Review/Lesson drought periods

I figure this won’t be an issue when I’m farther along and have more reviews backing up than I can handle… but I keep hitting this period in each of the past few levels (currently level 7) where there’s just like, two straight days of practically nothing in my queue.

My theory is that there’s just a pretty harsh penalty for getting stuff wrong, and it’s setting my progress back by days as the ones I miss hold everything else back for quite some time before I can move on.

I’ve thus far got >99% accuracy (according to the stats site… yeah I know that wont last much longer) so I don’t think I’m screwing up a lot but I still keep hitting these droughts.

So when people talk about finishing a level in a week, I just don’t see how. Does that require 1) never getting anything wrong and 2) doing every review instantly on it being offered?

I check Wanikani a lot so I do them pretty quickly, but I can’t look at it 24/7 and thus sometimes stuff sits for a few hours.

Again I know eventually the problem will be the opposite, when I’m getting crushed under reviews. But I’m not there yet, so for the moment these drought periods are kinda frustrating.

(Edit: By the way I’m not using a reorder script, since it sounds like those are mostly for prioritizing radicals and kanji over vocab. I do care a lot about the vocab though, because I don’t have time to supplement Wanikani with other learning methods and thus want to learn as much vocab here as I can.)

To level up in a week, or slightly less, you don’t have to get everything 100% right, or do everything instantly, but you have to do certain things that way. It’s a small number though.

The radicals and the kanji unlocked by the radicals need to be completed ASAP.

The kanji unlocked at the start of the level have to be done within a week, which is no problem, and you can get them wrong a bunch.

The vocab don’t matter. (for leveling)

So what might be happening is if you just randomly do lessons over a long stretch, you may not be getting those time critical ones in the early lesson batches. You can solve that with a reorder script.

EDIT: Oh, wait, you said you don’t want to do that though. So what’s the problem?

I think I do lessons pretty quickly, pretty sure I’ve always done them within 24 hours from when they become available. So I’m really not sure what the scheduling system is waiting for during days like this where I have almost no reviews. I know there’s a method to it, but not one I can see.

I did notice in this last level or two that I didn’t get the lessons all at once. I did them all, then had to wait through a few rounds of reviews, then more lessons appeared. Not sure if that’s normal or not.

So I guess reorder script really is the only way to speed things up? I can see right now that I have Apprentice kanji left that I’ve still never been given in a lesson. Not sure what it’s waiting for.

I mean, you know what the timing intervals of the items are, I’m guessing? There’s no mystery to it. You can just have them coincidentally leave (relatively) long gaps by chance. I’m level 49 and when I finished my reviews a few hours ago, I had like a 10 hour gap til the next review, which is really long at this stage.

No, of course it’s not the only way. You could just do all your lessons immediately, and then hit all those intervals (4 hours, 8 hours, etc).

Don’t know what you mean by “an apprentice kanji you haven’t been given in a lesson.” You can’t get a kanji to apprentice before its lesson.

I think some user script I have is showing me what the upcoming ones for the level are. The ones I’ve boxed off have never come up in a lesson, so I’m just… waiting. with 0 Lessons and 0 Reviews, and barely any reviews upcoming in the next day. Pretty much the only upcoming ones are a small handful I’ve gotten wrong once.

Aren’t those boxed ones just your kanji that are unlocked by that level’s radicals? The radical and the kanji are both level 7, so you have to guru the radical before the kanji will show. Those kanji aren’t apprentice yet.

The minimum time to guru for the radicals is 3 days 10 hours, and then once the kanji are unlocked by those radicals, the minimum time for them is 3 days 10 hours. Which is where you get the 6 days 20 hours minimum for a level, because for most levels you need some of those unlocked ones to reach 90%.

Actually, a reorder script can alleviate the drought issue you’re describing. You can push radicals + kanji to the top of the lesson queue, then leisurely do lessons over the course of the level. Most levels can be done with 20-30 lessons per day on a 7 day leveling track. This makes it really easy to set a fixed review schedule around the 4 hour intervals. At my old job I used to review on the commute to work, during lunch, commuting back, and again before bed. Despite missing the occasional review session I would still get 7d12hr levels.


There are two other big reasons I know of people hit the high accuracy on critical path items. First, some people will “prestudy” either by hand or by using an export tool to send WK data to another tool (like Anki) prior to reaching that level. Second, some people will use the override script to prevent new radicals/kanji from failing before hitting guru the first time.

According to https://www.wanikani.com/level/7 I’ve unlocked and reviewed at least 3 times all 17 radicals for level 7. As for the kanji, they (plus some I missed boxing) are indeed Level 7 kanji, but I’ve only been given 18 of the 33 in lessons.

If I need to run through the radicals again before I can get more kanji that would explain it, but in that case… please just give me the radicals again already. I always feel kinda iffy about radicals, because memorizing somewhat arbitrary names (especially when they exactly match a kanji with a different name) always feels like, well… “a waste of time” would be too harsh, but I certainly don’t want them holding up kanji and vocab. I almost never get radicals wrong in reviews, so I’d really rather spend the time going over the more difficult kanji and vocab more.

