Cleaning up leeches/items and I'm frustrated that its taking so long

I’m not sure what you mean. I do all my reviews everyday.

Maybe I should have titled this thread something else haha. I guess I’m cleaning up items/leeches and not reviews.


Just popping in to say that this is a concern that I have, given that on my study log I’m trying to whittle down 1140 reviews XD

We’re in similar boats mayhaps :wink:

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yeah maybe I misunderstood… anyway, my point is, if you have trouble with reviewing or retention (like, leeches) at level 12, you’re gonna have a bad time at later levels… so whatever you do, don’t just race forward and let the leeches overwhelm you (I hope I got it right what you meant). I got especially screwed because WaniKani changed their mnemonics back when I was like level 20 and it slowed me down so much … I had a lot of items that I only half-remembered but was able to guess … now without the old mnemonics, I can’t even go back and review it, so I slowed down like hell… if I had focused on it and remembered everything perfectly, I’d be alright, but I half assed it and now I regret


Thanks for your reponse!

I think I screwed myself on some stuff at around level 6/7 that’s where the bulk of my leeches are. The new level stuff is fine (so far).

I think waiting to do level 13 stuff until I have all the current items under control is the right call. Just sucks haha. Thanks!

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I wouldn’t look at the apprentice count as an indicator how fast you are going. As long as you do your kanji as soon as they become available, you will be going as fast as possible. You can adjust from there. Only thing you are doing with increasing your apprentice count is increasing the momentary burden. Even when I was going max speed my app. count was pretty consistently under 150. Of course if you have some bad streaks that number can creep up.

That said, I also think the leech issue is real and is the main reason I stopped WK after some months at 60. I was just left with leeches, and hammering at them with self-study is not what I think is an efficient use of my time. While leveling it’s probably unavoidable, unfortunately. I think of it as “Here are some leeches that are frustrating and leeching your time, let’s throw even more time at them!” Better to let those words come to you when you are ready, IMO.


Hey :slight_smile:

I’d advise you to use the Self-Study script to review your most recently failed items every once in a while. From my experience and from seeing others doing it, I find it to be the most effective way to fix the leeches, and it doesn’t take that long :slight_smile: A few weeks of doing it every couple of days, and you’ll feel much better already.

Here are the links for the scripts:

You need the 1st one installed as it is the self-study script itself. The 2nd script adds the filter of “most recently failed items” to your self-study tool.

Let me know if that helps :v:


My review strategy is very simple (and slow): I review for 30 minutes every day, give or take, and that’s it. Leech management is a problem with any SRS system like WK, but at the end of the day managing them is on me, and I’ve gotten past most of them over the years through pounding them into my skull, though I still get routinely fail the final review on them ahead of burning. Oh well. They’ll stick eventually.

More generally, it’s far more important to be consistent in your reviewing than it is to manage leeches or whatever else you think is going to improve your learning. Lots of people on here are trying to min/max WK like it’s a video game, but ultimately your brain is only going to go as fast as it’s going to go (though ime learning speeds up appreciably with time, though I couldn’t tell you exactly when it happened). There’s really only one way to move the needle on reviews, and that’s time spent reviewing while your mind is untaxed. I found it easiest to review consistently 30m a day - others will differ - but you have to find what works for you. Beyond that I wouldn’t worry about it. Memorization is a grind, so just grind it out.


Have you started learning grammar and reading native material yet? You’ll find a lot of what you’re seeing by level 12 comes up fairly frequently, so getting into reading will help reinforce it.

Granted, if you haven’t done reading native material yet, it a huge uphill battle to get started. But it will be regardless of when you do it, so it may be better to tackle it sooner rather than later. The more comfortable you are with reading native material now, the more likely you are to see words you’re learning in WaniKani later.

One great place to start learning is with the Absolute Beginner Book Club, which is part of our WaniKani community book clubs. It’s best to know at least some basic grammar going in, but then you find much of the book club discussion is on grammar (especially for the Absolute Beginner and Beginner Book Clubs).

