HOW TO use Memrise to quickly learn vocabulary

I am horrible at memorizing new vocabulary, and if you want to be fluent you HAVE TO have a vast vocabulary.

Imagine someone in a Spanish class, learning a new word and repeating it, oh let’s say, ten times, but completely forgetting it five minutes later.

Yeah, that’s me.

But I can gratefully say I am now a fluent Portuguese speaker. And I got to fluency by being around Brazilians all the time, constantly hearing the same words and eventually using these words myself.

So how does a horrible language student actually become fluent if they are not always around native speakers?

By using technology.

Become fluent in English quickly with Memrise

A while ago I wrote a post about a website/app called Memrise. This is a great resource for learning English vocabulary.

The system it uses is fun and very easy to use, but best of all it works!

However, some people have asked me how to use Memrise as the website is not totally clear on how to start.

So, as your Chief Ninja,  I am going to show you step-by-step how to use Memrise to quickly learn English vocabulary.

Step 1 – Go to the website *only the desktop version

Courses can only be searched and added on the desktop site and NOT the app.  So, if you are on your tablet make sure you use the desktop version.

I recommend starting on your computer; it’s much easier.

But if you’re on your iPad it will look like this…–> The website is here.  <–

how to use memrise


Step 2 – Create your account

Click on the green button “Sign up, it’s free!”

There are two ways to set up your account (by the way, this site is 100% free, don’t worry) 

1) Use your Facebook account (easiest)

2) Use your email account (not that hard either)

Next, it will ask you some personal questions and if you want to try Premium. You can “skip this.”

 Step 3 – Search Courses

After you create your account you will see this screen:

search memrise

Up at the top of the webpage you will find the COURSE icon. Here is where you will search for specific courses.  You can search for specific terms ex. phrasal verbs, English grammar, prepositions, or you can just search English which will give you a lot of options.

BUT! There are over 300,000 courses on Memrise. Many of them are garbage! 

I searched the website for hours looking for valuable English courses. You can list that list by CLICKING HERE

Now in just a minute or two until the list arrives in your email.  It’s coming! (if you signed up above)

Choose a course from my list that looks interesting to you and grab the link from the list and put it in your browser. Make sure you are logged in to Memrise when you add a course.

How to Memrise


 Step 4 – Start Learning

Once you click on “START LEARNING” the course will be added to your profile.

You will be shown the words and definitions and Memrise will start using its spaced repetition system to help you start learning tons of new English vocabulary words easily.

You will also see images and sentences under the words. These are called mnemonic devices and they help you associate the new word with something you already know or something that triggers an emotion in you. This is powerful! You can select from various images by clicking on the arrows on the right side.

Memrise for English

If you want to try a different course you can exit the current one by clicking on the pause button in the upper left corner.


Step 6 – Download the applications on your phone or tablet

Now that you have your account set up and have selected some courses, it is time to put the power of Memrise on your phone or tablet.

The best thing about Memrise is you can take it with you, and practice from anywhere.

If you do not have a smart phone yet I strongly recommend getting one. This is very important to your English success. Why? Because instead of sitting down at your desk to study (I hate that word) you can take out your phone during your day to take advantage of your “drive time,”  the moments in your day when you aren’t doing anything that requires your attention.

If you do have a phone, go to your app store or Google Play store and search for Memrise. 

The courses you’ve added to your profile on your computer will automatically be downloaded to your phone.  Easy!



Windows Phone – yeah right, keep dreaming

Extra Credit

For those of you who are looking for more specific courses, there’s a good chance you will find something on your topic in Memrise.

Because it’s open-source (anyone can add content to the site) many people have used Memrise to study for specific college courses and specializations.

 It’s definitely worth checking out what they have on here. It might be exactly what you are looking for.

For example, if you are in IT and would like to make sure you know all of the important terms in English, you can search courses for IT. A doctor? Search “medicine”

How to search…

#1 – select “COURSES”

#2 – put in your search term  ex. medicine, software, pilots etc..

memrise English learning

After putting “software development” into the search bar I found two courses. 


Make Memrise extremely effective by looking for courses that fit your job or interests, ex. medicine, travel, law, etc..

So that’s it! I hope this helps those of you who have been having problems figuring it out and will also encourage those of you who haven’t started using Memrise to start now!

And what about you? Do you know of any other applications that use spaced repetition? I’d love to hear about them. Also, if you find any great English courses that aren’t on my list please add them in the comments.

If you still have some questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Happy Memrising,