How long should you spend on each review item?

During reviews I’ve found that I can recall many items by spending some ‘extra’ time trying to recall the answer. It could be 30 seconds or a few minutes. I’m wondering how long is reasonable to spend on each item, provided you have the time to invest? In the evenings I can usually afford to spend more time on reviews, but perhaps it would be wise to invest my time in another form of studying instead?

Of course if time is limited I will plow forward at higher speed, my accuracy certainly takes a hit though. I’m okay with this since it is the only way for me to hit the SRS intervals and the percentages aren’t terrible.

How long are you willing to spend on each item?

  • Light speed, I never have time
  • Up to 10 seconds
  • Up to 30 seconds
  • Up to 60 seconds
  • Up to 180 seconds
  • Durtle speed, I’ll rack my brain for hours

0 voters

(I’m not a frequent poster, sorry in advance if this topic is already covered or should be posted elsewhere)


I spend 30 seconds or minute (less likely) if i don’t recall it. I enter first thing in my mind or mark it wrong if nothing in my mind


I can usually tell if the item will come to me, or whether it’s a lost cause. If I’m convinced I can get there, I’m willing to spend half a minute on it. Of course there are times I’m running late and I simply cut my losses so I can finish the reviews before the next hour kicks in.


If I don’t know what the reading or the meaning is, then I enter “a” to fail the item and continue to the next item. The only time I need to stop is when I know that I know the meaning but can’t recall it, because it is on the tip of my tongue like grrr why English gotta be so hard.

Today I entered “Compared” but it was asking for “Comparison” :upside_down_face: That’s when I cheat and think well, I totally knew that one UwU


I pretty much do this. If I’ve been marked wrong due to half-remembered semantics or something that is more or less a synonym, I’ll mark it for ‘ask later’ and give myself another chance. If I don’t know it, I’ll just enter は to laugh at myself and to fail it.


I try to answer instantaneously. I don’t care if WK takes longer, I’m not here to level, I’m here to learn. And honestly I just don’t have the patience to spend ages doing meaningless drills. Meaningless drills are supposed to be mechanical.



From a neurolinguistic standpoint, taking some time to successfully recall something (rather than deciding to fail it after 5 seconds) helps to build neural pathways that solidify that item in your language memory banks.


that is good to know! I usually skip if I cant recall it quickly, but sometimes I blank out and then get distracted and when I come back I can remember it


4.2 seconds. After that it’s a fail.


If I don’t know it withing a couple of second (definitely less 10) I deliberately fail the item. It’s better to see the same item a few extra times and get a decent recall speed, IMO. Reviews go by faster too



If I know it’s in that brain cage of mine, I will rattle it for up to 5 minutes. If I KNOW I don’t know, I will stare at it for maybe 30 seconds then type something just to fail it. I then study the meaning and reading again before moving on just as I did the first time I did the lesson.


Depends on how much time I have available for my reviews, and how sleepy I am. If I’m sleepy, spending more than 20 seconds is pointless. If I’m awake and alert, I can roll it around in my brain for a few minutes, and sometimes I find the answer.

When I DO recall the answer after several minutes, I never forget that item again. YMMV.


I don’t really have any rules, i just wing it. I’ll see some items and immediately be like “Yeah, not happening” and fail it.
Other times ill just let it sit and let my brain do some work depending how much time i have on my hands. On rare occasions tho i have an item sitting several minutes while my mind drifts and then seemingly out of nowhere comes the answer.

I think there are good arguments for either approach, so its really just which approach one prefers i suppose. (And ultimately what one’s approach to WK is)


Maximum of 20 seconds for me. If I rack my brain too hard for a review, it means that I’m only 5% familiar with the meaning of the word/reading of the word, so that’s where I cut my losses.

I prefer failing a word many times and eventually get the meaning of it instantaneously through sheer repetition to getting it right every single time but having to think a minute for its meaning.

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I have a masters degree in Language Acquisition. I honestly think if you can pull it out of your mind without a hint or help than it doesnt matter how long it takes you. That is very valuable.

The research shows that if you are able to do that It create a very strong link between your long term memory and the vocabulary word. If you are able to do that it helps to draw it out of the realm of short term memory. So, the research supports it. Alternatively, if youre sitting their and it never comes out just take the hint and move on.


I typically don’t want to spend too much time on it, as I’m borrowing the PC. Aside from the has been so long I don’t know you or I haven’t seen you enough to know you reviews, I always have some answer available almost right away.

I let it sit around a bit if I think it would help me recall, but if nothing comes to mind after a minute I would cut it off.

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I don’t spend much time on each item. If I feel like I’ll need longer I mark it as wrong because the point of WK is learning how to read and I don’t feel like taking longer on a word is acceptable in any way. This tells the SRS system “That item still needs work.” and it will be in my review queue for a little longer to build up a better association. However, everyone has his own expectations and in the end it’s personal preference.

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The research shows that if you are able to do that It create a very strong link between your long term memory and the vocabulary word

This is interesting, I was certainly curious as to whether there is science to support the benefits of struggling over an answer for longer.

As many others have expressed, you can usually get a feel for whether or not the answer is somewhere in your brain. Sometimes it takes me a few seconds to realize I should know something and then another chunk of time to actually cough it up.

It’s cool to see the distribution in the poll, I’m happy I got all these responses.

I’m like many of you - How long I’m willing to spend definitely depends on several factors; time available, tiredness, focus, the “i know this” feeling, the “I have never seen this in my life” feeling, ect.


I think there are good arguments for either approach

I agree!


Great question and great poll!