Our Review of Quizlet
Quizlet is a user-friendly vocab memorization tool that doesn’t offer much customization, making it an ideal solution for anyone new to a language or doesn't have a ton of time to spend figuring out more complex language apps.
Ease of Use10
Engagement and Motivation6
Quizlet is a popular flashcards app that enables learners to create custom decks for memorizing vocabulary.
It doesn’t have a spaced repetition system like other popular flashcard apps, but its sleek interface, mass-upload functionality and fun activities make Quizlet the perfect choice for learners seeking a seamless and easy-to-use vocab memorization tool.
Table of Contents
- What is Quizlet?
- How much does Quizlet cost?
- Quizlet’s 4 Study Modes
- Expert Solutions for language classrooms
- Is Quizlet right for you?
What is Quizlet?
Quizlet is a flashcard app that enables users to create custom decks for studying foreign languages and other topics. Decks can be made public and shared with other learners, meaning you can search for and study pre-built decks created by other users.
You can import vocabulary from documents or spreadsheets, review flashcards with computer-generated audio, and even attach multimedia to your cards (images, audio files, etc.). Quizlet doesn’t provide as comprehensive a review system as Anki’s spaced repetition flashcards, but the platform is easy to use and offers fun study activities.
If you’re a tech-savvy learner seeking a customizable learning experience, we’d recommend checking out Anki. If Anki could be compared to Adobe Photoshop in terms of complexity and customization, Quizlet could be compared to Microsoft Paint – it’s simple, straightforward and easy to use.
How much does Quizlet cost?
Quizlet’s Flashcards are free to use and are supported by advertising. As a free user you can try out some features (Learn Mode, Test Mode, etc.) but you’ll quickly run into a paywall that limits the amount you can study on the platform.
Once you run into the paywall you’ll need to upgrade to Quizlet Plus, which costs $35.99 per year. Quizlet offers a 7-day free trial of Plus so you can get a pretty good idea of whether the program is a good fit for you or not, though you will need to enter in a payment method and you’ll be automatically charged at the end of the trial period.
After trying out the free version for an hour or so we ran into the paywall and decided it would be best to give the free trial a shot.
Here are some of the benefits included in Quizlet Plus subscriptions:
How to easily import your vocabulary lists into Quizlet
Quizlet makes it incredibly easy to import vocabulary lists, create flashcard decks and dive into studying. In fact, if you already have a list of vocab terms ready to go the whole process will take less than two minutes! To get started, click the “Create” button then “Study set.”
You can manually enter items into each field if that suits you, though we like to make it even easier: we store all of our new vocabulary terms in a Google Sheet, which allows us to simply copy-paste an entire vocabulary list directly into Quizlet (check out our article on vocab lists and memorization for some helpful strategies).
To import an entire vocabulary list, click on “+ Import from Word, Excel, Google Docs, etc.” and you’ll be taken to Quizlet’s batch-import page. From here, you can paste values (separated by comma or tab) to create flashcards en masse.
Once you import your vocabulary, set the language for each column (i.e. English and Russian) then update the privacy settings. We prefer to keep our decks private but you can make yours available to other learners if you like. You can easily share decks with other people, for example if you want to share with classmates or if you’re a teacher creating a deck for students.
Quizlet’s 4 Study Modes
At the most basic level, Quizlet lets you create flashcard decks (or use decks created by other users) to memorize and review learning material. For language learners this often means importing vocabulary lists into flashcard decks then studying with practice activities and games. There are four main study Modes available to users, which we’ll cover in the following sections:
1. Flashcard Mode: familiarize yourself with a new deck
Quizlet’s “Flashcard Mode” is the simplest way to begin learning a new vocabulary deck. We found this Study Mode most useful when beginning a brand new deck with no prior knowledge. You can browse through your flashcards and practice at your own pace, often with computer-generated audio (available for more common languages like Spanish or Dutch).
We used the Flashcard Mode to practice a new deck of 26 Dutch vocabulary items we had never reviewed before. We went through the deck twice in Flashcard Mode in order to get a basic grasp of the new material. It helped to read through each card and say the Dutch translation aloud a few times, focusing on the unfamiliar words and sounds.
If you click on “Options” at the top right of your screen you can customize your language study experience a bit. We recommend making two changes to the default settings:
First, navigate to the “Answer With” dropdown menu and select your target language (i.e. we are English speakers learning Dutch, so we selected Dutch on the dropdown menu). This setting will make the Flashcard player show you the native-language side of your card (i.e. English) first and prompt you to remember the target-language translation (i.e. Dutch). It’s more effective to learn this way since you’ll be prompted to actually produce the correct answer rather than simply recognize it.
Second, we recommend you study with target-language audio if possible. Navigate to the “Audio” section near the bottom and click “Show advanced audio options,” then enable your target language audio and disable your native language audio (we turned the Dutch audio on and the English audio off). Note that the settings are different on mobile and there’s no way to disable the English audio, which is very annoying since it sounds so robotic.
