Why do some people discourage resetting?

I’m no where near needing to decide something like if I should reset or not, however whenever the topic comes up, I always see some people recommending level resets and other people saying not to reset unless absolutely necessary (or not at all)

I’m just curious on your opinion of resets and why they’re so devisive…


I mean, if you get really trapped by the SRS pileup and overwhelmed from taking a break or something, it’s a good option to have available. If you ask me, I’d almost never advise the full reset, opting instead for figuring out a comfortable level to drop back to. You of course don’t want to spend a bunch of time relearning things you still know.

I guess the main philosophy is, I don’t know if people do excessive resets here, but in other areas of Japanese, people can harm themselves by being overly perfectionist. In some fields of study, you need to absolutely master the fundamentals before moving on, so that might be a mindset others bring forward. In language learning it seems like that mostly just sticks you in place, though. There’s a cap on how well you can understand a given thing without seeing it in real context over and over, and without understanding a lot of related terms and ideas. What I’ve found healthiest is trying to understand just well enough and always moving forward, so that more and more pieces allow you to better reinforce and refine your understanding of past knowledge. I think that general idea ties into, where possible, aiming to always make forward progress and not get wrapped up in resets or otherwise redoing what you’ve already made an effort at learning.

There are, of course, endless caveats and hypothetical good situations in which to look back, to reset, etc.


If you have the willpower and enough time, you can handle any sort of review pileup in a month by just doing 150-200 reviews a day (broken down into 3 sessions or more, that’s not as bad as it sounds), as long as you don’t do any more lessons. In that sense if you fall into this category, you could get out of it quicker, than if you would reset and do some levels again. Though resetting is usually much easier in terms of sanity.
Also, if you have a large review pileup, that means you lost interest for a bit. If you lose some progress on top of that, some might get entirely discouraged.
Though in the end, it depends on whoever is in pickle.


I think it’s a matter of not wanting to relearn stuff you’re still confident with and feeling like you’ve wasted a lot of your time, which I can imagine can murder the motivation to keep going. But everyone’s circumstances are different.

I’m one of those cases where I did do a full reset, all the way from the start of level 27. I had taken an unintended like 2 month long hiatus from the app (pesky life responsibilities; if I had known how much I would neglect WK I would have put it in vacation mode but hindsight is 20/20 I guess) and in that time, like 2000 reviews piled up. At the time I didn’t really have the willpower or spare time to pound out like 200 reviews a day to get the pile back down to 0 within a reasonable time frame. Every time I looked at the size of the review pile, I would just feel put off and want to do something else. And in the times I would try tackling reviews, I found myself with a pretty poor review accuracy percentage. So after not really getting anywhere, I just said “f*** it” and reset all the way back to the start. That might have been too drastic of a move to make, but overall I don’t really regret it. It gave me a chance to kind of start over and recalibrate myself to a more consistent lesson and review schedule. I only do a fixed number of lessons each day now, which keeps the daily review pile at a more manageable size. And most of all, it broke down the mental wall that I had unwittingly put up and I felt like doing lessons and reviews again.


As someone who just reset: a lot of people may feel like they must reset whenever something gets too overwhelming or they start forgetting things, which is just either something that can be fixed by stopping lessons and working on reviews or working on a better schedule, and the latter is natural.

Personally, I reset just because I spent too long not touching the app at all, forgot many things, had many reviews AND misused the re-do button a lot. My level wasn’t high, I’m actually on a jp class which means I can compliment kanjis with reading and interacting and not just doing them on a vacuum, and I can use the few levels I’ll ace to see how I should pace myself without burning out, creating better habits. Maybe it’d be faster if I just destroyed all those reviews and kept going, but I did that before, and it came to bite me in the ass when I realized the redo misuse completely messed me up


I don’t agree with resetting for any reason, I think it’s just a trap that keeps people in the comfortable mindlessness of SRS. SRS is good for getting some familiarity but returns diminish fast. Without seeing these words in context they all just start to blur together in a sea of samey nonsense mnemonics. Get it done with as soon as possible and read things, that’s when you’ll actually learn them.


I think the mindset comes down to “That’s how the SRS works!” But I think people who respond with this are looking at situations where someone only has like a couple hundred reviews after a break without vacation mode. I’m sure they would advise differently based on the situation.

1 Like
1 Like

I’ve never reset because I’m pretty terrified of reviews getting out of hand dedicated to clearing my reviews every day at all costs. Once I got on the WK train, I committed to riding it out for about a 2.5 year long journey, and have been pretty strict about my own personal pacing. So far, I’ve managed to stick it out!

