Scientifically, when is the best time to do reviews?

My performance severely decrease in the morning right after I wake up. The coffee and breakfast don’t help much. I’m not sure if I should save the review for later, when my brain is fully functioning. However, I feel like if I can’t effectively do my review when I’m not at my best. It’s mean I’m still not good enough in that skill (Japanese in this case). So probably I should keep pushing my brain limit.

What do you guys think? When is the best time to do reviews? Scientifically speaking.

OK to clarify the purpose of this topic a bit. I raise this question because I’m curious about what could effect our brain and learning process in different circumstances involve the time when we are doing reveiws. For example, if we are doing reviews when our brain is not fully functioning. Is that compliment or sabotage our learning progress?

So it’s not actually exactly “what time” in term of morning, noon, or evening. It’s about “when” that could affect your brain. (If this make the topic more confusing I’m so sorry. I know my English is terrible lol)


I agree with your view. You should be able to do reviews nearly any time of day without a significant drop in accuracy, and if you can’t, you have more room for improvement.

Personally, I like the fact that I can now read a Japanese book at pretty much any time, including right when I wake up. That’s not to say there’s no “morning fog”, but I can still read and understand what’s going on, so that’s fine with me. Reading right after I wake up is something I do when reading a book in English, so it’s good to be able to do the same when I’m reading a book in Japanese.


I’m sure there are specific time benchmarks that give you the most optimal review times throughout the day and srs stages, but I think the best time to do reviews is the one that you feel the most comfortable doing so. That includes:

Where you don’t feel rushed or stressed
When you aren’t tired/exhausted
When you aren’t distracted by something else

That changes from person to person. TL;DR is just doing it when you feel like it. If creating a routine, choose times that you know you’re free, rather than optimizing the system


I don’t have any of those problems. Due to the pandemic. I quit my job and full-time studying Japanese now. lol (There are a lot of tear in “lol”)


Then you have a lot of leeway on how you can organize your routine! I try to keep things flexible enough so that, if I have to get a new job (working freelance means jumping from place to place with different times and stuff) I don’t need to change the times I’m doing stuff/only need to adjust a little.

But if you’re not worried about that, you could try to match the best times for the review turnaround times, which makes sure that you don’t get a bunch of reviews pilling up while you’re asleep or something

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Scientifically speaking, the best time to do your reviews is the time when you’ll actually DO the reviews.

(I hate doing large batches and my accuracy drops when I try, so I do some in the morning, some at lunch, and some when I’m procrastinating on something more important.)


I don’t know that there is a single “best time” that would work for everybody, it’s one of those things you probably have to find yourself what works for you. Of course, taking in others opinions is a valid way towards that goal but some of them will clash with your needs.
For example, it seems like I’m the polar opposite to you when it comes to reviews, since doing them in the morning seems to be the absolutely the best time for me. Throughout the day is also fine but the later in the evening it is the worse I start to do, and I ain’t even thinking of touching reviews near night time anymore.

I guess the best time is whatever time you’re the least tired and most energetic?

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Do you have the means to ? I wonder if it would be advantageous to quit a few month to go more in Japanese before the visa, I feel my routine might take too much time and I banked some cash that I would be fine for atleast a year confortably with rent food etc

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The pandemic situation in my country has reach to the point that I can’t keep doing my job safely. So I decided to quit my job. It doesn’t look like the situation would get any better until the first quater of the next year. I always want to be able to put Japanese on my resume for a long time. So I will give it my all in studying Japanese for now.

I know Japanese wouldn’t be a miracle set of skill that improve my life significantly but I’m sure it will open up many new possibilities in my life. (and I’m enjoying it. I feel like I’m pursueing my dream that one day I would be fluent in Japanese)

I don’t know… I don’t have much choices between continue working and have a high chance of being infected, stay at home and playing games all day, or study some new set of skills. The latter seems to be the best one in this scenario lol.

In a normal circumstance, I would never do this, to be honest.


Good for you making the best of a nasty situation. Good luck with the studying, staying healthy, and eventually being better off.


