What’s your strategy when you literally cannot do reviews?

Covid knocked me out for almost a full week, and I didn’t really feel recovered enough to study Japanese for a bit more than a week, thanks to the famous covid brain fog. Nevertheless, reviews PILED up. I’m level 28 right now, I think, so I had over 800 (maybe over 900) reviews waiting for me when I came back.

I’m no stranger to huge piles of reviews - I’ve twice faced review piles of 1800+, but I’m wondering if there’s any way to ease the brunt? My strategy is to just suck it up and methodically go through that pile over the next days trying to burn down to at least 100 less each day than it showed 24 hours ago. This often means going through a lot more than 100 as more reviews continue to pile up from previous days. I get there, but it’s slow.

It’s painful, but I do find that huge pile of reviews does help reinforce items that I’m weak on.

Maybe the point is just to Keep Calm and Carry On?

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I just do them. Will just be harder if I don’t.

I have a fairly big workload outside of WK aswell, so days that I feel like crap and only get to do 300 reviews on WK is a slow day. Feels like a vacation in comparison.


Set “Review ordering” to “Lower levels first” and work through the pile gradually. The good news is that you should have fewer upcoming reviews since you haven’t done lessons in a while.


I do reviews first thing in the morning…it’s a motivator for me, gets my brain fired up and lets me do my reviews before the rest of the day’s activities and needs “interfere”. I’m with @x90PT – just crank them out. In previous WaniKani runs (I’m on my 3rd reset), I let large review piles deter me…and they really do and will get you discouraged. The best advice is to just crank them out. Dedicate the time, and hammer them quickly. Since it’s been a little while since you’ve done reviews, I would do them fast (reflexively) and honor the results of any you don’t know quickly. Let those get demoted, as they should have been on the tip of your brain anyway to get promoted. Fly through at reflex speed and let the demotion cards fall where they may.

I find typically at “reflex speed” I can take the amount of reviews, divide by 10, and that usually equals about how many minutes it should take for me to do them. Example: 150 reviews, should take about ~15 minutes. For me that equals about 1 complete item / 6 seconds.

Break it up into 100 item review chunks… you should be able to get them all done in ~10 sessions or so. Think of each session as just a 15 minute exercise. I think it’s easier to grasp a large task in 15 minute chunks like that.

Good luck man–knock ‘em out and keep cruisin’. :slight_smile:


I agree, it’s better to do them and fail, than to wait for a better opportunity, chances are large that you’ll be far more accurate doing them as soon as possible than waiting for a good opportunity. The sooner you do them, the higher the accuracy, even if you feel like crap.

Just breathe and do them in bite size pieces whether you decide to just do 50 or 100 reviews per day. Don’t do any new lessons, just the reviews only. If you for example did 50 per day assuming you have 900 reviews then you can go through 900 in about 18 days. If you do 100 reviews per day and assuming it’s 900 reviews you can get through them in 9 days.

Personally I would make sure to get them done in a day, but like others have said, with taking a few breaks in between if you feel like you need to.

I think we can all relate though where there are instances in your life reviews just feel like…work, and not like fun. That’s the hard part, doing the reviews during those “burn out periods”, or periods where you had other life instances happen…and the reviews are still waiting in the background.

It’s all cyclical though. There are times where you feel empowered, ready to take on the world…and other times where you feel overwhelmed and things are beyond your control. Just know that for every trough, there’s a crest :smiley:

Hope you’re feeling better from COVID! When I had a nasty spell of it in May 2021 (Delta), it definitely gave me COVID “fog” for a little while.

This is not true. If you’re inaccurate they can come back again and again and again, faster than you “knock them out”.

Those numbers are simply just examples and an estimate, but it does not take into account inaccurate answers. If someone is making mistakes then they can go to the Extra Study section and review those mistakes as many times as they need to. The point is to do them in bite sizes whether it’s 20, 30, 50, or 100 and of course the person can make adjustments over time based on how they feel so they don’t get overwhelmed.

I suggested this recently on a different post, but what I do is start a review session and immediately hit the wrap up button. Only doing 10 reviews is a lot less daunting than a few hundred or so, and it’s a lot easier to commit to doing them.

The other thing I’ll do is, I’ll find some long youtube video I want to watch and make a rule about something that keeps happening in the video. For example, if it’s a gaming video and the person plays keeps dying every few minutes, then I’ll say: Every time they die, I have to pause the video and do 10 reviews. I’ve gotten through some fairly large piles using this method in the past.


I used Vacation mode during these times, so it wouldn’t pile up… I resumed doing Reviews only when I felt I was able to do it okay… When my Review pile gets so big that I am anxious, I occasionally use Vacation mode overnight, for example.

You could always reset a level down, which would allow you to lower your review pile and also gain some momentum with items you are particularly weak on.


Review also come back very quickly whenever they are still in Apprentice. Tackling a review pile takes A LOT LONGER than you might think if you just divide it.

I highly doubt their 800 or 900 reviews are all in apprentice and like I said before it’s more of an estimate and that estimate did not calculate inaccuracies into the equation nor does it take into account how many words per stage in SRS. The pointis to do in bite size pieces in order to not get overwhelmed. That’s what I was really emphasizing on and not so much the estimate math itself. We don’t know how many of the 800 or 900 of how many are in apprentice, guru, master, and enlightenment. If we knew that then we could get a much closer and way more accurate answer.

Rather than bite-size, I suggest something sizeable (like 100 items, although I’d rather suggest time-based, like 30 mins), but also work up on endurance tricks, like Pomodero timer and such. Accuracy and memorization are going to be problems too, so enforce memory tricks (such as simply, external extra repetitions in Self-Study quiz).

Emotion and willingness can be understood and handled to some extent. They wax and wane, so do things at first pass; and during the review, tolerate and adapt the limits. (If you over-tolerate, it might come back to bite big later; but not like don’t tolerate at all.)

Since it is a temporary thing of clearing up review piles, it should be somewhat feasible.

vacation mode.

My strategy is to turn vacation mode on if I cannot do reviews. Trying to still do them when sick or tired (or while attending a 3 day beer festival) just messes them all up and you have to redo everything over the next week anyway. Just take a break.


…Did you survive? :smiley:

Unless I literally can’t do them, (this hasn’t happened to me - I guess I’m pretty lucky) you just gotta do them.

I’ve been pretty sick before with a bad cold / sore throat etc, but missing a day wasn’t an option for me.

Do 3-5 review each day, go to bed. Don’t want my brain to get completely rotten. Just a little bit rotten.