Forever over 100 Apprentice

Maybe since you keep doing the same ones over and over, you feel like you are staying in the same place…which you are basically.

Maybe if you just let yourself move forward, the next batch of items will be easier and you’ll see yourself making progress with those and it will make you get that sense of progressing again.

I mean I just looked back at my level 15, 16, and 17 and I still have a handful of unburned vocab on all of those levels. 見返す, for example, I swear I see it everyday…But since I have progressed with so many other things, it doesn’t bother me.

Do you have the answer override script?

If you’re getting synonyms or super close to the right answer (like you have the concept down, essentially), you could consider giving yourself the correct answer? (It’s also super useful for spelling mistakes!)

There’s also this site:
It tells you which items you are struggling with the most, and thus need the most attention.

As far as practice in context goes, have you tried Duolingo’s Japanese to English course? I’ve found myself stumbling upon quite a bit of vocab and kanji from WK on there. Unlike children’s books, there’s actually kanji used, plus you also get the benefit of learning grammar. You can also install the extension rikaichan/rikaikun if you need help with the translations.

Personally, I find I make more mistakes with reviews if I go too fast. I don’t know how quickly you go through reviews, but maybe taking a minute to pause and think, or walk away, or refresh the page to hit all the ones you know confidently first, could help?

Best of luck though!

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I found myself in a similar situation with my apprentice items. The number one thing I told myself was to run my own race. I need to slow down. It is better to spend more time on each level and have a higher accuracy rate. With lifetime membership, there is really no reason to accelerate my progress.

There are two causes of an increased apprentice queue:

  1. New lesson item
  2. Guru review error.

I can control (1) by not taking new lessons. Regarding (2), the guru intervals are too long for me. I struggle to recall an item after one or two weeks.

What I’ve done in the past fortnight is to create an Anki deck from the WaniKani to Anki Exporter. I initially populated the deck with about 100 so-called critical items. I had to adjust my “max percentage” value to 80 to get 100 items. I set the Anki review intervals in Anki to 4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours, 7 days, 14 days etc. I reviewed 20 new items every day for five days.

When I used up the 100 items, I went back to WaniKani to Anki Exporter to retrieve some more critical items by increasing the “max percentage”. I did not want to have a “max percentage” of 99 because that would cause too many items to be retrieved and not the biggest leeches.

Every day, I export more items at “max percentage” 85. There are always new items.

Since starting this routine, I am finally sending items to the master queue. The apprentice queue is shorter but for one day, the apprentice queue grew from 70 to 89, without taking new lessons. That gives an idea of how difficult it has been to recall something after one / two weeks in the guru queue.

The so-called “important reading”, which is usually on-yomi, has always been easier to remember. After a kanji is guru-ed, the related vocabulary lessons are unlocked. Typically, there are three or four kanji combinations using the on-yomi reading and then just one word with the kun-yomi reading. It stands to reason that the on-yomi reading is easier to recall. We get more items to practice with it! So I now pay a bit more attention to the mnemonic I use to remember the less frequently used reading.

Regarding the ideal size of an apprentice queue, this is an individual thing. I’ve tried 120 and I can’t handle it. I’ve now let it drop to around 70 so that I can spend time on grammar and listening practice. Seeing new words in real world use also helps with recall. I’m trying to read one NHK News Web Easy article every day.

Another thing you could try is go to rfindley’s WaniKani Statistics web site and see which levels have the most guru items. Then run rifndley’s self test quiz a couple of times on those levels. I’m about to try this myself.

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Damn it. Was down to 140 last night, thinking, finally I’ll get this apprentice pile sub-100 soon, maybe, and then I’ll finally start level 25. Well, just looked and I’m back up to 193. Over a month later of ‘whittling down my apprentice pile’, the results have been negligible.

I took some of your guys advice and went ahead and just started leveling again anyways. Now there is an odd paradox I am gaining lessons, which gives me more apprentice items, but my pile is not growing. (Which is just bizzare)

So now I am half way though the next level and still at the same apprentice size. I think what is happening is that I have ~50-80 items that I don’t know… and am just pushing the 20 new lessons every few days though to guru.

@DaisukeJigen - People have said the apprentice pile grows and cycles… which doesn’t make sense to me, but do you feel like you are getting them right and it is growing? Or that you are having a bad month of reviews?

