Reviews or Lessons first? / not waving but drowning


I know this is small potatoes compared to a lot of you but I am drowning in both lessons AND reviews today and I’m not sure what to do.

On the one hand I felt like I was on level 7 FOREVER and it sort of felt boring and was difficult to stay motivated. On the other hand earlier today I did 300+ reviews and I already have 100+ again and I have 70 lessons. What do people do in this situation? I love studying Kanji and I do my reviews morning and night. Is it normal to just develop a bit of a backlog and find it tricky to keep up? Am I hurting my learning by leaving those reviews until tomorrow or the next day? After a bit I start making more mistakes because I maybe get tired? Will I build up stamina? Am I just a weakling doomed to drown to death in Kanji? Appreciate ANY advice PLease.

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I never do lessons until I have finished all my reviews.
I don’t take more than 15 lessons in a day, which is about as much as I can handle without too much trouble.


Here is my personal approach

  • I pace my lessons to 10-15 per day, 20 max. I ignore the pile of lessons waiting for me once I level up, because I want to keep steady schedule, and learning more than 15 new items per day is too hard for me.

  • As for reviews, I try to finish all pending pile each night. I prefer to spread reviews thru the day since I’m working at my computer anyway

Two reviews sessions per day may not be good for new Apprentice items, since two first SRS intervals are 4 and 8 hours. Common recommendation is to follow schedule (for example 8 am lessons, noon first review, 8pm second review).

People do extra reviews using Self-Study Script. I run it thru Apprentice Kanji pretty often.
Working on leeches reviews is also super beneficial, but I fail to do it.

There are many threads discussing strategies for efficient WK learning. One guide is:


Always do reviews first, and read the guide mentioned above. It will clear up everything you have questions for.

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Hi,Thanks so much for this thoughtful review. I will read this guide later today! I have read a few community articles about this sort of thing but for some reason I struggle to comprehend how a lot of stuff works. I understand the basics of SRS but there are so many things I’m unclear on. For example I’m never sure if I should study new or often incorrect answers in between reviews or if that could mess up the algorithm by reminding me of a Kanji I would’ve otherwise forgotten in the break.

I don’t actually know what leech reviews are but I will look up Apprentice Kanji and the Self-Study Script. Sometimes I feel like I have learnt more about computers on WaniKani than about Japanese…

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Self study script:

There are multiple scripts identifying leeches (the items that you just cannot learn and they keep coming back to you time after time), I use this one:

(it adds “Leech filter” to self study).

I think most recent fashion is to use “Item Inspector” which I did not try yet (like I said I fail to work on my leeches)

As for reviewing extra - indeed there pros and cons. There was a thread doing in depth analysis on the matter couple of months ago, but I doubt I will find it. IIRC, the statement was that extra reviews do not hurt the memory. Most people do not have the time to do extra in addition to WK load anyway.

Good luck!

  1. Keep Apprentice items around 100
  2. No more than 15-20 lessons per day

That should keep your reviews manageable at around 150 per day once you get farther along.

In my system, I have to do reviews first since some of them may drop down to apprentice and affect how many lessons I do that day.

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I think both of you are looking for this: MegaZeroX searched the scientific literature on this topic. They found that studying between reviews improves retention. There is no harm to the SRS as long as you don’t do it immediately before reviews.


The way I work is I have 7-10 day level ups at the moment.

Something I was recommended when I first stopped by the forums, but too late to be stupid, was always try to keep your Apprentice items at 100 or below. This should allow you to have a more manageable amount of reviews.

What I found works for me is, no more than 20 new Lessons in a day when they are open. If I have 100 Apprentice items, sometimes I will brave another 20 Lessons on top, but really going above 130 Apprentice items has kicked my butt a few times.

The important things to remember are:

  1. this isn’t a race (for most people)
  2. try to keep Apprentice items at 100 or less
  3. install self study scripts to study leeches (sansarret mentioned above)
  4. if you become fatigued, slow down
  5. if you need motivation, shoulder to lean on, or just want to vent, stop on in to the forums!

Whatever you do, don’t stop! You can do this.


prouleau Thank you so much this is so helpful! These forums are amazing. Everyone is extremely helpful!!
slerched these are good tips. I know it’s not a competition or a race but finding the balance between being too easy on myself and therefore not stretching myself at all vs. being my own ruthless dance mum tricky. I’m installing the leech script now. Your encouragement actually means a lot to me!

know it’s not a competition or a race but finding the balance between being too easy on myself and therefore not stretching myself at all vs. being my own ruthless dance mum tricky. I’m installing the leech script now. Your encouragement actually means a lot to me!

I did not mean to imply you thought it was a race. Hope you didn’t take it that way.

I mention it because for some, that seems to be why they get on the 7 day upgrade kick. I got on the 7 day upgrade kick because I’ve been doing this poorly for 20 years and finally found a tool that is keeping me motivated and learning.:smiley: Also helps I have no life and I work from home so can sneak reviews often…

This WaniKani thing is about learning. As long as you are learning, you are winning even if it’s just a lesson a day.

The Apprentice items are the key to not getting burnt out. Try not going above 100 for a few days. If it seems to light for you, bump it up 20 or so at a time. I know that at 240 Apprentice items I hated life :smiley:

Good luck, keep learning. You can do this.


By level 40, 250 or 300+ new reviews a day are not rare so I strongly suggest what I wrote in this link Overwhelmed with reviews and don't know what to do - #5 by sergiop


This is also an option, do a set amount of lessons everyday and adjust occasionally depending on how the load feels. Since it takes quite a while for the effect to show in the reviews it shouldnt be adjusted more than once a month and not by a lot. (20 would be a brisk pace, 24 is approximately the “theoretical” fastest, 10 is around 1½ to 2 weeks per level, 5 lessons 2½ to 3 weeks)
The review count ideally should hit 0 at least once a day.

This is going at 5 lessons a day giving a little over a 100 reviews daily (my apprentice count is a mere 63 right now, apprentice count is a good indicator of workload)
Now this is quite slow, but i just have too many other things going on in my life to want more than this.


This is what my review schedule’s looking like right now, with another ~50 reviews done in the morning and noon. I’m aiming for 20 lessons a day, unless I’m about to seriously breach my cap of 100 apprentice items. I also plan around keeping up my 0/0 streak, so I also check if I can do sessions with 15 items instead before the kanji locked away by that level’s radicals get unlocked. Most reviews I had in the evening so far was about 150, but it’s usually just shy over 100, and I get them wrapped up in 20 minutes tops unless I get seriously distracted. I get by mostly fine with that - even though I feel that my performance has suffered a little this month so far, I’m still at a clear rate of 88% for it - I wouldn’t want to speed up the process any further. I definitely couldn’t do consistent 6d20h levels like some people on here - I’m happy enough getting it done in 8.


Oh my goodness! I cannot thank you enough for suggesting the leech study script! Today I got down to zero lessons and 100% my 88 reviews for the first time ever! I could almost cry I’m so grateful for your help!!! I was sort of apprehensive to reach out on the forums but now I’m so glad I did. :tada: :durtle_tomato: :maté: :caught_durtling:


My personal rule: No Lessons unless reviews zero
If reviews are not zero, I am not ready for more items.


Happy to help :blush:

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