I think that is probably the best method, in terms of making the most out of the time you put into studying. Resetting is definitely not optimal.

However, life sometimes happens! If you’ve truly been away from Japanese/WK for a long time, I think sometimes a reset is the best option. The SRS simply ceases to function if enough time has passed. For most people, I don’t think a full reset is necessary, unless it has been literal years, or someone really wants to come in with a clean slate. But I do think if you’ve missed several months, then you’ve almost certainly forgotten all guru stage items and below, and probably many master items, so you’d be better off resetting back several levels (how many depends on how fast you were going). If you essentially need to relearn all of the items, then you’re better off relearning them gradually just like you did the first time.

There’s definitely a risk of people becoming too dependent on the SRS, and perfectionism getting in the way of productive study, so I guess I recommend doing WK the “right” way the first time around (a.k.a. keeping up with your reviews and never reaching a point where you need the reset), even if that means going at a slower pace rather than rushing, and then gradually weaning yourself off of the program after reaching level 60, regardless of how incomplete you feel your memory is of the items.

But in the case of long absences, yes, I think it’s absolutely the best idea to reset at least partially. You’ll lose progress, but that’s just the consequence of stepping away. Your actual memory of the items will have also decayed. I think you’re just better off having your WK progress match your actual understanding of the items, and if your level is too high for your memory, you’re just gonna have a bad time, and catching up will be hard because you won’t want to study.


Most people give advise from their point of view and from how it would/has worked for them. Everyone’s situation is different so for some reseting might destroy their motivation, while for others it might feel liberating.

Personally I have reset 2-4 levels twice. Both times after taking a multi-month unplanned break from WK. Unplanned means I didn’t think of putting on vacation mode before WK was temporarily off my radar.

So to deal with the review beast I started by taking out all items I wouldn’t remember at all with the small level reset. Leaving only items in the queue I had a reasonable chance of remembering.

I think resetting is a tool. Just like a hammer can’t get a screw into your wall (in a useful way :joy:), neither is resetting always the answer.

And honestly my general rule of thumb is that anytime I hear absolutes (in language learning), I know to bring out the salt shaker and sprinkle heavily.


After thinking I would never reset, stuff happened in my life, and I was not able to study Japanese regularly for about half a year. I then came back to thousands of reviews waiting for me - a lot of which I had forgotten. I was looking up the meaning/reading for what felt like almost every other item in the review. Eventually, I reset from level 21 to level 2 - which in hindsight was too far (I should probably have reset to somewhere in the 10s, really), but I’m leveling up way quicker this time around since I already have familiarity with the items.

I think the key is to simply do what it takes to get you back into the habit of studying regularly. If it, like it was for me, is not feasible to spend several hours every day for a while on getting the reviews back down to zero, then resetting is better than putting off getting back into it.


My advice would be to do what suits you best depending on the situation.

I have reset my Wanikani level twice; first time I had reached level 3 then purchased a lifetime sub, then the second time was when I felt overwhelmed and the older stuff I thought I knew, I then saw I was failing every time but was still adding new stuff to the reviews as well so decided to reset (I think I was level 12 when I did that). This time I’ve decided that as I hit another wall of older stuff coming back failing, I’ve slowed down my new additions and so reduced my daily reviews until I catch up again.

When I was starting to go through the second Minna no Nihongo beginner level textbook, I came across a similar thing where I was feeling overwhelmed and realized I wasn’t remembering a lot of the older stuff again so I went back and re did the tests and grammar again as well at the reading and listening sections, it wasn’t really a reset, but more of a review as I found out what I was missing from completing the tests then worked on those aspects so that I was in a much better place for starting the second textbook.

Some people might reset because they feel they need to start over but then they might never get passed that point they got stuck on which can hold you at a level lower than you could reach if you keep going. Other people will know that if they’re resetting or going back a few levels it’s just to get a better grasp so they can then continue on their journey and they will keep improving and learning new things even if they occasionally take a few steps back to get a better view.

