Howdy, and welcome to the forums! (consider introducing yourself to everyone in #campfire:introductions if you’d like )
The SRS system is designed to keep you on track, even if you fall off for a couple of months, as long as you keep back at it once you return. (After all, the largest SRS interval is four months!) So I’d recommend starting out chipping away at your reviews and seeing how it goes. If you’re doing alright, keep at it! If not, then consider resetting a little bit (it doesn’t have to be all the way back to level 1, just to where you feel more comfortable).
Also, you can take a look at your burned items, and if there are some that you don’t remember at all, you can individually “resurrect” (un-burn) them to add them back into your reviews.
Definitely don’t start back on lessons until you get somewhere more manageable (or if you reset).
I definitely agree with this! You have done an enormous amount of work to get to level 11, and resetting back to 1 would have you reviewing content you are probably still retaining.
To go off of what @YoungAdam as already stated, work through your reviews and don’t do any new lessons (no matter how tempting it may be). When you finish those, assess where you’re at (your percent of incorrect answers) and how much you’re willing to get wrong to stay on your current level. You could reset back to a more “comfortable” level to get back into the groove of things, but I would recommend just fighting through the radicals, kanji, and vocabulary you’ve forgotten until you feel ready to start your lessons again.
The problem with having a big review pile in my experience is that apprentice items can get ‘lost’ in there, so I’d recommend using a userscript like reorder omega to single them out.
Say you were going to do 50 reviews today anyway, dedicating like 25 to just apprentice items will help push them up through the SRS stages, reducing your workload.
I think you could try chipping away at it like 50 or 100 and see how you feel. You can even reset back a few levels or do a complete reset back to the beginning. I remember a time I didn’t touch WaniKani for over a year and the Extra Study Feature didn’t exist at that point so I just reset back to 1.
I feel like if the Extra Study Feature had existed at the time I may not have not that and just chipped away at it instead as you can review recent mistakes as much as you like which is very helpful.
What I’m discovering as I work through my own overdue review pile – though mine is hundreds, not thousands – is that leeches are still leeches. That is, the items I was having trouble with a few months ago are still giving me trouble, But burnable items are still burnable, too: I’m doing pretty well on “Master” items, and very well on “Enlightened” items. Which when I think about it isn’t surprising: those are items where I didn’t miss the “normal” review interval by much, if at all, and that were already embedded in my long term memory.
So that’s an argument for not resetting. You’ll lose all the progress you’ve made on your “best” items, but it won’t make much different on your “worst” items.
Do a quick survey of the material in each level. I’d recommend finding a level where you’re pretty confident in 50-75% of the material and setting back to the level after that. Starting back at the beginning is pointless if you’re pretty confident you’re never going to forget words like 一、人、土、水、など。
Just find a lower level to set back to, and you’re reviewing will also drop considerably. Then just tackle 50-100 a day as you chip 'em down.
I’ve reset before and regretted it terribly. As someone who regularly wanders away from WaniKani only to return again weeks and months later, I’ve practically made an art form of getting my reviews back under control.
My recommendation is to use a reorder script to organize your reviews into manageable groups. Starting with reviewing only radicals gives you a leg up on sparking memories of kanji mnemonics, and if you leave the vocab for last, your guesses will be much more accurate.
I also suggest settings that allow you to do the most recent reviews first. That way the reviews you’ve just done will come back as soon as they’re available, leaving older reviews in an untouched backlog until you’re ready to pull them out and add them to your cycle. On the iphone app Tsurukame, you can set the reviews setting to “Order: Newest Available First”, while I believe the script Reorder Omega calls it “Sort Type: Overdue Days”.
You said that you have some 400 burned items, which means you’ve already sunk more than 6 months into your current level. It might take a month or more to wade your way through those 1000 reviews, but you’ll still be moving significantly faster than if you went back and tried to start over from scratch. As far as staring at the sheer numbers, I suggest keeping a running log to remind yourself that it’s going down. and encouraging yourself to always end at a smaller number. If you start at 1000, end the day at 950. Can you get down to 900 tomorrow? No? 925 is fine too. 900 the day after that? You get down to 800 but then miss a few days and are back up to 950, that’s OK, make it down to 900 that day instead. Can you make it back to 800 in four days? Five? Make little short term goals and enjoy your time instead of stressing that it’s not going down fast enough. Feeling discouraged? Take a motivation break to stare in awe at this person who’s been fighting their way through more than 6000 old reviews for the last year and chronicling their journey.