Resetting - experiences? advice?

I actually did a full reset to level 1 recently, and I am so happy I did. I had been away for… years… (parenthood amirite?), and I was not keeping up with any outside resources either. I paged through the WaniKani levels, and I could not even reliably remember the level one content. :doh: So reset I did, and now I feel like I am relearning far more easily than I learned the first time. It’s all familiar, and I have some context around things like 上がる / 上げる that make it easy this time. (And then a few words like 入れる I inexplicably do remember perfectly. Easy lesson, easy reviews!) These first levels are slow and easy, but for me, that’s a good thing. I am focusing on building the daily habit and disciplining myself to take it slow this time so that I can avoid the overwhelm that hit me last time and fit it realistically into my current life as the workload increases.

So all this to say… resetting can be the right choice! But if you’ve been away for just a couple of months, or if you’ve been keeping up outside of WK, then resetting to 1 is probably not the right choice for you. Review the content by level and see if you might remember more than you think. But if not… no shame in starting again!


My recommendation, having never done it myself but having read lots of forum posts is, don’t do it. Unless you are absolutely at your wits end, ready to call it total quits. Then it’s OK.

Start by ignoring lessons. Just don’t do any of them for a while.
Next, get a reorder script setup and reorder things by level. This will help you know how far back to reset if you have to reset.
Get your Apprentice items below 100. Once you have done that, you can start on Lessons again. Maybe drop it to 50 or so Apprentice before getting in on new lessons.

And in the end, if you decide you have no choice but to reset, do it ONE level at a time. Don’t jump all the way back to zero as then you run the risk of, because you may really know the first 10 levels really well, you could become demotivated.

Do what you need to do though to keep you moving forward and learning.

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I recently came back after a fairly long break, at level 11. At first I used WaniKani Reorder to prioritize getting low-level stuff out of my queue, but the closer I came to level 11 stuff, the more my success rates started dropping. For stuff up to ~7, things were mostly fine as the knowledge had already been reinforced fairly strongly before I left, but from there on, I increasingly often was at a complete loss.

I decided that I needed to take a structured approach to revisiting those items and reset to level 10, then to level 9, and I think it was the correct decision. I’m already halfway through the stuff I had reset, and I avoided the frustration of review sessions with ~50% success rates.

My advice would be to carefully look at how far you really need to reset, e. g. by using the Reorder script for a while first and checking at what level you start running into massive problems, because resetting too far can well be a HUGE waste of time and tbh I think that going exclusively through things you already know for a couple of weeks will completely ruin your motivation.


I am beginning the climb after a reset, but I reset because I took more than a year off, and i didn’t even remember level 1 stuff. For someone who is “stuck” that’s not what I would recommend.

Personally, I would try taking more time with reviews and revisiting the mnemonics for the items. After answering, you can click a button to show the correct answer with the mnemonic, and if you take a few minutes to think about the story, sensory and information, that might help the information “stick” better. Then, you can just let the SRS do its magic. If you do a long session of reviews and get like 50-70% accuracy, that is what I would recommend, because there is no reason to wait for each level up when getting answers wrong already helps you re-learn the material by seeing it more often.


Yeah, but the problem with that is, if you have an item at e. g. Master level and can barely remember it, it will just plummet to the first or second Apprentice level because it isn’t getting sufficiently reinforced. If you have one or two items like that, the SRS can do its magic but if it’s the majority of items, you’re just wasting your time and resetting a level or two might actually be the faster way to get back into a solid routine. (Also, like I have implied before, review sessions with a 50% success rate or lower can be absolutely crushing!)

The mnemonics are great to get you started but ultimately they are training wheels, helping you through the early memorization until you’ve built up sufficient experience to just look at a kanji and immediately recognize its correct meaning without actively thinking about it.

I was at level 14 before taking a reaaaallly long break from WK. As much as I hated to do it, I reset to level 5. I don’t think I should have chosen so low a level, honestly. But it’s nice to get back into the swing of things. My advice would be to see if you can’t approach encoding the kanji/vocab differently and see if that helps, or reset to a level you feel is best and work your way back up (in the end, it’s not so bad).


