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Top 5 Free Flashcard Sites For Language Learning

I had always used Quizlet since I was 18 years old when I first wanted to learn Spanish. Quizlet is a super useful and aesthetically pleasing site for making flashcard sets.

But nowadays it is impossible to use the best features without paying for a subscription.

person paying with credit card

I have heard this from other students in our community, mentioning that they did not want (or could not) pay for the subscription and I understand that.

For this reason, in this article, we are going to talk about the best free flashcard websites for language learning. I'll let you know how they work, and how we can use them to study a language!

a meme that says "let us begin"

Flashcard App #1 - Anki (Easiest to use) 😎

Anki is the OG downloadable flashcard app and is loved by many. It includes a spaced repetition system which means it will show you words depending on how well you know them.

This way if you know a word well, it will show it to you less frequently than the words that you don't. Anki also comes equipped with a basic interface that anyone can understand quick and with ease.

Chances are you have heard of this software, being that it's the most popular out of all spaced repetition programs. The best advantage of Anki is its simplicity.

Furthermore, we can easily add text, images, sounds, and videos that can also help us memorize words quicker, and store them in our long-term memory. Anki also includes many sets of pre-made flashcards on various topics such as Psychology, Mathematics, English, French, etc.

The worst thing about Anki is its unlovable appearance - it kind of looks like one the first programmers in existence built this software. Don't believe me? Look below this paragraph.

Screenshot of person using Anki Flash Cards

Of course, at the same time, this could be perfect for you if you are looking for something very simple and without distractions.

No doubt, Anki might be the best flashcard (and spaced repetition) program on this list. But let's take a look at the other picks to see if they tickle your fancy!

Pros To Using Anki:

  • Easy to learn.

  • Has many premade Flash Card Decks

  • Simple interface for those looking for little to no distractions

Cons To Using Anki:

  • An ugly and awkward interface (if you care about looks)


Flashcard App #2 - TopgrAde (More features)

Before I wrote this article I had not heard of TopgrAde, but I came across it during my research. After using TopgrAde for the first time I was baffled by its plethora of features...

Screenshot of person using topgrade Flash Cards

It has a flashcard-making system that is extremely easy to understand, and the app looks decent. One great feature is that it comes equipped with a place to make study schedules within the app!

screenshot of calender in topgrade flashcard app

In my opinion, TopgrAde is the best free alternative to Quizlet. And I plan to continue to use it!

Pros To Using TopgrAde:

  • Looks decent

  • Ability to make monthly study schedules and assignments to track progress

  • Online and accessible for all of your devices

Cons To Using TopgrAde:

  • Accessible on other devices (Program is all online)

  • Not the most beautiful interface


Flashcard App #3 - MemCode (Best looking)

MemCode is a website with features similar to Anki. Unlike Anki though, MemCode looks astonishing and is a pleasure to use. You can also get pre-made flashcard decks from their library!

Screenshot of person using MemCode Flash Cards

If you want to see it with your own eyes, go to the link in the title of this paragraph! One big plus - MemCode is a website and therefore no downloads are needed.

Pros To Using MemCode:

  • Beautiful interface

  • Tutorial

  • Online and accessible to all devices

Pros To Using MemCode:

  • Not the easiest to use at first


Flashcard App #4 - Lingvist (All-Around Great!)

Out of all of the flash card apps that I have used to learn languages, this might be my personal favorite. Lingvist just brings everything together, making our only job - to study.

You'll find premade exercises, and you can even do placement tests so Lingvist knows what level of words and sentences to show you, and you can track your progress really well with the "Insights" section.

a screenshot showing how it looks when using Lingvist to learn languages through flashcards

When I use Lingvist, I always learn, and I never have to fuss or stress about "what I'm going to study," it's perfect for a busy person!

Pros To Using Lingvist:

  • Simple interface

  • No need to stress about "what you're going to learn"

  • Easy to create flashcards

  • Online and accessible on all devices

  • Data on terms learned

  • Space repetition system

Cons To Using Lingvist:

  • No traditional flash card decks - just fun exercises

Flashcard App #5 - Brainscape (Simple, Beautiful)

Brainscape is a wonderfully simple flash card app that utilizes spaced repetition to help us prioritize the vocabulary that we don't know well.

This website has a super inviting design, and there's not too many features or options to distract us. Below is a picture of how it looks to be learning with Brainscape.

a screenshot showing how it looks when using Brainscape to learn languages through flashcards

Pros To Using Brainscape:

  • Simple interface

  • No need to stress about "what you're going to learn"

  • Easy to create flashcards

  • Space repetition system

Cons To Using Lingvist:

  • No additional features - just flash cards

My Flashcard Experiment - How To NOT Learn A Language With Flashcards

This is a critical topic because at first, I think we all do this, we put a word on each card and we learn one by one. The thing that I recommend most of all during your learning journey is that before you spend a lot of time on something, just ask yourself:

"Is this going to make me excited to study, or kill the vibe?" or

"Does this fit with The Theory of Comprehensible Input?"

