Last year, I raced through Wanikani as fast as possible, reaching level 60, and then stopped after a year. However, I later realized that I had forgotten pretty much everything, so I resubscribed and attempted to start whittling down the pile of thousands of reviews I had accumulated.
I started this challenge on May 12th, 2021. In honor of the anniversary, I decided to start another thread, the fourth in all. You can read about my journey up to now in the previous three threads - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
When I started, way back in May, I had 6218 reviews to get through. I naively thought that I’d mostly remember everything and that I could get through all that in just a few weeks. Boy was I in for a rude surprise.
Instead, I could barely remember anything, and doing reviews was like getting slapped in the face over and over and over. In fact, no matter how hard I tried and how long I spent doing reviews, my review count actually kept going up over time, peaking at 6618 before I finally gave in and reset my level. I initially reset my level from 60 to 48, which helped a lot, but still not enough. I ended up resetting again to 47, and finally to level 46.
Even after resetting, I spent months with little visible progress. However, I’ve been making much more rapid progress over the last few months. Here’s a graph of my review count over the last ~310 days:
As you can see, my review count was essentially flat for many months after I started and only started to go down very slowly. However, for the last few months, it has been going down much more rapidly. Partway through, I started tracking the number of reviews due in 7 and 30 days (the red and yellow lines above), and those have also started to decline significantly.
A look at the number of items I had in each SRS level over time also reveals a similar pattern. Below is a graph of my Apprentice, Guru, Master, Enlightened, and Burned counts over time.
First, you can see my resets at the left of the graph. (The review count graph above only starts after I reset to 46 in order to avoid skewing the graph, but this graph includes the entire year.)
Even after resetting, my Apprentice count continued going up for a while, peaking at 3107. Even after it peaked, it declined only very slowly for months.
The horizontal axis of the graph is days since I started, so the six month mark would be around day 180, a little to the left of the 200 line marked on the graph.
However, if you look to the right of the graph, you’ll see that things have been going down much more rapidly of late. Part of that is that I slowly got more familiar words over time, as I kept reviewing and failing them until I started to remember them sometimes. The other part is that items that started at Apprentice 1 (which is most of them) had to be reviewed and passed four times before they could graduate to Guru, so there was a lot of invisible movement at first.
Here is the same graph with the burns on bottom:
This graph also shows another interesting pattern. When I started this challenge a year ago, I had 3120 items already still at Enlightened from when I was doing WK back in 2020. Since it had been so long, I didn’t remember most of them, but I did get some right and managed to guess some.
Over the first several months, I very slowly whittled down the pre-existing Englightened pile. A fraction were burned, the majority, I failed and sent back to Guru (and then to Apprentice). Pass or fail, I gradually worked my way through them, so the blue area narrows significantly.
However, around the eight month mark, you can see that the blue area starts to widen again. That’s when all my successful reviews had accumulated enough to start kicking new items up to Enlightened (and eventually Burned). Since these ones are by definition items I already passed several times, my accuracy rate is now much higher, and I’m finally starting to burn items in significant numbers.