Best way to review with Wanikani's SRS system

I am still on the lower levels (just hit lvl 3) but I am not sure the best way to handle self review. Normally I just review during the standard process and if I get it wrong I let it fall and that is how I deal with trouble kanji. I am now finding that a bunch of guru words I just reviewed were tough and I got more than I’d like wrong. My instinct it to review the kanji I have guru-ed more often but doesn’t that go against the whole system? I have read that it is best to review trouble kanji but I’m not sure the best way to identify them?

You can review your gurued items until you feel comfortable enough to add more items to your reviews by doing lessons. Not giving up is the real answer though… Don’t fall because or those gurued items you failed and think WaniKani will ask it again in the same review so you can try your best next time! :slightly_smiling_face:

Is there an easy way to review old items? Kinda of like a “review” but not a formal one that effects your rank? I worry that the SRS is too infrequent for me and I need to see the gurued words a bit more often until they really sink in. My other thought was to review everything before doing the formal review but that feels like gaming the system. So I’m trying to figure out the best approach.

You can see everything by using the Levels, Radicals, Kanji and Vocab pull-downs at the top of the page. For example, WaniKani / Level 1

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I guess to clarify is reviewing all the kanji and vocab words you’ve learned so far “breaking” the SRS? If I do that every few days will that impact things? I know reviewing the vocab words right before doing the formal review is a bit like cheating but I don’t know which words are coming up for review any other way.

there is also a user script that lets you do that. Self study script

And to answer your question, as long as you’re not reviewing things right before you do your actual reviews like you said i wouldn’t worry about self studying that much. Youre just adding onto the SRS system but youre not taking anything away


Early on I did fairly frequent reviews of all the kanji/vocab I’d learned to that point, but this very very quickly becomes infeasible due to the number of new items introduced.

So I don’t think it’s a terrible idea at first, especially if it increases early accuracy and motivates you to continue. But before too long it’ll become impossible, and you’ll need to just follow along with the SRS anyway.


The way I look at it is that most of your concerns are handled automagically by the SRS algorithms. If you’re really not getting an item, you’ll have to look at the damn thing every four hours until you get it right! Tough love, my friend.

Over time, the SRS will end up asking you kanji and vocabulary you don’t know much more often, and the kanji and vocabulary you do know much less often. So, you won’t have to keep answering what 人 means, but you’ll be quizzed on your problem spots until you finally get them.

I’m on level 50 and have never peeked at anything in my queues except for doing reviews. If I notice during reviews that an item seems to keep appearing (meaning I get it wrong often), I might decide to take further action. If it is an issue with recognizing the kanji, I may review the mnemonic or make my own, or try writing the kanji by hand, or try looking in a dictionary at the differences between it and other kanji I am getting it confused with.

On the other hand, if I notice I am getting the meaning of a vocabulary word wrong, I will look it up in a few dictionaries for a wider sense of the meaning, and look for several example sentences to drill it into my (somewhat thick) skull.

So, in summary, I don’t sweat it. That’s what SRS is for. I try not to even invest too much emotion into whether I get a review right or wrong. I figure if I don’t have it completely wired, it wouldn’t hurt to have to review it once again.


I’d agree with that - if you get something you guru’d wrong you will automatically get tested on it more regularly again so it will help to reinforce it.

You can keep an eye on your critical condition items on the dashboard and it can be useful having a quick look at these again to help consolidate them.

If I’ve done a number of reviews then at the end of the session I like to look at the ones I got wrong again on the summary page.

The other thing I’ve found helpful is if I keep confusing two kanji to spend some time writing them down next to each other and trying to get it straight in my head which is which (although I keep confusing 牛 生 and 年 !!)

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I’m assuming you meant that your instinct is to review kanji you HAVEN’T guru’ed (?). Because if you HAVE guru’ed a kanji, then you’re probably right on track with the SRS system in place and don’t really need to review those “more often”. But, as @Cherrykisu said, if you’re not completely sure and want to revisit them again, reviewing them sometime before you actually have to test for them again with WK would be best, as it would just reinforce the SRS timing further.

If you DID mean to ask if you could review things that you HAVEN’T guru’ed, then I’d say the answer is absolutely yes. I see a lot of people who use WK saying that anytime they get a kanji or vocabulary wrong, they will write it down or put it in their phone and go over it a few times to help it stick. Doing something like that would be really beneficial, I’d say.


How to identify them? write them down when you get them wrong :stuck_out_tongue:

There were a few words that I had a difficult time keeping straight, particularly the words that were transitivity pairs. And boy oh boy was I hating any word that had 下 in it there for a while. Then, particularly, for the okurigana words, I dug into what grammatical meaning the kana imparted, that helped quite a bit in keeping the meanings straight. I would say, if you can identify why the words are causing trouble for you then you can come up with a plan of attack. But, in general, if what once was easy has suddenly become more difficult with time, it’s probably a good idea to make more connections in your brain that solidify the meaning and the readings. In fact, even if you know the word pretty confidently, don’t stop relating it to other things. plenty of times these other things have helped me remember my mnemonics, lol.

