How many Apprentice are TOO many?

Question. How do I know I have too many problems with past items that keep getting stuck in Apprentice and that I should stop doing new stuff until I lower my apprentice count. For example, I’m level three right now, have all the Kanji except 3 of them unlocked, have no lessons and no reviews at the moment, but have 55 items as Apprentice, 235 as Guru, and 0 as Master, Enlightened, and Burned. What would you say to me right now? Keep pushing on, or stop taking new lessons until I lower my apprentice count?


55 Apprentice items is actually a pretty low count. Obviously, the optimal count would vary from person to person, but I try not to go above 150 apprentice items. I would see how high you can go without overwhelming yourself.


What @onekun said.

100 is a frequently quoted number for apprentice count. If you don’t know how many apprentice you can sustain you should target this number. But what @onekun said applies. The correct number varies from person to person.

The goal of managing the apprentice count is to keep the review workload manageable. Most reviews come from apprentice items. If you stop doing lessons when apprentice are high you reduce the number of reviews coming from new items. You can resume lessons when the apprentice count is below the target.

If you feel overwhelmed with reviews then you should reduce your apprentice count target. If you can take more reviews you may raise your target. Eventually you will find the number that is right for you.

If the issue is not being overwhelmed with reviews then please explain. From your post it is not clear whether your issue is you are overwhelmed with reviews or something else. In the latter case you probably need something other than managing the apprentice count. We can’t help you until we know what the issue is.


The moment you get too many reviews in a day is the moment you know you went past the limit you can sustain, but the actual amount varies from person to person. In theory you can let it run unchecked if you don’t mind tackling a mountain of reviews every day, but that’s not usually a sustainable approach.

100 is a limit you’ll often see on the forums, and one that works well for a lot of people. I’d target this first, if it’s too much then lower it, if the workload is too low then increase it until you’ve found a comfortable number.


It also varies by level. When I reset in the beginning, 100 Apprentice was a good amount for me. By level 8, I had to restrict my apprentice count to 75. Now at levels 11 and 10, my burn reviews have been coming in very heavy, so I’ve had many days where even though my apprentice count was between 20-40 and I was not doing any lessons, I still had hundreds of reviews on many days.

Now, I also am having to manage a full time job while trying to do this, so I generally only have 1-2 times a day that I can do my reviews, so that further stacks things up, so if your schedule is more forgiving, it might be completely different for you.


Yeah I’m not overwhelmed at all. I’m still underwhelmed actually. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing something dumb and not learning and should wait to know what I currently have before continuing with new stuff.


My schedule is VERY forgiving lol I have a desk job that isn’t always busy so I will actually do reviews/lessons at work when they pop up.


Wow! Never stopped to think about it until now, I currently have 155 and I bet it’s been higher, I usually have around 200 reviews per day, but because I sit around 1 hour in the mornings and 1 hour at night until my count is both 0 in lessons and reviews. I have so many critical items as well :joy: but it doesn’t bother me as much, It is exhausting when I’m not on school break, it takes me around 11 days to pass a level with university stuff and around 9 when I’m on vacation keeping the same amount of workload on wk. I agree with what everyone above me says! Keep your workload as comfortable as you need to!


Just keep pressing on. The numbers are not really important. What is important is that you are leaning the kanji. I am almost on level 60, just a day or two to go, and I still have kanji stuck in the Apprentice stack.


I started WaniKani blindly. I didn’t visit the forum. I came from 20 years of “learning” so a lot of the words were ones I knew. I went stupid, did every lesson as it popped up.

Then I had 250 Apprentice items. I cried from the pain of endless reviews.

I came to the board looking for someone to let me cry on their shoulder. Instead, I read a lot of topics like this one and realized… damn was I dumb! :smiley:

I stopped a few days to get Apprentice items down to about 50. Once I hit 50, I started new lessons and will hover between 25 Apprentice items up to 150 at most. 150 starts to bring pain for me and I don’t want to be spending 3 hours a day on reviews.

I have a desk job and I work from home. I do all my reviews between 6 and 8 AM, depending on what time I get up, what time I am done walking the dog, and what time my wife moves to the office upstairs.

I make sure I do all my reviews during lunch, though sometimes I do log in and do some at random hours between 8-12 because… meetings are poop.

Afternoon I do the same but generally ensure I get all new reviews that pop up by 7 PM. Most evenings I will log in again once or twice from 7-11 and knock all those reviews out before I go to bed.

Next morning… return to beginning.


Generally I try to keep it at under 100 with maybe going up to 150 if starting a new level and want to get all that Kanji in.
Recently though for Levels 8 and 9 really just stopped learning at all as what found was Guru drops were actually causing a slow climb.

My advice go at the pace you need but if you notice after your Guru Reveiws the number doesn’t shift then stop as you clearly need to get those sorted first.

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This really won’t come into play until about 6 months in when your Enlightened items start coming around. Before that point, your daily lessons will just be Apprentice, Guru, and Master items from recent levels.

So another way to look at it is, however many items you do today, assuming perfect accuracy, that’s the number of reviews you’ll have in 6 months. So that’s why the recommendation is to keep Apprentice around 100 or whatever number works for you. It will spread out those items over time.

As an example, by keeping my Apprentice count around 100, I usually have around 150 reviews per day. That’s manageable for me since I do three sessions through out the day.


Decide the maximum number of reviews you can handle per day, and keep your apprentice count at roughly half that. I’ve found that ratio pretty consistent.


I’d say in the beginning go for around 100 or what you feel comfortable with. When the reviews pile up then maybe reduce your lessons and go for less apprentice.

I’m level 11 right now and I went from around 100 apprentice to 20 - 40, not even doing lessons every day anymore, only once every 3rd day or so. It may be a bit slow for some people, but don’t forget that the actual goal is to learn the kanji as good as possible. If you rush things you risk forgetting them on the long run.

But in the end it’s up to you. You have to find out what you can manage and feel most comfortable with. I think you should have a good grasp about that around level 9 or 10, all the master and enlightened will come back for review then.


You should also leave some room for a buffer for the inevitable Guru pile items that fall back to Apprentice


Like the others say, it depends. My average Apprentice count is 90 at its lowest and 150 at its highest. I really like to do reviews whenever possible, so that amount is not that high for me.


I’d pay more attention to the leech count. Having 130 Apprentice items while they’re mostly leeches doesn’t bode well for the forthcoming reviews and should rise an alarm. Same with Guru and other stages.


I mean just looking at the Apprentice count itself will fix the leeches automatically. If you have a lot of leeches in Apprentice, you automatically take it slower on the lessons, giving you more time for the leeches :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I personally struggle with reviews when my leech count is too high. Review sessions tend to take longer then and they make me feel exhausted. They also mess up my schedule. I try to deal with leeches separately to the “normal” reviews.


It probably doesn’t matter much until you get past level 15 or so, but eventually the waves of reviews will likely build beyond what you can handle.

Somewhere around level 20, I was getting 300+ reviews/day, because I’d basically gone full speed since day 1. In retrospect, that was a recipe for disaster for me :slight_smile:

Now, I have a private user script which warns me when I exceed 100 apprentice, 525 guru, or 750 master items. When I see that, I reduce my daily lessons for a few days and let things calm down. That seems to do the trick. On those days, I spend some extra time working on leeches.

Those limits come from the number of days it takes an item to get through each stage. 4 days for apprentice, 21 days for guru, 30 days for master. (for example guru < 525 (100 items * 21 days / 4 days )