Quizlet’s Flashcard Mode also has a neat feature called “Auto-play cards” which will run through each card in your deck (front and back) without requiring any input from you. The Auto-play cards feature is a useful autopilot study tool you can use to watch or listen while exercising at the gym or being lazy on the couch – we love it!
2. Learn Mode: the best way to quickly memorize a new deck
Quizlet’s “Learn Mode” is the platform’s most effective way to quickly memorize new study material. Learn Mode divides your study deck into multiple “Rounds” and quizzes you until you get everything right. You’ll see a few different types of questions on Learn Mode, including Flashcards, Writing and Multiple Choice questions.
When you see a vocab item for the first time you’ll be asked to answer the question using one of the easier activities, such as Flashcards or Multiple Choice. If you get the question wrong you’ll continue to see it in the easier formats until you answer correctly, though you can also select “Override: I was correct” if you simply made a typo.
Once you answer a question correctly on the easier activities you’ll be asked to type the answer to the question (Writing questions). Writing questions introduce a bit of a challenge to your study sessions since it’s much more difficult to produce an answer to a question than it is to recognize the correct answer.
Additionally, the Writing questions help you become more familiar with the spelling of your study material. If you make a typo, Quizlet will show you what you typed compared to the correct answer. We noticed that within a few days we were able to perfectly spell every word in our vocab decks for both Russian and Dutch.
The only downside to the Learn Mode is that we weren’t able to make the program play Dutch audio and not English audio. The settings are different on desktop vs. mobile – we were only able to listen to English audio on desktop and we were only able to listen to both (English & Dutch audio) on mobile. We’re not sure why the developers would choose to offer different settings on desktop vs. mobile, but it was only a minor frustration.
3. Match Mode: a fun game but not incredibly useful
Quizlet’s “Match Mode” will train you to quickly pair vocab items to their correct translations. It works like a game where you see how fast you can pair all of your vocab terms, then play against yourself to beat your previous score.
This activity makes sense for learners studying for a test (for example, a vocabulary quiz in a high school Spanish class) but we don’t recommend it for users interested in actually learning their target language. Since the focus is on speed, you’re less likely to thoroughly read and digest the material; you’re simply trying to pair each item set as fast as you can in order to complete the activity.
4. Test Mode: helpful for exam prep, but not ideal for learning a language
Quizlet’s “Test Mode” uses a mix of True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching and some Writing questions to test how well you’ve mastered your flashcard deck. We used it a few times and didn’t find it particularly helpful from a language learning perspective; we already had a pretty good idea of what items we knew or didn’t know based on our using the Learn Mode.
Like the Match Mode, Quizlet Tests are most suited for users cramming for a class or exam rather than actually learning the language.
Expert Solutions for language classrooms
Quizlet has a number of features available for students and teachers, including textbook activities and custom courses. The majority of commonly used textbooks are available on the platform and you can search for them from the “Expert Solutions” page.
For example, we were able to view exercises from the AP Spanish textbook Temas, divided by chapter, section and page. It seems Quizlet has quite a few textbooks available so we’d recommend taking a look if you’re currently enrolled in a language course.
If you’re taking a Spanish class and looking for the vocabulary from your Spanish textbook, we’d recommend taking a look at SpanishDict. SpanishDict offers vocabulary lists for almost every textbook, detailed exercises as well as video lessons for grammar topics – plus it’s free to use.
For Teachers: add your class and students
Quizlet has a neat “Class” feature for teachers wishing to add study decks for their students. Click the “Create” button and select “Class.” You’ll be prompted to give your class a name and description, as well as select which school or university you are part of.
Once you create your Class you can add existing flashcard decks to it or create entirely new ones. Your students can “join” your class and view the study decks you’ve added. If you’re a world languages teacher looking to get your students more involved in studying vocabulary then Quizlet Classes might be the perfect fit.
Is Quizlet right for you?
Every language learner should spend some percentage of their daily study time memorizing new vocabulary and reviewing what they’ve previously learned. For example, if you plan to study your target language for an hour every day, we recommend spending at least 20 minutes on vocabulary. Quizlet provides easy and fun memorization activities you can use to improve your vocabulary minimal input on your part.
Quizlet is very user-friendly and doesn’t offer much room for customization, making it the ideal solution for those who are new to language learning or who don’t have a ton of time to spend figuring out more complex programs. Quizlet doesn’t offer a spaced repetition algorithm or advanced settings, but it’s easy to set up and get started learning.
If you’ve never used Quizlet before you can start a 7-day free trial to see if the program is a good fit for you. If you reach the end of your trial and feel like you need a bit more options and customization, give Anki a try – it’s free to use and we have a guide below.
No matter what popular language app you’re using, as long as you’re spending some time every day learning new vocabulary, you’re on the right path.
– written by Drew Grubba for Smarter Language. Drew has ACTFL-certified proficiency in Swedish, German, Portuguese, French and Spanish. He’s also studied Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian and Dutch, and is currently learning Russian.
Disclaimer: SpanishDict is a property of IXL Learning Inc.