Reviews order?

Wouldn’t it be better for reviews to be Radicals, Kanji, Vocab in this order? As in you do all the radicals and then you can start the kanjis and when you finish them you start vocab. This way has a lot of advantages like when you get to the vocab part you can pretend ur reading japanese for real i feel it’d be more useful.
Also the reading for each kanji/vocab should come right after the meaning of that particular kanji/vocab. What do the more experienced members think of this? Also i heard there are some ways to actually make the reviews be ordered to one’s liking, can someone share how?

1 Like

There is a way to do that with WaniKani Reorder.

That being said, interleaving is one of the things most important to learning here on WaniKani. It makes sure you don’t associate review items with certain queues thus forcing your brain to work more. This in turn leads to better memorization in the long run. Here is an article by the WaniKani creator himself explaining:


As mentioned above, there are scripts to do exactly what you wish.

(opinionated advice follows) However, the thing that you want to do contradicts the basic principles of spaced repetition. The theory, and the evidence, suggests that learning is increased when different material is mixed. The mixing is what helps your mind to make associations, instead of seeing bits of knowledge in isolation.
Carried to extreme, learning is best achieved when you study multiple subjects simultaneously. My big big Anki deck has material dating back over ten years. Right now, I mostly get Japanese questions, because that is what I am adding right now. But occasionally I get random questions on the calculating annuities, or integrating e^x. This keeps me from getting bored with the subject that I am really engrossed in now, plus makes links with other things in my head.


I read that Tofugu article on interleaving when I was on lvl 1 or 2, and so chose to not install the reorder script - not as ‘easy’ but more effective in the long run I expect.


Allow me to share my own personal experience. Up until level 17, I didnt use reorder, and from level 17 to date I have my reviews ordered RKV with each item appearing with its meaning first and then the reading directly after. When I see a word, I think first of its meaning and then how its read. I figured why waste time with doing that twice, when I can do it once and enter in the answer in that same order.

The result was that my reviews went faster…and guess what? My retention dropped 0%. My % correct is actually going up, but that may just be because of my getting better at learning languages. Point is, I was able to save time on reviews (Im going literally over twice the speed I did when at pre 17) and my retention was unaffected. Sick deal if you ask me. This whole interleaving business is probably useful for some, probably a waste of time for others. Everyone should experiment for the sake of finding what works best for them.


But isn’t that kind of the point? It becomes ‘easier’ for you to remember because you are used to seeing those items in groups together, which means that the group effect makes it easier to remember the individual items. But your retention outside of WaniKani is likely to be worse, because you’re less used to seeing them “in the wild” as it were, in slightly random contexts.

I don’t claim to have any real pedagogical knowledge in this area though :smiley:


Like it or not, you’re still just looking at one item at a time. Reviewing items in a different order is not “context”. Make no mistake about that. If you want to learn in context, which I recommend, then you should read, which I do.

Take 緑, for example. Are you going to remember 緑 better because you had to think about how you read お尻 between the time that you had to recall “green” and “midori”? I’m not. The concept of green and the reading みどり appear together in my head when I read, so why shouldn’t they be together when I review the item?

To give an actual example, I was just looking at lyrics for a song I like. My listening is too bad to pick up, but I can understand them when I have the words transliterated. One of the parts was:


Lets say I was unsure about 命 in this case. For me, having to jump from 命 to 洋服 to 命 again on my WK isn’t going to help me out. Either I know it or I don’t. The first thing I see when I look at that first line is 命, either I know it or I don’t. Simple.

I think you may misunderstand the point of interleaving. From what I saw from that video, the point is that related items are queued together. The idea is that those related items will enforce each other. This, however, is not always the case and it certainly has nothing to do with seeing those items in the wild on their own.


Oh, sorry, I think we’re both misunderstanding each other and I worded some things a bit ambiguously :slight_smile:

I mean for a start, I totally think everyone should find the way that works best for them. I also completely agree with reading - that’s actually encountering things ‘in the wild’, and I do it as much as possible with my limited knowledge already.

But I don’t mean that shuffled reviews are giving “context” in the sense that you’re encountering an item within the context of a sentence, paragraph or whole story. I just meant generally ‘the context in which you see it’.

I just meant that if you always see a certain group of items together, it will likely artificially make you feel like you remember them better, because it’s easier to remember them when they’re part of that group. The more muddled up my reviews are, the more I have to work to remember an individual item, which I think is good for my long-term memory. This is not to do with interleaving, I know.

I would rather have my reviews muddled up, personally, but even within that setup I can see the appeal of pairing the meaning and reading. For the items I’m less confident about I appreciate that I’m effectively forced to remember them twice in one review session, but for most items I agree that doing them twice is maybe not worth the loss of time.

