move on to context based entries? Either way, I get a lot more out of these entries than I ever did with RTK.
Now! For the sentences. I hadn’t done that deck in an equally long period of time. I just found I could read through the sentences without really having to try. Sure, I’d focus on some tones here and there, but I think my brain (which is amazing at finding the lazy way out of things) would get the general idea of the sentence just so I could pass it. I knew I was in trouble when that happened. Eventually, I also noticed (before I stopped doing my reps) that my retention rate was really low. I had all these sentences, was doing them 2-3 times a day, and STILL found myself not able to produce anything. After a year and a half (again, this is my experience, your mileage may vary), I felt still kind of behind.
Anyway, I just got tired of both decks and finally deleted the two of them and starting over anew!