Became a tad overwhelmed

Hey everyone, been on Wanikani for some time now and have always loved the community. Not the most active but I read a lot of what’s coming in.

I was always on top of things, or at least I thought so, but about five months in I realized I was going pretty slow. It’d take me a long time to level up usually nearly 3 weeks and I wasn’t sure what to do besides … I don’t know, sitting down and just doing everything I could. But the burn out was real. I think by failing reviews I kept more piling on.

Recently I was on vacation and just could not keep up. I have like, 530 reviews and that’s after taking down a hundred today.

I know there’s no magic fix, just sit there and do it, but I suppose I’ve felt both underwhelmed and like I’ve lost my place in my studies. Doing my reviews now I’m sort of forgetting some I suppose but I’m in general fine. But then I look at my sidebar and see that in the coming days they’ll just keep rolling in. I feel like I’ll never get it caught up. Buckling in for 600+ reviews at once is just not possible for me right now. So wondering if anyone has advice or if anyone has some similar stories!



I think the key to Wanikani is you have to do it at least once per day (preferably two; morning and night).

I downloaded the Flaming Durtles app so I can do my Wanikani reviews whenever i get a chance (on my phone). That definitely makes things a lot easier.


I feel for you, I once put myself in a situation where I had almost 3000 reviews in my queue after burning out. I ended up restarting from level 1, but that may not be the best path for you.

The two tips I have for you are:

  1. Don’t do lessons.
    When you get reviews each day, a large majority of those are (usually) going to be apprentice items, just based on how the time spacing works. As you keep doing reviews and pushing more items into guru and beyond, the number will start to come down. A lot of people recommend always keeping your apprentice items below 100 total to keep from overwhelming yourself, but you may decide to keep this number even lower depending on your pace.

  2. Get an order script.
    There are scripts out there that let you order the reviews. One way you could do it is to sort them by level, so that every day you see the same reviews again until you push them into guru. This will help if you can’t push through your all 500+ at once (which you shouldn’t do) by making sure you are actually seeing items at the correct time intervals.

Lastly, I just want touch on what you said about feeling like you were going slow. Wanikani is a marathon, not a sprint, and the goal is to LEARN, not to finish. As long as you are trying your best, learning, and having fun with it, there is no such thing as going too slow.

Cheers and best of luck getting back on track.


Popping in to cheer you on.
Keep at it!!!


You have 158 apprentices right now, that’s quite high and painful for anybody if it stays that high for a long time. Have you tried to keep your apprentice under some threshold, for example 100, by stopping lessons ?


I’ve been doing wanikani for about 3 years but taking huge 3-4 month breaks between my studies, honestly it is really disheartening to come back and fail review after review but after a while I started thinking “I’d regret it more if I didn’t do it”.

Breaks are hard to get back from, but definitely not impossible, my only advice is if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of reviews you have constantly, just hold off on doing any new lessons for a while, keep tackling the reviews whenever you have time or motivation, then slowly but surely it will get easier and easier. The giant stack of reviews might seem like it’s impossible to take down, but eventually it gets much more managable. Take it from someone who’s had to do multiple 500+ review stacks over multiple years. I’m a terrible student with not so great memory, one thing that helped me a bunch was keeping track of the Kanji that I was screwing up consistantly, then having a notebook beside me to write them down. I don’t cheat and look at the notebook so I can pass the review, just the sheer simple fact of writing it down makes it a whole lot easier to remember the next time it does come up. Also the “Wrap up” button is super useful for dealing with the giant stacks of reviews, do them 10 at a time and you’ll start getting through them again pretty fast. You’ll be fine :smiley:


Not the best at dropping links but if you search " jprspereira wanikani speedrun " into google you will likely find his guide on how to speedrun wanikani. However, that’s not to say you have to speedrun Wanikani in a year but it will teack you how to efficiently use and level up since you feel like you are going too slow. You can adjust the time taken on each level after reading the guide to make a pace that works for you.

It’s alright to take things slow! Not everyone needs to or should speedrun WaniKani. In fact, many of the people who went at the max speed possible say they regret it and would’ve found it beneficial to take longer.

I also struggle with burnout. I’m on my longest level since really committing to completing WK (day 56). For me, it’s a combo of having recently been on vacation with also having taken a break for the JLPT and then feeling super burnt out by the test. It can be a struggle to keep up when you have a big number of reviews like that, but the pay-off of getting those numbers down is worth it in my book.

There’s a couple of different methods you can use to help with your reviews.

