One incorrect going from enlightened to guru is far too punishing

I feel that it’s far too demotivating/punishing for getting a guru+ item incorrect once to send you all the way back to near the beginning. Why not just one level like Bunpro? Yes, I know the point is to actually learn/memorize the item itself, but it’s still frustrating for one mistake to seemingly topple months of work, and even if we ignore the fact that it’s demotivating and only look at it from an efficiency stand point, it seems inefficient. For example, lets say by getting the kanji 火 to enlightened, you’ve already demonstrated your ability to keep it in your memory for the entirety of the time interval from master to enlightened, so why waste review time building it back up when you could just set it back to the prior level?

On the contrary, it’s to help you memorise the item better. If it only went back one SRS level, you would encounter it at a later date, in which case you might have forgotten it and get the item wrong again, then the item would fall back one more SRS level, and thus it would take longer to burn that item.


Yeah, I don’t mind it. If I’m still making mistakes then I’d rather have an item get pushed back as many times as it takes for me to not make mistakes anymore. My goal is to learn Japanese, not to beat Wanikani, you know? It does suck when a word gets knocked down by an accident like a typo but idk if there’s any solution to that


I use a script to redo stuff like typos. As long as you can trust yourself not to abuse it, I highly recommend it.


What I’m saying is, you’ve already proven you can remember the item for that interval of time at that point. So why would you all of a sudden not be able to? Yes, it may take longer if you miss an item more than once if it only set you back once, but is that really likely? Honestly, I’m not an expert on memory, so I’m not sure either way. it just seems like you would be able to do something you’ve already done, ya know?

I think the idea is that they want a certain number of repeated correct answers as a streak to feel confident moving the item to burned. I know personally I have some leeches that I don’t totally fail to remember, but I might get them right a couple times if I’m caught on good days, or maybe I’m at a 50-50 chance and I pick the right one a few times in a row but I’ll totally mess up again in the future. I can’t argue with any confidence about how good or bad the Wanikani intervals are; they’ve never really bothered me personally though that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily optimal. But that’s probably the logic for pushing you back as far as it does.


Failing because of a typo is a separate matter. But if you mess up a reading and/or a meaning, well that basically answers your question and proves that suddenly you don’t have that piece of information in your memory anymore.
So having the item backed down to Guru is all for good.


You can keep it until enlightened sure, but you forgot it when it came time to burn, so you proved you cant keep it in your mind that long yet. You need to see it more often. What good will it do you to wait another 4 months and get it wrong again?


I don’t view learning Japanese as punishment.


Yeh i disagree. If you got it wrong then you don’t know it. Plain and simple.

Mistakes are good though. You need to make mistakes to get good at Japanese. If you make mistakes, those items you will see more and in turn master.


The whole point of burning an item is to confirm that you actually know it, and not that your short/mid term memory did the job for you at the lower levels.
If you got it wrong it means you didn’t know it → putting it at master won’t help you because there’s quite a bit of time between master and enlightened, so it’s not a good way to really delve into the item once again.

  • it’s just one item so I’m not sure why it would be a “punishment” to have it back at guru ?

The WK SRS (any SRS really) simply quizzes you less often on things you find easy (and more often on things you find difficult). The only way it knows what you find difficult is with incorrect answers.

If you answer an item incorrectly that you’ve not seen in four months, would it be better to review it again in two weeks, a month, or four months?

I seriously recommend a slight change in perspective: instead of thinking about it as “going back two stages” (which is understandably negative and demotivating), think of it as “oh, this one didn’t stick as well as it should have, I’d forgotten it after four months — good thing this service I’m paying for knows to give me at least a couple extra reviews fairly soon before potentially burning it forever”.

If you answer incorrectly, you WANT more frequent reviews, not fewer reviews more spread out.


Interesting discussion. Related question. I have just started using self study quizzes to practice the following days stuff but am unsure if this will hinder learning (more) as its refreshing memory and not showing retention over time especially over the later levels…

I don’t think that’s good. Practicing what you got wrong immediately after you got them wrong is fine. But practicing the day after or before it comes up as SRS then you’re just “cheating”.

However, where do we draw the line? If we are actively reading therefore seeing many words come up almost daily— wouldn’t that also be bad for the words we haven’t burned yet?

I don’t review words. I just let SRS do its job. Regarding seeing unburned words while reading, well I guess there’s no harm if you’re constantly reading and don’t stop for long periods of time. I’m kinda tired of wk at the moment and because of that I’m not doing any reading either -.-

It comes and goes. Some days I’m motivated and I do some light reading. Hopefully I’ll be fluent one day :ninja:

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