If only I hadn't .. (forward looking)

I’m just starting level 3, and my dashboard looks like this (after two weeks on Wanikani):

I’ve read a lot of horror stories here about people having piles and piles of reviews to get through. This leaves me wondering at what point I hold off on more lessons and instead focus on leveling up what I’ve started already.

Are there any rules of thumb to apply here? I was thinking that perhaps 100 as a limit to the number of apprentice items might be a good idea. What are you using as your guide?

Thanks for your help!

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Depends… how many reviews are you getting and can you cope?

I recommend the user script Ultimate Timeline… But generally I stay under 100 items.

Over might be okay for you now as you don’t have many other items that are occurring. It’s a bit different when you have hundreds of active items on top of 100 apprentice.

100 apprentice items is a pretty common rule. I do about 30 a day (using the reorder script to prioritize radicals and kanji). That keeps me pretty close to 100 apprentice as long as my accuracy is high.

It’s good to slow down now and then as well, to let yourself catch up. Don’t confuse leveling up with learning kanji.


We’re roughly at the same stage I think, so from a fellow working-on-level-three’er, here’s what I’m thinking :wink:

I generally hold off from learning more new things until I can answer the reviews I get relatively quickly and effortlessly. When I’m asked for a kanji or vocabulary and really need to search around in my brain, I regard that as a good indication of my brain not being ready yet.

This can be annoying at times. You see new lessons and your brain thinks “yay, more goodies!” But personally I would rather see my speed go up with the items already in my review queue, than see my amount of kanji pile up - the latter only adds to my stress levels if I’m not comfortable enough with the ones I’m supposed to remember.

To me, learning all of the 2k+ kanji isn’t something I need to do quickly so I’ve accepted the fact that it will just take a lot of time. I mean sure, I’d love to know them all straight away and impress everyone and all of that :sunglasses: but then I think, by going too quickly I’m only going to think badly about my brain, which is not even realistic because all our brains are fantastic amazing instruments. And all they need is time and context. And they perform poorly under stress and don’t like it when they are being underappreciated. So, in that sense - who am I really fooling but myself?

As long as I still need an age to recall that ‘small’ is ‘小さい’ (kaniwani), and that ‘内’ is ‘inside’ is ‘ナイ’ (which is mnemonically difficult), I’ve decided to just hold off.

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I just came back after a few months of ignoring my pile of reviews and lessons. I reset to level 5 because I didn’t feel like I really remembered all the things I had to reviews, and I had lessons that came from so many different levels. I think that rather than focusing on the amount of reviews, it’s more important to stay constistant. If you can do at least 30 mins of reviews and lessons every single day, you’ll pull through, no matter the amount of reviews and lessons. It’s truly a trial of endurance .

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By order of importance:

  1. Do all reviews before doing lessons.
  2. Apprentice count is 99 and below.
  3. Max of 20 lessons a day.

Not something I pay a lot of attention to because I do my reviews at all hours, but I think it’s important to do your reviews at least twice a day with the first and the last sessions having at least 4 hours apart.

Thanks for the advice, folks. For now I’m going to hold off on lessons, and see how smoothly my apprentice items move to Guru and where my Guru items go.

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I agree with @MasterSenSenpai. I like knowing what is coming up.

I also use WaniKani Statistics to keep track of my progress.

I don’t think that the “100 or fewer apprentice items” rule is so strict. If you for some reason had 1.5k guru, then 100 might be a very high number. If on the other hand you have 500 guru and master, 100 could be pretty low.

The reviews I’ve had haven’t moved much from Apprentice to Guru, so this leaves me with the problem of what to do while I’m waiting for my next reviews, e.g.:

I figure I should use the time instead to work on my grammar, so I’m trying out Introduction – Learn Japanese. So far I like the philosophy of the book from the introduction.

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You might want to check out The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!

If you’re going to stick with Tae Kim’s guide I’d highly recommend the apps. They’re much more convenient to use as a reference and you can tap some of the vocab in the samples to see the reading and meaning without having to refer to the definition lists all the time.

As for the review piles issue it’s one of those things you just need to feel out and tinker with on your own. I don’t really like to pay attention to my apprentice stack since it will fluctuate for various reasons. It’s easier to just pick a certain number of lessons per day and consistently do that while clearing your reviews. If it’s too much work or your accuracy drops then slow down. The only real time I’d be concerned is if the apprentice stack starts hitting 150+ items, as that’s around a full level’s worth of content.

It’s good that you’re being proactive, but really… most of the time people get buried in reviews (or lessons) it comes from making some really bad (and usually obvious) choices. Keep up with WK daily while paying attention to your time/stress levels and you’ll be fine.

Also, your current level is so low it’s a poor indicator of future exertion. Right now you should only be seeing reviews for items in SRS levels 1-5, but that leaves 6-8 as you get further along. For fast levelers it will end up being approximately 60-80 additional reviews per day by around level 20.

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Thanks, ccookf. :smiley:

I’m under 100 Apprentice! I went ahead and started the level 3 lessons in the end.

Well, the most important part is that most of my Apprentice are Apprentice 4. :smiley:

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