Forever over 100 Apprentice

EDIT: To clear up confusion, I use the Ultimate reorder script so that I learn all the kanji / vocab at around the same rate. Only once I get my apprentice back down to under 100 do I do the lessons for the last few Kanji required to level up. My reason for not leveling up is because I cannot seem to get my apprentice items down low enough to where I would choose to learn my last few kanji.

I don’t really know what happened here… but I seem to not be moving forward at a steady rate.

In the beginning I was able to consistently move forward with 10 days per level up… then around level 12 I got stuck for a month where I just could not get my apprentice queue under 100. As soon as it dropped into the 90’s, my next set of reviews would come in and I’d get enough guru+ wrong to bump it back up.

After about a month I finally broke past that wall and continued on… but now I have been stuck at my current level for several months just cannot get under 100 apprentice.

I have tried studying them outside WK, I have tried flashcards/anki… but when I get to review time I just botch it up.
Has this happened to anyone else? Do you just keep powering through or do you have a better method?


Are you using the mnemonics?

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Yes, I am using the mnemonics, sometimes the ones that WK provides, sometimes ones that I make because WK does not always have the best ones. Sometimes though they just seem to break down when there are two vocab that have the kanji AB and BA.

The kanji are for the most part fine… I occasionally goof and mix up stupid ones like breath and nurture, but for the most part… its the vocab.

@Heiopei - Thanks for the link, I will read though that thread a bit to see if I can find any tips.

I know, right?! Level 3 is taking forever to finish!! (joke)

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I decided to pause at level 24, widdle down that apprentice cue, get it to sub-100. But, no matter what, I hover. Get some to guru, get the same +/- a few dropped back to apprentice. Been like 40ish days, sitting at 184 right now. Started at 250ish I think.

I’m currently at 90 days on this level… I just cannot get them down. I only started at around 115. So I am just cycling, moving them into guru… then moving the guru back to apprentice.

Vocab has nothing to do with leveling.

I mean that literally. You could leave every vocab lesson untouched for the entire time and make it to level 60. The system will not force you to even do a single vocab lesson.

So, do you have an understanding of why you’re not leveling up?

I’d recommend trying something different.

What about writing words down? Looking for reading material that uses those words so you can see them in context?

Are you not recognizing items or are you mixing them up. Maybe list out your incorrect items along with what your answers are. Wanikani doesn’t provide a way to get unstuck. When you get stuck, you have to dig yourself out.

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Keep in mind that the apprentice queue goes in cycles. I decided to slow it down at level 51 and haven’t done a new lesson in almost 4 months. At one point I had apprentice down to 30, but last week it was up over 200 again.

What kind of percentages are you seeing at the end of review sessions?

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If you want to level up, you can use the Ultimate Reorder script.

But levelling up is not that important, and can even be harmful if you have too many items in apprentice. When you bring that apprentice kanji number down, you will automatically level up quicker.

It’s so frustrating!! >:[

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@Leebo - Correct… I could skip the vocab, but then it just builds up infinitely. I have 4 kanji of this level I have intentionally not done the lessons for because I don’t want to level up until I can get my apprentice down. So yes, I know why I am not leveling… but I don’t know why I can’t seem to get my apprentice down low enough to let me feel comfortable about the 100 new lessons on level up.

@tmahrt - Reading material would be good, I haven’t seen as much in the way of context for the majority of these words since they don’t fall into the standard child story I am capable of reading. The vast majority of my mistakes are mixing up vocab words. (Expectation, Exception, Unexpected, etc…) I realized WK does not have a good method for this, thats why I came here for help. I’ll try writing them down.

@chrispthompson - The majority of my reviews are around 70-75%. Occasionally I can get up to around 90% (very rarely), and never have I gotten beneath a 60%.

@plantron - I already use the script… the reason I have not leveled is because of the apprentice items not going down, I am intentionally not learning the last few Kanji needed to level.

Try not to sweat it, you are definitely making progress! If you have time to take note of leech items or combinations of items you confuse, and then review them every day, that will definitely help.

I see. Well, my point wasn’t that you shouldn’t do lessons, but it sounded like you thought you should be leveling up but aren’t. I guess that’s not what you meant. You’re not leveling up on purpose.

It’s hard for me to really recommend anything specific since it sounds like you’ve tried plenty.

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Another question – do you feel that you are at your limit with the time you are spending on WK? I know people often talk about keeping apprentice under 100, but it really is a completely arbitrary number. Far more important than the number of items in your apprentice queue is the number of minutes you have to spend per day to keep up with reviews.

It seems you are being really responsible about not getting overloaded, and that’s very smart. But unless you feel like you can’t keep up with reviews, there is no reason to let the apprentice number stop you in your tracks completely. That number truly is going to vary wildly.

Edit: speaking of things that are arbitrary… even the levels themselves are pretty much meaningless. No need to artificially hold back on certain items to keep from leveling up. Better to level up and have the material available to you when you are ready for it – that way whatever pace you decide to move at, you can be consistent about it.

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Yea, I do between 80-150 reviews twice per day. Once when I wake up, and once before I go to bed. Occasionally I can do 30-50 at lunch to lower my nightly reviews. At the moment I spend ~1.5-2h a day just doing WK, combined with work and other hobbies… its a large portion of my free time.

Yea, 100 is arbitrary. I found 150 to be a bit too much, really I can handle 110-120… Right now I am floating between 95 on one day and 115 the next.

That is a good point that leveling is arbitrary, maybe I will level up and then just continue at the rate I am going… the only difference is I have higher level stuff available.

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PS I know you said you’ve tried studying outside WK but maybe try speed-quizzing yourself inside WK with the @rfindley self study script. Choosing a level and burning through all the items a couple times does wonders for accuracy rate in your real reviews.

Also, as you go forward you can use this script to pre-study new items and give yourself a head start on making them stick. That helped me a ton when I got to higher levels – I would pre-learn all the next level kanji and not do their lessons until I could go through the self-study quiz in like 2 minutes and it felt easy.

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Just quit work and your other hobbies, put the pedal to the metal, say “F*%& my apprentice number!” and start leveling. Who cares if you’ve got 1,000 apprentice items? Just means you get to spend more time on WK, which is really where you want to be anyways.


Oh but for real though, the only advice I can give that hasn’t already been given is this:

When you get items wrong in a review, look at them again after the review. When you finish your review, on the review summary page, WK tells you what items you got wrong. Give yourself a little mini-quiz on those items by trying to remember the readings and meanings, then hover your mouse over them to make sure you got them right. Just doing that has done wonders for my review accuracy.

Also if you’re getting items wrong because of typos or something, there’s always the Override script to deal with that issue. Not sure how big a factor typos and synonyms are for you personally though.