My Wanikani life is a mess

Each day I get around new 200-300 reviews that I have to do, with a good amount of hours allocated to it. Massive hesitance in doing lessons, which results in leveling up being around a snail’s pace (averaging to 1 level up per month) Feeling very overwhelmed right now.

How do I get my WaniKani life back together?

  1. Quit worrying about your levelling up speed. It’s not a race.
  2. Focus on your reviews. Some people recommend keeping your apprentice items around 100 or less.
  3. When the amount of reviews gets manageable, add in a few lessons at a manageable pace.

Doesn’t my level up speed despite doing Wanikani everyday indicate that there are some sort of inefficiencies in my methods? Like there is something I can be doing better?

I am not so sure if my speed is considered to be the norm, but if it is considered to be slow, then I feel like I am doing something wrong with my methods on Wanikani.


Yeah, definitely just focus on reviews until you get your apprentice count under control. I would also recommend breaking up the reviews into smaller chunks if you’re having trouble remembering a lot of items. Maybe do 20 at a time with a 30min - 60min break between them. That’s of course assuming you have the free time available in a day to do that. If not then don’t do any lessons until you have your apprentice count below 100.

To have an apprentice count that high after taking a month for a level means you’ve clearly got a number of items you’re struggling with. It would be a good idea to spend a bit more time going over the mnemonics and perhaps making up your own if the default one’s aren’t working for you. It might also be a good idea to check how many leeches you have and maybe work on those. I’d recommend using item inspector to check for those.

Edit: After looking at the image you posted more closely I realize that yes. You definitely have an issue with leeches. I’d say you should focus on trying to clear some of those out. Spend some more time on really trying to visualize the mnemonics for those and do the occasional self study quiz with item inspector. You should also look for other threads where people have posted how they’ve dealt with their own leeches. You can probably find better advice than I could give there.


Best thing to do is pause new lessons. You’re getting a lot of reviews because you’re accuracy is down and your accuracy is down, possibly because there is too much new stuff.

I took a year long pause at level 42 because WK was getting a bit overwhelming, but also because my kanji knowledge was getting ahead of my other skills. I never stopped doing reviews but I spent my japanese learning time on other things; Grammar, reading, Vocab all of which helped solidify the WK I had done to date.


It could just mean that you’re slow at remembering kanji and are getting a lot of reviews wrong :person_shrugging: that’s not a method, that’s the point of WK


The way you do your lessons determines how your reviews come back to bite you. If you do lessons erratically (20 this day, 5 that day, 30 there, 0 the next…none for the next week…, 20 again) then guess how your reviews are going to be?

Also, like others have said, getting more wrong just adds to the pile, and depending on which stage you got them wrong (guru or enlightened) they could either come back the next day or in a few weeks, leading to bumps, and vacuums you’re seeing now.

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Ok, here’s how you get back on track:

  1. Stop doing lessons until you get Apprentice under 100
  2. Pick 3 times a day to open WK. Morning, noon, and night usually work. These sessions don’t have to be long. See how you go with 20m sessions.
  3. Do this for at least 1-2 weeks. That’s how long it will take to get a handle on your reviews and your apprentice count. A month would be best, but it’s up to you.

Once those sessions become routine and you feel like the daily review load is manageable again, do the following:

  1. Do no more than 20 lessons per day
  2. Only do lessons up to your Apprentice item cap. For example, if you have 95 Apprentice items, only 5 lessons that session.
  3. Only do lessons during your morning or noon session.

All of that will smooth out your daily lesson count so that your daily workload is roughly the same rather than getting days with almost nothing or days with tons of reviews.

Do this for a few levels. This is going to be your baseline speed. Doing all of the above will help you find out what that baseline speed is.

Then, if you want to go faster, that’s going to be a function of lessons per day and that apprentice count. Raise each of those to go faster and then see if the workload is manageable.

Don’t forget, it took you months to get here, so it’s going to take at least a month or two to sort out.


How efficiently are you able to go through your reviews?
I used to get through my reviews pretty slow… like 100 reviews took me 45 minutes because I kept getting distracted because I was lazy and switched tabs every few reviews.

But then I realized if I just grind them out and put my full focus towards them, I can knock out my reviews pretty fast.

Tonight I had 85 reviews and I got them done in ~15 minutes, full focus with some music on. The other day I did my 80 reviews in 11 minutes. Utilize key shortcuts (like F to see what the item is when you get it wrong) and also auto commit/submit helps a lot if you have discipline.

