For starters, get to know your leeches. There are a whole bunch of leeches at the bottom of your Apprentice level that deflate your percentages during reviews. You’re not bad at wanikani, it’s just those pesky leeches.
Get to know them with this:
Percentages are garbage nonsense. Wanikani isn’t a test, it’s a way to match an SRS position of a review item on the website, with how well you know that review item in your head. Don’t try to get a perfect score, try to put the puzzle pieces in the place they belong to be. If that means being send all the way back to Apprentice that’s OK. It will get burned at some point. Just keep failing it until you know how that mockerforker eats its beans and wipes its nose. Until you start hallucinating that buttass. Until you freestyle rap the reading and meaning in the morning. Before you know it it will launch itself into Burned status.
I think resetting now will make a profound dent in your motivation. Stop doing lessons now. Do reviews whenever you can, even if it’s just ten reviews. (Use the wrap-up button.) It may seem futile, but in the long run you’ll see your reviews and apprentice items slowly shrink down. You are in a hole, and digging yourself out will not be quick unfortunately. Whenever you apprentice count goes below 100, fill it up again until it is 100 with lessons.
Most importantly, don’t skip lessons. That also means vocab. A reason why people are able to go full speed, is because vocab is the foundation that helps with kanji being remembered more quickly. So don’t level up until you got that sweet sweet 0/0. You don’t have to go full speed, you’ll get there at some point.
However, keep your sanity in check. If you feel yourself getting stressed from wanikani, then a small break won’t hurt here.
Overall, if you feel yourself slipping away, it might still be a good idea to reset, but please try my suggestion first. Maybe get back to the point of the mnemonic reset. That seems to be a pain point.
Good question. True, I started using reorder script for lessons towards the end–I don’t remember why; desperation, I guess. I was leveling up the normal way until just a couple levels ago, if I remember correctly and the numbers make sense. Thanks for the advice you gave!
In my opinion, this is a sign that the kanji you’ve learned previously weren’t learned that well previously. I’d take some times to ensure you truly have those kanji down pat, and that you can distinguish between the kanji you’ve learned already.
I’d investigate outside of Wanikani to learn how to use some of these words. For example, it took me the longest time to distinguish between 調査、捜査、検索、etc. But these words are used a lot, and if you travel in Japan, or read a few things, the different meanings become apparent. After doing that, I don’t miss these vocabulary words frequently anymore.
I’ve found that learning to write the kanji revealed deep holes in my understanding of kanji, as I only had “superficially” learned the kanji. Taking some time and going back to learn how to write them taught me that I hadn’t “learned” to properly distinguish some of the of the kanji as well as I could have.
As an example, I thought I had learned 相 and 想 pretty well, but it turns out, I hadn’t. I was just using my ability to read vocabulary- 感想 and 相談 to “float” myself through, even though I hadn’t learned the fundamental difference between them. When I was =forced to write vocab words from scratch-- especially the mid-level ones that get used in a variety of pretty abstract words, your understanding of the differences between easily confused kanji, and their connection in words increases greatly.
Agreeing with others. Stop doing lessons, uninstall the reorder script (it’s too tempting), and try to do at least a couple of 10 item review sessions a day to keep yourself in the habit.
You can install this script if you want, but make sure you disable it once your review queue hits 0 the first time:
The most important thing though, is to Just Show Up once a day and do the absolute minimum of 10 reviews a day (use the wrap up button liberally). You can do more if you’d like, and yes, your review queue will explode for a couple of months, but it’s ok and temporary.
(Confession: I haven’t done any lessons in like 2.5 months, and I’m enjoying the experience of having to do very little. I know I’ll pick the pace up a little when I feel like it, and until then I’m doing the absolute minimum)
The reason you are having trouble is (mainly) that the srs is missing the mark, as you already recognized. You are reviewing too late. Use the self-study script BEFORE the review sessions and rely less on mnemonics and more on reflex memory. I almost never even read the mnemonics, I only come up with something simple for the short term, like for example a bunch of kanji reads kou, so I think “that’s cool (kou)”. What is the main issue? Kanji, vocab, meanings, readings? Use the self-study script to review chuncks (like the meanings of apprentice 1 and 2 kanji) until you can quickly get through the list with zero errors. Then do another chunck, like only the readings of apprentice 1 and 2 kanji. Then do both together. Even when you get to the hundreds, reviews do not take long at all if you actually know the material you are reviewing. Mnemonics are not useless but think about it, could you read anything if you had to spend time remembering the story behind why apple is written “apple”? No, you could not, it has to be internalized as a reflex. The mnemonic is just a crutch, very helpful at first, but you can’t run with it. At level 43, you should not rely that much on them.
I suck at this stuff, so I hit a similar situation around level 10 (!). 250 reviews a day with limited time and naturally very slow recall was killing me. I did reset a couple of levels and in retrospect that was the wrong thing to do. What I’d do now is sort my reviews by SRS level, highest first - then if I couldn’t manage all the reviews every day I’d only be skipping apprentice ones I don’t care about, and consolidating knowledge of the stuff I’d already heavily invested in. Only do enough lessons to finish the current level’s vocab (because it helps with the kanji). Keep doing until apprentice count is <100, then continue WK slowly! Might take a month.
