How to Avoid Memorizing the Wrong Answer?

I’ve noticed a pattern where I will give the wrong meaning or reading for an item, and then sort of fall into the pattern of always giving the same wrong answer in the future, as if I’ve memorized the wrong answer.

Has anyone else had this problem? If so, how have you solved it?


If I remember that the current review is one where I give a wrong answer, I step back and try hard to remember the proper answer, and purposefully get it wrong if I can’t. That way it can flow back into the apprentice/guru level SRS where I can learn the proper answer.


Hmm, perhaps if you go to the item’s page and remove it from your reviews. Try leaving it for a week or so, just ignore it in your lessons, then learn it again. Pay attention to the mnemonic, and add to it yourself with even the most ridiculous of things. It might help you out, it’s something I’ve been trying for my own leeches recently… = )
Good luck!

You bet! So many of the old leeches are this way.
Quite often I remember to answers: the correct one and the one I usually give. But the problem is that I don’t remember which one is which :sweat_smile:

Just have to rely on SRS for it. Get it wrong → more reviews. I don’t do anything in particular. Just give it time.

Or if it’s a rather common thing you’ll get exposed to it through reading and will remember it out of context.


I use BishBashBosh after review sessions to drill the items I got wrong. I’ve found it particularly helpful for expunging incorrect answers!

I also try, when I get something wrong, to pay attention when I answer it right, if that makes sense. It’s very easy to look at / remember the correct answer and go “oh yeah, of course”. Then your brain switches off and isn’t really connecting when you input the right answer, so it forms a much stronger association with whatever you wrote when you were trying really hard to remember and got it wrong.


I’ve never heard of this feature… How would you do that?


When i do that. I usually start reading the mnemonics again.


Depends on the specific problem:
Is it because wani-kani accepted an incorrect answer? Install an “ignore answer” script, and purposely get it wrong the second time (happened to me a while back due to the opposite being one letter off of the correct answer.
Another alternative is the “close but no cigar” script. If you catch yourself entering the wrong answer but think it’s right, enter a dummy answer (like an emoji) to get it flagged as incorrect and see the correct answer.
After that

this is a pretty good idea. I would go a step further and make sure I have the radicals properly memorized as well.


Not sure why this 2018 question was brought back to life in the last our but I don’t feel none of the answers work well. My suggestion: If you are not sure about the reading/meaning, don’t try to guess it, just type some random letter (I type お/o) to get a wrong answer. But you also want to use the override script to avoid typos otherwise your number of apprentice items might become too large.

Yes I have been following this approach for the past 2 months or so. Instead of getting stuck in trying to remember the context (I usually identify all radicals just fine)…I just type NO and proceed to read right away what the actual meaning was.

SRS will then show it to me again soon enough.

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It’s not from 2018 - it’s from March the 18th. Discourse just has a dumb date format.

Also, I’m not sure that’s really universally helpful advice. There are plenty of items I get wrong despite being perfectly confident I’m answering the correct thing.

I’ve been thinking of doing this as well. I keep reinforcing the wrong answer in my head, so I’ve started putting ‘f’ (for fudgeit, I forgot it again) instead of constantly putting the wrong answer in. Hopefully it does the trick.

Write it down and say it both in Japanese and English. Multiple times doesn’t hurt. This will be harder if you haven’t practiced writing kanji, but it helps reinforce it for me. The catch is you have to keep pen and paper nearby; I rarely do, lol.

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I’ve tried most of the suggestions people have given here, especially the trick with intentionally entering the wrong answer. It still isn’t working for me.
One thing that has helped is to make note of what answers I give and think about why I may have given them. Often, the wrong answer is related to visually or conceptually similar item, and looking at both of them helps clarify and prevents the mistake from infecting other items.

I think this is the core of the issue for me. In addition, the way the website works right now, you are actually given negative feedback on the right answer after giving the wrong answer.
That is to say, after giving the wrong answer, the “level down” notification is shown when you give the correct answer in the same review session.
Given the current setup of Wanikani, I think the best solution is probably yours, @Radish8, intentionally drilling wrong answers after a review session using BISHBASHBOSH.

Speaking more generally about the site’s design, I think giving negative feedback at all, even when you first get the item wrong, is probably a mistake, because all it does is make the mistake more memorable. Quizzing the item again in the same session is probably also a mistake, because it’s possible for people to think they know the answer and end up reinforcing the falsely memorized answer. Rather, doing a re-review of all the missed items at the end of a session might be more effective, similar to BISHBASHBOSH, but just repeat the lessons for those items.

Additionally, since Wanikani is a memory network, missing an item might be a sign that some parts of the network are broken. For a vocabulary word, it might mean you forgot the word, because you forgot a kanji, because you forgot a radical. If you give the wrong answer but it’s a right answer for ANOTHER item, it might also mean that your memory of that OTHER item is starting to get broken or mis-associated. This is why I try to think about why I answered incorrectly and what other thing I was thinking about, but I haven’t tried digging deeper into the network for an item when I get wrong answers.
An intelligent userscript might be able to produce really good feedback on the whole network when a wrong answer is given to make this easier, perhaps creating custom review sessions based on the type of mistakes made.


Yes, I would add to my previous answer that I (try to) always have a quick look at my wrong answers in the post-review summary screen. Many of them are ‘stupid’ mistakes or typos, but wherever I realise I’m getting it wrong because of confusion with other items, I try to open up all the items of confusion and actively look for the differences - I usually write notes on their pages cementing their differences or coming up with small mnemonics to distinguish them.

If you always just complete your review sessions without giving a second thought to the ones you got wrong, I think that’s the surefire way to build up loads of leeches.

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