Time per answer

How much time do you take to think about answering a review question?

I noticed that lately I do less reviews because it takes forever to do 60-100 reviews. I usually have not much time in the morning or during work day, and in the evening caring about family, houseworks, hobbies/friends…
In the morning I could maybe spend 15 min, while in the evening maybe around 30 are free. I make use of different userscripts to avoid leeches and sped up a bit, but I have trouble getting my review count down to 0 for the last two weeks (currently ~300).

Now the through crossed my mind, that I just take too long per review. I get 96% right usually, but there are also vocabs I think about for a minute at apprentice-level.
So, maybe with having a 10s approach, the ratio of correct answers will go down to 50-60%, but I’d do more reviews…

What is your opinion on this matter?
How much time do you aim to take per answer?

I used to think about them for a while too, but now I just fail them if I can’t think of it within a few seconds. Most of my reviews are either burns or leeches tho, and I don’t want to burn them if I can’t read them right off the bat…


It depends on the kind of reviews you’re doing. In the early stages (apprentice - guru 1) I’d say that focussing on getting your mnemonic right is probably fruitful. You’re not really focussing on speed, but internalizing the associated meanings and reading of kanji and/or vocab. A minute for an apprentice item isn’t strange imo, at least not to me.
If you’re further down the line, let’s say masters, you can start focussing more on speed. By that time, you should have a good idea of the meaning/reading of an item. You’re in a more refining stage.

I always see it like riding a bicycle. At the start you’re not to fa(i)ll, once you get that right you start looking at other things.

On you specific situation, a few things to keep in mind: if you’re faster, you can do more reviews. But the lower accuracy results in less review interval time, giving you more reviews. You’ll have to find a balance there.
My take would be, especially because you have little time, you should take no lessons until you can get reviews to near 0 consistently, and keep taking your time for apprentice items. You can speed up for master items, but if your accuracy is let’s say 50% for them, it probably isn’t worth it. A low accuracy rate may also be demotivating, dependent on your personality.


I’ve made myself a 5-10 second rule. If i can’t remember it in that time, I’m really not fluent enough or truly memorized it, so I’ll just take a wrong answer. Its not super strict, but works for me, so I can comfortably fit 20-30 review session in my bus ride to work and another one back.

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I try to answer as quickly as possible. If I don’t feel right away like I know the answer I answer it incorrectly and move on. On average I spend less than 3 seconds on each question (including time to write the answer)


I never waste more than 1 second thinking about the review item. Remember the answer? Type it in, double-enter to get to the next question. Don’t remember it (instantly)? Answer ‘aaa’, read the answer, press enter to go to the next question.


Just did a review 5 minutes ago i actually timed myself: 123 Reviews in 00h.27m.34s.
If i dont know the answer i just take it wrong and move on, also im way faster on a keyboard and i listen to lofi hip hop beats to get in my zone.


did someone say

l o - f i
h i p - h o p
b e a t s ?

anyways, to discuss the actual topic, i usually limit myself to 5 seconds or so. I had to take typing classes throughout elementary/middle school, so my typing speed is hovering somewhere around 100wpm, so it doesn’t take me too long to do review sessions. I think it took me 15 or so minutes for a 100-ish review session yesterday. just get in your zone and go go go!


If it’s on the tip of my tongue, I’ll think for a little (because I don’t think I should punish myself for a brain fart, I’m not a masochist), but usually if I can’t think of it within a couple of seconds, a couple of minutes isn’t gonna cut it anyway and I need to get it wrong, remember the mnemonic, quickly rehash it and let it slide back into the system. I’m more forgiving of vocab, especially if it’s a little more obscure. Incorrect isn’t really incorrect, it’s giving yourself a better chance of memorising the content.

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30 seconds maximum if I have to think about it. If I don’t know it by then, I don’t know it well enough. If I take more than that, the review sessions will drag on too long and I will get bored which may ultimately lead to burnout. 30 seconds is the right balance for me.

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Hey, thanks for the answers!
I walk by foot to work and want to avoid being a smartphone-zombie, so no wanikani then.

My typing speed is also quite good, since I write reports etc. daily. However this does not seem to have a high impact here. Most answers are below 10 characters.

I like the idea of weighting the maximum answer time with the srs-level, but usually I don’t know the level by heart.
Is there a userscript for this? ^^

Today i did a run with max. 10s per answer and needed something like 35 minutes for 80 reviews. had something like 65% right.
I think I try this out for a week and check if i can get a hold of my reviews again.

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Generally less than 3 seconds. Up to ~5-10 if I feel like it’s right on the tip of my tongue (or fingertips as the case may be). At ~3 seconds an answer, for 100 cards with a reading and meaning, that’s like ~10 minutes.

Ultimately I feel like if I don’t have instant recollection, I don’t know it well enough yet, and it’s effectively wrong.

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I also use this guideline for items in their early stages. I find it useful to make sure that I’ve internalised the mnemonic and sometimes I change it. I like to create little stories that link kanji or vocabulary with the same or similar reading. Often, even though I remember meaning and reading straight away I pause for a second or two to tell myself the little story attached to the mnemonic.

I also set myself relatively low daily targets that I know I can achieve. My current targets are 5 lessons and 50 reviews a day. Sometimes I go for extra credit with 10 or 15 lessons and 55 to 60 reviews and I hit a lessons and reviews total that hovers around 55 to 65 a day. I always resist the temptation of doing more, because I know I wouldn’t keep it up for long and that would discourage me. In other terms I under-promise and over-achieve.

I do not pay much attention to the number of available lessons and reviews. I prefer to prioritise establishing a routine that I can accomplish and still enjoy day in day out. :slight_smile:

Just a heads up.
Nowafter almost 2 weeks of caring less about the answers I’m down again to a managable level. reviews often reach 0, so I can add some lessons.
The first week reviews were often around 60% success-rate, but now I get so something around 80%-90% again.

my current statistics:

  • 76 Apprentice
  • 225 Guru
  • 163 Master
  • 744 Enlightened
  • 217 Burned
  • 8 critical condition

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