The senselessness of difficult words whilst learning

I’ve long given up on the ‘difficult’ words functionality as it does not make any sense to how I’m learning, but today’s learning session for a few new words was very illustrative, and I thought I’d raise it here in case Memrise feel like adding this to their list of things that might, at some point in the future, potentially need some re-thinking.
Look at the attached screen shot:

  • the 2nd word I got wrong once (amazing, getting words wrong whilst learning them), so this is now a difficult word
  • the last word I also got wrong once, but apparently in this case this is ok
  • the 2nd-to-last one I got wrong 30 times (don’t ask), but this is also ok


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Yes, I generally ignore the ‘Difficult words’ option myself. P.S. In that lesson in the jpeg, there’s a spelling mistake for ‘kotel’: ‘kettle’ has two 'k’s, not one. But that doesn’t matter a whole lot.

except, of course, that we’re paying for it (and some way to handle words/entries that prove more difficult to memorise than others would be welcome!)
thanks for spotting the typo - I normally work out the ones in the ‘target’ language first, then fix the English ones

Great topic to raise!

Almost all ever commenting on difficult words do the same: Ignore them…
Not useful…
And me too. Not useful as it is at all…

Yet I realized, that the very process of collecting difficult words based on the history of accuracy would indeed be very useful to me!

Just, I don’t have:
*…Access to the list of difficult words at all! (Most useful)

  • …I cannot go through SPEED reviews of words in this list (exclusively testing these words repeatedly).
  • I cannot specifically target just these words for other tests (like typing tests)

All those might have been worth the money I pay extra… well it might be just helpful at all in the first place, because current way of “slow isolated relearning” is not useful even for free.

The way - the words are collected into that list is yet another interesting/important topic - yet it mostly work for me
(words marked as difficult generally tend to trigger some mistakes on my part)

It’s just - that currently there is nothing to do with them (or even to see them - here on my mobile)

Same here: sadly, the DW are just plain useless the way they have been set up

I asked (make that begged!) for those features a while ago (can’t find the thread, I’m afraid). In fact Ialso had a private conversation with a member of the Memrise staff after I actually offered them to pay - at least a share - of the cost required to develop such a feature which, actually, should be fairly easy to implement as it would only take like the classic and speed reviews take a different set of words/data to work use.

Didn’t help much, I’m afraid …

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Yes, the “Difficult Words” feature really does need refining.

Another example is that, currently, an item is immediately labelled as a “Difficult Word” the first time you get it wrong, no matter how small the error or how many times you have got it right before. It may be a long, complex phrase which contains a single, small typo or a misplaced accent and the timer may run out while you are locating and correcting it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t know the word or phrase, just that you may not be a very good typist!

I would like to see words/phrases only being labelled as “Difficult” if you repeatedly get them wrong or if you label them yourself.

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I need to test a hypothesis that it actually might be useful in very specific circumstances, which doesn’t represent my usual way of learning → and that would be long complicated sentences with focus on grammar and semantics (like choosing words from selection given in proper order to construct the sentence)…
I have one, just one course where this type of task dominates and gives me trouble at the same time… so maybe it might be useful there.

If so → the proper name of this feature would be: difficult sentences (not difficult words)

Because it doesn’t help with learning short items like words at all.

@alanh Actually, a word won’t be marked as difficult if it has long streak without errors. Though I don’t know what the threshold between difficult and non-difficult is.

@Olaf.Rabbachin Is it this thread you are talking about?


As they say, soñar es gratis, so imagine what a better place Memrise would be, if

  1. dozens of web and app bugs were fixed (hello, phantom entries!)
  2. dozens of features were not eliminated or deteriorated
  3. dozens (at least) of reasonable and useful features suggested by users were implemented

Oh, sweet dreams… :slight_smile:


I suppose what you mean is that the time required to fully understand the source text and then pick the right one from the list is hard due to the short time.
I have one course that teaches only sentences where this is the case :Learn Italian Grammar. I suppose it would be hard to do a SR over this course, resp. it wouldn’t make all too much sense as you wouldn’t really learn but rather try to pick the right one in time (instead of reading → translating in your head → picking the right item).

Again, it would be fairly easy for Memrise to provide a countermeasure - all they’d have to do is to apply a factor that incorporates the number of words (I’d also add the overall count of letters) and use that to adjust the amount of time users have to answer a particular item.

Not sure whether I understood you right - IMHO SR is just perfect for words!

Yes, cheers! :slight_smile:

With you 100%. I simply have not the slightest idea as to who might be setting priorities at Memrise, or why they seem to be so obsessed with changing the layout from the ground up first instead of fixing fundamental things first (and then go on to design changes). That is, even there something goes wrong most of the time. I’ve been waiting for speed review to be usable in dark mode again for 2 (or 3?) weeks now, maybe I won’t even be able to use it ever again, but hey …

I’m really only still using Memrise due to the fact that I have put so much energy into the courses there and I definitely don’t want to start over somewhere else. Besides that, I have to admit that I still do like Memrise the most compared to all others I tried. With all the bugs (that I learned to work around for the biggest part of them anyway) I still do like it a lot.

I was talking about difficult words here (current testing scheme for difficult words), not about SR

All above is about when, under which circumstances, the CURRENT difficult words testing scheme might (maybe) be at least useful (that is without implementation of any change to current Difficult Words)

That we tend to agree with each other - that difficult words - as it is right now - do not work for us.
.I hypothesized that it might be useful for difficult sentences.

Current testing of difficult wotds includes typing/choosing words(for sentences)… and this part might be challenging enough for difficult sentences to push is into actual learning mode.