Snakes and ladders

Something happened along the way. There I was minding my business, climbing the levels, slowly but surely. Reviews every day. It was working, I was learning and retaining.

And then, it stopped. It’s been 338 days since I started level 21. In the mean time, I have missed this former, little part of my life, enough for me to now give it another go. But upon looking at the rows of kanji I ‘learned’, I can only recall a small proportion (the burned ones, mostly).

So, I need some help from anyone who’s been in my situation. What did you do? Bash on through without resetting and let the SRS do its thing? Reset to the last level with mostly non-burned kanji? Or, did you take the nuclear option, and reset back to lvl 1?

I do have a lifetime membership, so time isn’t really an issue. (Perhaps this was a factor in me stopping in the first place.) But of course, I would like to finish in the next couple of years, ideally, and having got 33% of the way through, the prospect of lvl 1 feels pretty scary. I don’t know.


I’ve been in this situation a couple of times. What works for me is that I go over the kanji of earlier levels and see wether these are still cemented in my brain. At your level I would go to 10 (for example) and check whether I still know them by heart. If so, look at a level higher. If not, go a level lower. After a while you’ll find a level where the cut-off is of being comfortable reading or not. Thát is the level you should reset to.

I’ve found that resetting to level 1 (done that once) isn’t really useful as the first few levels are just plain too easy, for me at least. Unless of course, you’re not even comfortable anymore with level 1 kanji. Then it is completely fine resetting to level 1.

After that I would highly recommend going through your open reviews first, before doing any lessons.


I would suggest going through the levels from 1 to 21, and see what the first one is where you don’t remember a large portion of the items. Then I suggest resetting to that. No point in resetting to 1, if you already know the very basics well, but resetting the levels you’ve forgotten is easier than going through and relearning a bunch of stuff with increased srs timings

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Learning / studying is pretty subjective I think, so it’s hard to give general advice.

I’ll just blabber on about my personal experience, see this chart for my qualifications :grin:

Resetting to level 1, or even just to five levels or more below me, would discourage me a lot.
Because even if there are a lot of items you don’t recall right away, there is a pretty good chance you will be able to re-learn them quicker than a reset would allow you.

I came back to a ridiculous amount of reviews and tried tackling them head on over a long period of time. At some point I realised that given my 1500+ reviews, WaniKani’s very randomized review mode was making it really hard for me to get anywhere.

The reorder script solved that problem entirely, by allowing me to a) sort by SRS, making sure I’d see items again soon after failing them and b) to sort by type, giving me a motivation boost by being able to specifically review kanji from time to time. Normally they were coming up very rarely, burried beneath literally hundreds of vocabulary items.
Big shout out to @Kumirei : Thank you so much, your Reorder Omega really saved me a lot of time and stress.

I was also careful to not over- or under-do it. Doing all the reviews in one go would have taken me literally the whole day with how much I had forgotten, and it would probably have burned me out for a few days at least. But more importantly, it would obviously have meant that the items would have come back in large chunks of over a thousand next time.

So I set a goal to a) preferrably do a hundred reviews each day and b) not to let the total number of reviews avaibable fall beneath the count on the day prior (in steps of a hundred). So if I reached 1400 reviews on my pile, I wouldn’t let it get over 1400 again at the end of the following day. (Due to work, university and personal issues I didn’t manage to keep that up all the way through, but as a general guide line, it served me well).

There are a lot of “speed demons” here, which can make this feel like even more of a set back. Don’t let that discourage you. The important thing when learning anything is not to stop and to just keep making progress however small it feels. It does absolutely get easier again. Otherwise I would not even have the time to post this long *** reply.


Off topic, but in relation to your wording:
I think the term “nuclear option” is a pretty distasteful one, especially given that it was coined in America, which has to this day never apologised for dropping literal atom bombs on civilian cities.
I think it has no place anywhere, just like the “use” of atom bombs should have no place anywhere. But least of all on a forum for the Japanese language.
This is not meant as an attack against you, as I’m sure it’s “just an idiom” for english speaking natives. I still feel it needs to be mentioned.


I personally don’t think resetting is a good idea. I think it feels like the right option sometimes because the feeling is like, “I got this far and didn’t learn anything guess I’ll do it again and do it right” But if you got as far as you have you probably remember more than you think you do. And getting back to level 21 takes a long time, almost half a year at least. Way longer than just working through the old material directly.

A lot of people who reset seem to end up resetting multiple times. I think if you can get yourself into the “I don’t remember this” mentality once, you can get into it multiple times. Sure at a certain point you can get through the early levels confidently but how much of your time are you spending being bored and waiting around going through old material.

I do not doubt there are many people who have gotten to level 60 after one or more resets but I don’t think it’s as worth your while as going through the old material slowly over the course of a month or so. That’s just what I think though.

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I agree. I think it only makes sense if you were not that far ahead anyway. I reset from level 5, and I think it was to my benefit (also the feeling of making a new start). I think at level 21 though, you should definitely try and go through the reviews and at least give it a go. If you are finding it too difficult, you could always drop to level 15 or something.

Thank you, this is very helpful advice. I forgot Reorder Omega existed; to use this to sort things out is a great suggestion. Cheers.

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Thanks for pointing this out. I apologise if I offended you. As you correctly guess, this is a frequently used turn of phrase.

I do not condone the use of weapons of mass destruction under any circumstances.

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My personal experiece: I didn’t reset, i didn’t like doing the same thing twice(same level). Also a completionist type.

So result is i spent alot of time in one level (46) than my entire 1 to 45 time combined (exaggerated a bit)

Looking back i don’t regret it, at the same time i never tried doing a reset before so idk how i feels.