Penalization in WaniKani?

So I have been working through level 1 material and the “incorrect” seems to make me anxious, even confused, about whether or not it is making me go backwards. But the downward red arrow, for me, implies taking two steps back in learning. I couldn’t find anything explaining incorrect answers in reviews in the FAQ section. What I mean by this is does it not track my correct answers AFTER incorrectly answering in the reviews and thus make the lesson longer? Or does it just indicate what radicals/kanji/vocabulary I have trouble on?

I would appreciate some clarification please! ありがとううううう

It’s answered in the FAQ, in the question “How do I get an item to Guru, Master, Enlightened, and so on?”, but I’m pretty sure the info is outdated.

The long and short of it is, yes you do move backwards. Though it’s not as harsh the lower you currently are. But if you get a burn review wrong (the last review with a 4 month gap before it), it falls all the way to guru (where the next review is just a week away).

Additionally, wrong answers accumulate, within a single review session. You can move a burn review item all the way to 0 with just 3(?) wrong answers, I believe.

There are things you can do to make it less stressful though. Installing the override script will allow you to undo typos or cases of the WK definitions not being complete.


I guess I was asking one part of the larger question.

I’ll look into the scripts when I move along in the levels, then, as this level 1 material is a pretty fantastic review of my foundation that…crumbled…basically. So the typos/incomplete definitions will just hammer the basics in my head.

But thank you!!

I might be wrong, but as far as I’m aware, you can’t ever “re-lock” or “un-unlock” things you’ve unlocked. So, if you’ve done your radicals, and unlocked some kanji, if you go and mess up a bunch of radicals, the kanji will be still be available.

Also, let’s say you’ve unlocked all of your level four radicals, kanji, and vocab. You then mess up almost everything you learned in level one. If you still get all of your level four stuff to guru, you’ll still unlock your level five stuff. You don’t hurt your overall unlock progress by getting older stuff wrong. It just makes it take longer to burn the old items you messed up, and it will make you see those items more often in your reviews.

I really don’t know, though. @Leebo probably can verify or refute this for you.

As for me, I don’t really worry about messing up too much. Simple mistakes make me mad, but for things I actually mess up, I just keep the mindset that that means I didn’t know it very well. It is better for me to see those items more often, review them more, and fix my mistakes.

WK isn’t about increasing your level. It’s about actually learning kanji. If you just do the lessons, eventually you’ll make less mistakes, and you’ll unlock more levels. Don’t sweat the small stuff.


Right, you can’t re-lock a vocab by letting its constituent kanji fall to apprentice. Anything unlocked will remain unlocked unless you reset your level.

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I thought it was down 2 SRS levels for wrong answers unless you’re interested the apprentice range, in which case, it’s down one.
I bring that up because you said:

I thought it would take you down to guru 2, not guru 1, in which case your next review would be 2 weeks away…

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That’s probably what it is, I’ve never actually checked. I just know it goes to Guru. I do wish they’d actually say what intermediate stage of each level something is on, even though you can infer it from the SRS gap.

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I do agree with that.
I’m guessing the lack of definitive information in a place that doesn’t have to be searched for is due to a desire to not confuse anyone and thereby dissuade them from giving WK a shot. I do think however that this can be written well enough to not confuse anyone. Especially with infographics.

The only reason I could get to the information ages ago when I wanted to understand the system better was because I knew how to use the API. It is not conceivable that everyone who comes on here has some sort of programming proficiency though.

I guess now is as good a time as any to ask @koichi what his thoughts are.

That is correct.

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After reading this I tried to write a quick script to show this (e.g. “Guru 2” instead of just “Guru”). It would only show up with the green/red popover after you (eventually) get the review right. I seem to have it working and if I don’t notice any issues I’ll upload it in a few days.

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Doesn’t this script already do what you guys are talking about? WaniKani SRS Level Progress

Unless you’re talking about when you actually make a mistake and the red/green popup saying “Guru” or “Apprentice” should say like “Guru 2” or “Apprentice 4” instead.

Edit: Oh you probably mean to check the stage of an individual item, not all items on the dashboard. Makes more sense then.

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