If you’re having trouble with the readings, listen to the audio repeatedly a few times. I find it funny that sometimes if I’m not sure on the reading, I’ll just say the part of the word I know, and sometimes the whole word pops into my head. Also, I’ll try saying a word out with a few combinations of the readings and that helps too. But, if nothing comes to mind about the reading, try remembering another word that used the kanji and the mnemonic you used for it, thinking if it was the ‘on’ or ‘kun’ reading in that case–again a little grammar helps in this case as well. The word for adult was throwing me for a loop there for a bit, until I realized there was only one syllable difference between it and the vocabulary for woman; and it made sense to me that the word for adult and woman would be that similar, after all, a woman is an adult.

Do you really need to review much outside the SRS reviews? They are your reviews! Just take the time right there to solidify in your mind what you got wrong–come up with one new way to relate it to what you do know well if possible. And go over your notes. Or, make notes!

I hope my two cents worth can keep what you guru’d at guru and beyond! :slight_smile: They are things that seem to have helped me. For the most part, what I’ve guru’d has stuck pretty well, even the ones I’ve had so much trouble with in the beginning. (maybe even especially the ones I had trouble with in the beginning)

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I created a simple spread sheet of some kanji that I didn’t feel confident with. The thing that I kept struggling with was the pronunciation of items involving numbers. It was hard to recall which ones had the small つ and which didn’t. Also, those which had elongated sounds with う and お.

The very act of entering them in a table was helpful for me to identify my weak points. And then I could also memorize some things in chunks. Like saying 三つ、四つ、八つ to remember that they all had the small つ.

I think that particularly when struggling to acquire certain language points, taking a different approach is wise. Sometimes the brain just requires that we come at a problem from a different angle.

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There are also these two userscripts:

Leech-training script here & Leech, Apprentice & Guru dashboard details here


Here’s what works for me:

-Schedule time to do reviews twice a day, preferably once after waking up and again when I return home or before I go to bed. 8-12 hours between review sessions is ideal.

-Complete as many reviews as possible. (idk how manageable this is in later levels)

-Whenever I get new lessons, I try to break them up by about 15 new lessons per day to prevent overload. The most I’ve done so far is about 60 lessons at once, I don’t think I’ll ever go higher than that.

-Every time I log in to find no reviews or lessons, I’ll open the Levels page for all the radicals/kanji/vocab for each level, and test myself by covering the English and furigana while I try to read all the kanji. I prioritize the newest levels but will study ALL levels over and over with this method quite frequently. My golden rule here is to wait at least ONE HOUR after studying before going into a new review session.

My study sessions typically look like this:


I just ran across this script from another post I was reading, I love the audio quiz capability! That’s mostly the whole reason I installed it. There’s some words that sound so different than they ever did in my head, lol.

@Joby05, if you haven’t already, see if this helps with self reviews!

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Have you looked into user scripts? The ones mentioned in this thread are actually pretty great. I think you’re right, looking at things from a different angle is a good thing. I like that you were addressing the problems you were having that were hard to address with the mnemonics alone; it is confusing sometimes to try to remember if you need to type っつ or put an う at the end.

I just installed all of these, lol. They seem very useful in their own way. The one whose functionality I like most right now, is the self study script that allows me to hear the audio by itself and enter the meaning. Already I’ve run across a few words, that when I’m listening to them, give me some trouble, even if I can figure it out just fine by seeing the kanji.

I’ve been taking it a little bit slow lately, but I’m having fun. WaniKani is almost like the game I play when I’m bored or just don’t want to do anything else, haha. Maybe it takes me a little longer than it would if I went full speed ahead, but in the long run, I’m happy, because I know I’m still making progress towards a goal I want to reach.

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I always do the reviews normally, and forget about reviewing outside the system. If i’m getting a kanji or a radical wrong loads of times it usually appears on the Critical Item list, whenever I finish my reviews I look at this list and “review” the Kanji or the Radical. If it’s only vocabulary I forget about it because I know I don’t need to prioritize them, I’ll learn them normally.

I think with WaniKani the best approach is to let go and forget about rushing. Just keep doing your reviews and you’ll get it right.

Good luck!


Thanks for sharing these, creativefeather! So far I’ve only downloaded the script (I forget what it’s called) that let’s me override my mistakes. I use this primarily when I have a typo or when I’m going fast and mix up the readings of the vocab items with the kanji ones. Good luck!

There is no such thing as “breaking the SRS”… more exposure = more better. SRS just helps make thing more efficient as your workload can become quite overwhelming once you are up a few more levels.

The only thing to eventually watch out for is a false burn - that is burning a weak item because you saw it outside the SRS system just prior. Resurrect works well for this - I resurrect things all the time.

I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet - the site that tests you on English to Japanese.
This is another way that you can review ‘in-between’ your normal WK review sessions. I do Kaniwani reviews slightly less frequently than WK reviews, so items pop up on a different schedule, which I think is helpful. And also, (this part is totally optional depending on your personal goals), but I force myself to write down each word in Japanese before I enter the answer on Kaniwani to help improve my recall and practice actually writing the kanji.

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