I just do the reviews whenever they come up unless I am sleeping, at which point I do them usually within an hour after getting up. I am generally around a computer most of my day so taking a couple of minutes every hour or so to do them works for me.


It might not be the answer you are looking for because yes, maybe there is a scientific answer to what time in the day you are mentally the best, but I also think its different for everyone and I encourage you to experiment and find where you feel are your best times.

It might not be much, but from my personnal experience, 9-10 am / 2-3 pm / 9-10pm seems to be my best times (where I get best performance). Its hard to know, cause like, some items are easier than other and sometimes you just get a review where all items are relatively easy.

Those times might also be because I tend to consume coffee before the said times and it might peak my mental strength ? Nonetheless, I think that what makes a difference is like, conditioning yourself to do good in reviews.

From personal experience, eating something before a review help me get easily into “the zone” and its easier to focus and get better performance. I also tend to do reviews after some work out, I feel I’m more awake after a lil physical training.

But again, everybody is different and I think the best way to find when are your best times is for you to experiment on yourself.

Hope my post answer a lil about your question even tho its mostly from personnal experience.

Much love and keep doing reviews :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Just my opinion (though from experience), but my recommendation is:

Forget about time of day, or even about feeling your best. The surest path to improved review accuracy is spending more time up front during, and immediately after, your lessons. Drill the new lessons until you can recite them without hesitation, and your reviews will be much easier after that.

Of course, this makes lessons more time-consuming, so it’s also helpful to learn how to strategically spread your lessons out across a level. This eliminates “lesson dump syndrome”, and spreads out your reviews evenly so you don’t end up with days where a huge amount of reviews hit at once.


I can’t quote anything cause i simple forgot what research I read this from but I have read that doing reviews and studying is most efficient at night, or rather within the few hours before you go to sleep. It doesn’t actually effect your performance during the review, but, since you would be timing it a bit before sleep, more of the curriculum is often remembered.

Also I think as if feeling groggy and not fully functioning can decrease retention. This is just because learning is done best when the learner puts a lot of thought into their curriculum, hence all the stories and stuff that wanikani gives us.

Combining these two things, it seems as though waiting until a bit before bed would be the time when you can most efficiently do your reviews.


I think you want to do lessons at your best, and reviews at your worst. If you can remember the answers when you’re tired or distracted, you’re probably going to remember them.

Doing lessons at your best time isn’t even that important unless you want to minimize failures, which some would say defeats the purpose of the SRS.


SRS will work, even if you schedule it or not. That is why different SRS apps will have different scheduling because the difference doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the spaced time which WK already handles. So even when you missed a day, it will still work.
Don’t sweat the small things and micromanaging them. Just do the reviews when you can. Don’t be so hard on yourself by restricting yourself using hard rules.

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Scientifically speaking, you’ll have to figure it out yourself. Social sciences are super unreliable. And even if there was a scientific consensus, there are always outliers for whom the science doesn’t apply.

Personally, I do lessons in the morning, reviews 4 hours later to reinforce them, and then again 8 hours after that to reinforce them again.

I get my main batch of reviews in the evening with my third session, so the first two are rather small and manageable.


To speak scientifically we need to base our arguments on actual scientific research. A quick search on Google Scholar returned some articles about SRS but most of them were looking into srs effectiveness and srs timings. No study on optimal review times came up.

And it’s my speculation but I think it will vary greatly among individuals. Besides, in most cases people don’t have a schedule flexible enough to do reviews at “optimal” time.

Don’t worry about it. Just do your reviews and lessons daily and it’ll be effective.

I personally started waking up early to do my lessons, so that I could do my first review batch during my lunch break.

But I also tried doing lessons right after work, in which case I could review them 4 hours later before bed.

Do your lessons when you have a clear head but do your reviews when you must based on the timings. It’s better to miss a few reviews because you’re not at your best at the time than delay the whole batch.


Am I the only one using reviews as a grogginess guage? 60%? Maybe do the hoovering rather than finances…
But I agree with a lot of the others - in principle, lessons when sharp and reviews any time; in reality, anything anytime because it’s better to actually get it done and the SRS will do its thing and sort things out for you in the long run.

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