I guess the bottom line is I just need to get the reorder script, and now I get why multiple people called it “absolutely essential” when I first started Wanikani. I do want to trust WK’s SRS timing, since it’s been very helpful for the most part, but these 2 day near-droughts each level are frustrating and unhelpful enough to override my desire to strictly follow the system.

Have you started your grammar studies?

I know some grammar from many years of exposure (and a couple college courses, but that was long ago), but I’ve not studied it in a systematic way. I can’t justify devoting more time than this to Japanese study considering it has no relevance to my career. (My main impetus for doing WK is that I’ve read, or at least got a pretty good gist of, some manga in Japanese, but would love to be able to do so with far far less pauses to look up kanji/vocab.)

I know it sounds strange to talk about a lack of time when I’m complaining about WK review droughts, but there’s a big difference between spending a bit of time each day to do some quick reviews vs immersing myself in serious grammar study, so I don’t feel like I’d be able to do anything meaningful in the WK downtime.

If there’s a WK-like service for grammar study though, that’d be really cool. Give me a book and ask me to sit down and learn, and it’ll never happen. But have experts devise an online service that enforces a meaningful structure on my learning and that’s going to take me much, much farther for something that involves as much memorization as language learning.

You have to get the radicals right 4 times in a row to unlock the kanji, and do the same with 90% of the kanji to level up

If you hit a certain rhythm with your lessons, you end up having everything pile up on top of each other, with two day gaps because thats how long things have to sit between the third and the fourth review. So no, you’re not doing anything wrong, and its not punishing you, thats just how the SRS timing hits, and you’re timing just happens to coincide with that repeatedly, so you just have a long stretch with few things to do because you’re just waiting on the final review to guru the item.

The srs timings are 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, 23 hours, 1 day 23 hours up to guru, if you do the reviews within the same hour they pop up, its the same as doing them immediately, and then you’ll get the 6 day 20 hour level up timing. You’re doing good. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t worry too much about the radical issue. Around level 14 you start getting only 6-8 radicals per level with many being kanji you’ve already learned. It doesn’t take up as much time/effort compared to the previous levels. There are a few other tricks, such as using synonyms, that can make it a lot less troublesome depending on your stance. Consider reading this thread if you haven’t already.

Hmm. Well to me it sounds like your concern is that you want to pick up vocabulary at a faster rate but because of making a mistake or two with the kanji you are not leveling up and it is leaving you with gaps between reviews.

Even though you say you don’t think you would want to use the reordering script the fastest way to level up is to use this in my opinion - that way you can prioritise your lessons so you unlock the kanji earlier on (and therefore level up faster to unlock more vocab). As explained above you need to complete the Radical lessons to guru which then unlock your final kanji needed to level up.

Regarding completing lessons quickly please see below:

[quote]WaniKani Pathway (for people who think WK is too slow)

There is a pathway to getting a new lesson:

SRS Level Next Level Total Wait Review
Apprentice 1 4h - Lesson
Apprentice 2 8h 4h 1
Apprentice 3 ~1d 12h 2
Apprentice 4 ~2d 1d 11h 3
Guru 1 ~1w 3d 10h 4
Guru 2 ~2w 1w 3d 9h 5
Master ~1M 3w 3d 8h 6
Enlightened ~4M 7w 5d 7h 7
Burned - 24w 6d 6h 8

When you learn a new item (radical, kanji), you will be tested on it four hours later, eight hours later, one day later, two days later.

During the first three review steps, your item is marked as “apprentice”.

After the “two days later” (fourth) step review, a correct review changes the item to “guru”.

When an item is “guru”, you are considered to have learnt it well enough to receive new lessons based on that item. New kanji or vocabulary (words and phrases) based on that “guru” item then become unlocked.

If you make an error during a review, you will go back two steps, except when you are in one of the apprentice steps, where you go back one step.

After a radical (blue background) item becomes “guru”, any kanji which is derived from that radical becomes available to you as a new lesson. After a kanji (pink background) item becomes “guru”, any vocabulary (purple background) derived from that kanji will be unlocked.

After 90% of a level’s kanji items become “guru”, you go up to the next level. Many people call this “levelling up”. Any vocabulary related to the recently guru-ed kanji becomes available. A new slew of radicals and kanji (for the next level) also become available.

Every day, someone posts a new thread about this issue or they complain it is too slow and not worth using.

As the number of guru’ed items pile up, you will eventually feel very differently about the workload. For example: one guru’ed kanji can result in three new words / phrases. Each level has 30 or more kanji. If you stick with the system, you will get busy.[/quote]

Other than this, regarding your grammar comment check out these threads for ideas on what to do in your downtime. A lot of people download Anki on their phones as it doesnt require too much concentration and still has the SRS feel.

https://community.wanikani.com/t/The-What-Do-I-Do-Now-Thread-Free-Resource-List/6534
The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!

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You might want to use this userscript to be sure how many more reviews you need to do [Userscript] Dashboard Progress Plus

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