I honestly haven’t done more than 50 lessons in the last year, I also felt overwhelmed and wasn’t making much progress. What I have done is slowly unburned items instead starting from level 1 to refresh my knowledge and get things back in the queue (using burn manager).

You can do it!


Ah I see, so I should try three 20m sessions a day until I get Apprentice under 100.

So I essentially just do as much as I can within that three session 20m timespan and allow the left over reviews to transfer to the next day (like I finish 80 reviews out of 300 through the three sessions, then allow 220 to carry over to the next day), right? I should continue to be consistent at the three 20m session per day rate even if there is a surge of reviews from master/enlightening items, right?


Yeah my main problem is that Wanikani is taking close to all of my Japanese study time (haven’t studied grammar or committed to reading something in a while). I pondered on whether I should take a break from Wanikani, set it to vacation mode for a long period of time, and just do other Japanese things / studies. It has been a pretty tempting thought.

Thanks for sharing! How much reviews per day did you do on level 42 anyway?

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Yeah, there are days where I finish things quickly, though there are days where I am quite inefficient with how I go through reviews. Doesn’t help that the stress and burn out from Wanikani was persisting during my reviews sessions.

I will try to see if there ways to improve efficiency on my review times, thanks!


Yikes. I could not imagine having 230 apprentice items. I had something like 150 and it became nearly unmanageable. I made the decision two levels ago to stop touching lessons unless I am under 100 apprentice, and feel my WaniKani time wasn’t too long that day. It took a couple of weeks, but I’m now sitting comfortable around 60-90 apprentice items, and it’s a huge relief. 230 is going to take you a while, but if this is where your mental state is at, putting a hard pause on new lessons is going to do you a lot of good. Just do however many reviews you can comfortably enjoy each day/session without it feeling like a chore.

Take what everyone says to heart: it’s not a race. Your leveling speed means nothing. Especially if you’re piling too much onto a plate that is already full. That’s honestly going to hurt your speed and retention.


One quick glance and I think probably you are rushing too fast.
take a look at your Apprentice items. Normally you would expect them to be around <120 item, unless you are rushing to 60 (and yeah people who are going at high speed willl have to deal with the amount of reviews that you are doing)

my 2 cents is just sticking to your review, clear them everyday for those apprentice items to go below 120 or so then take lessons. Don’t rush (cause it’s likely to cause burnout) but be persistent.


Doing other Japanese things is very helpful for building a solid language base, of course. But I’m not sure whether vacation mode really helps with that. I‘d rather suggest stopping lessons but continuing with reviews. They will die down after a while, leaving you with more time for other stuff while at the same time keeping you in touch with what you learned before.


Yes exactly this. You can go a bit over in each session if you like but my guess is that cognitive fatigue from long sessions is really affecting your accuracy.

Shorter sessions should help and also give you a baseline for how much work you can handle right now.

Yes to all of that. You want to keep steadily moving items from Apprentice to Guru. Don’t worry about items dropping down, since you’re reviewing consistently you’ll get those pushed out in time.

This is how I do it and I only do 1-1.5 hours per day towards WK and was able to sustain a pace of 11 days per level.

But don’t worry about speed yet. That will come. :wink:


It went down, from hundreds to tens.

Impressive strategy but I never trust talking pumpkins! …not since the last time…

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I am facing a similar issue at the moment. In my opinion, what would help you is to stop doing new lessons and refocus on the items you get wrong during reviews. Instead of new words and kanjis just open up all the items you got wrong and refresh the mnemonics, create a new recognition pattern and relearn them. It makes a difference. Also to be honest 100 apprentice-level cap never worked for me. It creates waves in SRS. As you can see one day you have 300 reviews and the other day 93. For me going slow but steady is the key. For the first 30 levels I was going at 10 lessons/day but now when I realized that WK starts to take me more than one hour a day I slowed down to 5 and I am happy. BTW you are level 42 - you should know by now how thing work around here :wink:

I’m noticing you have 920 leeches which… might be the source of your problems.
I’m around your level and i have four times less, and even then i’m starting to take things slow, working on them as much as i can, delaying lessons. My guess is at some point you kept doing lessons as they came, to try to get those 7 days level up, but this is a terrible idea, as you brain gets saturated. Like the others say, wanikani is a marathon not a race.
My advice would be to check those leeches, see what level they are from. Then you can either reset to that level (if it’s not too far off, that would be the best solution) or stop leveling up for a while and work on those leeches, using some quiz script.

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