Struggling with SRS

SRS is new to me. I survived French in HS and German in College by flashcards/cramming. I’m very good at committing something to short term memory so what happening is that I’ll get an object to Guru, and the next time I see it I have no clue. Not one. Its like I’ve never seem it before. Not even the mnemonic. Anybody else having this issue? Any suggestions?

If this is your first time using an SRS, that is somewhat expected. I had that issue initially.

Usually, it means the mnemonic isn’t strong enough in your mind. Actually, a lot of the WaniKani default mnemonics are a little, shall we say, “too general”. Find a way to make it extremely gross, or funny, or scary, or anger-inducing in your mind.

And, if one just isn’t sticking, come up with you’re own. For example, I came across the word 呼ぶ in my vocab mining, and though I’m not at the level in WaniKani to “learn” it, I’ll know it when I get there.

My mnemonic is Sully from Monsters, Inc calling out, “Yo, Boo” and being cut a little short. No way that’s what they’re using on WK, though. :rofl:

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I have to go deeper into the dictionary or find sentences for context. With wanikani words I’m usually too lazy to do that so I end up just doing the reviews a thousand times. Eventually eventually it does end up sticking.

^Yeah, when this happens to me I do a little extra research to get some more information… of course, it’s too time consuming to do this all the time, but when something’s continually giving you trouble it’s worth it.
With vocabulary, looking at some example sentences on jisho or w/e and then trying to write one of your own definitely helps to put it into context. I also like to look up the origin/etymology of kanji to see if there’s anything interesting about it that might make it stick out in my memory; knowing the logic behind why things means what they do can help a lot.

The SRS system here tries to maximise the efficiency of getting words into your long term memory by testing on you just before you are going to forget them. But forgetting is not a problem. When you get an answer wrong you get tested on it more frequently again and it will get into your long term memory with time, you just need to stick with the system.

Have you read the FAQ and the guide that are linked to in the Welcome Post? As well as using SRS, this site tries to help you remember things by building stories and memories around the mnemonics. If you get into the habit of doing that well it will help with your retention. I like to try and imagine each story taking place in a real location I know and find that helps with my retention of the story.


I’ve come to see it as part of the design. The system is making sure not only that you remember it, but that you haven’t confused it with any new information (like 子 and 了 or 大 犬 and 太). If I really don’t know it, I deserve to see it more frequently.

I use the Self-Study Quiz scripts judiciously to review things I’ve missed recently, missed often (called leeches), or to review readings I’ve jumbled for things like 人, 生, 日 or whatever.

I agree, that first Guru level can be like, wow, I’ve never seen this symbol before in my life! Or, I’ve seen it, and I know for sure the reading I’m typing in there is wrong.

A few weeks back, I started using KaniWani when I have the time and energy for it, and I’m behind enough that it helps jog my memory a bit on stuff that’s older. It’s an English to Japanese for vocabulary only, and will really make you suffer with verbs and words with similar meanings.

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For me, the experience given by sites such as KaniWani or KameSame is invaluable. In fact, if you set your items to appear once you have Guru’ed in WaniKani, then you’ll have a surge of reviews that will keep those items fresh for you to Master them. Since i’ve used the latter app when I was level 3, I have never looked back, as it has increased my retention and fluency. It’s also quite fun to see how you can actually produce the kanji, and it’s also a nice training for kanji typing, which is its own thing.

Of course this means doing more work, but I feel that it’s not overwhelming and it’s more fun than reviewing the items in a vacuum.

Good luck!

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