I just wanted to follow up on my strategy because maybe someone else can use this method.

I’ve gone from 1500+ reviews to 941 reviews in approximately two days. It feels much better than resetting (so far) because I’ve been able to burn multiple items every time. So even if my success rate is only 50% it’ll mean I’ve removed 50% from my pile :partying_face:

However, I’ve also begun doing my apprentice items (I didn’t have that many but the amount will certainly grow as I fail to remember any gurus :sweat_smile: ). This way I’ll attempt to have a flow of some sort in my reviews - but still with the main goal of whittling down the pile. It feels like progress and that’s pretty neat.

I’ve reseted twice in the past, from level 10 to 0 (back when you had to email to reset haha). At the time, it was needed.

Now I recently came back to WK after not touching it for months and came back to a 400+ review queue and I had forgotten half of the previous level’s kanji at first. However, I got the hang of it back pretty soon again! It sucks to be struggling when you come back, but I think it’s better to be patient with yourself and just maybe have to review things more often at first.

That being said, if you feel that you need to reset to keep going, you can always just reset a level or two at first and see how that’s going for you.

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I first started in 2018 and did well at the beginning but trailed off. Thought about resetting early on, but powered through some rough spots with more than 800+ reviews. I then dropped off last year. I was stuck at Level 17 with 1,800+ reviews. After reading the pros and cons of resetting by others, I thought my best step forward was to start from scratch, so I did on Dec. 11.

I’m glad I did. I had time (during my winter break) to commit to Japanese study (focus on WaniKani, but also working with a tutor for conversational Japanese and Genki text and workbook) since the restart. I’m up to Level 6 with a solid foundation to move forward.

I also have a better sense of managing new lessons and keeping up with reviews.

Only you know what’s best for you, but based on your posts and comments, it sounds like a partial reset would work best for you.

Good luck!

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Just after leveling up to Level 28, my life became much busier… I had already begun to feel that I was just barely treading water… and then a ton of Enlightened reviews started coming up and I knew only a third of them, and my items kept circling between Master, Guru, and Expert. I was overwhelmed and maybe in a similar spot.

So, I looked at WK stats after going on ‘vacation mode’ for a while, and I noticed that I had a couple or a few Apprentice items in nearly every level, but that Level 24 and Below were mostly Mater and Above, and Level 25 and 26 were around Apprentice/Guru/Master, and Level 27 was mostly Apprentice/with a few Guru…
…So, I reset to the beginning of Level 25 or 26, and slowly worked through the Vocabulary, finding that the items were familiar but somewhat hazy when I encountered them… but after a few more weeks those items became stronger.

For the first 24 levels or so, I averaged about 8-12 days per level. Since that time, however, I’ve changed things up and spend a month or two on each level at the very least (including all of the vocabulary). I feel better about it now, because my focus is on using the kanji in context in textbooks, etc., and WK is just a tool to make sure that my kanji and vocabulary learning is still moving forward and being enforced.


Thanks everyone for your input. As you can see I’ve taken on board what everyone has said and decided to set back just a little, to lv 20, and take things slower this time.


Whatever you do, keep learning. A set back is nothing more than a bump in the road… as long as you keep moving! (which you are, so there you go!)

Good luck!


Thanks @slerched :slight_smile:

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I reset to 1 at level 34, which took me four years to get to. I went to Japan and realised I forgot SO MANY words, it was extremely frustrating. It was going through a hard time at the time and I believe level 28 had taken me an entire year. I was burning kanji before I had even learned any readings using that kanji lol

I got back to level 34 after 10 months and now I slowed down at 37-38 (because my husband got asymptomatic covid and it took over my brain power hahah). But honestly, resetting was the best thing I’ve ever done for the kanji portion of my Japanese. I just promised myself after resetting that I would be more balanced with studying - read more books, watch more shows, and maintain grammar studies. I think it’s easy to just do WK.

But anyway, most people say don’t reset, but I personally had an extremely good experience with it. Resetting to 1 was probably too low but I felt like my brain needed to just dump its cache and start over. Good luck with your studies!