How many reviews is too many? Apprentice/guru count and review accuracy

Doing all lessons at once is a recipe for disaster. Big batches of lessons will turn into big batches of reviews when their time is due. They accumulate. Some days a big batch may be due for Guru1. At the same time another big batch may be due for Guru2, and another one may be due for Master, and still another one may be due for Enlightened. This phenomena causes that some days you experience a big spike in the review workload while other days are quiet. To avoid this problem and have a more evenly spread of daily reviews it is best to spread lessons over several days.


I did that at first too, and I can assure you that it won’t work forever. My method has changed over time. At first it was learn everything right away, then I went for keeping apprentice under 150, then I kept to 20 lessons a day, then I switched to 21 to make it three batches of lessons instead of four, then after a trip left me under a monumental pile of reviews, I dropped to 14. Keep in mind that once your enlightened and burn reviews are going to start coming in faster and faster, so you need to figure out a place now that’ll prevent you from getting buried in a month or two.


Definitely don’t do all your lessons at once. If you do 20 every single day, you’ll be going about as fast as you can (with judicious use of reorder, if you’re into that), so there’s no reason not to spread it out, and it will help avoid the horrible days of too many reviews down the line.

I just made the decision yesterday to slow down to 15 a day from 20. With juggling full-time work and no childcare (thanks covid), I just can’t take more than 200 reviews a day, and fewer lessons is the only way to keep that down (OK, I could also have 100% accuracy but let’s be realistic). I think if I’m careful I can still get to level 60 by my next birthday, which is my goal. :smiley:

Another trick I use is that if it’s bedtime and I just can’t face the stack of reviews at night, I put it on vacation mode until I wake up. Again it doesn’t delay you too much in the long run (just pushes you out eight hours or so), but it makes it so that the next day you don’t have double the reviews, which is just too disheartening to face on a regular basis. I try to do this only once or twice per level, but it has really helped me.


many a times I’ve have 0% accuracy review sessions… to be fair, nearly 100% were 1 item reviews

but as every else is already saying: reduce your apprentice and guru queue sizes. You’re at the point in WaniKani when reviews really start to pile on from the higher stages so cutting down the number of reviews from the early stages will help a lot.


Thanks everyone for the great input. I’m definitely going to start spreading out the lessons and clean up my stack a bit. It’s already starting to catch up with me too fast.


I’d go with number of leeches personally as they’re a clear sign of getting overwhelmed. Maybe limit yourself to 100 active leeches (you need a script to know the exact number), and going above means no more lessons (aka your leeches are your lessons now). Apprentice/Guru count is hard to tell because the ideal maximum varies a lot depending on your accuracy.

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The simplest script to count leeches IMHO is Wanikani Dashboard SRS and Leech Breakdown. If you want a list of the leeches I use Wanikani Leech Tables.

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Thanks, this is useful information. I’m a bit confused on the extra numbers under the apprentice, guru boxes, etc…

I assume the bottom right number is the total, but what’s up with all the numbers and the slashes? If, I mouse over I even get some more numbers with different slashes. Couldn’t find an answer in the documentation.

The numbers in the slashes for Apprentice is a break down of items in Apprentice 1/2/3/4. For example the 3/2/88/129 in the picture means 3 items in Apprentice 1, 2 items in Apprentice 2, 88 items in Apprentice 3 and 129 items in Apprentice 4. For Guru you have a break down of Guru 1/2.

The dark numbers count leeches only. You have the number of leeches for each SRS category. If you hover over the dark number you get a break down of leeches by Apprentice 1/2/3/4 and Guru 1/2.

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Another tidbit of info. You may tune the Leech Tables with settings.

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I burned out at level 21 and had to reset… seeing it in a graph like this really drives the point home how bad I crashed :sweat_smile:

Eeyup. I’ve had some close calls. I’m almost to the descending half of that graph though, and I can’t wait!

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I’ve just started experiencing what it’s like to feel overloaded by reviews, now that I’m on level 5. Still a low level. But have taken the advice to cut down my lessons and have noticed an improvement in my performance. I’m wary of higher levels, but also still anxious to build my vocabulary.

Ahhh that’s so exciting!! Level 60 is near :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I’ll see you at the level 60 peak in 2+ years :joy:

Statistically things should even out so that this effect is not noticeable, and the daily review count is more or less constant.

The average workload may remain constant but if you don’t even out the lesson count at the source the workload will vary greatly from one day to another. This effect is more than noticeable, it can grow into a major problem. There are numerous testimonies to that effect in these forums.

I could definitely use some help/encouragement. I’m a pre-med student, and I’m concerned about burnout as well as going too slow.

My question is: What is my best strategy, going forward, to ensure that (1) my reviews aren’t overwhelmingly large and (2) I complete WaniKani in a timeframe of 2-3 years?

Any advice would definitely be appreciated. Thanks, everyone!

(1) You should define what is overwhelming. It means different things for different people.
(2) The most important part is to be consistent. Do your reviews every day without skipping one day. If you must stop doing review set vacation mode. Failure to set vacation mode will result in a big pile of reviews when you come back.

Good rules of thumbs are:

A- Spread your lessons uniformly over the days. Something in the range of 15 to 25 lessons a day is reasonable with 20 being the most typical number. You will have to find out which rate suits you. In doubt try 20 lessons a day as a starting point. If you don’t spread lessons now you will experience big overwhelming spikes in your daily lesson workload when you reach the level where items start being burned.

B- Watch your Apprentice and Guru counts. The daily workload rises significantly when the values are over 100 for Apprentice and 500 for Guru. When that happens stop doing lessons until the numbers are back under these targets. But perhaps you can take higher workloads. In that case increase your Apprentice and Guru limits until you reach a comfortable workload.


Thank you, Prouleau. I’ll follow that method and try not to slip lower than 15 lessons a day. The Apprentice/Guru information is great too. I plan on telling myself, “it’s only a few years. I just have to keep going.”

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You’ve received plenty of feedback by now and you’ll just have to find something that works for yourself. For the record, here is what I am doing and what seems to work quite well for me. I’m certain that I’ll be 60 (or close to it) by the end of this year, so after roughly 18 months of Wanikani.

  • Always do reviews everyday. Even if it’s the most busy day of your life, there is no excuse to not at least do 25 reviews when you’re in the bathroom or something.
  • Try to get your reviews down to zero every day.
  • No lessons when there are reviews available.
  • No lesson reordering. Vocab cards reinforce the readings you learned and it’s important to get started on them soon after you have Guru’d the corresponding kanji cards. Yes, sometimes that pushes my potential level up back a day or two until I can whittle down the lessons to reach the next radical cards.

If I’m very busy, I generally hold off on lessons, even if I manage to get my reviews down to zero. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter if it takes a few months more or less. It’s much more important to keep yourself from burning out, the faster you go, the higher the risk.