Finish all reviews before starting lessons?

I’ve been getting a little bit behind on my reviews lately (I blame the summer season making me lazy), and I usually wake up to around 100+ reviews each day. Unless I sit down and really hammer them all out, they start piling up and I keep having to work through them to get the number down.

I’ve always been in the habit of not starting any new lessons until I finish all of my reviews. It just seemed logical to me to review stuff I’ve already learned first before moving on to new material. But now that my Master and Enlightened terms are starting to pop up more frequently in my reviews, I’m really struggling with getting through all of them and still having energy to learn new lessons. For reference, I usually keep my Apprentice terms at ~125 which I think most Wanikani users do as well.

What’s your process for juggling Reviews and new Lessons? Do you always finish the Reviews first before hitting new Lessons?


125 apprentice is a lot for me. I usually stay at 60. I think the general rule of thumb here is actually no more than 100 apprentice.

Yes I always finish reviews first before tackling new items. I also make sure I got the last lesson to at least Apprentice II or III before learning new ones.


When I was still doing lessons, I usually did them before my reviews as I felt like I had more energy for the lessons, just like you say. But to me, it seems like your problem might rather be the amount of reviews you have to do in general. Maybe you should break them up into more sessions per day or do fewer lessons so your reviews stay manageable?

I never did lessons while having pending reviews. Always got the reviews to 0 first.

This is why a lot of people do reviews > lessons. Lessons just lead to more reviews. If you don’t have the energy to do lessons on top of your current review load, increasing that review load by taking on more lessons might not be the best idea.


I space out the reviews over the course of a day. Then, when I’m done or close to done at the end of a day, I do a lesson session. This way, I only get a few more kanji at a time and am constantly working on reviews.

In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY do your reviews before your lessons. I won’t do any lessons at all if the session felt like a struggle, if I’m simply too tired, or if I finish my review session with too many items at the apprentice level.

At the beginning of a new level, I rarely add more than 5 lessons since they are all likely to be evil pink kanji. At the latter part of a level where most of the lessons are purple vocabulary to help me remember readings, I might do ten or even twenty lessons (I find vocabulary easier).

As others have indicated, if you find keeping ~125 items at the Apprentice level difficult, then lower the number by slowing down on lessons. For what it’s worth, I try to keep mine around 100 apprentice items, but everyone’s comfort zone will differ.

Your accuracy rates are a good indicator of review session difficulty. I get disheartened if my running average for correct answers falls much below 85%.

[The running average is shown in the upper right of each review screen next to the thumbs-up icon. This is just the percentage of correct answers, regardless of whether they are for the same item or not, or whether it took you multiple tries to answer correctly. This is different from the review summary screen which gives you the percentage of items you answered correctly the first time for both meaning and reading.]

The most important thing is to maintain a load that keeps you motivated and doing your reviews daily.

While I typically maintain around 100 items in the apprentice bucket, I also pay particular attention to how many kanji (vs. vocabulary or radicals) I have in the Apprentice 1 or 2 stages. The item inspector userscript is particularly handy for this.

If I see too much evil pink in stage 1 or stage 2, I’ll likely skip doing lessons that day.

tl;dr: Do your reviews. When it gets too easy, do more lessons.


The number of reviews that are upcoming usually determines whether or not I do lessons. If I expect more than X amount(180 for me), then I neglect lessons and focus on reviewing for the day. If it’s less, I’ll do lessons first and work on finishing the review pile in two batches(60% first time, 40% + new items on second time).

That being said, I am leveling at a slower pace right now to focus on grammar, so I review only 10 new items per day at most and my review piles are pretty small.

You beat me to it and said it better than I can. Do this!

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Always, without exception, for all 60 levels. I’ve put off new items for as long as month if I needed to lower my apprentice.

I kept mine below 100 and that leads to around 150-200 daily reviews, which was a manageable load for me.

One thing to note is that I did 3 sessions per day and I would only do lessons in the morning or noon sessions so a single session would only be around 50 review items to get through before doing lessons since reviews were spread out.

I also limited myself to 20 lessons per day max.


The important thing governing the number of reviews you get is the number you have in apprentice (pretty much). If you leave off lessons for a bit, you could get your apprentice down (to say 100, an oft-quoted WK benchmark) and then take on a few more.

I finish my reviews every day, but owing to having an aging brain or bad memory or something, I can’t get everything right. Particularly the ‘old stuff’ which you are now finding returning after some time. So I get those back again as more apprentice reviews… finishing reviews daily is only part of the equation.

(If I had a sharper brain I could finish my reviews and always add some lessons :slight_smile: - but even then, I would end up with loads and loads of reviews, if I did too many lessons)

So maybe you have slightly bitten off more than you can chew with 125 in apprentice. You might have to put the brakes on temporarily to get that number down, so you don’t burn out! Good luck

I like to do my reviews before any news lessons. But feel bad when ive completely forgotten what some are and take some time to think am i really ready to take on more lessons.

Yeah, I agree with the other folks that this might be a warning sign that your WK workload is starting to become too much for you, so I would recommend slowing down your pace and doing fewer lessons. If you do a consistent number of lessons a day, lowering that number by five or so might be a good idea.

If you reduce your workload now, that might save you from burning out later! The easier it is to keep WK part of your daily schedule, the easier it will be to keep doing it without giving up. Slowing your progress a little is worth it if that allows you to make it to the end.

To answer your question, the only time I ever do lessons before clearing my review pile is if I’m rushing to try to get my lessons done in time for me to be able to hit the 4 hour and 8 hour intervals before I go to bed that night, haha! And even then, I clear out the reviews immediately afterward. But my morning review pile is normally very light, because my heaviest review load comes in at night.

Small reward for me for finishing reviews is doing new lessons.

I often get overwhelmed so sometimes I only do 10 reviews at a time.

this is such a clutch way to manage the reviews. I’ve always just done all the lessons at once and been burned out by reviews.

It all depends on the amount of time and energy you have to devote to doing reviews really.

I’ve done lessons before having 0 reviews several times up to lv 60, though it was usually for specific reasons: such as wanting to get a start on a new level, so getting a start on the last vocab items + radicals.

Also, being a bit strategic about review timings - thinking ahead of when your 4-hour and 8-hour SRS-intervals will happen for new items - isn’t a bad idea, imo. Starting in on lessons first rather than pending reviews is a way to get reviews at the times of day you prefer. (which will ensure you get items to apprentice 3 within the same day)

On the other hand, I basically got myself to 0 reviews at the end of nearly all days. I only started slacking after reaching lv 60. But, that also meant I never had a for me overwhelming amount of reviews pending and doing some more lessons wouldn’t have much impact on my personal review pace.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if you want to add new items or not, evaluating if it will be too many reviews to handle or not. That’s probably the most important consideration.

Edit: A good rule of thumb might be: don’t do any lessons if you don’t think you can reach 0 reviews at the end of the day.

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My lesson strategy is upon level up I do them until all of the radical lessons are done, the next day all of the Kanji and then starting the next day 20-30 Vocab lessons per day depending on how hard they feel. Sometimes I’ll skip a day if I’m too lazy and if I have like 200+ reviews that day I won’t do as many, maybe 10 or 15.

Sometimes I’ll have up to 180 apprentices but I don’t really mind since I have enough free time(at least until summer ends) and I enjoy doing reviews.