These people are reading too much into the “quizzing you just before you forget” aspect of an SRS. I’m told the research is pretty clear that dredging something up from memory just prior to forgetting does indeed improve the connections and ability to recall, but my experience has been that this is far more important with long intervals (days/weeks) than short intervals (hours).

I’ve argued (often) that the most important aspect of an SRS is to give you more frequent reviews of the stuff you find hard, and less frequent reviews of the stuff you find easy (via longer intervals). In the case of Wanikani, the only way it knows what you find hard is if you answer incorrectly!

If 40% of the items are being answered incorrectly, too much of the workload is deemed “hard” and it will quickly start to feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.

I’m 100% confident that anyone can memorize anything with enough repetition. An SRS makes that repetition more efficient, but nothing is perfect and nobody can state with certainty what the ideal timing between intervals might be.

@Vouru says he or she has one session in the morning and one at night. That means at most two repetitions for anything, even stuff in the first two stages.

My strong, strong recommendation is to:

  1. Stop doing lessons until your accuracy improves.

  2. Aim to keep no more than ~100 items in the Apprentice bucket for a while. Don’t start doing lessons again until there are fewer Apprentice items. (I’m surprised, but it appears nobody has mentioned this.)

  3. Before each review session, either:

    a. use the new “Extra Study” feature to get in several extra reviews for “new lessons” and optionally, “recent mistakes”.

    b. Use the self-study quiz userscript to review just items in stages 1 and 2. [This is what I do. I launch self-study from my Ganbarometer userscript, FWIW. I prefer the self-study quiz, because it allows me to re-quiz just the ones I got wrong.]

    Either way, repeat the “extra” reviews as often as necessary, two or three times in a row, until you feel extremely confident with this limited subset of review items. Only then start your “real” reviews. Even if this takes so much time that you can’t finish all your outstanding reviews every day, I’m certain you’ll find the process much less stressful and that your accuracy will improve dramatically — decreasing your workload, improving your mood, and generally helping all around.

    As long as you stop doing lessons until your accuracy improves, I’m confident this process will eventually get your current workload under control.