Tips on how to handle large apprentice numbers?

Hi all! After being away for some weeks, I finally managed to get back into my WaniKani schedule. I have been working on tackling the big review pile that had been building up while I was away. I have succeeded in a good chunk of the reviews and burned a lot of items after coming back (yay!). Unfortunately, I have also failed many reviews as well, which have made many items drop back to apprentice (oops!). I was therefore wondering if any of you had any tips on how to deal with high apprentice numbers? Do you just brute-force your way through them until they level up or do you go about it systematically? Any tips and advice (or general encouragement) are very much appreciated!

Obviously I won’t be doing any more lessons until the apprentice pile is back to a number I am comfortable with. I also checked and the apprentice items seem to be from many different levels, so I don’t think it will help to reset a level or two in that sense.

You could look into using the reorder script to prioritize which reviews you take on, either by trying to grind away at the apprentice items or making sure you hit all you guru and above reviews without letting them sit for a while. I think you might also be able to sort by how long a review has been available? If you’re really overwhelmed, most of your apprentice items are probably from more recent levels, so you could consider resetting a couple levels to drop your reviews down to more manageable levels before doing those lessons again. This is definitely a topic that pops up from time to time so you can probably find a lot more advice for similar situations searching through the forum. I’m definitely the kind of person that would grind the reviews out. I never had a really large vacation pile up that I had to deal with but I was doing 400+ reviews a day with 200+ apprentice items for a while.

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it depends on your personality, time restrictions, and how many reviews you have. Some people can bash their way through 1000 reviews in a day or two, and just accept them as they continue to come back again in large numbers. Others break them up into chunks, using the reorder script to choose certain groups to work through at a time, day by day. If you’re doing reviews using a phone app, setting it to order your reviews by “Newest Available First” means that the incoming reviews will be seen first, leaving the older review pile for when you have time to dip into them.

Here’s something I wrote on a previous thread about this same issue:

The Reorder Ultimate Script is my best friend right now. I started from Level one, and did all my reviews. Level two, and do all the reviews. Continue doing Level 1 reviews as they show back up, start level 3 reviews. The Reorder script also allow you to take them in bite-sized chunks. If you hover over the buttons, it’ll tell you how many reviews are in each category. 100 radicals, 200 kanji, 35 level 1, turn off kanji and you can see there are 85 level 6 vocab, etc. So I skipped the large number of level 6 vocab (and level 5 all together), and decided to do the much smaller number of level 7 instead today. I’ll work level 6 tomorrow. As for lessons, they’re on hold until I can zero out my reviews and my number of Apprentice reviews drops to something manageable again.
As to the number of reviews you’re doing per day, multiple session a day helps. Do some in the morning, some after work, some in the evening, some on your cell phone when you have a few minutes. You can’t reorder the ones from the cell phone, but at least they’re getting done. And if you can only get 50 done a day? Who cares? Do 50 everyday and eventually your pile will be manageable again. Or more likely, you’ll start recognizing them more regularly and the number you can do each day will increase as they get easier. I only managed 37 my first day back, then 50, and now I’m at 130. I’ve been back 5 days and I’m still at 230 reviews. Maybe I can get 15 more done before bed!

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Thank you! Yes, I am also at the 400+ reviews, 200+ apprentice items right now. I think I’ll use the reordering script for all it’s worth and then hopefully I will be able to move on soon :slight_smile:

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Bite the bullet and just brute force through it. The SRS will deal with the rest. If they are at apprentice anyway you don’t have that much to lose, even if you were to speed through it and miss a few. 400 reviews and 200 apprentice is nothing. I’m currently at 250 apprentice items and haven’t missed a day on WK, just got the brilliant idea to do my 200 lessons a while back.

Thank you very much! I am using the reordering script on my computer, but didn’t know about the “Newest available first” option on mobile. That will definitely help with my motivation when I don’t have my computer nearby!

Haha sorry if it seems like nothing, review count was much higher before I started hitting away at them. It seems like apprentice number will be closer to 300 when I finish, but you’re right. Just stick to it and it will get better soon I guess! I typically like to have around 100 apprentice items, so it is significantly higher than I am used to, but I know many people will think it is nothing… I find it impressive that you are able to do so much!

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I’d advise against this personally.

If you do them all at once, they’re gonna come back all at once plus whatever else you’ve put on your plate later on. Forcing through that is how you get 800 review days.

Best to spread them out so they come back more spread out as well.

And many people will think it’s a lot

Bragging about doing tons of reviews serves no purpose. Make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. If you’re wondering how to get through 400 reviews, that probably means it’s too much for you.

Powering through it all at once, especially if you make a habit of it, is not going to make it better, it’s going to make it worse.


Thank you for the kind words! I couldn’t possibly do 800 reviews in a day (I type slowly), so I am currently doing around 200 per day to keep working toward that sweet “0 review” sight again!

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Reviews, not lessons. Not once did I tell him to brute force lessons.

Yes, reviews, not lessons.

Reviews come back too. Forcing yourself through large review numbers is going to lead to even more reviews later.

They’ll spread out eventually.

By and large, they won’t.

Spread them out as needed, and do the same with lessons. That’s how you keep the workload manageable.


I am in agreement here. I loathe the days where I brute forced a couple of hundred reviews and now I have days about a month from now where there is already 100+ reviewed on my heatmap. Though it is up to each person if that is how they wish to handle it.

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Yeah, everybody’s going to be different in how much of a WK workload they can handle. For some people 400 reviews a day isn’t going to be an issue, others might want to keep it below 100 if at all possible. You need to spread the workload out to match that.

Ideally you do that through spreading out lessons, but if OP is in a situation where they have too many apprentice items, that ship has sailed. The way to spread it out then is through spreading out the reviews. The earlier you do that, the better.

He will have to go through them eventually anyway, spreading them out won’t do much, they will spread out themselves. Waiting just make the process longer, for nothing.

I’m not sure what you’re basing this on. “Eventually” is going to be a long-ass time. Waiting is going to spread them out now. If you do all of the reviews now, the majority of them are going to bite you in the ass later.

I take you haven’t yet been bitten in the ass by a huige wave of Master items coming back all at once. The rest of the SRS stages do the exact same but quicker and more often.

Why would doing all of them now be in any way beneficial? Spreading them out now is going to have essentially the same effect as spreading out the lessons would have. Letting them spread out naturally on their own (which, for the most part, they won’t unless you have like 30% review accuracy) is going to maybe spread them out a bit much later on, and then hit you in the face with a bulk of them in a few weeks, and again in a few months.

It makes the process longer for a more manageable workload. I’m not sure what part of that you’re not getting. This isn’t a novel idea. It’s the exact same advice people have been giving with regards to any SRS for ages.

Your entire point revolves around “it’ll work itself out eventually” supported by “that’s nothing, I do more reviews”. That’s great, and maybe it will work itself out eventually (it won’t unless you stop doing lessons at any reasonable pace altogether until you’ve burned these items, by the way), but you’re going to drown yourself in reviews until then.

But if you insist on taking numbers as authority - take it from someone who brought a 2000-review pile back to a manageable workload in about two or three weeks, by doing exactly this - taking it a little at a time. Forcing myself through those would have had that bulk hitting me in the face over and over to this day.

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I have periodic humps of difficult items because I made this mistake about a year ago. It makes for painful weeks where I’ll get behind and then it takes a few days to catch up. Don’t be me. :slight_smile:


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