Is it common to have inconsistent review memory?

I feel like quite often, I really struggle with recalling the correct reading. But then sometimes I just ace my reviews 100% with ease.

Does anyone else have this kind of inconsistency or know what could be causing it?

Is it just because I’m relatively new to using WaniKani? I’ve been taking my sweet time and not rushing through the process so I don’t feel like I’m overloading myself.


usually I do bad on my first round, and then my recall starts to kick in. Don’t beat yourself up, keep at it!

It’s actually more like getting “mastered” stuff wrong. Somehow I get that far in with kanji and mind blank.

I don’t tend to get enlightened wrong thankfully. Although I managed to mess up a radical that had been enlightened for ages the other day.

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What an early time to get lifetime membership.
Anyways circumstances are different *most of the time.So its completely fine to be having such irregular patterns.Just don’t stress out too much, besides thats what wanikani is used for :grinning:
*edited for wrong word

Not so early. I’ve been using wanikani for almost a year but I reset my progress. I’m just learning casually so that I can become passible in the language sometime in the next 20 years. Too busy with 50 hour work weeks to rush through learning a language. So naturally, I don’t want to have to be rushed by a subscription. For me it was the obvious choice.

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I have this too but most of the time it’s down to how tired I am. Once I get past a certain point energy wise my ability to remember readings or meanings of some jukugo words falls away.


My memory is astonishingly inconsistent. I struggle to go from guru --> master; a TON of stuff gets re-circulated for me. I have no idea how normal that is, but I try not to worry about it?


It’s really good to know that I’m not the only one. I guess the only thing we can do is carry on.

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I struggle with inconsistent memory issues too, but more generally. I’ll be walking in a store and I’ll forget my phone number, or someone will ask me how old I am and I’ll just…forget. Mine’s probably just from not getting enough sleep (and being depressed), so I’m not sure if that part’s the same for any of you.

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I think what is happening when you’re forgetting items you got to Master is that there isn’t enough repetition. In other words you aren’t coming across that kanji, vocab or radical enough for it to shift from short term to long term memory. I know you’re giving yourself a long time to accomplish the goal of learning the language, but perhaps a little urgency (but definitely not rushing or needing to go “fast”) or just repeat exposure to the kana is helpful.

And once you begin to see kanji that look like other kanji, it can be easy to mistake one for another that you haven’t seen for some time. That (the process of mistaking one for another & needing to repeatedly expose yourself to it/learn a new mnemonic to recall the kana), I think really helps you to learn what distinguishes them from one another.


Inconsistency is caused by being alive. Nobody’s performance is identical all the time. I certainly perform differently depending on how I feel or what time of day it is, which is why I start my reviews as soon as I wake up.


I have a similar experience with some words. I guess they’re a little harder to recall after not having seen them in a few days and sometimes I even get them mixed up with a newer word. Eventually though I remember them without too much difficulty. It takes a bit of time but it’s normal :slight_smile:

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When I’m tired (which lately seems to be quite often), I tend to forget even some of the most basic words I know I should have known. And of course there are also leeches. Some things stick, while others don’t. Currently I am at the stage where the ratio of leeches to “normal” items starts to increase - I burn them normal ones, while leeches remain. Therefore recently my accuracy has dropped significantly.

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like people have mentioned, some inconsistency is pretty much unavoidable. but you can probably improve on it to a degree. it’s worth paying attention to the factors that affect your recall performance; wise management of them can have a hugely positive effect on the results of studying! some examples I’ve found include:

  • whether i’ve slept since the last study session
  • how good (or bad) last night’s sleep was
  • time of day and general wakefulness level
  • how present and focused i am during the current study session
  • how present and focused i was during the previous study session
  • whether my body is well-taken-care-of (hunger doesn’t help!)
  • whether i’m distracted by an unprocessed emotion (if something is weighing on me, i’m definitely going to perform worse because i can’t focus fully)
  • when the last time i took adhd meds was
  • set and setting (what’s the environment? are other people there? what’s on my mind? what’s my mood?)

outside of the obvious, like trying to get better sleep, some techniques you can use to improve performance during reviews include:

  • consider some meditation before study sessions
  • avoid studying/reviewing when you don’t feel focused. it’s just not worth it
  • find the times of the day that work best for studying. trial and error, if you need to

It’s normal to do worse if you’re exhausted, not doing well, etc. It’s also normal to fluctuate a bit in any skill.

If you find it getting worse in general rather than just here and there:

  1. Pile up fewer reviews in WaniKani (one suggestion I’ve heard is keeping the Apprentice count under 100, but really whatever works for you - slow and steady wins the race)
  2. Examine your life situation (work, stress, social life, health, general happiness, etc) and see if there’s anything you could improve

i sometimes forget words in english, but the japanese comes to mind.
don’t worry, it’s all normal.


Maybe it’s because English is not my mother tongue, but today for instance I struggled with the English words more than the Japanese tbh and I have had some drop back down to Apprentice and Guru. I had 欠席 and for the sake of it, I couldn’t remember how to say it in English (but knew the meaning), so I tried “not attending”… yeeeeaaaah, did not work and I wanted to bite into the desk when I read “absence”.

Sometimes my brain just spaces out… I cannot recall how many items went to master, then dropped because of one stupid day and then the next time they come around, I remember I messed up last time and then I mess up again, because I do not trust my gut anymore. Welcome to my leeches…

Uh. One day my brain will get it.


Newbie here.

Yes, this is normal. I forget things all the time sometimes even after just reviewing them before going in to my actual reviews so i can get a 100% clear.

It’s all about repetition and one of those things is failing. When we fail we don’t want to again and associations are created to prevent us from failing, the more you fail the more you learn.

Keep it up! See you at 60!

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My accuracy is the worst right after lunch and the best in the morning. It definitely varies.

OMG same. I often had similar situations where I knew the meaning in Japanese, I knew the meaning in my native language, but I could’t for the life of me remember the English word!! And most times when doing lessons or reading the mnemonic I have to open English dictionary or googling the images because the words/phrases so foreign to me :sob:

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