Just can't keep up

Last year I got to level 13 and had to quit because of job/kids etc… I can’t do 2 hours of kanji everyday. This year I’m at level 14 and I’m about to quit again because I can’t do 2 hours of kanji everyday.

I think 1 hour of kanji a day would be a lot of great learning.

Seriously, why can’t Wanikani have a “slow down” feature? Is it really because one hour of kanji a day isn’t enough? Or is it just that it would be difficult to program, and it’s not a feature on the do list?


The main thing that determines how many reviews you get in a day is how quickly you do the lessons that become available. If your reviews are overwhelming, pausing lessons and only doing reviews will eventually lead to less and less daily workload, until its manageable enough that you can slowly start to add new lessons in again.


I just got to level 14, there were 89 new lessons right away

I did 20 in the morning,like 20min tops. And now at night more 20 lessons. Since the apprentice got to 111, I will wait for more reviews to reduce that number an then to continue tomorrow for more 20 lessons.

I also dont have much time, at night after a long day of work, because I have to study other things like database for my job but don’t quit, just do at a slower pace.


Choose to do fewer lessons.

The way SRS works is first time you learn something, you see it again in 4 hours, then again in 12 hours, then 23 hours (or 24?) later, then 2 days later before you get them out of Apprentice.

You also have to take into consideration Reviews of things you have gotten to the other SRS stages. They will continue to pop up.

If you knock out all your lessons in a sitting that will take forever, and then in 4 hours it will take forever again, 8 hours later, forever again, then a day later, forever again, etc.

I do 20 lessons every day or every other day depending on how many open lessons I have and only if my Apprentice items are 100 at most. Sometimes I brave up to 150 Apprentice but that can become painful.


Like others have said, keep your reviews down before you take on lessons. It will take time to figure out what that level needs to be. You want to use the SRS method, but just keep your reviews low before you take on new lessons. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. First focus on the amount of Apprentice items. Keep this below 100 or possibly lower before doing more lessons.
  2. Second look at your amount of upcoming reviews. Try to balance the amount you want to do each day. Keeping it below 100 each day is a place to start, but you might need to go lower. Don’t feel ashamed to go lower. It’s okay to have random high days, these typically will be a group from Guru to Enlightened that finally come back up for review.
  3. Third look at your amount of Guru items. These can come back to haunt you so you want to make sure these don’t get too high. They should show up in your upcoming reviews so this one is less important. I would only use this if it’s really high or if you’re on the fence about taking more lessons.

Also when you do take more lessons take them slowly and not all at once. You want to keep in mind the above points and also your own pace. Sometimes I take 5 at a time when my numbers are high, but I want to learn more or have a little extra time and other times I take 20+ when my numbers are low and I have a lot of time. I do try to get through the radicals/Kanji to make sure I have plenty of lessons available.
It takes time to find which numbers are best for you, so adjust the amount as needed to suit your needs. It’s better to go slow and manageable than to quit completely.


Thank you for your thoughtful answers. Lots of good advice here!


As others mentioned. Slow down on the lessons. I used to do 10-15 a day without fail. Recently the kanji have gotten a lot tougher(review % is dropping) and I there are ~10 burn reviews everyday. This made the workload unmanageable so I dropped my lessons to 3-6 per day and my workload went back to to the manageable level with a couple weeks. Don’t worry about the speed that you are completing levels just do your reviews everyday and lessons when your workload will allow.


Got it. Thank you!

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I am on a similar boat, took a vacation for a month and as a gift got over 1300 reviews on Level 13. I even have a feeling about forgetting what was learned earlier. Language is not like swimming, its slips away… but even then there is hope to get back because if it can be done once, there is a chance to reclaim, but its a constant battle… everyday . Hope to get back and enjoy again!!
Good Luck with your too :sunny:


I throw my system into vacation mode at night sometimes so I don’t get overwhelmed.


You need a new learning strategy.The issue you’re having is that you don’t have strong audio associations in Japanese. For example, if you were to hear the word “antidisestablishmentarianism,” a word almost every American native knows, you would remember it after hearing it only once. However, when you hear “taikai,” instead of having a bunch of meaning for your brain to cling to, it hits a vacuum.

“Oh thanks Einstein, I just need to be better at Japanese.”
lol, no I’m not being petty, hear me out.

The number of one, two, and three letter words you know right now are negligible. Often, you’re encountering new words and the sounds are all jibberish. That means every single study session is stressful instead of exciting, sort of like trying to learn Kanji one stroke at a time.

What you really need to do is change your tack. Read. Read Japanese children’s books, read manga with furigana, even read and speak the example sentences. You need to start feeling O.K. with thinking the most basic Japanese in your head, “I need to take out the trash”, “I’m going to the bathroom”, “I’m tired”, and so on. Add some Japanese friends on Twitter, take time to understand them and give simple replies. Use the language.

Then if I tell you, “Oh Taciturn? That’s like saturn sleeping quietly.” You’ll probably remember that taciturn means quiet for the rest of your life. Don’t lose your courage and enthusiam, learning can be fun. It doesn’t have to take you hours to learn words, but you need material to work with. Integrate those particles and baby words!!!


You’ve got some pretty good advice already so here are some numbers to go along with that.

I do the following:

  • keep apprentice count under 100
  • no more than 20 lessons per day
  • I do 3 sessions: morning, noon, evening

As such, I average around 150-200 reviews a day. Here’s what that looks like in daily time spent:


in WaniKani, lessons are your accellerator. if you don’t want to go as fast, do fewer lessons per day. if you have a review overload because you’ve been going to fast, stop doing lessons while you get your reviews back down.

there is no need to go full speed, and the people who do go fast tend to have ample free time. but there’s plenty of people taking it slow, and that’s fine ^^

maybe check out these groups: https://community.wanikani.com/t/lets-durtle-the-scenic-route/ and https://community.wanikani.com/t/team-snails-on-vacation/ for others who are taking it slow ^^


Like everyone else here, I keep my apprentice under 100 too. In addition, I’ll sometimes take a day or two “off” just to do reviews and try to get my apprentice as close to zero as I can :laughing::notes:


Did you reply to the right thread? Or am I missing something?


Basically what I’ve done. I am currently level 12. I think I stopped at level 12 two years ago and then mid way through last year I started fresh. Now I only do lessons when I am running out of reviews. It’s working out quite nicely. It’s slower - I’m not getting this done in a year or anything - but that’s ok. I’m not in a rush.


Did you know that can quit the session whenever you want by clicking on the home button on the top left-hand corner? WaniKani will save your progress and you can continue where you left off when you come back.

I just found that out not long ago and it made my life a lot easier, though it does make leveling up much slower.


I hear a lot of people talking about keeping the apprentice number to 100 but personally I’ve found that 60 is the magic number for me. I have a couple of predictably busy periods at work and during those times I’ll not doing any lessons and just do reviews. It really helps nail the leeches and means that when I do start again, I haven’t got so many guru and master items coming back at the same time so it keeps the overall review numbers down. Find a pace that works for you.


That’s impressive, I can’t even really get it under 100 because of returning old items :smiley:

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Going out like that leaves the session. Any item you have answered both sides of will always save as you did them, but items you only did one side of will only be stored a limited time (2 hours? Not sure)
You can click the “wrap up” button to get those items you have half finished, and then leave with all your work done (even though there are more reviews left)

Sorry if I didn’t explain it well :caught_durtling: