Falling off, and I'm really frustrated

Hey everyone first post ever here woohoo!

Besides the cheerful intro I’m actually really REALLY frustrated right now with my progress. I’ve been going strong for almost a year now (it’ll be a year in August! :raised_hands:, and up til now I’ve really been enjoying the progress I’ve been making.

However, as of late I’ve been consistently getting review scores in the 50-60 percents, deviating from my normal scores of 80-90%. As you can tell this has kind of ruined my mental and now I don’t really look forward to doing my reviews at all, and actually kind of dread it when I see big review stacks (like coming back from work to 250 reviews woof) coming in.

I’ve stopped doing lessons completely when I leveled up to level 34 so I have that big stack looming over me, and on average I usually get 200-400 reviews a day if I leave it til before bedtime.

SO! My question to everyone is: Have you guys been through this as well? If so, if y’all can share some tips and tricks to help me get over this that would be seriously appreciated!

Frustrated WaniKani user :frowning:

(P.S I did just come back from vacation mode as well but I was getting super low review scores before this as well. I was considering resetting back to level 30 but I’m on the fence right now whether I should or not!)


Hmm, personally I did experience something similar when I was getting close to level 60. In my case it was the fact that a lot of leeches (Items I struggled to learn) had piled up and were pulling down my overall numbers. I’d look into how many leeches you have (Item inspector can show them, also leech trainer). Putting some extra focus on the things you’re not getting easily could help.

Also, have there been any big changes in your personal life or environment? Your brain can only handle learning so much, so if it’s getting overloaded that could explain why you’re struggling so much now. It could also be that the built up workload on WK is too much and you need to reduce it a bit.

As for methods to improve, obviously it depends on the cause, but in general you could try using the extra study mode to go over recent mistakes and recently learned items to get them stuck in your head better. Really focus on the mnemonics or if WK’s don’t work for you come up with your own. If you’re struggling with the work then hold off on lessons until it becomes manageable and go slow when you start them again.

As for resetting to 30, I’d look over the kanji in those levels and see how many you can recall. If you don’t have a clue for most of them then it wouldn’t hurt to reset, and it would reduce the amount of reviews. If you are just struggling with the workload it would help.


I’ve taken multiple breaks and come back to a lot of reviews, but I’ve never had huge amounts of new reviews per day, since I’ve always done a fixed amount of lessons, and any time I’ve come back from a break, I’ve only done max 100 reviews on any single day (so as not to have big numbers coming in later). But all of that isn’t gonna help you much with your current situation.

Is there anything in common with the items you’re getting wrong? Like are they mostly from recent levels? Then maybe reseting and doing them as lessons again would be a better idea. Maybe they are similar looking kanji? So it might be time to do a bit of extra study to differentiate them in your mind. If leeches, then either study them more or try encounter them in the wild (leeches only sticks for me after I see them in context in some media I’m enjoying).

If there is something else you find commonly about them, let us know and maybe we can come up with a good idea how to battle that.

Outside that: when I find myself frustrated by WK, I usually reduce my time spent there (if possible), and remind myself of why I am trying to learn this language. In my case, that means I pick up manga and books (in Japanese), and read. If I’m frustrated, the easier the better. Or I might watch anime with English subtitles (thereby getting some listening practice, but mainly I get to enjoy the content).

Basically, I go to the places where Japanese is not frustrating and instead hang out where it is fun. And it actually helps WK a lot to spend time encountering the language in the wild. A WK vocab seen in context in Japanese media tend to be a lot easier to remember (and therefore answer correctly), than one you haven’t seen yet.


My review scores are generally in the 60s now. I was completing levels quite fast until the 20s (well… in 14 days maybe) but now I can be on a level a month or even two, because I am strict about not taking on new lessons until my apprentice is under 100.

I have been working the same way the whole time - the thing that changed last year was all the wretched stuff coming back after months and months out of my sight, and because I get many of those wrong, they fill up my apprentice and slow everything down. (I have maybe 200 reviews a day).

