How do you handle a bad review, and what do you do to complement your WK work?

For the past several weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve made solid progress in WaniKani. I’ve yet to score 100%, but I feel like I was doing pretty well for the most part.

Until this week.

This week, I feel as though I’ve gotten worse, not better. My latest review (about half an hour ago), I only got 53% correct - my worst review in weeks, if not ever. I’m not normally one to make excuses for myself, but although I’ve had a lot going on this week (starting a new job, other pretty intense life-related stressors), I’m really down on myself over that 53%. How do you guys get past a bad review?

Also, I’d welcome any study tips for improving/complementing my work in WaniKani. I keep a detailed language learning journal (in which I add all new radicals/kanji/vocab words inc. readings when they come up in my lessons), but I’d love to hear how other people complement their WK drills.

  • Zaza

Not much for it, as far as I can tell. You just have to keep at it. That’s just how SRS works. If you don’t know a term, you’ll get it more often until you start knowing it.

You’re not really intended to do supplementary study of WaniKani, by my understanding. Instead, I’d put a focus on trying to do the reviews closer to when they come up. Throw a WK app on your phone and do some in the bathroom, or while waiting in lines.

I usually complain about it in the forums and then post a funny gif to get likes


How I handle a bad review session:


Why is your tag “testicles” ?


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Facetious answer: I usually just use the ignore button and pretend I never got it wrong.

More serious answer: I stare at the incorrect answer and then the right answer for a good 3 minutes until I think I memorized it better

Most serious answer: I re-read the mnemonics given and if I don’t find that they fit easily I come up with my own.


Because I let it all hang out


Ignorance is bliss

I break the keyboard with my forehead and in the time it takes me to go buy a new one I calm down.


Are we talking about level 3 here or did you reset?

Sounds like you have a lot going on, and stress can make it harder to remember things, so I wouldn’t worry about Wanikani too much if I were you. Just keep in the habit of doing some reviews everyday, but don’t beat yourself up too much if your accuracy is lower than you’d like.

Regarding your second question, Kaniwani is an excellent complement to Wanikani, as it tests you on your English to Japanese recall of vocab.

Hmm… a really bad review for me usually means I’m going too fast and haven’t really learned. Especially since you’ve got a lot going on irl, I’d suggest either going on vacation mode until things calm down a bit (probably not ideal) or cut back on lessons to slow your incoming reviews.

Going slower during the review sessions themselves can also help. When you get something wrong, stop and figure out why you got it wrong. Did you confuse it for another kanji? Add the similar kanji to the “notes” section and really look at the two side by side to help differentiate them. Did you forget the mnemonic? Either look over the mnemonic again, taking the time to really get it in your brain, or try making your own mnemonic and sticking it in the “notes” section.

Basically, just troubleshoot your bad review session and see what changes you can make to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes the next one c:

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I second troubleshooting a bad review.

Also, focus in on the mnemonics, if they aren’t good enough, make your own.

Additionally, I don’t worry about the “Freak”, “exceptional” readings, of which there are quite a few in the beginning (all those different ways to number days, etc.). I figure SRS will teach me those by beating me about the head with them, until sometime I’ll get them down, I’ve got a year or more to go before I reach the end of WK anyway.

As for complementing WK, I’d recommend beginning to think, if you havent already, about how you will learn Japanese grammar and sentence structure. If you never pick it up, your knowledge will become very 1-sided.

By getting mad, wrapping the session up and coming back to it in 15-30 minutes. If its real bad I just accept its not the right time and try again tomorrow.

Personally I aim for above 70% every time, with anything above 85% being a great session.

This is gonna sound braggadocious but I’ve not gotten more than 2 wrong on any review so far and then it’s often because I forget about the double n thing or some silly typo (although recently I mixed up 牛 and 午). I think having spent a lot of adult life playing/studying chess has helped a lot since improvement largely depends on pattern recognition and memorization.

My advice would be don’t do too many lessons too quickly, just take it slow. I stick to 5 a day only and I’ve never tried to cram lots just to speed up progress. It might be slow but you’ll learn more uniformly and it might be quicker over time. Good luck :slight_smile:

Generally I just re-read the mnemonics and other info and hope it sticks next time. Sometimes I find it’s actually the word itself that doesn’t fit as it’s not something I tend to use. For example, the kanji for ‘substitute’ (写) never really locked in but it got better when I remembered it as ‘replace’ instead. Additionally, if a certain kanji just won’t stick in your head maybe try creating a new mnemonic that’s more personalised.

Don’t think of it as a bad thing and try not to worry about it too much. If you get it wrong you’ll just see it more often and it’ll end up sticking at some point. There are some kanji that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon just from getting them wrong so much on my previous run through WK.

Thanks so much for all the encouragement, tips, and suggestions, everybody - very much appreciated!

Since starting this thread, I’ve made some minor adjustments that have definitely helped. Firstly, I decided to try and better understand WK’s pacing and timing to maximize the efficiency of each session (per the reorder script thread somebody kindly linked above) and only coming into WK three times per day. This already feels better than popping into the app whenever.

Secondly, I embarked on a little home improvement/DIY project to establish a proper study/workspace for myself. Until this weekend, I had been using my laptop on a lap desk in my living room. Now I can study at an actual desk with a proper chair, and more importantly, I have a dedicated space in which I can study without being disrupted, which has been a huge help to me psychologically (even if it’s all in my head).

Thirdly, I took everyone’s advice to just be patient and not take bad reviews so hard. In fact, a few minutes ago, I scored 100% on my latest review, which has been an immense confidence boost!

Thanks so much everybody - I really appreciate everyone’s comments and insights!

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