How should I answer flashcards?

When reviewing flashcards, you'll be presented with these three options:

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"Answering" the flashcard requires you to select one of these, but which answer do you choose and when??

Short answer:

Hit the smiley face 99% of the time. 🙂

Long answer:

NativShark is a system that is constantly re-introducing you to things you’ve already seen in new contexts, so you don’t have to worry too much about pressing much else than the smiley face 🙂.

One thing that is very important to remember on your fluency journey is that going wider (seeing more Japanese in more contexts) is significantly more helpful in the long run than going deeper (trying to memorize something perfectly before moving on).

Some things we can do to encourage a wider knowledge of Japanese:

  1. Hit the smiley face 🙂 on reviews to keep the time you spend on them low (so you can do steps 2 and 3!)
  2. Go have fun with native materials
  3. Progress through more NativShark Units

With that said, let’s talk about…

How the buttons work

Smiley face 🙂

Sends the card out at the standard interval which is optimized for memorization.

Most of your button presses should be this button, thanks to you studying in the wholistic system that NativShark is.

This helps reduce your review time so you can continue your progress and experience more Japanese in more contexts, which is one of the most helpful things for any learner to do after their core studies and reviews.

Neutral face 😐

Sends the card out at a slightly lower interval based on previous answers.

This is best used when you have almost no grasp of the card and weren’t able to recall the general idea of the card overall.

If it was on the tip of your tongue or you were in the same ballpark, then you should hit the smiley face 🙂 option and not this one.

Cry face 😭

Shows the card to you again immediately and resets the study intervals.

This is your emergency button (and only for emergencies!) when you have literally 0 idea what is going on with this card.

You’re actually confused about how it got in your deck because you’re 100% sure you’ve never seen it in your life.


Ty presses the cry face on his cards less than once every 3 months, and Caleb doesn’t even remember the last time he pressed this button.

What are the intervals you’re talking about?

NativShark uses a proprietary spaced repetition system (SRS) that is designed to space out how things are shown to you based on your answers above.

For example, when you first see a flashcard and hit the smiley face, you will then see it again the next day as well.

From there, you will see the flashcard sooner or later depending on what answers you choose, with the smiley face 🙂 being the longer option, the neutral face 😐 being the shorter option, and the cry face 😭 being the emergency reset option.

NativShark will handle the details from there so all you need to do is keep showing up and pressing the Study Now button^^