Just a lot of guru+ items that have apparently completely left my mind. For every Apprentice I guru, there 1 or 2 highers that I totally forget :cry:

Are you doing enough reviews that they’re actually coming up in the right amount of time? Or are they reaching guru and then sitting around for the equivalent of master time before getting reviewed.

Generally do reviews a couple times during work, and at once or twice at night. That’s all reviews, usually. Sometimes it takes a couple sessions to get through them. Try to do reviews more often, but time management doesn’t always allow that, but rare is a day I don’t at least get them all at least a couple times.

Is it such a problem that its over 100? right now i have 214 apprentice items but it doesn’t bother me in any way…

I’m going to guess you are probably young. The reason for this is because most adults understand that not everyone has the same ability to commit time to certain things. When you have a job, a wife, a family… you tend to have less time than for example… a student on summer vacation.The point I want to make is “good for you”, you have more time to do things than someone else, but if it wasn’t a problem, it would not be a post for you to respond to.

Now… this is intended to be a bit rough and abrasive, but not mean. Think about it, you may learn something.

My advice is really taking your time during reviews whenever you’re unsure. Sometimes it feels like you’ve completely forgotten the item but when you really start thinking about it, even if it takes minutes you might be able to recall it. The same with items you know you can easily mix up, instead of entering whatever first comes to your mind, take an extra minute to reflect if it’s really correct. If you manage to remember by putting in this extra effort you’ll memorise it even better.

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I know you weren’t directing that toward me, but I have a fulltime job, and while I don’t have a wife or kids, I do have a girlfriend. She supports my studies, and knows what WK is, so she doesn’t mind when I stop during a date to do a review or get up at 3:00AM to do lessons.

I guess that’s not a situation everyone will have, but I just make WK my priority above lots of other things.


i have no idea how old you are, but I’m 25 and I just put put alot of proriority into japanese. i put alot of value into comnunciating with my friends/ girlfriend etc. who says that I’m not busy because I am willing to go faster in wanikani… i really don’t appreciate the condescending tone. i was just simply trying to understand the situation

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But that is not a luxury everyone can have. “Children, I realize you are 3 years old, but please go make yourself dinner because your mom is working late tonight and I have reviews to do”… just doesn’t work.

The point was, do not assume everyone has the same time commitment you do, the same drive that you do, or the same family that is OK with you doing your reviews when there are other things that you need to be doing. Everyone’s priorities are different, don’t say “Well I can do X, so why can’t you”.

I say “you” a lot, I mean it in the general since.

@Owl - It is not that you are not busy… its that you seem to believe that just because you can do something, everyone else can. If I go faster, it takes more time. I don’t have more time. But even then, this wasn’t about time. It wasn’t about even 100 apprentice. It was about spinning your wheels. Never seeming to be able to push forward. Constantly getting Guru wrong, and Apprentice right so that you don’t advance.

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First off, I agree with @Owl. Who cares how many you have in your apprentice pile? It’s not about how much time you have to dedicate to learning Japanese, it’s more about just using the SRS to keep feeding you the things you haven’t mastered.

That being said, @Shimizoki clarified that the core issue is the spinning of one’s wheels and low accuracy. I’m here using Wanikani because memorizing kanji is weakness for me. I’m a long time user for learning vocab. It’s an SRS like Wanikani. At some point though, there were so many kanji I wasn’t real familiar with that I ended up spinning my wheels to some degree like the @Shimizoki I knew that if I didn’t take a break and get more well-rounded with my kanji, I would have trouble absorbing more vocab, which limits my reading ability. So I took a break from Iknow, and I’m attacking Japanese from a different angle.

I’ve done this countless times over the years. Burn out with one area of focus and pivot to focus on another. It’s an ebb and flow for me. Study grammar for awhile and you’ll get more kanji/vocab while you do it. And the kanji and vocab that you learn will be within context, unlike Wanikani, making them easier to absorb. Spending time talking to people in Japanese helps with usage and really cements the vocab I learn.

I know some people use only Wanikani to study, but I personally would never be able to do that. Wanikani is great for me because I’m farther along in all of the other areas of Japanese than I am with my kanji. It it were the opposite, it would be very hard for me to progress in Wanikani. Raise your overall Japanese level and it will become easier to level up here. Everything fits together like a big puzzle.


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