1 Like

I understand you don’t think this to be interleaving, but I’m curious what you have encountered that fits this. In my experience, the only “groups” are the lesson batches, but those usually lose their groups by the time they are out of apprentice.

In the end, no matter what you do, it will still loosely follow the idea of “interleaving”. That’s just how the WK system works. You learn learn radicals, kanji, and vocab that all fit together in the same general time period so you will be reviewing them a lot around the same time. I just personally get no added benefit from having those related items be recalled in succession or in some back and forth pattern (again, assuming they are in the same review session in the first place).

1 Like

“Interleaving” is useful when you have kanji/words you’re mixing up together. Why? Because it constantly challenges you to check the differences. Therefore, you learn better.

However, that’s taking into consideration that everything seems similar to you, which is obviously not the case. Most of the times interleaving won’t have an extra effect. My opinion though :man_shrugging:

1 Like

I have a reasonably high accuracy now, so I find that stuff remains in batches through Guru at least (obviously I lose a few items along the way, but there’s still a bulk core). Obviously I’m a really low level, but I certainly find a load of radicals will come up suddenly for a master review whatever and I realize they’re all my level 4 radicals or whatever. I prefer it if they appear at the same time as another batch of kanji or whatever, so that they get mixed up.

Yep, sure, I realize I’m talking about something different from interleaving. I think what I’m talking about is unlikely to make a huge difference, and may not help an individual at all, as you find. I just personally like to make it as difficult for myself to remember things as possible ^^


Yeah…I agree with Vanilla on this one. I switched over recently and if anything it has helped me. It is way faster to do, and it also associates the readings with the meaning of the vocabulary since I always see them together.

Side note on interleaving: I think interleaving primarily deals with not going through the same list of vocab in the same order every time because then you memorize their positions relative to one another and use that for recall instead of the words themselves…that is not how this script works. The radicals are in a different order each time, the kanji are in a different order each time, and the vocab are in a different order each time. So there is still internal interleaving within the categories. The main difference for me is that it gives me more freedom in tackling different categories depending on when I want to level up and how much time I have.


Thx for the responses. I tried it the script and it seems way better. Wish there was a way to make the same change on mobile :stuck_out_tongue:

Rather than trying to “pretend like you’re reading Japanese for real” just do reviews and then go and read actual Japanese for real. You’re going to get much more out of it if you do that.


Life got a lot better when I started using 1x1 Mode in the reorder script. That’s the one that has you do meaning and reading together, rather than splitting them up. It’s so much faster, so much less frustrating, and frankly i think it helps me learn better. I mean, when I’m reading something I don’t just do meaning or reading, they go together. I understand the logic behind separating them, but the theoretical benefits are outweighed by the significant extra time spent in reviews for me. More time = More frustration = Higher chance I’ll give up on a review session which can lead to burning out and stopping entirely.

What I make sure never to do is sort by level. I find that if I know a kanji/vocab is from an earlier level, that’s a huge hint as to the answer. The hardest thing about learning kanji is getting a general kanji shape in your head, memorizing it, and then hitting a kanji later on that looks similar… but isn’t the same. Breaking that association is hard but necessary. Sorting by level is too much of a hint in those cases, for me.

But sorting by type is something I do fairly often. At least when I have a lot of reviews and want to get the kanji done first in order to keep on pace for a decent leveling time, without having to crush through 100 vocab in a sitting.

1 Like

There’s a lot of misconception about interleaving. For one, some studies show that interleaving can be bad for foreign language study… but not in all cases.

The main effect of interleaving is that it:

  • Helps you make connections between related things (like particle usage and sentence structure)
  • Helps emphasize the differences between things (like similar kanji)
  • Prevents your brain from discarding desirable information when activities are performed repeatedly (like repeatedly inserting different nouns in the same sentence, such that your brain stops processing the sentence itself and starts focusing only on the inserted words).

Where interleaving has been shown to be bad for language learning is when it interrupts your ability to see the relationship between related things, like words that share a kanji, or kanji that look alike, or when you’re trying to get a feel for how a sentence pattern works (in which case you should get comfortable with the pattern before interleaving). In such cases, ‘blocking’ (i.e. the opposite of interleaving) was found to be more effective.


This. I can not stress this enough.

However you approach WaniKani, you’re just memorizing a dictionary.

The only way to read Japanese for real is to try reading Japanese for real until you get comfortable with it.


I can definitely say that people spend more time trying to tweak the system than they do just learning.

They’re just ‘interleaving’ some tweaking with their kanji study, lol…

Seriously, though, reordering for 1x1 mode with consistent reading-then-meaning order makes it go a lot faster, freeing more time to do other forms of practice like reading.


I only spent two minutes tweaking mine, and I am pretty sure it has saved me a lot of time…but yeah I agree that people seem to think about this stuff too much…just decide on a way to do stuff and things, stick to it consistently, and then all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.