How to manage workload during Levels 6-10?

I’m Level 6 in WaniKani. I’m dealing with a problem where I’ve caught up with my reviews but they’re already swelling to 200 reviews; this is largely because I sped through my reviews and got A LOT of items wrong (purposely, to see how much I remember to where I burned about 200 items, which out of 500 reviews at the time is actually good!).

My target JLPT level is N5 and by level 10 on WaniKani I’ll have learned all of the JLPT N5 except for one Kanji and its associated vocabulary. I see myself going slow now that I’ve brought my review count under control to focus on developing workload management. Following previous advice, I’ve put Anki aside to solely focus on WaniKani, leading me to develop revised mnemonics for reviews that need it the most or for the kanji of the level I’m on. The revised mnemonics are shortened sentences that are bite-sized unlike the mnemonics WaniKani provides (I’m seeing some results with this method so far, but I’m working on it).

To anyone who had to deal with this piling of items (not just with WaniKani but with similar workflows such as Anki), how did you get over learning a lot of vocabulary during levels 6-10? I think these levels are going to define how I will eventually make it to level 30 (where my target would now be the JLPT N3).

The revised mnemonics I’m using for one Kanji right now looks like this:

(ご、こう | “Behind, After, Back, Later”)
こうld wInTeR pOoP decides ご lOiTeR BEHIND latrines.
pOoP seems to ご lOiTeR AFTER こうld wInTeR.
こうld wInTeR pOoP ご lOiTeR from my BACK.
lOiTeR to ご pOoP in the こうld wInTeR LATER.

Just don’t do more lessons until your review count goes down?

I haven’t had this problem since I just do all my lessons as they pop up. Don’t really mind doing 300 reviews a day if needed.

Well, I’d rather be an optimist about this. If I do that, I can see myself not getting to level 10 for several months. I would have WaniKani for almost two years by then in which at the point, WaniKani’s system has failed me. I don’t want to give up on something I spent a lifetime membership on especially when things are looking up for the first time in awhile.

Are you catching the first two review sessions after learning a new item? 4h + 8h intervals? If not that would probably help you the most in remembering them.

How often are you going through the reviews?

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10-50 reviews per day, I think? The reviews pile up fast so I don’t do a lot of reviews to offset stress.

A lot of the reviews are stuck on Apprentice level right now. If I get them wrong, they always comeback within a few hours. Even then though, I often have a hard time remembering things (for example, I’ve had my drivers license for 6 years and I still can’t recall the names of the streets I use even though I use Waze all the time). Many of these reviews, I’ve gotten wrong at least five to 10 times by now. Some of them, I mix up too, like any vocabulary that shares the same meaning or has a similar English word (Method & Action for example). I tried using revised mnemonics, but I’ve found that this really works well with kanji rather than vocabulary, so for vocabulary, I am simply putting myself through repetition. I can’t just instantly recall something instantly the moment I look at it until I’ve seen it for a long time.

You need to clear the reviews daily (ie get to 0) and new items from lessons you did that day atleast a couple of times in order for it to work. The reason you can’t remember them is because you’re doing it wrong.

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What did you do right that I am doing wrong?

Doing my reviews.

You just need a solid routine and you’ll be fine. Firstly figure out how the SRS works and work around it.

I don’t know that I understand what your method is at the moment, but if your schedule allows for it, shoot for the three review sessions a day and maybe like 50 reviews a session (not a crazy amount I don’t think) and that ought to knock your review count down, and once it feels manageable again start hitting a few lessons a day.

Or find your own system. But I think what tends to help is to just build yourself a routine that feels right and stick to it like glue. Once I found a routine that worked, I just kinda cruised through and it barely felt like effort really.


I think it would be a good idea to work out a schedule for doing your reviews and stick to it as much as possible if you haven’t already done that. You should only need to be doing reviews a 2-3 times a day. If you’re trying to go through WaniKani fast you can expect upwards of 100 reviews a day on average.

A schedule would look something like this.

8:00AM - do reviews and lessons
12:00PM - do reviews for new apprentice items from earlier lessons
8:00PM - do any remaining reviews

If a midday review time doesn’t work for you, this way could also work

6:00AM - do reviews
6:00PM - do lessons
10:00PM - do reviews

Setting up a schedule like this will make sure you are doing the first apprentice reviews as early as possible and help get the new items stuck in your head. I would also recommend spacing out lessons so you’re doing some every day. That way you don’t overwhelm your brain with new information on a single day and you spread the reviews out more through the week. Around 20 lessons a day would keep you near or at full speed.

Edit: Also if you haven’t yet read it. I recommend reading The Ultimate Guide for WK. You’ll find lots of useful information in it.


I think the fact that three of us said nearly the same thing at the same time is a sign of good advice.


The amount of people that don’t really know how the SRS works is almost scary. It’s like making things much harder that it needs to be.

8:00 Do lessons.
12:00 Lesson review 1.
20:00 Lesson review 2.
Next day:
20:00 Lesson review 3.

Hitting the 12 and 20:00 spots is important for remembering. So I’d recommend that you split it up throughout the day, atleast three times to hit them.


