Thoughts on reordering?

So I finally installed the reorder script, mainly to change things up a bit as I was losing motivation. I’m currently on ascending level and type, and immediately noticed that it’s easier to concentrate for the duration of my review session for some reason. I also noticed I can leverage my memory of when I learnt something to help me remember it, especially in the case where there are two similar looking kanji which I often conflate. I think my strategy will be to sort by ascending when I’m planning to do a whole review, but sort by descending when I’m running a bit low on time.

Just wondering if anyone has experienced a worsening overall retention by doing it this way, or any other pitfalls I should look out for?

My retention was about the same (I have very good memory), but my motivation went way up when I started using 1x1 mode for consistent back to back reading-then-meaning .

(In addition to 1x1, I think I did radicals => kanji => vocab. But I always did all of my reviews in one sitting.)


Just don’t neglect Vocab. A pit many fall into.
I’m more of the opposite. I do all vocab as they unlock first. Then radicals, and finally kanji. I like to get vocab done first, since they (in theory) help with kanji retention. My review percentage though, might disagree with that theory.


I only use reordering for lessons, not for reviews as randomising is a better test of your retention and helps improve it.


This is a great example of why reordering can be dangerous. In the real world you won’t be able to rely on remembering when you learned an item. If you rely on it too much on WaniKani, you’re just hurting yourself in the long run.


I decided long ago that I was going to use the default-core experience all the way to the end.

Yes. Leveling up is a pain because I have to go through 40 - 50 new vocabulary before getting to the actual new level Radicals and Kanji but…it works. Reading the kanji and the actual words (vocabulary) in other sites and in Anki WORKS, so I will not touch anything that may risk this current flow …in my brain.

I used the reorder script for a while but then I got rid of it. The reason being I felt like I was going through the level too quickly without really learning everything as solidly as I should have been. I think if I want to customize anything it should be my lessons so I can decide what to focus on.

Those are exactly my thoughts. The idea of recognising a kanji should be that any random kanji (or word) is chucked in front of you and then it’s a matter of whether or not you can recognise it, not relying on external factors such as ‘when did I learn this kanji in wanikani?’. This happens to me sometimes in torii or houhou, I remember a word mostly because I can recall how long ago I added it but I fear if I encountered it randomly in the real word I might not recognise it all.

I stick with random because deep down somewhere in my mind, I think it’d be much more helpful in the long run to review something twice each time it comes up.

I like 1x1 mode too, because it allows me to get WK done each day really fast. In real life I’m always going to need to remember meaning and reading together so it doesn’t seem damaging to do that on Wanikani too. Also freeing up more time to actually read / listen to Japanese is going to have a bigger positive effect than any small negative this might have IMO.

That being said, I do think you can misuse the reorder script. If you reorder your lessons such that you aren’t finishing the vocab for a level prior to starting the level two above you are going to get in trouble, not reinforcing the kanji through vocab. Also if you order your reviews by level order you will have the extra info of what level the item comes from which you will use, at least subconsciously.

Yeah that’s a good point, and definitely resonates with my concern. But on the contrary, reading in the real world will always have some amount of context - you’re never going to just be reading a string of random words.

And WaniKani is all about mnemonics anyway; could you not consider the memory of when you learnt something another attribute of the mnemonic?

I definitely agree with your point that meaning and reading will always be associated when reading in real life.

Still pondering the best strategy with this, but my current thoughts are

  • Always try to complete all reviews every day, even if it’s in more than one sitting (common for me)
  • 1x1 mode is okay for getting it done quicker, but it might be better to stick with random ordering if you’re not in a rush
  • if you are in a rush, sort by newest level first and make sure to do all the items from the current level.

Just wanted to add another thought I had on 1x1 mode. It’s great for moving through it a bit more quickly, but if you get an item wrong you’re going to see it again immediately. This a question: If you’ve already got the item wrong, is there any benefit at all in typing the correct answer? My guess would be a little bit, but only if there’s been some time since you last attempted it.

Perhaps it could be worth looking into an optional feature where all incorrect answers get moved to the end of the queue, regardless of the other sorting choices. That way you’d get a little batch of all your mistakes at the end which you can have a ‘second chance’ at, and since they’re going to be coming up sooner again regardless, maybe it will increase the chance that you’ll get it right next time.

Any thoughts?

1 Like

No, because the idea is to be able to recognise it without having to rely on the knowledge that you once learnt it in wanikani. For example, if you do your review and come across a kanji you don’t know, your first thought shouldn’t be “When did I learn this kanji? It appeared here in my review so I must have learnt it at some point…” because if you encountered this kanji in real life outside of wanikani, you would have just passed it off as a kanji you don’t know.

1 Like

As usual, @koichi has something to say about this.

1 Like

That would be ideal. On the other hand, if you get it wrong it will come back in a shorter time so you will be properly tested on it then. If you didn’t get it then, it will probably drop back to apprentice anyway.

I find, even with random order reviews, that I end up doing this. Because the majority of words I learn at the same time will come back around the same time, I find myself associating sets of words which will come up around the same time. I think it would be a good idea for Wanikani to add a random factor to the timing to prevent this (like Anki does).

On the other hand, the exact timing for Apprentice → Guru → Level up is nice, so perhaps only the tiers Guru+ should have this property.


I do the same thing. 1x1 with reading→meaning does a lot to improve speed.

1 Like

It seems possible that you’d come to slightly rely on this though, and you won’t have the context of “I’m doing level 17 reviews right now” to help you when actually reading, so your knowledge of it may be a little worse outside of the context of reviews. I have absolutely no evidence to back up this claim, though.

@RonanNunya Thanks for the article link, Koichi raises a good point.

And thanks to all for the discussion. Never really posted in the community before and I enjoyed this conversation. I think I’m gonna stick with just 1x1 mode for now, and maybe occasionally sort by newest if I’m really time-poor, but otherwise random does seem to be best.

One thing I often forget to do is actually read stuff, and I think that’s probably even more important than the semantics of how we structure our reviews - it has no benefit if we don’t actually apply it, does it?

1 Like