Can't keep up with my reviews

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 ^^

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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.

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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.

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Sweet, sweet summer child…


If you’re not doing new lessons, you’ll stay at your current level. You level when you get a certain number of the new kanji to guru level - which means you have to learn it and review it correctly a number of times.
My leveling speed was atrocious for a while because I was so focused on just doing reviews and didn’t do any new lessons for days.

You’re always going to have reviews (unless you get everything to Enlighted, in which case you’ll have nothing to do). 100 reviews a day is not crazy. Just focus on what you can do, if that’s not clearing out your reviews to zero, that’s normal. Try to add even 5-10 new lessons every day. You probably won’t see that crazy of an increase in the number of reviews.

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to not do all the reviews at once. :slight_smile:
You’ll probably make better progress if you stop at 100 (or 50 or whatever is your limit) every night – rather than trying to do the whole pile in one day, then avoiding it for 3 days, then trying to do another pile, then avoiding again…


Very true, will definitely try incorporating this moving forward. Thank you :slight_smile:

Yeah you’re right. I’ve totally put learning new items on the back-burner. After seeing this I went ahead and learned some new items, which weren’t so bad because they were words rather than particles. I find that once I get to the word bit, I’m usually ok as it helps me remember the individual characters. So thanks for mentioning that :slight_smile: will be trying to learn at least 5 items a day now!

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Thank you, writing this post and receiving so many comments has definitely motivated me to shovel through. Cleared out my reviews last night, learned about 20 new items this morning and trying to remain consistent on reviewing throughout the day :slight_smile:


Thank you! These comments have most certainly motivated me, it’s nice to hear from people who are in a similar boat or have conquered a lot of this already. I too never took kanji seriously until pretty late into my journey, probably wouldn’t have been able to without WaniKani either.


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I don’t think that’s helpful at all. Unless you’re doing this for coursework or for a job, then this is a hobby, nothing more. If people need one month per level or 6 it doesn’t matter. If it starts to feel like a drag, like a chore, and waking up to 100+ reviews will definitely do that, then frankly why bother.

I do this purely because it amuses me to understand anime without subs, read text in retro games, and to be able to say a few things whenever I’m in Japan. Your motivations may be entirely different, but please don’t attack people for working at their own speed. Frankly your post sounded gloating and shaming.

  1. Max 30 items per review use the wrap-up button (otherwise correct rate goes down)
  2. Don’t do new lessons if apprentice items number > 120
  3. Do reviews when you wake up and before bed.
  4. Do reviews in your phone when you have 20 or 30 minutes breaks.
  5. Always do reviews every day.
  6. Use a scrip to undo typos or honest mistakes (e.g. your definition is correct but the WK wording is too different)
  7. Use this script so you can recognize some of the kanji readings by just looking at the radicals, [Userscript] Keisei 形声 Semantic-Phonetic Composition

I’m not trying to discourage you but it gets way worst (at least for me, I was overwhelmed around lvl 42).

Was my reply so offensive that you decided to reply to a dead thread?

I had no intention to shame anyone I just wrote about my approach to WK in response to OP. I don’t think WK is an effective tool if you drag out the levels too much. Many people on this forum tell their success stories and a prominent trend among those stories is regular reviews on a schedule.

Some people reported finishing WK in 4 or 5 years. But in most cases they took a long break and came back. So, most levels took them under a month.

Spending too much time on a level will probably lead to never finishing WK. Therefore I’d encourage everyone who wants to learn kanji to sacrifice 1.5-2 years and finish WK asap.

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I totally agree. Saying that a lesson a month is too slow doesn’t feel like attacking to me at all, especially because it’s true. I don’t find learning languages fun, especially the grind, which wk totally is. The fun part of it is the result. I’d rather make my studies productive than trying to convince myself they are fun. Wk is not just about optimal time intervals for each item via srs. It’s about optimal material choice as well with items reinforcing each other. And that requires to keep a reasonable pace.

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It’s much more manageable to do them as they pop up as opposed to in big piles. It’s not always possible, of course, but if you do them throughout the day that also keeps you from getting large piles of reviews at once (like 3 or 4 piles of 30 in a day as opposed to 4 or 5 every hour). Big piles are really intimidating, but starting them and even doing 5 or 10 every once in a while just makes everything easier when you decide to clear them out. I’d suggest starting the next level, though. It’s much more motivating to finish reviews when you’re making real progress (although that will give you more reviews per day).

Don’t do new lessons if apprentice items number > 120

is this stated in some place of WK website to follow this as a guideline?

At my current level I never paid attention on how many words were in apprentice until I saw these guidelines you wrote.

Now it is at 112 (27 / 0 / 40 / 45 with SRS breakdown). So I guess I can keep doing new lessons.

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