I don’t understand what you’re saying here. If you have 200 reviews then you are not “caught up”. Are you getting them down to zero and you have 200 items in queue, or do you have 200 reviews due?

Why would you get items wrong intentionally? This defeats the entire purpose of SRS. If you intentionally get items wrong they will be in your reviews more frequently. You need to input your answers honestly for the system to work.

If you start answering honestly and still find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of reviews you have, a good rule of thumb is to hold off on doing any lessons until your apprentice count is 100 or less. Having 100 or less items in apprentice means you will have in an around 100 reviews each day, which should only take you around 20 minutes to complete. Hope this helps.


Similar, except that I welcome the reviews. I’m planning on going to Japan in exchange for a year and Wanikani is one of the few things which I actually diligently study. Anki is kinda boring to me and I haven’t done it in a while, and I basically only do textbook work when I have lessons with my tutor. I wish there was Wanikani but for learning all the conjugations and other grammar related things.

My listening is very good for my respective level in all other areas, mostly because I’ve been listening to J-pop for a very long time, even during periods where I don’t watch much anime, so I have a lot of osmosis on that. As such, the vocabulary lessons are often quite trivial for me at my current level still and I use associated vocab to memorise kanji, as opposed to remembering through mnemonics. I also used to learn Chinese when I was a kid so I’m already unfairly familiar with Kanji than the average beginner.

  1. You have too many reviews, so stop doing lessons right now, you’ll make it to level 10 in no time, no need to rush.

  2. Don’t get things wrong on purpose that doesn’t really make sense

  3. Finish all your reviews everyday to 0. When you go to sleep that number should be at 0. You don’t need to do them in one sitting, chipping away at various points in the day is fine, but you need to work on getting a pace that works for you so you don’t have to do that anymore. Meaning, decrease the lessons you do daily so that way the reviews that come at a single time isn’t a high number that you can’t do it one sitting.

  4. You said 10-50 reviews a day is your limit. I’d say 5 lessons a day is probably what you need to do (When you have calmed down your review pile). I’d suggest building up your stamina for reviews though. Learning Japanese is definitely not a race, but if you’re only doing 10 of the reviews you have in a single day then you’ll be prone to forgetting the items that you’re leaving in the pile. It’ll be especially hard on new apprentice items that are important to review them at the first 2-3 times they show up.


I’ve mostly regulated this by keeping an eye on my total apprentice items.

I tried to have only about 100 apprentice items at a time. Doing WaniKani that way, at level 23 I have about 100-150 reviews a day on average.

I also try not to do all my reviews in one sitting. I’m not someone who wakes up in the middle of the night to do reviews right away, but I generally do reviews once when I wake up, once at lunch, and once sometime before bed. That way each individual session is usually only 30 reviews or so.

If my apprentice items are under 100, I add new lessons at the rate of 20 items per day. If my apprentice items are 90, I still do 20 new lessons (bumping the number of apprentice items to 110), and then just wait until they fall under 100 again before doing any new lessons.

When I fall out of this routine and I need to do a few hundred reviews at a time, I use an app called Juken to go through the reviews as fast as I can. It allows you to swipe left or right for answering whether or not you remembered an item, so as long as you’re honest, you can more quickly speed through the reviews.

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It’s been said before, but I’ll reiterate.

  • Your short term work load is determined by the number of Apprentice + Guru Items. Keep that number under 400 to have about 100 reviews a day.
  • How many lessons you do directly impacts your apprentice count. About 10/day is considered a moderate workload.
  • Doing 2 review sessions per day is the most time efficient. If you are consistent, all your reviews will popup at those times. To maximize your lesson potential, the two session should be 4 hours apart, and you do your lessons during that first session. i.e. 7am & 11am, or 6pm & 10pm.
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I’m on the cusp of level 6, so I guess I feel the same. I have slowed down a bit and now am closer to 12 days a level. Which I am ok with.

But as others said, I keep my reviews at zero everyday and if my my apprentice words are over 100 (really closer to 75) I don’t learn anything new. I have 50 lessons in queue right now!!

But, I was wondering about your mnemonics. And I’d like to hear from others.

I work more like,

‘skin - kawa’ and I picture someone (ok, a naked girl) going for a wash in the kar wash. So much skin!! Ooooo!

or ‘white - haku’ Haku, the herald angels sing!! And I picture some blazing white bright angel. haku

or ‘winter - fuyu’ (I recognize winter kanji by the two little bits) - Most people say FU YU! to one winter…let alone two! (though I love winter.)

The mnemonics you posted…I can’t even understand. I mean, I’d probably do
‘go kou - behind, later’ I’ll go do a kould poo out back later.

And then just realize that behind and back are similar enough and later and after are similar enough. Then get more nuanced meaning later if need be.

I’m beginning Japanese, so I don’t feel like I have to memorize every meaning, as I’m sure they will come up again; in wanikani, or other studies, or real life. Your way seems like a lot of extra work. That might be slowing you down.

Anyway, curious as to how others approach it.

When do you plan to take the N5?


how is your apprentice count?

I keep below 90 now, usually I have 100 lessons in stock.