Since you ask for advice - my advice is 1. don’t wind yourself up, it’s not a race; 2. keep going, but maybe don’t take on too many new lessons; 3. if your problem is the same as mine with things coming back to haunt you, see 1 and 2, but also maybe expose yourself to more reading and listening in an attempt to get things to stick from seeing them in the wild. (I don’t do enough of 3 but I know that’s probably the way to fix things). That’s my approach at least.

good luck! Try not to be too frustrated. You’ve learnt so much and come so far. Think how little you probably knew a year ago.


It sounds like you are doing just one review session per day just before bedtime?

More reviews will help. You may benefit from trying a short session first thing in the morning as well (if nothing else it will knock down the size of the pile in the evening).

More importantly, though, try using the extra study feature for a while. Since you’ve stopped doing lessons, the “recent mistakes” pile will be most beneficial. Try doing it whenever you have a chance, but especially right before your evening review session. It will make the time you spend longer but the extra “no pressure - don’t count” reviews will definitely help.

Nothing saps motivation like low accuracy. You absolutely must get back up to the 80-90% range, and more reviews (out-of-band reviews) are how you get there.

Good luck.


im only at level 6… im scared… I’m doing on avg. 100 reviews a day all up


FWIW, I’ve almost never done more than around 200 reviews in a day. Light days are around 60-80, heavy around 180, and typical around 150.

Once you start seeing enlightened items around six months in, you’ll know what your steady state workload is. From then on as long as you burn items at roughly the same pace you do new lessons, do all your available reviews at least once every day, and maintain a fairly consistent accuracy, then it will stay pretty consistent.


I missed like 5 days when my new job started, and my accuracy rate plummeted. It took about 2 weeks to get back to hitting daily 0 reviews, then 2 more weeks to get my accuracy back up. After that I got back into a 2 week per level speed. But yeah, for every missed day you would fall behind your typical pace by like 4 days. But, if you push through those 4 days you will recover.


Definitely have hit that same wall. Maybe change how you’re studying after taking a break? During my second break, I was getting frustrated with having hundreds of reviews everyday, so I after knocking down my current backlog of reviews, I started doing only 10 new lessons a day focusing on Blue, Pink then Purple card unlocks. Previously, I was trying to unlock all my cards at once, but at 10 a day, I can make good time to really go over and make my own mnemonic stories for each kanji and log in quickly to keep up on reviews. I still make good progress as long as I’m lucky enough to get those cards unlocked in order. My Apprentice card level usually hovers around 50 cards. Can’t say if this will work for you, but try little changes in how you use WK to find out what works better.


might that be the issue? As I understand, you work full time and probably have other things you also do during your free time. Maybe your brain is just too exhausted, you are too tired, maybe a little impatient because all you want to do is go to bed, and this allows for way more errors.

I notice my accuracy plummets whenever I do reviews right before bed time. If your schedule allows it, maybe try to do a big bulk of reviews earlier in the day.


yes my enlightened is currently at 287… and my first burns are in early September… I’m so excited


I have hit the same wall as you, but I’m only at level 10! It just so hard to remember the readings, when it’s しand when it’s じ, げん or けん, しゃ or しょ, it is a nightmare!
Doing extra study “recent mistakes” helps, but I’m not so sure how useful it is in the end, as you should get them in the long term memory.
What I’m doing is just to go on in my VERY slow pace. I’m trying to do some reading and listening every day, my hope is that bit by bit I am learning more than forgetting.

just don’t understand how some of you are finishing this in year and half. At my current pace, it’s going to take me somewhere between 5-6 years, if not something miraculous happens on the way.


hello mjh44. Just keep going :slight_smile: I don’t know if you’ve seen the graph of people on different levels. But the percentage of people who get to 60 is very small. Some of them get there by being freakishly good (hence the speediness). But all of them get there by toughing it out. (And remember, the ones who drop by the wayside don’t post on this board! which gives a false impression of how difficult most people find this).
I reckon if we found ourselves really clear and memorable mnemonics for the sounds you mention (not necessarily the ones WK suggests) then that helps a bit too.
good luck


This sounds like the wall that we all hit from time to time. As someone says above, maybe take a step back from wanikani and do some immersion through reading? Remind yourself of why you started and just enjoy the native material for a while through reading, listening, watching shows, instead of doing tests through wanikani, ie go on vacation mode for maybe two weeks and see how you feel afterwards.

