Overrun with leeches

Over the last 2 weeks, my percentage correct has dropped about 20%. I have no idea if I’m having trouble focusing (if anything, I’ve been more focused) or if I’m hitting a period of burnout, but nearly every other kanji or word has become a leech. Some of these are kanji/vocab I’ve been getting correct 80%+ of the time up until now. I’ve had periods of low motivation/burnout before, but nothing this bad. And they never lasted more than about 10 days or so. I haven’t had any changes in my study routine either.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? How did you get out of it? For now, the only thing I can think of is putting lessons on hold and just focusing on review.

1 Like

Yeah, sorta. People generally say to “let srs work stuff out”, but ime that only works for the less severe situations. Actually go look at the ones that you got wrong during your reviews. Read back over the mnemonic and try as best as possible to cement it in your brain. Slowing down new lessons for the time being may not be a bad call, but its all up to you and how much time you are willing to spend on this.

Also, same goes for when you’re actually doing the lessons in the first place. Make sure you’re spending time to remember the item and not just hold it in your short term memory.


You should try to debug your problem further.

  • Do you have problems mainly with readings, or meanings, or both?
  • Are all the problematic items from the same level(s) or all over the place? Maybe there was a period where you were stressed out and learned the items only on short-term.
  • Are you confusing kanji all the time? Maybe you only remembered the “rough shape”, and now kanji too similar for that approach are coming.

Depending on the answers maybe you just can’t concentrate now but you are still fine in principle, or a few levels cause you trouble, you need to review how you remember the kanji to tell them apart better, or …


Try less to repeat words over and over again and try creating more sticky mnemonics. Stuff that is either shocking or interesting to you that you can memorize it really quickly. That usually works to memorize information better.


It can be a bulking problem from past and it exploded eventually.
( my english is terrible !!! )

1 Like

Yeah… I’ve let this get out of hand too.

I’m arranging my leeches by level using the SRS level progress script and I’m going to start at level one working my way up by creating my own Anki deck for them.

The front side of the card will have the kanji. I’ll have to recall the meaning and the pronunciation.
They will appear on the back with the mnemonic.

I reckon if I go meticulously level by level that this should nip the problem in the bud.

Die leeches!!! DIE!!!

I think points 2 and 3 are more what’s happening. 50% of the time, I don’t actually use WK’s mnemonics and tend to either make up my own, use Kanjidamage, or KKLC depending on what makes most sense for me for the kanji.

That being said, I can also be really lazy; and when a good/sticky mnemonic doesn’t come to me quickly, stuff gets stuck in my short-term memory :woman_shrugging:

I usually do my first round of studying while I’m eating breakfast and can have a tendency to want to speed through it. This morning though, I made an effort to slow down and stop and focus when I would hit a leech. Then I’d open a new tab and check the mnemonic, read through it to make sure it clicked with me, and then go back and resume studying. I was slower, but I wasn’t getting nearly as frustrated as I have been the last few days.

1 Like

I think what acm2010 said is a really good point. Often my leeches are a result of me confusing several similar items (vocab usually), and not bothering to take the time to sort them out in my head. Just looking at the mnemonic of that one item again won’t help me not to mix it up.

Every few levels I develop a new ‘batch’ like this. For example, I had to sit down at one point and look through all the vocab meaning ‘soon’, ‘as soon as’ or ‘right away’, because I just couldn’t tell them apart. Since bothering to pick them apart though, they’ve all stuck pretty well.


I’m level 1 and only started a few days ago, but I just wanted to say that you got it right by saying to focus on your reviews.

What happens to me in your situation is that the brain gets bottlenecked with the continual processing of new information and you start forgetting things you should know and making more mistakes.

It can feel discouraging that you aren’t continually moving forward with new material, but it’s also important to remember that practicing what you already know prevents you from forgetting the information, therefore it still counts as progress. You can’t try to spin another plate until you’ve mastered the one you’re trying to spin now, else it is like to fall and break :smiley:.


I 100% understand what you mean about batches! There are a few I need to sit down and do the same with.

I really like that plate analogy! I think I had just gotten into a rut of “gotta add at least 10 new things to my reviews” everyday over the last month or so. For a while I was making steady progress and that strategy was working. I think after hitting this latest level though, I needed to go back and do a little reset on my strategy.

Two days in a row without adding new material and stuff is much more under control! I’m probably gonna give it another day or two and then start slowly adding in new stuff. Thanks for the feedback 皆さん!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.