It’s probably a good idea to keep doing vocab lessons to (slowly) catch up on those that were skipped before. After all, those should at least partly help reinforce kanji that OP might be struggling with. Otherwise I agree that pausing kanji lessons to stop leveling up for the time being is a good idea.
I almost fell in this kind of hole around your level, in my case it was the fast levels that almost got me. The solution was to stop completely doing new lessons, but still doing review everyday, for about 2 months.
Because if you went all the way to level 43, I think resetting to lower levels, or activating vacation mode will kill your motivation and there is fairly high chance to fell off the bandwagon for good…
But actually the review pressure fall quite sharply if you stop doing lesson and focus on review only. If you can push through > 300 review everyday for a week (admittedly really grueling…) then things will get much more manageable quickly. Keep doing pure review for a month or two to digest the huge pile of apprentice and guru and you will probably be surprised to be back in the blessed land of 50 to 100 review per day.
I’ve not really used reorder scripts but I am aware how much vocab helps to reinforce Kanji. If there are levels where you have learned the kanji but not learned all the vocab I would be tempted to reset to that level, then do the reviews and slowly learn the all the vocab for that level and try again to get on top of your review and apprentice pile
I’ve been through several patches where I’ve gotten behind and been bogged down. I just recently dug myself out of a review stack that was nearly at 3000. That said, I will have maybe slightly different advice to others for how to get out of this successfully. I agree that you should just keep doing reviews every day, even if it’s just a few. 1k seems like a lot, but it really is manageable if you can make it through around 100-200 per day.
Contrary to what others have said though, I would recommend doing some lessons in moderation, even while you still have a large review pile and apprentice stack. Don’t go wild with it, just one batch of 5 per day or so, and only vocab lessons. While I don’t have anything to cite for this, in my experience, learning new material triggers your brain to go into a sort of “learning mode”, which helps with overall retention. Learning vocab provides more repetition of the included kanji, reinforcing what you’ve already learned.
Slow and steady will get you out of this. Just keep plugging away. Don’t try to do a ton of lessons, mostly focus on reviews. Once you get your apprentice items down under 100, then increase your lesson count. But keep pacing yourself until both your apprentice and guru item counts are more manageable. Then you can accelerate back to a faster pace. You’ll get there!
Oh I agree! In this case I agree. Though since OP said they started reordering a few levels ago, I would finish all reviews before those levels first and start lessons again once I solidified the kanji of the reordered levels.
I had to take several lesson breaks on the way to 60. There are people out there that can go full speed the whole time, but it’s not everyone. It took me 2 years to hit 60 but I don’t think I could have done it any faster.
If you reset at all, I wouldn’t reset any more than about 5 levels. Don’t make the jump all the way to the lower levels, because you’ve already come so far! You’re doing better than you think! Resetting just a few levels won’t hurt though, imo. It’ll lower a bit of your immediate burden.
I’ve used this script in the past when I’ve been in a hole to focus on bumping up as many of my apprentice items as possible (and trusting the srs that my higher level items will hold out a little longer), but I also wouldn’t use it exclusively. If I sat down for a twenty minute review, I’d use the script for fifteen minutes and turn it back off to randomize everything again for the last five minutes so it wasn’t just a whole review of apprentice item hell. I uninstalled it once I’d cleared all my backlogged guru items.
I’m also on team do-five-lessons-a-day-anyway. Chipping away at lessons will help reinforce things (and when you’re already at 300 apprentice, what’s five more at this point honestly?). It’s a good habit to get back into, and it reinforces kanji. Win win.
I don’t have an answer for you, but I recently reset all the way back to level 1 from 37. I’ve also dug myself out from piles of 2000-3000 reviews/breaks of a number of months a few times before. Either one is totally fine depending on how you’re feeling. This past time, I really took a long break from Japanese because I’d been pretty burned out on it, and now that I’m back again I really just wanted a clean slate (although of course, not really totally clean because I do actually remember almost everything, and these beginning levels have been super, satisfyingly easy the second time around). I’m also discovering that I had a number of leeches from these beginning levels (like all the way back to levels 1 and 2… yikes…) that just make a lot more sense to me now, so just for that alone I’m glad I’m doing this.
From what you said in your initial post, I’d just try resetting 5-10 levels. That’ll probably feel really easy for you, which should be super encouraging. If it is easy for you, you’ll probably be going 7-8 days/level and that’s really only a 1-2 month investment (probably not much more than digging out of the review pile anyway) that would also give your brain clarity (which I think is the point of doing all this anyway?). Just my two cents, but I don’t think there’s really a wrong way to go, except continuing on with something that’s not working for you after you’ve given it a fair chance. Good luck! You’re definitely not alone!
Came across this post and wanted to see if there has been any progress/updates from OP since last October.
I’m only level 4 but even with ~90% accuracy and <30 apprentice items I feel like I’m just treading water. In reading the forums, I came across horror stories of users taking a week or two of vacation and forgetting nearly everything upon return and bombing reviews, which makes me question whether SRS is actually working and frankly has me scared for higher levels like where OP is at.
Have you had any luck in getting back into the groove OP?