Lesson question - clear the queue or space them out?

Hi, I’ve been a little slow at getting going with the community but there is a lot of info here! I recently was reading a thread about the leveling up process, where you get a bunch of new radicals and kanji at the same time that you get a whole bunch of new vocabulary based on the kanji from the last level.

People posted various different strategies for managing their queue with scripts, but one strategy was just doing a certain number of lessons every day 20 came up a lot.

I’ve always just tried to clear the queue as quickly as possible. I do bundles of 5, anywhere from 1 to 5 bundles depending on my brain capacity at the moment, then do a bunch more as soon as I have time.

It sounded like people using the 20/day strategy would have new lessons every day, which they thought was a very good thing.

Have I been doing this wrong all this time by emptying my lesson queue? How about reviews? Should I do them all when they come up, or just say 20 at a time?

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There is no right or wrong way :slight_smile:

I also started out clearing the lesson queue asap - but this came back to bite me when I started getting huge review piles (over 300 per day, too much for me) :sweat_smile:
Since I started doing 20 lessons per day, my lesson and review workload has been spread out more evenly throughout the week - without slowing down time to level up. So now I understand why everyone says to space them out! (Based on either a magic number of lessons or a magic number of apprentice items - the actual magic number depends on the person)

For reviews I still do them in batches 3 times a day, as recommended all over these forums too :slight_smile: See the famous guide for details

(Edit: fixed a typo in the paragraph above, I meant reviews 3 times a day sorry :woman_facepalming: I do lessons any time that leaves me enough time to do the first review in 4 hours - so my last available lesson slot is around 8pm)

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It depends entirely on what best suits your learning style and how much time and effort you can devote to your studies - the answer is going to be different for each individual.

I prefer consistancy, so I have the same number of lesson everyday (11, not 20!, and 1 batch only) - I also use the [Userscript] WaniKani Lesson Filter which allows me to have a combo of 3 radicals &/or kanji with 8 vocab, which gives me even more consistancy since I find the kanji lessons need more brain power than most vocab, so spreading them out right across each level works best for me.

This method, as opposed to keeping lessons at 0, spreads the workload out, and so keeps the review numbers reasonably even instead of getting spikes. The further along you get the greater the workload, so doing all your lessons right away, and dealing with those review spikes could get really hard (burnout :fire:).

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I find that doing 15 lessons per day (no lesson filter used), at least on my recent levels, leaves me at ~5-20 lessons available when I level up, so it`s almost perfectly spread out.

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Yes, since I started doing WaniKani I feel like it is running my life! It was very stressful in February when I was at a conference and had big batches coming in.

So, are you spacing out just the lessons, and doing all of the reviews? Seems like that would be necessary to keep the SRS going but just double checking.

I definitely find that my morning sessions are much more effective than late evening, so doing lessons once a day in the morning might be a great way for me to take back my life :sweat_smile:

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A system which is (thus far) working for me is to keep to ~100 apprentice level items.

So that decides how many lessons I do at once :slight_smile: - it normally means I do a batch of 5/10 every day or two.

My thinking was that it keeps the number of vocab that you’re actively trying to learn (because, to my mind, Guru and beyond is making sure you remember them!) to an amount you can handle.

I have also recently started using the lesson re-order script, and switching to shuffled. This is because I take the time to read aloud (and listen back to- thanks Advanced Context Sentence!) every vocab context sentence to practice my speaking/listening. This makes vocab lessons a bit of a chore (~10-15 minutes per 5) so it’s nice to break them up, or else you get a gruelling period of 100 vocab lessons to work through all at once!

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Personally I like to combine two methods after reading upon it for a while. I did not want to have big review stacks biting me in the butt later down the road and cause a burnout.

So, I try to do it like this: I keep my apprentice items under 110 or 120, I used to do 120 in the earlier levels as they were quite easy, now i keep to 110. This means that even though I have unlocked 60 lessons I do not start them until I am below 110 apprentice items. In addition, the amount of lessons I do varies by how much room I have to get up to 110, so sometimes it’s only one lesson (5 items) but never more than 4 lessons (20 items).

I also agree with this, doing 20 kanji’s in one go takes up more brainpower than vocab or radicals. So I suggest spreading those out over the day, say 5 in the morning, 5 in the afternoon and 5 in the evening or just do 5 per day in total :grin:

All in all it depends on personal preference but I would definitely suggest going with something similar to other users.

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I use the following algorithm:

  1. Are there items due for review? Yes = no lessons.
  2. Are there more than 140 apprentice level items? Yes = no lessons.
  3. Are there more than 250 items for review in the next 24 hours? Yes = no lessons.
  4. If (1), (2) and (3) = No then do lessons in batches of 4 until (1) or (2) or (3) = Yes.
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Regardless of how many lessons you do – and I agree with the advice about watching your review queue – I’d recommend only doing them in the first part of your day.