And in this case, it doesn't. The reason why I recommend that you ask yourself this question is because if it does it will be an effective way to easily add new vocabulary to your long-term memory.

I did an experiment 2 years back where I recorded myself studying 250 new words in Spanish. After 1 hour and a half, I went from knowing none of them to getting 100% on a test with all of the terms.

1 week later or so I took the test, and that number dropped down to 200, 2 weeks later - 140, and a month later I only knew about 60 of those words.

You know that saying "use it or lose it"? From my experience learning words in flashcards might help to get those words into your short-term memory.

However surely if we don't hear the words being used in context - they will vanish into thin air.

I allow myself to use this method at first when I don't know words in the target language, but after I know about 1,000 I don't anymore.

However, the best way to utilize flashcards is by finding sentences that use the word, and then putting that sentence and its translation into a set of cards.

It is 100 times better to learn words within sentences for several reasons such as:

  • You will learn them in context (the only way to place them in your long-term memory).

  • You will learn other words or sentences that you find while looking for phrases for the cards.

  • It will be easier to remember them, and it will take you less time to do it.

a bar graph showing the results of a flashcard experiment that I did

So... How Should We Utilize Flashcards In Our Studies?

Using flashcards can help us out a lot, however, we can waste a lot of time if we don’t have a plan beforehand. In this section, I’ll explain the approach that has worked best for me and the tips I have heard from other multilingual people in our community.

Use Them As A Beginner & Stop At The Intermediate Stage

I only use flashcards while I am a complete beginner in the language. Once I reach around a 1,000-word vocabulary, I stop showing up for flashcard sessions. This is because, with 1,000 words, I can begin to listen to beginner content and “acquire the language through the language.”

The 25% Rule (Don’t Bore Yourself)

Don’t overuse flashcards (unless you LOVE them), this can lead us to lose motivation and look at the language learning process as dull, boring, and never-ending. The truth is - learning a language takes a long time.

There will be weeks when you see no progress. There will be months when you see no progress. These times are the most difficult to pass through and maintain our motivation, so try and make your study habits sustainable and enjoyable in any way possible.

This means that I’ll never use flashcards for more than 25% of my total study time at the A1/A2 level. Below is an example of how I break up my study sessions and implement flashcards.

a graph showing how I break up my language studies and how much time I spend on flashcards

Put Words In Context To Acquire The Language Quicker

Learning words one at a time is a terrible idea. Our brain wants to remember the most useful information to assist us in the future - and forget everything else. This means that one-off words like “go” will not have much significance and therefore, won’t be remembered easily.

To combat this, I have found that using words in context helps us to acquire each vocabulary word in half of the time. To do this, head to and look up the word that you want to learn, next, go to “examples” and you’ll find sentences that use the word that you want to learn!

Trick For Making The Context Compelling

Try and choose sentences that appeal to your expertise, your emotions, or something else that is important to your identity. By doing this, you’ll help your brain acquire the vocabulary quicker.

Frequently Asked Questions

picture of a woman being interviewed and answering questions

Are Flashcards Effective For Language Learning?

Using Flashcards to learn a language is absolutely effective, however, to learn best we must put the vocabulary in context. This means instead of having individual words in our flashcards, that we embed them in sentences to help us acquire the meaning quickly.

Is Quizlet Or Anki Better For Language Learning?

Quizlet is better than Anki in most circumstances, however, Anki gives free statistics on your progress, while Quizlet does not. Between the two, Quizlet certainly looks a lot better but contains a lot of features that can only be accessed through a premium subscription.

Do Polyglots Use Flashcards?

Polyglots certainly do use Flashcards, however, not all of them do. My favorite Polyglots all suggest just about the same thing, if it helps you a ton, use them, if it becomes a great chore that makes you dread the idea of learning a language - don’t.

How To Learn Languages With Flashcards

If you want to learn a language with flashcards, do this:

  • Learn words in context (within sentences)

  • Add photos (if you can) to acquire the vocabulary quicker

  • Make a consistent flashcard study schedule and stick to it

  • Read the words/sentences aloud whenever you see them

Conclusion: Free Flashcard Sites For Language Learning

Luckily for us, we have a plethora of options when looking for free flashcard websites for language learning. If you have a favorite site that’s not on this list, let us know in the comments! My personal favorite that I would suggest you try is Lingvist.

The other apps mentioned in this article were:

  • Anki

  • TopegrAde

  • MemCode

  • Brainscape

If you want to know the absolute best methods that I have found for acquiring a language, check out this article “The 11 Best Methods For Studying A Language.”

Have a wonderful day/evening/night,

~ Ben


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