Strategies for a huge backlog?

For the past couple of month real life has interfered with my learning Japanese in such a way that I have accumulated a huge backlog of reviews, to the tune of 900+. Now I find myself with a little time and energy again to do something about it, but I lack a good strategy for doing so that doesn’t leave me completely overwhelmed.

I had been toying with the idea just to take a whole day to rush through all those reviews, or as much as I can manage before throwing up and being taken to the lunatics’ asylum … but then that’s hardly realistic. On the other hand, just nibbling at the edges won’t make a noticeable dent in this pile of reviews any time soon.
The majority of my reviews are burn items, but let’s face it, after all this time I barely remember half of them when they come up.
I’d like to get back on track without getting entirely demotivated, particularly since I just purchased a lifetime.
Have others been there and how did you get out of the hole?


i can recomend vacation mode while you handle the review pile at your own pace. Then just start the time again after that. You will remove every item in the pile, and can do it in 3 days instead of 3 hours without any punishment.

Welcome back to the wanikani train <3

  1. No new lessons 'til you’re caught up
  2. Install [Userscript] WaniKani Prioritize Overdue Reviews (reorder script)
  3. Decide how many reviews per day is a reasonable number for your current life and do that many until you are back on track.
  4. Use the leech training part of [Userscript] Self-Study Quiz to get some extra practice on your leeches if you end up with a lot (and factor this extra practice into your ‘reasonable number of reviews’ in 3. above.
  5. Don’t do this again :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. Activate Vacation Mode the next time you start missing whole days of reviews.

I had a few months off and came back to a backlog of 3160 reviews back on the 13th. Currently down to about 1900.

Just have to acknowledge the fact that (a) it’s going to take some time and (b) you’re probably going to get quite a few wrong.

I made myself a schedule to get my review count down ~200 or so a day so I’ll be at 0 on January 1st. So far so good.


Yeah well, it was entirely unintentional. :neutral_face:


I would just go for it. Whether you do all 800 at once or just take it like 50 at a time doesn’t matter. If you are scared of failing too much, just take a break if you notice that you are failing because of reviewing for too long and starting to be distracted. But other than that there is pretty much nothing else. You have only 32 apprentice items so don’t be scared going slowly. Most of items are master or enlightened. So if you get them wrong, they won’t come back for week or two so it’s not like you will get swamped. Just don’t do lessons until you are done with reviews. As for getting lot of words wrong due to not reviewing for long, well… that is inevitable. But longer you will wait, bigger chance you won’t remember.


Reorder by level then clear bottom up bit by bit every day


Good thinking, thanks. Being swamped is exactly what scared me, but you’re right, there is no reason. :blush:


Got the backlog below 700, burned quite a number of items. At this point, I am rather pleasantly surprised by how many I DO recall! Of course, those kanji and vocab I could never remember or tell apart and had barely managed to get to enlightened a few months ago are not among those, but, never mind.

Funny thing is my leech count is actually going down without my training them explicitly. I suppose when I burn them … :wink:


Oh and it’s true, I’m really not being swamped by new reviews …

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Yeah I had a backlog of 2300 once , and I did it all in one day. It was a bad idea completely burned me out for a while. Think I had way too many apprentice at that time and I couldn’t do reviews often enough.


2300 reviews in a single day?

In some side universes, you are a hero.


I am getting there, but I also have a couple of small problems …
Sometimes I manage to burn an item that I am sure I got wrong just a day or two ago. I know this can’t be right, because even if I pushed this just back to enlightened, it shouldn’t come back for some months or so? I have a suspicion that sometimes when I close the reviews and an item came up only once during the session, e.g. only for meaning but not for reading, WK forgets that and gives me both again in the next session, so that I get a second chance on the meaning and of course remember it now because I just saw it. Have others noticed that?
For now when I notice this happens, I just ‘resurrect’ the burnt item, but of course that’s hardly a proper solution …
And I also have a small problem with the ‘overdue reviews’ script. Quite often it seems I get the item I just got wrong again immediately, so of course I remember now, but again, that’s hardly adequate. Five minutes later I could have forgotten again. Is there some tweak in the settings, maybe, that might prevent this from happening?

For the first problem, just ensure you use the wrap-up button to finish a session instead of just stopping - it’s the little clock on the left:

You will be able to do 10 more items after pressing it, and the system ensures that part-done items are prioritsed (there are never more than 10 at once).


Wow. I never knew that! Thanks so much. :slight_smile: :+1:

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Turn on some good music with headphones. Turn everything else off. Smartphone / TV and so on to prevent distractions. And just do it in one go. I did the same this morning and smashed 650 reviews in one session.

Done! I wanted to get to the bottom before midnight and I managed with three hours to spare, slightly annoying my wife and in-laws in the process. :smile:

Happy New Year! :sunglasses:


Oh, and I had to do the last 200 or so on my phone which is really tantamount to extra punishment for the huge backlog. (Hence the screenshot format.) :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Yeah, I was like that in another SRS thingy, and it is a bad idea, I did not get any reviews for a week and then I got 600 items dropped on me, so I did about 100 a day, which is very doable, only to get another 1000 by the end of a second week. Now I try to limit my daily reviews so I am not completely exhausted by them. It may take me a month to get through, but it is quite enjoyable month:)


I hate headphones, but I do listen to some epic music when studying, I especially prefer the best of Two Steps for Hell, but other epic music mixes work for me:) On youtube they tend to have nice background images, so the video goes full screen so I am not distracted by all the tabs and I study on a tablet. I am too distracted when I practice at PC, so I need to stay 2 metres away:) Anyway mostly the instrumental music really helps me study and to focus.