Beating 1500 reviews! a journey

back in june, life was good, a river flowing smoothly. 20+ lessons and 300 reviews a day, level-ups every 7 days, just reached level 23 and first burns :smiley:

then life caught up with me. travel holding up reviews, vaccine side-effects knocking me out. streak broken, routine destroyed. accuracy below 50%, motivation out the window. finally vacation mode, with 1500 reviews pending.

pause. time to think, reconsider, find my footing. on august 9th, six weeks after the break, decision to restart. reset to level 21, because i remember nothing after that (reviews pending: 1300). attempt to do reviews, feels like flailing at a wall - brute force won’t work (reviews climb to 1700!). need a strategy…

sort reviews by SRS level!

progress is slow, very slow. can’t do much more than 100 reviews a day. but there is progress. apprentices go from 350 to 300, 200, 100, finally i manage to clear all apprentice items in a review, and start working on guru. and now, slowly, slowly, the total review pile starts to shrink. gradually, it changes shape: very few apprentice items, ever more enlightened waiting to be burned. the pile is about 900 when i finally start burning items again.

start doing lessons again, because the review pile is getting very uneven, which i dislike. 10 lessons every other day or so. regain the first of the reset levels.

life continues to intervene. busy days mean zero progress. more travel and illness lead to serious setbacks, from 800 to 1200, from 600 to 1000. but the system works, patiently, stubbornly, everyday at least a little. slow increase in reviews, about 150 a day.

finally, the goal in view. less than 300 items to review. level-up anticipated tomorrow. last push, and finally, after 14 weeks, and 10’500 reviews, 0 reviews pending.

item distribution is still a bit uneven, my accuracy when burning has been only about 75%, and the burns i miss then pile up in guru2 for a couple of weeks. but otherwise nicely balanced.

clearly visible the break at the end of june, then the reset in august. also the days of minimal activity in blue. and today’s final push in red (that one’s going to come back to hit me).

and here i am, back in the regular grind of things :slight_smile: why did it take me so long? because i’ve been doing much less work on WK than before. but all those items from before kept catching up, so i was dealing with the aftereffects of speed-running.

the absolutely essential script, without which i wouldn’t have been able to recover from this review pile, is sonarius’s Reorder Buttons. this allowed the SRS to work properly, even when there were way too many items for it to do so without scripts. it also meant that i could take the setbacks from travel and illness without the whole strategy coming apart. i will definitely keep using this script, as it means that on bad or busy days i don’t have to do all my reviews, and the SRS keeps working.

i’m doing just as much work on learning japanese as before, despite doing only half as much WK per day. i get to spend that extra time doing grammar, and listening, and most importantly to me: reading. overall it’s led to my learning being much more balanced than previously. i might increase my daily lessons again a little, but i won’t let WK dominate my time like it did before.

so, all in all, i managed to recover from what felt like an enormous setback. it didn’t require any heroic efforts, and thanks to the Reorder Buttons i was able to do so at my own pace, not the one dictated by my earlier mad rush.

so if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, overwhelmed by a massive pile of reviews, or by your own previous speed, i encourage you to keep on going. be smart about it, find the strategy and tools which work for you, and you will keep on making progress. and when you finally have the task done, you will also have maked significant progress in learning japanese!

みな様, thank you for reading, and 頑張ってください!


It’s an inspiration to see someone recover from such a setback. This stranger is proud of you!


Congrats! That’s similar, but not exactly, the way I did it.

I share your conclusion that speed-running and using WK as your only learning method is not the best strategy. I go 20 lessons a day now, no more, and the work load has reduced back to seem again like a fun hobby, rather than a job.

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Hey, congratulations! I’ve been at that point a few times already (including now, but that’s a different story :sweat_smile:) and I always used reorder scripts to dig myself back out of the mess. I usually order by WK level (because it helps me see if I need a reset, and to which level) but recently I‘ve used the Reorder buttons script as well, with equally good results.
Looking forward to reading with you in the book clubs :blush:

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thank you! i’m very satisfied that i managed this, and very motivated for the continuation of my studies :slight_smile:

thanks ^^ i read your post, and i think our strategies were actually quite different. if i understood your post right, you stayed in vacation mode while you prepped yourself for a supermassive review session? while i came out of vacation mode as soon as i started working on the pile, and used the reorder buttons to tweak the srs.

in any case congrats for getting through that massive pile, that was considerably larger than mine!

congrats to you too! what i like about the reorder buttons is that it just tweaks the srs a little bit, in order to handle a situation in which you only get through a (small) part of your reviews at a time. but otherwise it relies fully on WK’s srs, something which WK does very well.


Yes, but similar in the way you used a script to bite off a subset to focus on, rather than being faced with a giant pile of mostly-unknown ones. I went level-by-level, you figured out that by doing it in srs order, the failures got slotted right back to the head of the line before you forgot them again. I might actually try it that way if I get in a jam again.

The super-massive review was painful, but got it over with relatively quickly. I’m not sure I have another two-full-straight-days-of-wanikani-reviews in me though. :stuck_out_tongue:


yeah, i would not have been able to handle that. in the beginning i was doing less than 100 reviews a day.

but yeah, using some method to portion out the work is definitely a key of any strategy to get through a 1000+ item pile ^^


Since the srs builds up on the initial speed, it can get easily out of hand when things change.


yeah! and slowing down takes significant time, because all the items from when one was going fast are still coming in for review as fast as before.

that’s definitely why it took me so long to get through this pile: it wasn’t just a matter of doing 1500 reviews, it was also slowing down the overall speed