Can't keep up with my reviews

Whilst on furlough I was able to go up a level every month, now I’m back to work and busy as ever I’ve been stuck on the same level for nearly 3 months now. When I clear my reviews I come back to 100 at the end of the following day.

How do you usually manage this? It’s so overwhelming :weary:


I keep track of where my items are in the srs timeline. I use Flaming Durtles on my phone for a quick look at my 24 hour timeline every now and then during the day, and what srs stage those items are in. And I also use it for a view of what my current level items are doing (how many are in what apprentice stage), and what previous level items I haven’t guru’d yet.

For a cumulative count of my reviews in a day, I use the new dashboard hourly Review Forecast. I can tell from that how busy I’ll be when I sit down for reviews at various points in the day.

Furthermore, I only do lessons in the morning before 8, and make sure I can get to the next review before 1pm. That way I can do the next review of those new items before 9pm in the evening, when I am usually not so tired yet. That greatly reduces my mistakes on these critical items that contribute to immediate workload the most.

At one level a month are you doing a set amount of lessons each day? At that rate, you should be doing 1 or 2 new kanji each day, and you can spread out the vocab very well, too. Doing less lessons at once might help to increase retention, because you can pay more attention to each item. And give attention to older items coming in as well.

In short, I pay attention to the amount of reviews coming in throughout the day, so I am never surprised, and I do my lessons at a set time, at an amount that allows for me to keep pace, and set aside time to hit the reviews of those lessons on time.


I do reviews several times per day. Most days, I get around 80-100 in the morning when I wake up, and 10-20 every hour during the day. I wake up 30 minutes earlier than when I have to get up to get through my morning reviews and do the reviews during the day as they come.

I think it would be easier for you to do your reviews throughout the day rather than doing them once per day. Maybe do 20 reviews 5 times per day rather than 100 reviews once per day feels less overwhelming?

You may know this already, but there are apps for Wanikani both for Android and iOS. Maybe it’s easier to do your reviews throughout the day if you can do them on your phone when you have a few minutes?


Are you doing lessons still? Since the way that SRS works means that your input controls how much reviews you have, if you hold off on the lessons or reduce the amount you do, gradually your review count will decrease and the pace will slow down. When it gets to a manageable level you can then look at your dashboard and see how many apprentice items or lessons per day/week creates this ideal pace for you.

Many people also download one of the mobile apps on their phone so they can do some in their lunch break or while commuting, etc. just in little bits so it chips away at the overall pile.

For me, when i have to take extended breaks of more than a day or two, or if i’m getting overwhelmed i put on vacation mode and just take a bit of a break, step back and remind myself that Wanikani isn’t a race, it’s a marathon that looks very different for everyone and that reviews aren’t the be-all and end all of Wanikani. I also use [Userscript] WaniKani Prioritize Overdue Reviews (reorder script) so (at least in my head) i feel like I’m making progress when i get back to reviews.

I hope some of this helped : )
Also, since it’s your first time posting:

\textcolor{MediumPurple}{\huge \textsf{Hi}} {\huge \textsf{@kaleshe}} \textcolor{MediumPurple}{\huge \textsf{!}}


It’s great to have you here!

If you haven’t already check out the Forum Guidelines and the Wanikani User Guide .
There’s also tonnes of things on the forums to help you on your way such as The guide, The Ultimate resource list, and API and Third Party Apps.

If you have any questions, check out this thread; but if this doesn’t answer your questions, feel free to create a thread like you’re done here, or email The Wanikani staff

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you around!


According to the script I have installed, I do roughly 126 reviews on average per day.

I find some days I have more because I will start reviews. I am usually deliberate on when I start new reviews so as to not be overwhelmed the following day when they show up in my normal rotations for ranking up, etc.

My worst day was I think 275 reviews because when I first started WK I treated it like something I needed to keep pushing and would do all vocab/radical/kanji reviews the day they popped. I paid for it for a few weeks until I figured out my pace.

And of course, my pace changes according to the speed of each level. Some levels are fast while some are normal speed.

The trick is like everyone else has said: find a method that works for YOU. My method may not be what gets you going and keeps you motivated but if you take the parts from what everyone puts out to try, eventually you will get to where it is best for you.

Keep pushing!

1 Like

A level in a month sounds way too long. The longest I had was 15 days per level.

The key is doing reviews at a regular time. Best is to do reviews at least twice a day with a ~7 hour gap in-between, e.g.: during a lunch break and then before going to bed.

And of course you need to do lessons regularly. It’s best to do a fixed number of items every day than doing them all at once. Many people do 10-20 per day.


Thanks, d-hermit. I’m in the process of getting my reviews down from 200+ every day, to something more sustainable. I’m letting my Level 14 lessons sit for the past 36 hours. Now that I’ve got my apprentice items down below 100 again, I’ll do 10-20 lessons, as suggested (instead of doing all 98 like I would have done, which would just get me back on the treadmill at the high speed setting!).

200+ a day is pretty rough. I’d usually get ~150.

I thought I’d provide a bit more reasoning for doing 10-20 lessons per day:

Each wk level has up to ~200 items. It also takes ~4 days to guru an item. So your expected leveling speed is 200 / (lessons per day) + 4.
If lessons per day is 20, then you’ll level up every 2 weeks.

