To sprint catch-up, or to marathon catch-up, that is the question

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

I’m level 44, and after months of pandemic-panic slacking, I’ve got a backlog of 1,300 reviews sitting there.

My question to you is…

Do you go nuts and sprint catch-up, by doing 500+ per day so you can catch up in a few days?

  • Pro: Then you’re caught up!! Seeing that 0 reviews on my dashboard feels soooo good!
  • Con: But you’re so burnt out that you spiral back into not doing reviews every day to stay caught-up

Or do you chip away at it, 100-150~ reviews a day, over the course of a long, long marathon?

  • Pro: Less likely to get burnt out!
  • Con: …Will I ever actually get it down to 0? If I don’t see that 0, it can be disheartening…

At the level I’m at, there’s just so many reviews that will keep coming up in the queue once I start doing them. If I go with the slow method, that review number will always stay high… But then, if I do the fast method, I’ll end up with a giant dump of reviews at some point from the ones I did in that short period of time. Good or bad?? I can’t decide…!


First of all, don’t do any lessons until this is cleared.

My strategy would be to do at most 100 reviews a day or smth.

Doing everything or at least a lot of it in one go means you’ll also get all those reviews back in no time. So you’ll be right back where you started. Furthermore, doing so many in one day will fry your brain, resulting in downgrading review items that should have gone up. Even worse, you might even give up half way through.

By doing a small amount every day, you can keep your head clear and go through the pile without much exertion. The difficult part is to keep setting small end goals for yourself.

My strategy is usually to set a general goal of a multiple of 100 for myself. This means that I could do 1 of 2 things during a day:

  1. If I have a lot of review items that day, I keep the same goal as yesterday. So if my previous goal was 1100, and the next day I get an additional 120 reviews, I won’t try to push on and stay at 1100 reviews.
  2. If I have a small amount of reviews, I try getting to the next goal. So if I’m at 1100, and I get 30 reviews, I try to change my goal to getting to 1000.

In general, keep going at a steady but gradual pace. I know it sucks to have that review counter at any number but 0, but it’s better to take it slow.


if you do big reviews, they will return as big batches.if you’re prepared
to do this not once, but multiple times, go ahead and nuke it all ASAP.

if not, partition it into stacks you can do anytime.


Been there about four weeks ago: average was/is 8-9 days per level up, break was about 60 days, piled up about 1000 reviews. I did about 150-200 reviews per day which means about 70-100 reviews each morning and evening. My recognition rate was about 60-70% and I was back in the game after 7-10 days. It depends a little bit on how your study routine is/was and your recognition rate will be. Be aware that -if- you get a lot of items right, they won’t come back to you very soon, thus the pile melts rather quickly. I enlightened certainly more than 600 items in a week. I think if you keep the number too low, the progress is not very visible which may affect motivation. Thus, I’d recommend to go with the maximum speed you were comfortable with prior break, which was in my case 150-200 reviews per day :slight_smile:


It’s going to be more than a few days. You’ll end up with a mountain of apprentice and guru items that will keep coming back for weeks.

Most sensible option IMO


Hey @Kumirei, isn’t there a script you mentioned in a previous thread which op can you use? Said script tells you/prioritizes reviews of items that have a higher SRS level so that it lowers the pile but since they are higher SRS level, they won’t come back right away? The name of the script is escaping me right now


There is an SRS reorder script, but I think that only orders it from apprentice up. What I usually recommend is using the regular reorder script to reorder by level so that you can follow an item’s progress even when you are catching up.

I also have a script that I have mentioned once, I think, but haven’t published yet. It brings radicals to the front, then orders kanji and vocab by level, truncates the queue to a set number (I use 100), then randomizes the order. That way you can do a set number of reviews and follow items’ progress, while still doing reviews in a somewhat random order.

Then there is of course the script to prioritize overdue reviews. I like the premise of that one, but I don’t think it works as well for big backlogs as you will have to wait for items to become a certain degree overdue before you see them again.


Honestly the best way to do it imo, you stay the closest to the actual SRS time periods.


The problem with that is that if you don’t clear your queue then you end up not seeing the items for much longer than you should. If you have a sizable number of apprentice items it could be like throwing a ball up a hill


Yeah that’s true, in my case I had a very small amount of apprentice items.


I have 73 apprentice items currently, not sure if that’s a lot or not, it’s been a while ha

You forget that you’ll also get a lot of Apprentice items by failing those Guru items that you haven’t seen for a while. It’s recommendable to review items randomly.


It’s not the most orthodox method but what I’ve done before is spend an hour or so chipping away at it once a day but before you log out turn on vacation mode. Do this every day until your reviews get to zero (probably about two weeks) then turn vacation mode off and let it run it’s usual course. When an unreasonable amount of reviews crops up again use the on/off vacation mode method again to get through it. It’s not a perfect method and it has it’s draw backs but given a month or so you probably won’t need to turn vacation mode on to do this, at least for a while. And the effect on the rest of your reviews should be minimal.

Why don’t you try to reduce the number by 100 per day, so if you had no new reviews that day only do 100 but if you have 30 new reviews that day then you’ll do 130 that day, This way you know that in just over 2 weeks you can see the 0 again but it won’t give you the burnout problem (hopefully).

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A week later, and I’m down to 650 reviews from 1300! I’ve been doing 50+new in the morning and 50+new in the evening almost every day. My Apprentice items are growing but that’s just how it goes, I’ve been averaging about 55% correct, haha… But I’m still goin’!


Great job! I personally did it the other way and cleared 1400+ items in 3 days. That was back in December and the rebound of all those was pretty brutal up until March or April but it’s been pretty good now.

If I had to do it again, I’d go for the method you’re using now. :slight_smile:

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Keep going you’ll get them sorted!

I suppose you could say I hit a bit of burnout, since now I’m at 600 reviews from 650 after close to another week, but I just look at it as, hey at least I’m still treading water! Naturally I’m getting more and more items bumped back after getting them wrong. I’ll keep at it, even though I’m still averaging 55%-60% correct, it does feel good when I get some of them right. :'D


I had 1500 reviews after being away for six months, tried to catch up, and never managed it. I ended up resetting down to level 4, and am starting again - I remember most things, but not everything.

Just keep going! Being at 600 is better than bro g back at 1300

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