  1. You can reset (maybe to level 10) and that should cut a decent chunk of them
  2. Speedrun reviews. If you’re only doing 100 reviews a day then it’s probably that you’re either doing them slowly or not devoting a lot of time to them. Is that correct? I recommend trying to speedrun your reviews with a script that lets you move items to the end of the queue. Instantly know a meaning/reading? Type it. Don’t know it instantly? Move it to the end of the queue. By using this method, you’ll be able to remove the easier items from your reviews and trim them considerably. Once you’re left with the more difficult reviews, then I recommend doing them normally. This method allows you to work quickly without putting many items back at apprentice.
  3. Use vacation mode. This one is easy to abuse and I haven’t used it before, but I’ve heard it recommended often enough. In between reviews, you put your account on vacation mode. This prevents new items from entering your queue, so it’s easier to focus on what you have. It defeats the purpose of the SRS a bit, but ending every day with 500+ reviews also doesn’t help the SRS.

To be frank, I don’t like the “morning, then midday then in the afternoon” approach to doing wk reviews. The most demoralizing and painful thing is when you have a lot of reviews piled up (to me, even 50 at a time can feel hard to concentrate on).
I’ve found, that for me, what works is filling those little scraps of time you get between tasks to be the most efficient. 5 minute break after lunch? WK. Travelling to work, school or whatever? WK. Completely bored, because you have nothing to do at work/school? WK.
These might be 5 minutes each, or 20, or an hour and a half, doesn’t matter, they add up. If you change from doing 3 review sessions a day to 10 small review session, you can handle much larger piles of work without getting exhausted from trying to remember.

Of course, this method has a few requirements. You for sure need to be able to do reviews on the go (I use flaming durtles, can recommend). You might want to finish items instead of doing 10 readings at one time then 4 hours later doing the meanings. This can be achieved with scripts and with apps as well.

It’s quite nice, when the biggest review pile you have to worry about is 25-ish items.


Thanks for the advice means a lot!

I was actually considering this option of a script–but I was unsure what it meant exactly or where to implement this. I’ll research it I think because I’ve already been leaning there. Part of me wants to make kanji have the most precedence or something but I am unsure if that’s a good idea.

I definitely should be looking into keeping my apprentice level stuff below a certain number. Not being completely familiar with how things are organized besides intuition I’ve gained over the last few months I never considered specifically keeping apprentice low. I feel like I often knock a lot of things back into apprentice though!

God that sounds nice, hahaha

I like this idea a lot. It’s so odd, just in terms of mental satisfaction I definitely would pile things up then knock it out. But I should be perfectly fine with just filling the gaps of time I have. I was worried THAT would lead to burnout, but it’s not so grueling and at least using this method to deplete this massive pile will help a lot so thank you for that.

I … I did not know vacation mode existed. I really, really should’ve utilized this last week! I tried to keep up there, but it became impossible at points and in the back of my head I just imagined the reviews absolutely rolling.

Congrats on taking the JLPT! Goal of mine for sure.

That speedrunning script seems like something that could work for me. There’s a lot I have down, but I feel like what I have down is never something I’m shown again. Some things have popped up that I haven’t seen in absolute months and I just don’t get how I’m supposed to memorize if that’s the case.


Burnout usually happens because you spend a lot of time on something and you lose interest in it for some time. Doing reviews in small chunks can make it be a filler task of sorts. It’s like when you can’t do anything, so you scroll reddit or instagram or tiktok, whatever floats your boat. Once it’s a filler like that, it’s really really hard to burn out. It will be your brain’s way to “switch off” for a bit.


Check your leech. How many did you get? A lot of leeches might demotivate you since you feel not progressing and reviewing the same items repeatedly. Try tackling it first. There’s a lot of topics covering leech in this forum.

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Thanks for your advice!

I still have no idea how the wrap up button works, actually, and noticed it a few times wondering what exactly it did. I guess I thought I was doing everything right until it came crashing down.

I should really implement more formal study methods too. I was studying a textbook for a while and do have a notebook, and plus it could give me good writing practice so that’s good to use.

It takes all the items you’ve started already and only gives you the task of getting the other half, so you can finish your reviews there and then, no new items

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For a pretty bad procrastinator like me … and, dare I say, a redditor, this is probably one of my best bets to change up my habits and make this more doable again.

They have a section for leeches? Or is this just off of what I know? Certainly are a good amount I can recall that are constantly, constantly coming back.

Oh wow that is something worth knowing, thank you!

I really did not consider that that could be a problem. No idea why. I figured it was fine to have a lot of those but my reasoning for that I could not tell you. I’m gonna absolutely try to keep it lower.