Doing lessons in the evening makes sense in my overall schedule, but I’ve found that my retention for evening lessons is close to zero: the early SRS reviews come due while I’m asleep, so I don’t get the near-term reinforcement I need.

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I’ve just been limiting myself to 5 lessons an hour once they’re unlocked and if I’m not busy (sometimes I will skip an hour if doing something else), and this normally lets me clear up any new lessons within a day or 2. I do use a reorder script to do the level progression lessons first though, and I will do more than 5 in one hour for those (the radicals and then the kanji those radicals unlock 3.5 days later).

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The most important thing is to do your 4 hour reviews on time. I always did my lessons after work by 6PM so I could do the first review before bed. Worked well enough for me.

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I’d definitely suggest trying a few different ways to see what works best for you. Personally, I don’t have a set number, but I generally follow my own method:

  • Do all reviews first
  • Do all radical lessons on level up
  • Do a few kanji lessons on level up, usually around 5
  • Do all the vocab lessons from the previous level
  • Do as many vocab lessons from the current level I can manage
  • When only 1-2 kanji remain at apprentice 1 or 2, do 5 more kanji lessons
  • When I guru kanji, do the new vocab lessons as soon as I can get to them
    (Note that I use the reorder script to achieve this)

Basically, I’m front-loading my radicals and vocab and back-loading kanji. This certainly is not the fastest way to level, but since I typically find the majority of vocab pretty easy, but find learning new kanji difficult, it allows me to push the easy stuff through and spend more of my time on the harder parts. I have tried to push faster by doing more kanji at once, but then my accuracy drops and I spend more time sorting out each of the kanji, so my level-up time doesn’t really improve anyway.

But like @seanblue said, doing your 4 hour reviews on time makes a big difference in accuracy. If you do all your lessons, then don’t do the reviews for 8-12 hours, you’ll forget everything and end up having to start over anyway. The closer you follow the SRS intervals, the more accurate you will be in your reviews.

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Don’t reorder lessons, otherwise you’ll end up with 398 vocab lessons to do like me.

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Mine is a variation on this except I keep Guru level items under 500 rather than looking at the number up for review in 24h.

What usually ends up happening is I’ll hold off starting lessons for the next level until I bring my Apprentice/Guru items down. At that point I’ll break up the level into batches and do maybe 3 batches for all the level items while keeping an eye on Apprentice/Guru.

The idea is to keep the queue moving from Lesson->Apprentice->Guru->Onwards.

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  1. Are there items due for review? Yes = no lessons.
  2. Are there more than 140 apprentice level items? Yes = no lessons.
  3. Are there more than 250 items for review in the next 24 hours? Yes = no lessons.
  4. If (1), (2) and (3) = No then do lessons in batches of 4 until (1) or (2) or (3) = Yes.

So this is super interesting. It definitely prioritizes review over new lessons, which makes sense to me since I’m not in a hurry, I just want to actually learn the kanji.

My schedule is pretty fluid, I’ll usually try to review often enough to not have more than 100, but often don’t review if there are fewer than 20. Since you seem to have a perry clear set of parameters, I’m curious if you have a rule about how many sessions you do in a day?

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The most important thing is to do your 4 hour reviews on time. I always did my lessons after work by 6PM so I could do the first review before bed. Worked well enough for me.

This is a great rule - I think this works for my brain too. Sometimes the next day I could swear I have never seen those before :smiley:

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Thanks everyone for a ton of helpful ideas! Lots to pick from, and for sure I’m not going to carry on the way I have been doing. I probably will experiment a bit - there’s still quite a long way for me to go :smiley:

I basically signed up and just started working my way through without really checking out the forums and guides - so wrong! Actually I rarely get involved in forums / communities because they are often full of backbiting and sniping. This community seems to be a wonderful and helpful ecosystem! I may even try the book club!

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I do as many reviews as I can since long reviews lower my accuracy rate but sometimes life gets on the way and I end up doing only two reviews (when I wake up and before I go to bed).

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Nice but I imagine that when you start having more items to be burned unless you have a very good accuracy rate, the number of Guru items is going to inflate and so this rule will slow you down a lot. As long as my number of Master and Guru items are about the same or Masters > Guru, I really don’t care much about the number of Guru items, often they are in the 600-800 range.

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Yes, absolutely - I do reviews three times a day, zeroing them out each time - you can have a look at my study plan here (at bottom of comment, WK in kanji-pink).

I see a lot of comments about keeping the Apprentice items under 100 or so, but I found that to be too high a workload for me - my current lesson pace keeps mine at under 60.

Woohoo! :books: :tada:

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