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I think on average I do around 3-4 sessions a day. Sometimes though I wake up in the morning with a pile of like 150-200 reviews which get left to the end of the day (I’m not really a morning person :laughing:)

I’ll give the extra study feature a chance. As of right now I only have around 112 items in apprentice category, but they’re from levels LONG before this one that I just never got down pat.

Thanks for the tips!


I know this is bad but lately if I wake up to like 150+ reviews, I’ll just leave it for later and then you know how that story goes :laughing: I’ll try and make it a point to at least do around 50 in the mornings from now on as you’re definitely right, at the end of the night I really just want to sleep instead of doing my neglected pile of reviews.

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That’s a good thing. You want your leeches in the apprentice bucket. It’s when leeches keep cycling around the highest stages that they become hardest to stamp out (due to infrequent reviews with multi-month gaps).

I’m confident that several days of extra study will help you kill those leeches.

Most will be due to your brain confusing them with other characters. Some will be due to unusual readings, rendaku, transitivity, etc. Others will have subtle, conceptual meanings that are tricky to hang onto.

Regardless, more reviews of those items will give your brain a chance to identify the cause and hopefully correct it. I regularly create little stories around tiny differences between visually similar characters, for example.

If you notice you miss an item frequently, try to figure out WHY. If it only dropped from enlightened to guru2, consider intentionally answering incorrectly a few more times to drop it even further so you can review it more often (it won’t slow you down much if at all in the long run).


While I find WaniKani useful, I think they do a tremendous disservice to users–bordering on hucksterism–when they claim that SOME PEOPLE can get to level 60 in a year. For English speakers, Japanese is one of the three hardest languages in the world to learn, according to the State Department’s foreign service officers’ training program. According to their handbook, it normally takes 3 years of 8 hours of training a day/5 days per week to become fluent in speaking and reading. So we all just have to suck it up and struggle, and hope that whatever is that is motivating us (in my case, it’s work and being married to a Japanese person) will power us through. I guess my advice, which is possibly worth nothing, is to spend somewhat more time with whatever it is that excites you about learning Japanese, whether it’s watching dramas, listening to pop, or reading mysteries, and a little less time with Wani Kani until your passion revives. If it makes you feel any better, I lived and worked in Japan for 15 years and I have still been stuck on level 26 for THREE MONTHS, although I practice all my reviews every day.


I’d say that also borders on hucksterism FWIW. :smile: It all comes down to what you consider “fluent.”

But I’m actually more in agreement with you than not. In their defense, there have been many people that have gotten to sixty in about a year. Counting against them, most of us will benefit from going a bit slower (I’m on a three-year pace).

My opinion on speed has changed pretty significantly since I’ve been here. I used to view getting to 60 quickly as little more than a party trick, worthless internet points at best.

But I eventually realized that, unlike myself, many here are are learning to read kanji first. If not the very first thing, Wanikani comes very early in their studies. In my case, I’d already built up a reasonably large vocabulary from speaking the language (poorly) for decades. WK and reading came absurdly late in my studies.

Early on, it makes sense to “get to the good stuff” as quickly as possible. IMO, the good stuff is building vocabulary, learning a bit of basic grammar, and communicating as much as possible (in either or ideally both directions: input and output). The more kanji you know, the easier this becomes. Once you’re able to read a bit, it goes faster and faster.

For those that are just starting out, a rough level of understanding suffices, and time to get there becomes far more valuable. In my case, I’m filling in some serious gaps. I value depth of understanding over speed.

There are, of course, those just after internet points, but there are also legitimate learners all along the fast-vs-slow spectrum.


Thank you everyone for the helpful advice! I guess I need to take a step back and think bigger picture and why I started learning in the first place. After all, it isn’t a race and there will be ups and downs along the way.

I’ve been attempting doing reviews in chunks of 50 per session at a time, and my accuracy has jumped from 50s and 60s to high 70s! Obviously not exactly where I want to be, but it’s definitely an improvement.

I guess the main takeaway from these past few weeks for me is just trust the process and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it as Japanese is quite a tricky language to learn!

Thanks all and good luck to everyone with your studies :cowboy_hat_face: