Starting to feel the burn!

I had read that levels 6-10 can be pretty intense, but I had got through level 6 pretty easily and was feeling fairly comfortable with the new kanji in level 7… but then today I saw I had 141 reviews waiting, the highest it’s ever been, and I must confess… my heart sank a little. Having just ploughed through them, I’m relieved I got them done, but it was quite a slog!

Now, having looked through this forum, I realise that 141 reviews is not that bad in the grand scheme of things, but actually I think that makes me feel worse! Is it just going to keep getting higher and higher? I have a pretty solid routine of clearing my reviews once each morning and once each evening. I do enjoy doing the reviews, but there comes a point where it starts to get a bit overwhelming, and also just takes up too much of my time. I tend to get about 90% correct in my reviews, and my Apprentice queue is fairly stable at around 100 items, so I feel like it’s fairly under control, but for how much longer?

I guess maybe I need to spread out my lessons over a longer period of time? I usually do all the new radicals in one go, and all the new kanji in a separate session, but again, all in one go. If there is vocab to learn, I’ll try and do about 30 or 40 per day. My aim was to keep progressing at a decent pace through the levels (currently averaging about 9 days per level), but maybe this is incompatible with having a job and a life? :smiley:

How do you guys manage the workload?

EDIT: I’ve had a read of this guide and I think I pretty much knew most of that stuff anyway, but it did reinforce the idea that WK works in 12-hour cycles. I think part of the problem is that I am doing my morning reviews around 9/10am and my evening ones around 8pm, so then there’s a bunch of evening ones waiting for me in the morning. Will try and make sure I tackle these before I go to bed!


I thought when I saw the title, it was about burning some items but…

I think doing once in morning and once in evening tends to really stack up reviews, moreso at higher levels. I tend to do my reviews during mealtimes. I think I average less than 100 reviews per session even on most busy days as long as I do my reviews thrice a day.

I do all the lessons all in same day, spread out per hour. Like, 10 lessons per hour, another 10 after an hour or so, depending on my mood and on the ease of items. I rarely encounter 141 reviews or more even this way, again, as long as I do reviews at least 3x a day.

I think from the community’s standard, 9 days is pretty fast, don’t worry. And even if you go slower at higher levels, its okay. I used to do 7 days per level, but I do have a job, school and life, and it was hard to maintain. I got mistakes all the time, my leeches accumulated. At 20s, I average 9 days, and I have better accuracy than when I was trying to maintain 7 days per level in my most busy days.


One way to set yourself up for disappointment is to say that you’re going to go through a level every X days and realize it will take more work down the line. Realize now that you’re going to have to go at your own pace and you may need to slow down further down the road, and that’s okay. Wanikani gets harder not only because you’re going to have more reviews, but because the kanji will start to look and feel similar – not just simple cases that Wanikani teaches you like 末 and 未, but more complex characters like 揚,腸,陽,湯, which all look pretty similar!

Realizing that you will confuse these, and that you’re going to have to invest some time “relearning” what you thought you already knew, is one way to not set yourself up for disappointment and stay motivated. Don’t beat yourself up if your review percentage success falls as more and more kanji and vocabulary get added. If your Wanikani time for the day is spent doing 100 reviews, and no lessons, and you “relearned” something from your reviews, that is time very well spent.

In addition, I’d realize now that the vocabulary will get more abstruse, and thus more difficult. When you first learned a word like 悪い, that one is pretty easy to remember since you will use it pretty often in your introductory Japanese. By the time you get to words like 土塀, (mud wall!), you’ll only encounter them on pretty rare occasions (like when you travel.) That’s not a fault of Wanikani or you, just the way language works, and I think setting your expectations so that you do not walk away disappointed or frustrated is the most important thing to staying motivated and not letting the workload burn you out.


Some tips:

  • Daily reviews will almost certainly continue going up, but so your ability to do more reviews in less time. So it doesn’t necessarily get harder in my opinion.
  • Try to leave 0 reviews before going to bed. This way, you won’t have reviews piled up from the previous day to make your following day harder.
  • Do WK around 3 times a day if you can (morning, lunch time, evening).
  • Read my Guide for Wanikani, if you haven’t already. Mainly chapters 4-7:

Heh thanks, in fact I was just reading that!

I think I pretty much knew most of the technical WK stuff, but it did reinforce the idea that WK works in 12-hour cycles, which I maybe haven’t been dealing with in an optimal way. I think part of the problem is that I am doing my morning reviews around 9/10am and my evening ones around 8pm, so then there’s a bunch of evening ones waiting for me in the morning. Must try and make sure I tackle these before I go to bed!

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Hahah, I saw the edit :b

Tbh, if you’re feeling tired that day or if you have other priorities, it’s okay not go for exactly 0. But if your reviews are mostly falling around your 8pm-bed time, killing most of them/aiming for 0 will do you good.

I find that waking up and wanting to do your lessons but instead you have a bunch of reviews in the way to be a big energy sucker. Nothing better to me than starting my days with being able to do my daily lessons + being able to zero my reviews without feeling drained.


Haha I wish! And thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

Thanks, I can definitely see myself falling down that trap in future. At least now I have some warning!


Some good advice that I haven’t seen in this thread yet, is to keep your Apprentice pile under control. There’s a pretty well-established link between how many items are in your Apprentice pile and how busy you’re going to get. If you don’t mind going a bit slower, it is recommendable to set a maximum amount of Apprentice items for yourself and only do lessons when it dips below that point.

For example, if you set the limit to 100 (which is common), if you have 90 items in the apprentice pile rn, only do 10 lessons. When some more space comes up, do some more. If you exceed the limit, wait with doing lessons before getting the number back then.

If this method makes you begging for more reviews, increase your limit. If the amount of reviews is overwhelming, decrease the limit. You’ll find that you’ll have a better handle on things like this.

And also, don’t do all your lessons at once anyway. They will come back in huge waves and also make it harder to remember everything. I learned everything in one go during my entire track from 1 to 60, and am now stuck with about 650 leeches. :sweat_smile:


that’s some big leeches


I actually experienced much the same as you, at/after lvl 7. The daily workload felt overwhelming, and I stopped doing lessons for almost three months (that black bar). I don’t recommend stopping as I did, but know that you’re not alone :slight_smile: And if you feel the daily review amount climbing higher than you feel like you can handle, just lay off the lessons for some days. It helps! That way, you’ll be able to progress steadily but still keep the workload at a managable level. And take the time you need :slight_smile:
As you can see, my own progress has been full of breaks, and I still take them when I want the daily reviews to decrease a little :blush:


I wanted to take a picture of my leech list, but the screen capture broke :joy:

Here are my worst leeches

And here is the counter :sob:

I’m actually logging my leech progress as well

It’s not going well


Sorry, very dumb question, the answer to which I probably should have encountered by now: What actually is a leech? I keep seeing the phrase and haven’t bumped into it’s meaning yet.

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A leech is calculated according to a certain equation (depending on how many times you got it wrong and how often you got it right in one streak)


If the answer to that equation is higher than 1, it can be said with sort of certainty that you’re having trouble remembering that item. It’s a pretty good equation, though it doesn’t take into account when you finally get a good streak going and really start remembering the leech, but you had it wrong like 20 times before that because you didn’t think that item was really important at that time. So that’s why some of my leeches have “不可能” in their bar, as I can only get rid of them by burning them. About a third of my leeches are like that :frowning_face:

This script lists all of your difficult leeches:

I think the self-study script also has a way to give your leeches some extra attention, before they grow out of hand like for me :sob:


I’m calling you leech95 now




I see! Thank you for such an in-depth answer!

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What I do is I try to give answers relatively quickly during reviews (especially if it’s a word I haven’t seen in a while that I know is higher in the srs tier) and I also don’t do vocabulary lessons all at once. I try to do radicals all at once because they’re the building blocks that unlock kanji, and I try to do the kanji either all at once or in two days (technically you do not need to do them all at once… the way I understand it, learning the first wave early just gives you more room for error down the line because you have more chances to give answers for that first wave before the second wave of kanji are unlocked when you guru the radicals). I know it takes a few days to guru the radicals and the kanji so I see absolutely no need to rush the vocabulary sections. There are days where I do 20 vocab lessons, and some like today where I only did 10.

I level around ever 8-9 days or so, and although recently my reviews have pushed 160+ (basically two waves of 80 reviews one after the other), since I only spend a few seconds per character/word it really doesn’t take that long.

My tip is: don’t do reviews flippantly but also don’t be scared to make mistakes, even if it “slows” you down.


Are you sure you didn’t screenshot my leech list?


I just finished level 10 woo!

And I’m still not demotivated, I did find 9 and 10 a little more brainwork than the other levels before…

on to level 11 now :slight_smile: … over one sixth of the way there .____.