SRS and Age

My understanding is that the timing of the SRS is designed to remind us of things just before we would otherwise forget them.

I’m wondering if / how the algorithm takes into account the differing ages of the people doing the reviews? Being an older member of the community, I know (sadly) that I just don’t remember things as well or as easily as I used to. Doesn’t that imply that I would need to get my reviews sooner than someone a few decades younger?

Also, somewhat related, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to save up a day’s worth of reviews and do them all at once or it’s better to do them as soon as they appear - which can be anything from “Next Review in 4 mins / 23 mins / less than an hour / 3 hours / 8 hours”?
Does it make any difference (to any significant degree) to how quickly I complete a level?

Surely most people are busy doing other things and can’t do a review as soon as it appears? Since I am retired, I feel pressure to respond immediately - although, even in retirement, there’s a load of other things I could/should be doing! It’s one thing to be committed and passionate about WK, but I don’t want to be obsessed by it. I’d like to set aside some time morning and evening, but I want to make sure I’m not making it harder for myself by doing it that way rather than as reviews become available throughout the day.

Many thanks.


That’s ok. We usually don’t get obsessed with WK. It’s the forums that are the obsession…

Anyways… that aside, there’s always the question of “Am I going too slow?”. The answer really is to go whatever speed is the best for you. Obviously you don’t want to take too long and forget a lot of stuff, but, if you go too quick it can get a little too overwhelming and you can burn out. If you find that happening you can always slow down by not doing any lessons and catching up on your reviews.

Also, on the age thing, I have no idea. I guess if you get it wrong you’ll get it again sooner, so you’ll remember it better… Otherwise, yeah, I’m not sure on that one.

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I wouldn’t say that age doesn’t play a role in how quickly you remember things, but it’s just one minor factor among many. It’s like worrying about how a puddle of water might cause some rain afterwards.

Waiting to have a big batch of reviews and doing them all at once can be exhausting. It also depends on how fast you want to learn. Personally, I don’t mind either way, but smaller and more frequent reviews seem less daunting.

As for the age thing, I’m no expert, but unless you have Alzheimer’s or something, I don’t think it really has any significant impact on your long term memory retaining capacity.

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Part of it is ‘training’ your brain again too, I think. Using SRS is a totally different style of learning to what I’m used to, so I found it a bit tricky at first. Now I’ve got the grip of it, the four hours is, generally, enough.

But don’t stress too much on doing the reviews exactly on time, otherwise the further through you get the bittier they become. Apps like AlliCrab are great because you can see how many reviews you have coming up throughout the day and plan when you’re going to review - its definitely stopped me obsessing over the odd one!

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I think that learning Japanese is a wonderful way to actually improve your memory :slight_smile: it’ll create new connections and tell your brain that it is important to work on remembering.

I don’t believe the SRS takes into account age, though. Then again, it doesn’t take into account variations in individuals of the same age either (people’s memory abilities vary greatly, from photographic to “I just read sentence and I can’t even remember it five minutes later”).

There is absolutely no pressure to do the reviews the moment they appear. I think that would mostly apply to someone who wants to burn through WaniKani the fastest way possible and take full advantage of the SRS. If you don’t have a time limit to reach a certain level, there’s no need to follow the SRS exactly. The SRS does help to remember quicker, so it might mean you would take a bit longer to complete a level compared to the fastest users, but you’d be pretty much in the average I think. If you have other things to do, that’s fine, there is no need to feel pressured into putting WaniKani first.

I don’t do my reviews the moment they are ready either (except sometimes on weekends when I stay home I take breaks from my house chores to do them) but I do try to do them on a daily basis. If you wait more than a few days, that’s okay, but they do tend to pile up so it takes longer to catch up.

I think it’s great someone older is trying to learn a new language!


Don’t feel pressure to do reviews right away! Rather, schedule your study time during the day when you’re most productive. I try to do reviews in the morning/early afternoon if I can, and then do two new lessons at the same time. In the afternoon/early evening, I do reviews again. Rinse and repeat every day.

@SpicyDragon brings up a very valid point about Japanese and memory. I think that learning new languages that are - er, “image based” (Chinese, Japanese, etc) rather than say, English which is phonetic (I mean, based on sounds that only get meaning once you string them together) can definitely help improve your mental capabilities.

As an aside, if you’re looking into that mental capabilities thing, try the Lumosity app! It’s a series of small games (three new every day) designed to test and improve reaction time, memory, retention, and problem solving skills. I do the games every other day as a fun little addition to my studies - I like to think it at least has some kind of positive effect :slight_smile:

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Actually, you can strain your brain further, or less further than WaniKani…

You might be able to do more than 0, 4 hr, 8 hr, 1 day, 4 days… just like Anki. And somehow, many people survived Anki, doing the interval no shorter than 1 day.

WaniKani interval is just an arbitrary number.

The expectation isn’t that you will remember at every review, but rather that it is interactively testing if you still remember, and giving you items more frequently if you don’t. So yes, it does account for poorer memory… just not in as elegant/complex/magical of a way as we might want :slight_smile:


Prolly help us old tymers stave off Alzheimer’s though, you reckon?


This is one of many issues with SRS explored in the field of applied linguistics. The algorithm at present probably would not recognize it, but it would certainly help it to possibly improve.

Another that would help would be a Japanese placement quiz. There are tons more you could come up with…

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You mean you guys don’t have an alarm set on your phones to know when the next session is? :frowning: C’mon, I can’t be the only one who dumped my girlfriend because she intruded on my Wanikani time.

Or am I? :frowning:


The thing is, if you need to see an item more often, all you have to do is get it wrong and it’ll happen!

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I used to set my tablet’s alarm several times in the evening so that I could get to the reviews as soon as they appeared. Now that I’m used to it, I don’t care if they accumulate. I have 200+ reviews most nights (despite catching up every morning and mid-day, since I’ve got SRS “trained” to give me almost everything at night) and it’s become routine.

On the original topic: Before starting WK, I was using a memory app off and on. Once I started learning kanji, I stopped the app since WK is effectively a memory-enhancing app. So don’t worry about your memory. WK will handle that. :blush: (For what it’s worth, I’m 64.)

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