What to do when I don't remember?

I’ve been having a hard week at work and university and got 60 things up for review (not much compared with many here having hundreds ^^) But I have a doubt in general.
When I’m doing a review, I try my hardest to remember the answer, but sometimes no matter how hard I try, I simply don’t remember, I must say that sometimes I endup looking up how it was and then try to stick it in my head to remember it next time, but what would be the best thing to do?
Should I type whatever and fail and then taking a look at the right answer? I think that sometimes I think that’s the only way since I may corrupt my own data looking up for the answer when I honestly didn’t remember at the time.

And another smaller question, should I take like a little pass through some explanations before review or should I depend solely on what I remember and go from there?

Thanks folks :slight_smile: Tried to see if I could find another answer that help me but I was not successful in it ^^


Yep! The classic is ‘a’ or ‘あ’. Welcome to the community. :slight_smile:

You’ll probably learn doing either, but just trying to memorize the vocab is likely a better use of your time. Spend that time you’d review the explanations on studying grammar or watching something Japanese.


Or in my case, I just typed ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ after not remembering 約 again. Oh well, it’ll stick eventually.

But you will forget some items, that’s just part of the process. If you fail the item they’ll come back into your reviews sooner, so you get more chances to practice on them.

If you mean looking at the answers just before you do your reviews, then I would advice against it, you’d mostly be training your short-term memory then. If you notice you fail an item often, then I’d start devoting a bit of extra time into learning it. However what tends to work best for me is just seeing the kanji actually used in a piece of text, so the more you read, the easier the process becomes.


Review when you get it wrong and try to make associations that are meaningful to you. Sometimes something as simple as telling your cat what a particular kanji means or how its built helps.

You’re still at level 2 so this next tip will not apply immediately, but you can try and find names, artists, etc that you like and go like “Oh, so this is the Haru in Haruki Murakami’s name!”

And above all, don’t give yourself a hard time for getting it wrong. It’s a process, and yours is going to be different! So don’t compare yourself and enjoy the ride.


It’s okay to get the wrong answers, because you’ll always have more chances to get them right. I keep a notebook beside me and write out the ones I get wrong a few times, and it helps me to remember them. If I keep on getting a particular one wrong, I draw a little picture with the story, and that works.


Loved the fact that you examplified something with Haruki Mirakami <3

Really nice advice, thank you!

Thank you :slight_smile:

Thank you all for your answers :slight_smile:

The kanji/vocab that really kick my buttocks, I end up writing them down. Physically writing them.

If it’s just falling out a little, I will write it in romaji (yes, I know, I am evil) along with the meaning. If it’s a bit more fallen out, I will write it like above but ALSO physically write the mnemonic or an abbreviated version of it.

If it STILL won’t stick, I write it in Japanese along with all of the above AND I have installed a script that I can quiz myself on items giving me trouble, which I will then review them with a couple of quizzes.

Hope you find something that works for you!


It’s always k for me.

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The problem with k is that you have to double-press for kana. Infuriating!

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Or just use an App (or a script?) which includes a Don’t Know button.

I love the setup on Flaming Durtles.


Especially for Apprentice reviews, you want the item to come around again soon so that you can reinforce the memory. Look at the answer and go over the mnemonic again then move to the next one.

Personally, I only give myself a few seconds to answer. If I can’t answer right away, I’ll get it wrong and review again.

I do this all the time. Recently, I didn’t using anything to remember 魔法まほう since every fantasy anime ever uses that word for “magic”.

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Since the others have already posted all the useful information…



Failing the item and only then proceeding to look at the answer is standard procedure.
While you do that you can take some extra notes of it if you want.

Remember, this isnt a test, you NEED to fail items here that you dont remember.
(how long youre willing to try and remember each item is ofc entirely up to you)

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One thing that has really helped me is BishBashBosh. This site will test you on your apprentice 1 items, recently failed, 10 oldest apprentices and/or 4 ancient gurus. It tests by having you repeatedly answering what WK is expecting, but a couple times in a row if you get it correct, and many more times if you fail.

For me, I find this useful because it helps cement in the wording of the vocab, or get used to seeing the Kanji. With WK, if you miss something, you see it again in two hours. With BBB it is immediate, and helps me identify the items I will probably have trouble with.

魔 is one of the Kanji which I’ve known forever, but haven’t “officially” learned it yet. “the thing with the two little stars”.

Just like 俺… The thing with the little “demon tail” :joy:

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