I think ultimately it depends on the person and how best they learn. If you feel like you’re resetting to start fresh and might never get out of that rut, I’d say don’t do it, just carry on and try to grasp it as you go, but if you’re taking a few steps back to get a better grasp of things so you can continue, then go for it. Do what works for you. :slightly_smiling_face:


I got to level 20 and got bogged down with work for a month and had a couple of thousand reviews stacked up and totally blew my mojo. Couldn’t do three in a row without a mistake and every error made it worse. The reset was the best thing that ever happened to me. Already back to level 7 and have nearly 99% accuracy and almost all the mistakes I’ve made have been typos along with the occasional really stupid mistake…


I reset some levels earlier this week after a 6 month break. I was using vacation mode so I “only” had 400 reviews piled up, but after doing some reviews it was clear that I did not remember anything from the last levels I did so I decided to reset from level 29 to level 25.
I’m at around 30% accuracy so I know a lot of items are gonna go back to apprentice/guru and I prefer to focus on older levels for now.
I’m thinking of doing a quick check on my burned items to reset some I don’t remember and consider “important”.

I think resetting some levels is ok, because it does not take too long to go back where you were. But yeah a full reset is a bit much, but I guess it depend on why you’re learning Japanese, if you like the process of wanikani.
There is also the temptation when you are overwelmed to go back from scratch, and want to do it again “the right way”, more seriously …
But as long as you are not tempted to reset every time it starts to become hard, it should be ok


I’ll add, since I didn’t see these reason above, I’ll add that it often gets people stuck in an eternal reset loop, where people will reset a few levels, make it up a few levels, feel discouraged/exhausted at not even making back to where they were before, slack off, reset, and then the cycle continues.

On top of that, resetting takes more determination and discipline then just doing a few thousand review pile. While people talk about how the piles suck (they do), any non-dramatic reset will barely make a dent on those, so those that deal with them via reset are going to be going to near the beginning. Then, they will have to rely on months of consistent usage to make it to where they were before. Which, you know, not doing so was how they got to the pile up in the first place, and given they didn’t have the endurance for said pile, generally doesn’t bode well for the future.

People resetting back to the beginning often say positive things about it in the first 10 levels (where most kanji and vocab are common and they should already know), then clam up by the late 10s/early 20s. I’ve seen many “level 1-17, reset, level 1-18, reset, level 1-14, give up” in my time.

This isn’t to say that there is never a time to reset. It just happens that you should just be resetting before the levels you know nearly nothing of (eg: @naevyah) , and not as a scheme to get around your own laziness.


Well then, here’s to hoping I’m not one of those failure cases. Though I’m fairly optimistic it’ll go better this time, since I’m not just doing things the exact same way as I was the first time in terms of lesson and review habits. And this time around I’m actually trying to read stuff since I have some grammar under my belt now.

Though I guess only time will tell whether resetting was the right choice, or if I should have just kept trying to hammer away at a 2000+ review pile at level 27.


As the truth is subjective, this will vary from person to person. I was at level 5 and did a full reset, and I’m so grateful I did. I didn’t have that many reviews to catch up on… maybe 200 and something, which could have been cleared in a couple of days. But I had been so inconsistent with WK that I felt like I needed a fresh start.
The reset is perfect for reviewing stuff I already know, and I’m back to my regular daily reviews and lessons—I’m excited about language study again.
So if one is feeling stuck with consistency (and i’m talking stuck), feel free to do a hard reset. Beginner vibes are the best :high_touch:


I just reset again from 51 to 41, my last reset before level 60.


I think resetting is a perfectly fine option when you return from an extended break and your accuracy is getting slaughtered in reviews. However, as others have said, a full reset is rarely necessary. Check out the kanji and vocab lists for the levels and figure out roughly where you’re at.

On the other hand there are instances where users would be better served re-adjusting their approach to studying. If you are doing WK consistently every day and are still getting overwhelmed, constantly resetting is treating the symptom and not the underlying cause. You might need to slow down on lessons, or change up your reviews per session / number of sessions during the day.


I think that resetting might be valuable in some cases (like if you return from a year of no practice and you forgot a lot for instance) but in general I would advise against it, I think some people get hung up on not knowing previous levels “well enough” and get self-conscious about it but it doesn’t really matter IMO, you’ll never truly know a word or kanji until you’re comfortable reading and writing it in the wild while actually using Japanese through immersion.

I think in general it’s more valuable to tackle new kanji and vocab over doing the same ones over and over again because you still sometimes confuse 水 and 氷 or you forget the rendaku in ビー玉.

As for reviews piling up I’m not sure I understand honestly, surely it takes vastly more time in the end to reset 10 levels than it takes to tackle even 2000 reviews? I mean if we assume 100 items per level and even assuming that you make zero mistakes, that’s 5000 reviews to get them all to guru and on top of that you can’t decide the pace since you have to wait for SRS. I don’t really get it.

1 Like