Returning from a break, how to proceed?

It’s been a couple years since I’ve used WaniKani. I was on level 23 when I left.

I thought I’d found motivation to start learning again, but now I’m staring at 1800+ reviews for mostly things that I’ve completely forgotten, it almost seems like an impossible hurdle to get over.

Is there a better way to go about this, rather than just throwing myself at this mountain of reviews? Or do I just need to suck it up?


You don’t have to do them all at once, just tackle 100-200 a day until the mountain comes down. I wouldn’t do new lessons until you get through the reviews. Your accuracy is probably gonna be terrible at the start but you can see that as a refresher course.

I know a lot of people choose to reset at this point but I think that’s a terrible idea. Any words you’ve forgotten are probably gonna come up naturally while you’re immersing, and if they don’t then they probably weren’t important.

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Reset to 1. Going through the mountain is not worth it. After 2 years you’ve probably forgot 70% of it, if not more.

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Reorder by ascending level (native or by Userscript), then gradually cut down. Of course, resetting is an option too, but it depends, like how far and eventual goal.


You don’t really “forget” things, they might slip out of active recall but seeing them a few times is usually enough of a refresher. My argument against resetting is that perfectionism is one of the biggest obstacles to progress. People get stuck in this mindset of having to perfect the basics and they never venture out and do anything interesting, so they burn out and quit.

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I was recently in the same situation and reset back to level 1. A mistake on my part, which WaniKani did have ample warnings about. The first levels have been eternally seared into my mind and I’ve had absolutely no problem recalling them three years later. It’s a slow slog back.

I should have reset back to level 10 or so.


Alot of things have changed on WK during those two years, definitions, wordings, meanings change. It’s a futile pursuit. But if OP want’s 30% accuracy for hundreds of reviews every day for the foreseeable future, go for it. But wouldn’t really recommend it, certainly not when items have changed alot in that time.

If I may add my two cents here, I wouldn’t reset to level 1 like @x90PT suggests. I don’t know how motivated and disciplined you are, but I would certainly loose all motivation if I reset to level 1.

I didn’t use WaniKani for half a year, fortunately I turned on vacation mode after a little while but I did come back to quiet a pile of reviews. I didn’t reset tho, I just worked myself through the reviews and viewed every memonic during the lesson after getting them wrong. My accuracy was terrible, but after a couple weeks I saw light again. Of course 1800+ reviews is A LOT, so this might not be the best idea for you personally.

After perhaps resetting a few levels, see how the workload is. I would suggest you doing the above and just going through the reviews and memorising the memonics again while doing them. If it’s too much, reset a view more levels and repeat. After so much progress, it would just be a shame to reset to level 1, just like @eagleflo says.

Try through trial and error, perhabs just see what works best for you. You may find the best way to do this while actually going through the reviews. Just start, you know. That’s the hardest part. But once you start, you’ll hopefully get motivated again, which will turn into a daily routine, which, if you ask me, is much more important than motivation and will help you in the long run.

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If you decide to work through the pile, I’d recommend using a reorder script to always get apprentice items first. This way even with a huge review pile, you can still catch the important first few srs stages as soon as they come up.

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Here is what I did in a similar situation

  • I installed a userscript to reorder the review by level
  • I did my review a manageable chunk of them every day. For me 50 review a day is what I found manageable. You should adjust this number to your tolerance to workload,.
  • No new lessons until the backlog is cleared.
  • When I found the failure rate overwhelming I looked a the level of the failed items and reset to this level.

This worked very well for me. I worked through the early easy levels and when things got out of hand I reset.

Note: WK has a feature to sort reviews by level. This feature does not work well for this purpose because the sorting is not strict. I strongly recommend using a userscript.


What does resetting have to do with perfectionism? Since OP has spent years without interacting with the language, or so I’m assuming, resetting is the logical choice. Rebuilding from the ground up will be much more beneficial than bashing your head against a wall of reviews with shit not sticking. Also what x90PT said about the WK changes over the years

I wouldn’t reset “blind.” You probably don’t remember everything, but you probably remember more than zero, especially from items that you had previously burned.

(To people recommending a complete reset: do you seriously think the OP has forgotten things like 一、二、三、日、月、etc. so completely that they need to start from zero? I doubt it. I think you’re forgetting how basic --and how boring – the first few WK levels are.)

Use a script to tackle the oldest items/lowest level reviews first, figure out at what level your results get to be unacceptably bad, and reset to there.

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20 levels at 1 level a week (pretty much max speed) is over 4 months of work. 1800 reviews at only 100 reviews a day is just 18 days. That’s a massive step back for the very negligible advantage of somewhat better recognition. Instead he could finish WK that much faster and have more time for immersion, where he’ll encounter most of those words naturally in context.

Nah, 1800 reviews with terrible retention will only lead to frustration. Makes 0 sense to spend that much time forcing information into your brain when your foundation has all but eroded away. Depending on where OP is at maybe a full reset won’t be necessary, but cutting back to a more comfortable position will be more beneficial overall.

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