I have 550 leeches. how do I fix this?

as title I’ve been doing super poorly at reviews, generally below 50% correct and usually more around 20-30% (also have no motivation, lessons piled up into the 100s, doubting the entire reason I’m doing this in the first place, but that’s normal stuff) and I checked my leeches and I had almost 550 of them (547 to be precise) with the top leeches having OVER 400 MISTAKES. How the heck am I meant to deal with this? is this a sign I should quit? what happens if I quit do things keep piling up? help?

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I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with leeches recently too, so here’s a few things that worked for me:

  1. Slow down: stop doing new lessons until you can get some more confidence with or get rid of some of your leeches. I’m currently 40 days into my current level and haven’t even hit the kanji for this level yet as I’m still working my way through the vocab items from the previous level. I do 10 lessons/day max and usually don’t have more than 80 apprentice items.
  2. Actively check errors: Are checking your errors when you get something wrong in the reviews and actively trying to memorise the mnemonic for any leeches to help you? Or coming up with your own mnemonics to help you learn each item, one by one? Or using some other tricks to memorise any more difficult readings? I found that up to level 20-ish, the kanji is still relatively easy and you can get by even if you don’t memorise every single mnemonic as you can usually get things right just by memorising the visual appearance of the kanji, but on the higher levels there’s so many that are similar and the meanings are more abstract which makes it much harder to memorise them without the mnemonics.
  3. Use the Recent Mistakes option for some extra study and/or the Self-Study Quiz. I find the latter especially helpful as it has listening too so it forces your brain to work even harder than just seeing the kanji. And again, take your time while doing these reviews, so that you focus on each kanji/word at a time and don’t just attempt to complete each session as fast as possible.
  4. Don’t get discouraged, just take it slow and durtle along.

Edit: 5. Use the ConfusionGuesser app. It’s very helpful sometimes to figure out which kanji you were mixing up with each other.


Don’t quit! But I think you’d best reset to a lower level. 550 leaches is a ton! You can’t be learning / progressing much at all if your accuracy is less than 50%. Reset to a lower level where you think you know most of the words and then go very slowly… Don’t do new lessons until your review accuracy is consistently over 50% or you have few apprentice items, etc. That should help keep things manageable.

I know there’s been previous posts in the forum from people with similar problems, but I can’t find them right now, maybe someone else will know.

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How do you usually check leeches? Is it wkstats feature or something else?

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One idea short of resetting:

Make a list of all your leeches. Extract it to somewhere outside of WK.

Put WK in vacation mode. This will keep more reviews from piling up, but be aware that you can’t do reviews when in vacation mode.

Look at your list of leeches. Why are you stuck? Are you confusing similar kanji? Are you mixing up transitive and intransitive verbs? Is the meaning fine, but you keep messing up the reading? Did you just completely brain cramp on an entire level, and therefore everything that builds on that level is a mess?

Figure out a plan based on whatever the actual problem turns out to be. If a lower level foundation is rotten, maybe reset back to that level. If it’s transitive/intransitive pairs, maybe do some drilling of that aspect specifically outside of WK. With 500 of them, it’s probably a number of different things, so maybe figure out which is responsible for the biggest chunk.


Yeah, I think the problem here is not the leeches themselves, but how you got to 550 of them. Are you retaining the information for the first review? Are they similar kanji/vocab? Is it just being overwhelmed by the amount of things you’re trying to learn? Do you have any immersion where you could be learning or reviewing these?

You got to level 23, so WK should work for you, so just take it slow.

If you’re getting 20-30% accuracy, that’s a sign that either you need to change things up, take more time, or review things elsewhere.


I usually don’t recommend it, but you probably should reset. I don’t really understand how you got 547 leeches, matter of fact where did you see this number in the first place?

20-30% probably means the mnemonics aren’t working for you, or you’re just not reading them, maybe you’re doing your reviews way too late, like you learn something and then you review it like a day later, of course you’ll forget.

Have you been doing your reviews every day?

My guess is no. You have to do it every day to get somewhere.

If you want it enough, you’ll do it.

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Not only that, multiple times a day, especially for new items. The first three reviews are the most important, especially the first two for retention.


I have the same question. How do you know if you have leeches and how many there are?

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you look like you’re doing quite well to me, if you’ve managed to burn 3000 items.
Lessons are often over 100, you shouldn’t worry about the number of lessons as those are the items not yet learnt (and there are naturally 100s of them).
Your apprentice is only 61 so that’s quite low. Maybe that means you could take on a few more items? It might be that you’ve got the same leeches going round and round, and a few new items that you could get right, might give you some motivation? That might increase your percentage on reviews.

As for the ones you keep getting wrong, I guess the only way is to sit down with each of them and figure out why you’re mistaking them, and decide on a memorable mnemonic that can work for you. (I don’t think you’ve got 500 leeches, they’d probably be in apprentice if they were true leeches).

I think you’re doing alright. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve already burned 3000. I definitely wouldn’t go resetting to a lower level.

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