Percentage drop. (Tired brain or harder levels?)

Before the last couple of levels I was getting 85% or above on each review. Recently it has gone down to 80% at best and is usually 70-75%. (sometimes lower) I dont know if this is a sign that I need to go slower and that my brain is getting tired, that I need to study more? Or if it is just that the levels get harder? Not too sure? The kanji side seems to be fine, mainly just vocab (both new and old) that I have been struggling with and I dont know why? Has anyone else had this?


A lot of people (myself included) have trouble with the first few Death levels (21-23ish). They’re rough. It’s hard to differentiate between a kajillion words for law, rule, judgment, evaluation, fame, etc.

I’ve been using the self-study script to study Apprentice 1 items after clearing them from lessons since they usually haven’t been set in my head firmly enough to recall them come review time. Wouldn’t recommend using it for any level past that though.


Is just your brain telling you that either you inform it on the big “master plan” of why are you learning all these strange words in japanese, or it won’t have it anymore :upside_down_face:

So basically maybe using all that accumulated vocab for something and start recognizing it in the wild will help (pick a show, read a book, enjoy life and what not…) and will put at ease that brain of yours.

Also of course all could be explained with how SRS works and how “important” is to keep the SRS numbers healthy as well :man_shrugging: … and maybe you’ll have to adjust a knob here and there to make it extra efficient. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

80% percent in SRS will mean you’ll be looking for something up to every 5 words or just someting similar; which could be perfectly fine to have a nice time reading (albeit slowly). But if you never actually go and read, listen, etc… It won’t mean much more than that 80% number on your screen :sweat_smile:

On a more serious note (maybe), the whole point of the SRS for vocab specially is that you CHEAT the system like hell. Meaning, you should see those words between intervals as often as you can with additional context. The low hanging fruit of vocab should take care of itself just fine by using the language. SRS will actually help you in those more uncommon vocab, the ones your immersion won’t provide you just yet, or maybe is there but you aren’t noticing it for now.
So, 75% is not great, but I think if you add some context to it will improve quite easily. As for the rest, the SRS will hold your back… but just gently, not the whole weight :grin:


It’s probably a bit of both. I’d slow down a bit if I were you… Even if it’s only by 5 less lessons a day. Just that much difference could help.

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It’s normal for your average to go down. At higher levels your workload has gone up and the material has gotten harder. If you are concerned, slowing down and reading more to learn in context (as already suggested) are both good ideas.

By the way, the reason your post formatted weird is because you used the backtick ` instead of the single quote ’ for your apostrophe.


Sticky notes have helped me!

When I find a word is slaying me, I write it down and put it somewhere I’ll see fairly often. Make a point to remember it when I see it. Then once I’ve Guru’ed it, remove it from sight.

(I said sticky notes, but I totally have a white board on my wall)


You also have a larger pool of available answers to pull from. It might be worth spending a little extra time to focus on difficult items or they will build up and increase your workload. Leeches seem to be pack animals!


Honestly you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on percentage unless you are trying to hit some kind of personal goal (hitting 60 in a year, having a 95%+ percent, etc). You still have a ways to go before your average percentages start to settle. All that being said, if it’s really that important to you, then you can do a variety of things including changing the mnemonic, learning one of the alternate meanings, study it outside of wanikani, etc. Or you could just carry it along for a while until it annoys you too much? Good luck.


I have managed to keep my averages pretty high by switching tactics recently. It is an absolute time vaccuum but it’s helping with these fiendish early Death levels a lot.

After every set of lessons, I do another pass on my own going through the readings and meanings. Easy stuff goes into its own quick pile, non-obvious meanings and new/non-obvious readings get sorted into their own respective piles, and I have another special pile for vocab called “WHY JAPANESE PEOPLE” for where the meaning and reading both get weird. Vocabs with similar meanings get grouped here too. This takes a bit of extra time but it’s helping me a lot!

After each review, I make a point of going through every single item I missed. I record what made me miss it - if it’s a forgotten reading or meaning, I try to come up with a better mnemonic that sticks. If I confused it with something else I find that something else and make sure I can tell the difference. For review sessions which have gone badly, this can also take a long time but it does help things stick. This is also how I’m managing leeches.

I’m not doing the lessons as quickly as before either - partly it’s anti-burnout, partly taking extra time with all the extra reviewing, but also partly because I want to do things other than SRS with my spare time! :slight_smile:

Good luck!


Why do you recommend not using the self-study script past level 20? Is it something to do with cheating the amount of time between recall, or just because things get easier after the first few Death levels?

I meant past Apprentice 1, not level 20. Sorry for the confusion.

Ah! that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification, and for pointing out a script I hadn’t tried yet – this seems like a super useful strategy, I always feel like I’m wasting my time when I first get new vocabulary because I never remember them the first couple times. Thanks!


I see what you did there. :thinking:

I can corroborate the idea that these are hard levels. The early twenties are just a batch of hard items, in my opinion. Of course I can’t really make a claim if it is just these levels or there is a universal increase going forward (I am only level 24 after all), but the point is you’re not alone in the sentiment.


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