Are my leeches keeping my apprentice queue high?

Hi all,

I’m Level 29. The last few levels have been intense in terms of how many reviews per 24 hours I was getting - around 350. This was not sustainable even though I was doing reviews around 3 times per day. I realised it was probably because I had a lot of apprentice items, around 300. So I stopped doing new lessons until I’d got my apprentice list down.

I’m now hovering around 140-180 in my apprentice queue regularly. This is not so bad in terms of how many reviews it is generating BUT I don’t seem to be able to get it under 100. Which is what I’d like.

If I don’t do any more lessons until I get my apprentice queue down to around 100 will my lesson queue just continually build up and up? I’m guessing my apprentice queue is bogged with leeches.



If you completely stop doing lessons now, there will be no more new apprentice items (unless you get old burn items wrong or something like that)
It sounds likely that you just have many leeches. In this case I recommend focusing on reviewing those as much as possible without doing new lessons. You can download a script that orders your reviews based on srs level, so it becomes more clear where your leeches are.

The same thing happened to me around level 30. I just stopped leveling up for a bit and slowly but surely even my leeches were moving up to enlightened.

*if you stop leveling up, naturally, your lesson pile will stay the same size as it is now.


Thank you this is really helpful. Where do I download the script from? I don’t really understand how scripts work at all - I’m out of my depth on that one.

I feel like I just keep getting more new lessons to do even though I haven’t touched any - so why do I keep getting new lessons added…waaah I don’t really understand the system.

I’ll definitely work on my leeches.


You could check out wkstats to see where the trouble is. Are there a lot of verbs? Visually similar kanji? Similar but distinct meanings? Try to get to the bottom of that and maybe you’ll be able to get those to move up the ladder consistently.

1 Like

Just because there’s lessons available doesn’t mean you have to do them. Do lessons at your own pace – in my experience, having too many apprentice items (whether because of leeches or having done too many lessons) will actively impair my ability to memorize those items up to higher ranks, because of mental cross-talk between all the different things I’m trying to learn at once. So while it can feel satisfying to force your way through a bunch of lessons, it will actively hurt you down the road if you’re overloading yourself.


It’s pretty much always visually similar kanji. Which I wouldn’t get wrong if it was in a sentence because the context would normally tell me the answer. I’ve got a degree in Japanese, so my grammar, comprehension etc is good but I’ve forgotten a lot of kanji.

I also keep getting the kanji wrong on their own because I keep writing a very similar word accidentally. I swear if I get 無しwrong in english again I’ll scream. It comes up and I panic thinking - nothing or without? But I’d always translate it correctly within a sentence, just not stand alone on Wanikani.


You know you can add custom synonyms? Whenever one of those comes up, and you put a different answer from wk, just add anything you can think of, especially with those vague words.

Also there are scripts you can use to doible check your answer against wk’s, and override a wrong answer you think should have been accepted.

Visually similar kanji are tough, I have couple that keep coming down to guru as well (複復/格絡/積績 are some of mine). But they do move out of apprentice. Are yours moving up and dropping back down, or are they constantly rotating through the 4 apprentice levels?


For visually similar kanji, I recommend getting the “visually similar kanji” WaniKani plugin to be able to study the differences easily. Kanjidamage also has good mnemonics specifically for distinguishing similar kanji (see the bottom of each kanji entry).


If you are doing your reviews on a PC, I would definitely recommend spending the few minutes it takes to install Tampermonkey and download some userscripts. Here is a link to a short guide for installing WK userscripts.

Here is a link to the WaniKani Open Framework, which is needed by many other userscripts.

Here is a link to the Double-Check script that @Saida mentioned, which you can use if you answered with a synonym that is not stored in WaniKani.

And if you are confusing similar looking WaniKani items, maybe my ConfusionGuesser script is useful to you - after you give a wrong answer it shows you other WK items that you might have thought of, so that you can immediately compare them and concentrate on the visual differences.

I wish you the best in getting rid of your leeches! :crabigator:


I’ve seen leeches always as the hardened sludge at the bottom of the Apprentice barrel. My leeches are horrible (around 600 in total as I’m writing this), and my apprentice leeches are still swinging between 20 and 40. If you must reduce your leeches, take a break from lessons and focus on those. If you want to steam ahead, look at what apprentice count you can take and just add lessons according to those.

Don’t mean to promote my own scripts as well, but some leeches are kind of permanent. So your leech count can be kind of scary sometimes while you can’t really do anything about it. My script lists all your leeches, counts them, and shows how many are “burn-only” leeches, meaning they only go away when you burn them finally.

Of my current 617 leeches, I have 242 that I can only remove by burning.

In the mean time, a large amount of leeches has been going up the ladder :wink:


Thank you so much. I’ll try some of this.

1 Like

Thank you - I’ll take a look!

Yes I use the synonym thing quite a lot. Maybe I need to use it more!

Some of this is my children :rofl: They are very young and screamy. Often I’ll be spooning soup into the toddler’s mouth whilst doing Wanikani. It’s not ideal. But we are where we are. I think I need to study less when they are awake. It’s hard to manage two young children and not just think -oh stuff it I’ll quickly put this as an answer when I can see the toddler chasing the dog out the corner of my eye.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.