Your minimum is ~7 days but that’s much less sustainable because of high workload.

According to wkstats my typical level up is 22 days. I had been doing my reviews before work and in the evening but I never get enough time in the morning anymore so end up only doing my reviews in the evening which is probably part of the problem.

Because the reviews are so out of control I’ve barely been able to learn any new words or particles as I keep skipping days due to the overwhelm and finding it hard to juggle things.

I like your approach of doing it in the morning and before pm to ensure the last batch of reviews will land around 9pm. Think I may try something similar, thank you!


I often take a month, but sometimes much longer to level. My guess is that most fast-levelers have pre-knowledge, likely meaning and pronunciation and just have to learn the kanji itself. I think it is misleading to compare someone who does not have a lot of exposure and does some studying as a hobby with someone who has some command of the language and uses this site for (admittedly) it’s original purpose, learning kanji.


Thanks for your comment! I had been doing my reviews throughout the day, but on the mornings where I am unable to, it causes a build up which makes me feel overwhelmed so I then start to avoid the reviews altogether. I guess I struggle with being disciplined in the mornings, almost always rushing to work :sweat_smile:


Thanks for your comment :slight_smile:
According to wkstats my typical level up time is actually 22 days which isn’t too far off from that I suppose. Although I’ve been on my current level for a whooping 97 days… Would it be better for me to do a small amount a day so I can get my reviews down? I have just over 200 reviews at the moment. Before I fell off the wagon, I had been doing reviews in the morning and night. Though I’ll definitely try and break it down throughout the day instead, seems a little more sustainable.


if it’s painful, reset down to a few levels. This way you will be faster and feel better.
it works for me.

I’ve pretty much stopped learning any new items in an attempt to lower the overall reviews. I have the app too, which I had been using in the morning and evening as I can’t on my lunch since it’s only half an hour, so don’t usually have time to do anything other than eat.

I’ll definitely try using vacation mode when I need a break, never thought of doing that before so thanks for the suggestion.

Would it be worth me getting through the pile then moving forward doing my reviews bit by bit? Or starting bit by bit with my current pile of 200 reviews?

Thank you :slight_smile: cute gif ^^

1 Like

I’d say to try to clear them all and then chip away at what’s left over.

Hopefully, you know many of your items well, and you can promote them so they increase in SRS duration and you won’t see them again for a while. That will relieve some of the pressure.

Then you’ll just be left with items you’re more shaky on, and you can clear them more quickly.

One of the issues with having a big review backlog, and only doing reviews bit by bit, is there may be items you’re really shaky on and need to see regularly to learn better. If you don’t clear your review queue, you may not actually see those items as often as the SRS intends and it will be hard to get them in your memory.

So, I’d try to go through the pile entirely and then spend a few days trying to clear your review pile to zero each day. After a few days, your review load should go down a lot, provided you’re holding off on lessons until things quiet down.

1 Like

Scheduling reviews to maximize the SRS benefit can be hard if you have a very structured day.
When you have caught up a bit and are ready to start doing lessons again, if you have a device something like this might work:

  • In the morning get up a in time to do 10 lessons (or 5 if that is all you can manage).
  • Sometime at least 4 hours later, on a bathroom break do 5-10 reviews. If you don’t know something you don’t know it, move on - that way you don’t end up lingering in the loo.
  • Try to do 5-10 more reviews on a bathroom break later.

Hopefully you will have kicked at least some of your morning lessons up a notch by the time you get to your evening reviews. But, getting to a review of the morning lessons sometime during the day is helpful for me.

My guess is that most fast-levelers have pre-knowledge

I have been at this 20 years and never took Kanji seriously until earlier this year. I can pronounce the language but outside of about 100 Kanji that I only knew the definition for, I didn’t know readings with the exception of maybe 15 I learned over a decade ago.

I can barely speak. I can’t really read. I can understand a lot of spoken which I think may be part of the pre-knowledge. When I read the word or hear the reading and it’s something I know, like kiwotsukete (be careful) I just know what it means. This helps mainly on vocab.

So yeah… at first I though no, I am not as fast as I am because I have pre-knowledge but thinking it through, I guess I do OK at this speed because I can understand spoken Japanese at a 4th or 5th grade level. By the time I hit level 20 will I be able to maintain this speed? Maybe not.

The key is the same though for any learner; find something the learner is comfortable with and stick to it. Don’t be a slerched (that’s me) and take 20 years to take Kanji seriously.

Keep at it.

If you become demotivated, stop into the community here and we will help cheer you on, console you, or kick you in the butt to help get you back to learning!

Just don’t give up.


I don’t really have any more to add outside of, whatever you do, don’t give up.

Once you figure out how to get it back to manageable and figure out a good process for yourself, keep at it. If you get back to a point of feeling like you aren’t moving ahead, stop on in and we can help motivate you! :wink:


It’s usually just time commitment.

I do three sessions a day: morning, noon, evening.

I keep Apprentice items around 100 and do at most 20 lessons per day. That leads to around 150 reviews per day.

With all that I’m at 10-11 days per level.

If you can only do one session per day, that means that it will take you at least 4 days to get to apprentice 4 rather than 2 so you should have a level up of around 15+ days.

1 Like

Sweet, sweet summer child…