I turned on vacation mode on 27 December 2020 when I got totally overwhelmed at level 12. I didn’t mean to stay away so long but now I’m back. I know I need to go back but should I reset to level 1 or not? This is my progress to date…
I’d really appreciate any advice particularly if you have such a long break.
I’d try resetting to the level where you find the content not to be overwhelming.
That is, maybe resetting to level 7 or 8. Is your accuracy on 20-30 reviews really low? Did it feel really difficult? If that’s still true, resetting to level 3. If level 3 feels the same, then resetting to level 1.
Did you do any Japanese in the meantime or was the wanikani break also a Japanese break?
Personally not a fan of resetting (and I did take long long breaks) but I know other people prefer that.
Do you have a review backlog as well or is that fine?
My tactic after a long long break (~3 years I think), was mostly: I started out just doing my reviews for a while. After a few days I was a little frustrated with my low accuracy and I started using some scripts to review Recent Mistakes a little more (that’s built in into wanikani by now, so no script needed anymore) which also helped a bunch. I also just went through the radicals of the last 2-3 levels a few times to get a bit better grasp on the building blocks. After around two weeks (mind you, my break was quite a bit longer - I also wasn’t super consistent with my reviews before I stopped) I started adding lessons back in
If you find yourself with a huge review backlog, you might find a script for reordering reviews helpful. You can then reorder by level (so you get lower levels first) and do like a set amount of reviews each day for a while until you tackled your backlog. The reason to reorder is mostly because the levels kinda built onto each others. So reviewing the lower level building blocks first is much easier and also helps once you reach the higher level reviews.
Personally, I felt pretty motivated when I returned. So doing my reviews and then on top some more Extra Study reviews actually felt manageable and after a bit I could reduce the amount of extra study as well. (I still find some extra “Recent Mistakes” reviews useful… but there are just less mistakes now ;D)
Others feel like it’s overwhelming though and they reset at least a few levels (the last levels will probably be what you remember the least, so often times a few levels is enough. But you do you).
I took a complete break from Japanese and have a lot of reviews banked up.
I was in a very similar situation, I stopped studying for 2 years … (I was at level 15).
I would suggest to have a look at this thread: How to kill a giant review backlog
Personally, I started by using the self-study quizz to see how much I remembered after such a huge break. Suprinsingly, I still had a good knowledge of kanjis from level 1 to 6. For level 7 and 8, I had to do a bit more of self-study and level 9 was way too hard. So I decided to reset to level 9
I hope this help !