Hit a brick wall. Need help! :(

Hello fellow learners,

I smashed level 1-10, finding it quite easy really, but it feels like I hit a brick wall on level 10 and am struggling to find the time to get through the mounting number of review items.

Are there any good tips to get back on track or other study aids that I can do to avoid mind blanks when trying to do the reviews?

Are there other tools that you recommend for learning Japanese in general.
I’m also using Duolingo and Lingodeer.

On another note, I’ve been waiting for Duolingo Stories for years! The Spanish ones were great.

Thanks in advance.


I see on your page that you’ve already pushed quite a few items to burned, meaning that the enlightened items have also been coming back recently.
What I’m also seeing is that you have quite a high apprentice count, which is usually quite a good indication of how busy you’ll be getting in the future.
I advice you to not do any lessons and keep doing those reviews, until apprentice has reached 100 items or so.
After reaching that, make sure to keep that Apprentice count to a maximum of 100 at all times. Don’t do any lessons if you will go over that.
If you feel like you can handle more at that point, feel free to increase that limit of 100. If you still feel it is overwhelming, I recommend decreasing that number even more.

A great script to use for managing these lessons is Lesson Lock by @Kumirei. The script sets the amount of lessons you can do to a certain number, based on the distribution of review items you have at this moment. If it is too much, the lesson count is set to 0.


You can use the self study tool addon to go over stuff repetitively to make sure you at least remember it now. You can also slow down if you need to, no shame in that. Duolingo is…bad to say the least. It really gives you no nuance on any grammar and oftentimes doesn’t accept answers that are actually correct (when typing especially). I would recommend bunpro in conjunction with reading through a textbook as well as Anki for actually useful vocabulary, as Wanikani doesn’t really give you the most useful stuff first.


I personally would not recommend that, as doing it too close to the review point ruins the SRS completely. Getting something wrong is important in SRS, as it tells the system how well an item is ingrained in your memory. Relearning an item a few days before a review while the SRS period for that item was like a month, means that answering that item correctly gives no indication of where your item should be.

Actually, it has genuinely improved over the years. It used to be pretty crappy, but now has nuanced explanations of grammar, teaches you kanji comprehensively, has a separate alphabet learning section and allows for a much broader amount of answers. You should check it out, it’s gotten pretty great.


You may need to do some extra studying on the leeches. This is how we call the items that give you trouble in review. I would suggest you use the Item Inspector script which I wrote.

This script will display a list of the troublesome items on your Wanikani dashboard. You may go over the items reciting meaning and reading aloud and the you move the mouse over the item to reveal the answer. You may also click on the quiz buttons to start a quiz in Self Study Quiz. Either way you can study your troublesome items.


Yeah, I agree I would absolutely not recommend doing them close to the review point. But I have it set to only show apprentice 1 items, so basically right after I just finish like 120 lessons I can go through them all to make it stick better rather than wasting some time getting it wrong the first few times when it comes up 4 hours later.

Also, I guess I haven’t looked at duolingo in a while… That’s just my opinion on it, I just feel like it’s good for practice and absolute beginners. I didn’t know they added nuanced grammar though. That’s nice, maybe I’ll check it out again :stuck_out_tongue:


Ooh that does sound pretty cool actually. Didn’t know you could filter the items, that’s neat. Maybe OP might want to even increase that up to Apprentice 4?

It’s a bit hard to find on mobile sometimes, but the desktop version has little lightbulbs on each of the chapters in which grammar is explained with words rather than how they used to do it with trial and error. Not sure how they thought we would learn all て-forms by just looking at sentences back in 2017. :sweat_smile:


Many thanks! That makes sense. I will clear the backlog before taking on more

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I had the exact same problem at level 10! I reevaluated my learning process and found a few things that really helped me. The first was to slow down; I started keeping my number of apprentice items at 50 (the general advice is to keep apprentice items below 100, but I decided to go slower than that). This limits the number of reviews that you get. The second was spending more time on the mnemonics. I had started to get lazy with using the mnemonics so I kept failing the same items over and over. The third was to look at the items that I repeatedly got wrong; I often got these ones confused with similar looking kanji, and focusing on the differences between similar ones can prevent the endless loop of getting the same item wrong over and over.

In terms of other Japanese resources, for grammar I recommend this playlist. It follows Genki I and II, and I noticed that learning some grammar alongside WaniKani helped me avoid burning out. For vocab, I use Torii SRS. I use this to learn kana-only words. For beginner’s listening practice, lots of people recommend the Nihongo con Teppei podcast.


I agree with @Pep95 but I’m not surprise that you got this impression. Duo’s Japanese course was first released in a terrible state, but they’ve put a ton of work into it since then and I’d say it’s closer to the level of their French or Spanish courses now. I think it’s especially good for forcing you to do exercises and conjure a lot of Japanese from memory (especially if you’re typing instead of using the multiple choice options, which you ought to be).


Follow Pep san’s advice :+1:

Good luck my friend :grin:


Thanks Pep95! I have made sure to keep the Apprentice count to under 100 and this is much more manageable.

I should explain the burned items. I first started Wanikana a couple of years back and stopped at lvl 11. I had the overwhelming review count and let it get the better of me. In December last year I rejoined and rest myself to lvl 3. This allowed me to quickly get through the initial levels again but I faced the same issue at lvl 10, so thought I’d ask for advice.

Now thanks to your advice, I have been able to progress with the existing items and the review count is now manageable!

You’re a lifesaver!

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Amazing advice. Many thanks. I’ve just subscribed to ToKini Andy!

I was suffering the same. Was lazy with the mnemonics and kept failing the same one. I’ve now focused on keeping the count down now and not rushing ahead with new lessons until I am comfortable etc

Thanks a bunch!


Wicked! Will take a look.

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Glad that I could be of help :blush:

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