My favorite leeches are the ones I see in a manga, then get right on every subsequent review because I recall the scene I saw the word used in.


It’s really helpful if you can figure out why you’re getting the leech wrong.

  • Are you always confusing it for a similar (or not so similar!) word/kanji? Write them both out together and come up with a mnemonic or visual trick to tell them apart.
  • Are you always confusing the pronunciations for two kanji that mean similar things? (like 森 and 林) Write them out together and, again, figure out a mnemonic to link the right pronunciation to the right one.
  • Is your brain just going “nope, bunch of squiggles, I give up”? (I started having this problem around level 9 or 10.) Slow down, look for the radicals, try and remember the story … unless…
  • Having trouble finding the WK radicals in there in the first place? Figure out what is popping out at you and make a new mnemonic about that (Like 暑 doesn’t look like sun+someone to me, it looks like 2 suns that are stuck together, so I’m just gonna run with that!)
    Don’t be afraid to add new mnemonics on top of old ones (or instead of old ones) if that helps.

Thanks for the message. I’ve started reading a few things but always feel like its over my head. I’ve been using satori reader lately, and it seems decent. I think I’ll give the book club a try! I live in Japan so the most native reading I’ve been doing is menus!

Thanks for the link to the book club I think it’s just what I need!


That’s the way I need to do it. OK, new project. :smiley:


You are totally right! I think it depends on the leech/leech pair. I’ve noticed that on a few once I get them wrong I know the correct answer without looking at the correct answer first. For these I probably just need to slow down a bit first and make sure I’ve typed the correct thing in.

My absolute worst leech is 内 The mnemonic is “ooh, cheese” I can never remember if its つち or うち.

or like 全て(すべて) and 全く(まったく) I just can’t remember which one is “all” and which one is “complete”

I’m hoping that by stopping lessons for a bit and just focusing on figuring out what the real leeches are will help long term. Thanks!

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Thanks for sharing! The new lesson stuff doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue for me it seems to be the stuff that I learned when I was doing WK more sporadically. If I can tidy up those things I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a more consistent routine that will work for me.

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Cleaning up leeches and levelling up to 13 are two contradictory goals. If you’re drowning in the pool, is it a good idea to pour more water?


I’ve already leveled up to 13. I just haven’t touched any of the lessons for 13 yet. I’m not planning to until I have all the sneaky leeches sorted. Once I feel like they have been dealt with then I’ll start the level 13 stuff.

I agree with you trying to deal with the current leeches and adding more to the review pile isn’t a good idea right now. I want to focus on just the stuff I’m having difficulty first, then jump into level 13.


I want to use this thread as a way to also monitor my progress. So I’m going to periodically post what’s going on with my items! Thanks everyone


If you are interested in joining the Absolute Beginner Book Club, the current pick is still free on amazon (maybe Bookwalker too?) and since the chapters don’t really built up on one another you could jump right in with the chapters for this week!

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Thanks! I’ll get it from Amazon! I’ll try to go to the store tomorrow and see if I can find a hardcopy too. Thanks!

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There’s only one cheese inside, not two (つ)cheeses.

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An admirable goal, but personally I don’t think doing this is sustainable. I don’t remember the exact timing beyond apprentice, but I think you’re looking at at least 2 weeks per item, given you answer them correctly each time.
I usually just keep apprentice items below 100 and clear out all the previous levels vocab from the lessons before moving on to the next levels kanji. I think its unavoidable that you’ll have items from many levels previous that keep popping up in your review queue.
As for leaches, I probably should be reading this thread instead of giving advice lol. I have some leaches from like 20-30 levels prior that have been in my apprentice/guru queue for a year plus and are pushing 60 reviews each on meaning, reading, or both (curse 続々 and 追い付く!)
Keep up the good work though!