Fundamental SRS flaw

SRS thinks I never sleep.

So I’ve been doing this for 12 weeks and I’m at level 7 and the thing that’s really frustrating me is that the SRS timer does not stop when I stop to sleep. Which means I often wake up to 60+ reviews. That’s just kind of demoralizing. Given that I average around 80% correct on my reviews and given that I try to have the discipline to write down the wrong answers that means 60 reviews can often take more than an hour to get through.

I like my reviews in smaller chunks. I can spend ten minutes 6 times a day and that’s a lot easier from a mental perspective than 60 reviews 1 time a day. And yeah, there’s the wrap up button, but that often means I’m repeating reviews because WaniKani’s in progress queue is too long.

I don’t know, I guess I’m just griping because as I look at the 12 reviews I just finished and then the overnight queue, I’d rather knock out another 20 now and wake up to 40 reviews, than wake up to 60 reviews. 40 seems to be the mental barrier. Fewer than that and it’s an, “ok let’s knock these out”, more than that and it’s a “oh sigh, I’m going to be here a while”.

I’d like the ability to have a setting that says, “automatically pause the SRS timer between 10pm and 5am.” And yeah, I know that that will make things move slower, but I’m signing up for that. And/or an auto pause the SRS timer when your review queue reaches a certain threshold.

There are a lot of complaints about 200+ review queues and I think those are valid complaints. And yes, there’s the vacation slider. But that requires active participation. I want the option to have the vacation slider automated.


You can just do them 10 at a time. You don’t have to do them all at once.


I realize that, but you reach a certain pace where if you just do 10 at a time your review queue just grows.

Over the last week I managed to prune a 200+ queue down to zero, but it took me about 4 days to do so. And each day when I went to sleep and woke up with 40 to 50 more reviews than I had 8 hours prior it was somewhat demoralizing. Two steps forward, one step back.

That 200+ queue was the result of burnout and ignoring WK after returning from a rather exhausting few weeks. Should have turned on vacation mode, but burnout…

The bulk of your reviews are going to come 12 hours after you do your lessons - if you do your lessons all at once, your reviews will come back in big chunks.

I do 11 lessons a day at 7am with very few, if any reviews; 11-20ish reviews at 11am; then 40-60ish reviews at 7pm.

You could try 5 lessons (for example) first thing in the morning, then 5 lessons 8 hours later, which would mean the majority of these items would come back in two separate chunks…


Yeah, I fixed that for myself by not doing my lessons at top speed.


Chuckle, I learned that lesson at level 4. :slight_smile: I currently have 105 lessons pending having unlocked all my level 6 vocab, but only “learned” about half of it.

Right I want the ability to tell WK that once it reaches 30 or so reviews to turn off the SRS timer until return to do more reviews. And/or just turn it off overnight…


Is it the number of reviews you’re getting at once, or the fact that the bulk of them are in the morning that bothers you the most?

If the problem is waking up to a big chunk of reviews, do your lessons in the morning, then (eventually) most of your reviews will be in the evening.


The reviews would give you a headache still, I think.
It’s not like the review pile that makes your brain forget.
I mean, if you learn an item, engage vacation mode right after and don’t see it for a longer period of time than the respective interval, you won’t remember it most of the time anyway.


They tend to accumulate at night. I’m fine doing them throughout the day. My work is fortunately flexible enough such that I can manage that. I just hate waking up to a huge pile over my morning coffee.

You don’t have to do all the reviews you are offered - you can click a button on the left to finish early. Or if the total number of reviews being too high is the problem, you can take lessons slower.


You just need to break up your lesson session into two parts as I suggested to accomplish that (b’se I don’t foresee a pause on the SRS happening in the next few years - the team have a lot more pressing issues).

Going with my aforementioned timings (adjust to your own schedule):
0700–0759 - Lesson session 1
1100–1159 - L1 1st Review
1900–1959 - Lesson session 2, L1 2nd Review (bulk of L1 will land here from now on);
2300–2359 - L2 1st Review
Next day
0700–0759 - L2 2nd Review (bulk of L2 will land here from now on)

If you only do 5 or 6 items in each lesson session, you should stay around the 30-40 item range depending on your accuracy (and I’d recommend spending a bit more time on the lessons to lift your accuracy, as that will lighten your review load).

EDIT: Just read your comment about flexibility at work, so you could add a 1500 review session to pick up any mistakes from 1100. Basically, lessons twice a day, and reviews on a 4-hourly basis aside from when you’re sleeping should keep things more manageable.


I handle it by reviewing early in the morning, before lunch, and late at night. Every single day. From the work perspective, I just take 20 minutes from lunch.

Yes sometimes they accumulate (mainly when I level up) but with the 3 reviews per day I can pretty much guarantee 50 lessons at most when they come, and 60-80 reviews at most per time-frame (morning-noon-night)

Anything under 100 is good for moral.


Alternatively - or in addition to my previous suggestions - now that the restrictions on vacation mode have been lifted (used to be you couldn’t turn it back on within 24 hours of turning it off), you could activate vacation mode (scroll to bottom) each evening after your last review session and deactivate it first thing in the morning…

Just be sure to keep in mind that these kind of things might affect your retention. The SRS attempts to space out items to then be tested at a point that should be right before you’d forget it again. If you turn on vacation mode for 8 hours every night, your Enlightened or burned items that are on a multi-month spacing will get pushed back by 8 hours every night. An item going up to enlightened would be delayed 8 hours a day for 4 months - the spacing for retention would be pretty mangled.

If you mess with the spacing, the entire point and strength of SRSing is marred.

I know that doesn’t help with your wish to have less reviews, but it’s better to make choices while keeping all the facts in mind. :slight_smile: Good luck!


Thanks for pointing that out - I was going to write that it would totally mess with the timings, but left it off as the desire for a break overnight seemed the most important point. Specifics of the consequences might dull said desire.


Its not a flaw in SRS. The moment a review pops up is the moment you should look at it again to optimize memory retention. The longer you wait, the more likely it is, that you’ll have forgotten it.

If you find yourself having more reviews than you can deal with (be that concentration or time constraints or whatever else), it just means that you’re doing too many lessons. It is always more important to get your reviews done than doing more lessons. The moment you fall behind on your reviews and more and more reviews keep piling up, the worse you’ll be doing in these reviews, which will make things worse AND demotivate you and there is a real danger of falling into a negative spiral which will lead you to stop doing wanikani and having to basically start over at some point or playing a real hard game of catch up.

Always try do new reviews within a day and only ever do new lessons if you have no reviews left. In addition, some people here recommend only doing new lessons if you have less then 100 apprentice items. In the end you’ll have to find a modus operandi that works for your brain and for your time constraints.


sounds like the srs is working as intended and you just need to decrease your volume

messing around with vacation mode on a regular basis or doing anything to make significant changes to the time periods between reviews is what will cause a fundamental srs flaw


Exactly. Vacation mode just hides the problem, your brain is never in vacation mode, it will just forgot all the things you have learned.


For me, I do my lessons in one session. Regardless, I think at higher levels like 15+ there is no way you can spend an hour a day on wanikani and expect to finish a level under 10 days. You want to learn a language so why does it frustrate you to spend time learning? The more you put in the more you get out of it :man_shrugging: