Ghost review experience

I’ve had ghost reviews set to “Minimal (Only create a ghost after two incorrect answers)” from the start and I’m considering switching it to “On” (which I presume creates a ghost for every failed review? It could use a better description IMO). My main rationale is that sometimes I fail a complicated sentence but next review I get a much simpler construct and I think it would be worthwhile to double-down on the complicated one instead.

On the other hand I worry that it may result in an explosion of SRS reviews as mistakes will start to stack up.

I’m curious to hear other’s experiences with Ghost reviews and how to best handle them. Any Ghost hunters in the audience?


Yeah, I think that’s how it works.

Ghosts can rack up quickly depending on how many mistakes you make.
If they start getting out of control, then you can change the setting back for a bit.
Or you can just use the “undo” feature more often for a bit so that for some mistakes it appears you got them right first time :ghost:


Is it not customary to use the undo feature like that? I find that giving myself a few attempts fo puzzle it out without checking the answer helps me understand how the different constructs of grammar work together in a sentence.


I would be wary of using the undo feature when you do not actually know the answer, or to reduce the amount of ghost reviews. If you get an answer ‘right’, the time between regular reviews of that item will increase. If that happens when you don’t fully know an item yet, you will probably have forgotten again by the next time you see it. This increases the total number of reviews you need to do before you can reliably use a grammar point.

Setting ghosts to on will create a ghost for every wrong (non ghost) answer, which greatly increases the number of ghost reviews. For me, it also greatly decreased the number of wrong answers for higher level items, because the information sticks better. This may not work for everyone and it is always a trade-off. I would definitely recommend at least trying it for a while and checking whether it works well for you or not.

The best way to deal with a large number of ghost reviews is to simply reduce the number of lessons you do for a while, until your apprentice and ghost reviews settle down again.


Thank you for your answers, I’m going to leave Ghost Reviews on for a while and see how I fare.


Using undo depends on how close I was to the answer and how tired I’m feeling at the time.

  • did I get the correct grammar point ?
  • did I do the correct verb conjunction (Te form/stem form)?
  • did I get the particles correct ? (BP has improved a lot in this area, all the little prompts to assist - to the point I was cursing one review this morning for not giving me a particle prompt, “Aww comeon! I missed の ! You normally warn me about that!”

After I started conversation practice I was a little less strict on myself, as during a conversation practice, if I don’t know the correct particle, I’ll say the ones I think it might be in a quizzicle tone and I’ll get corrected,



I already feel like I could use a tweaked version of the ghost review setting:

I think it would make sense to automatically get a ghost review when I fail an entry with high SRS level (say, maybe starting at Adept) but it could be more lenient for items I’ve just started.


  • I will often make mistakes early on as I’m just getting familiar with the grammatical point. In this case it’ll often be unrelated to the particular example sentence so there’s no need to review any specific sentence again and again, and due to the low SRS I’ll get another chance to revisit the point soon enough anyway. Adding ghost reviews at this stage just clogs the review pile and wastes time, IMO.

  • At high SRS if I fail it either means that this specific sentence is problematic, or that I still struggle with this particular point in general. In both cases it makes sense to create a ghost review immediately to reinforce it.


I have had exactly this same thought when I started a couple months ago. The minimal setting produces too few ghost reviews, because I often look at the answer if I don’t know, and then I will not fail it a second time in that same review session. The on setting produces a lot of ghost reviews for new grammar points, easily giving you two or three questions on the same grammar point every day for a week, which is a bit overkill if you ask me.

I ended up just doing way fewer lessons to get around the issue, but a more fine grained setting would be more efficient. Another option would be to produce a ghost review if you give get a grammar point wrong two sessions in a row, instead of requiring two wrong answers within the same session.


I agree 100% that the “ghost if you fail two times in a row” setting is rarely useful in my experience, because as you point out I’ll usually have the answer in short term memory by the time I have to attempt it again, but then one hour later it’ll be gone.

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Rather than any specific changes to how ghost reviews are delivered, I kind of wish I just had an option to create ghost reviews manually immediately upon missing a specific review? There have been times where I’ve been like “oh that’s a particularly weird one” or a specific example covers a specific usage/nuance that none of the other examples I went through did, even up to SRS levels 8 or 9.

edit: actually! it looks like something which allows for manual ghost adds is already being planned, so cool!


I would also like that.

I switched to “On” for the same reason: I want to get as much practice as I can so that I feel very confident if/when my SRS level increases to like Expert level that I really can answer the tricky ones, and not that I ‘just got by’ by making it past the easier ones.

For me, I think it’s partly because deep down I’m pretty much a perfectionist (even though I know that’s not really healthy for me, and I try to ‘let go’ of perfectionism all the time; it is just a persistent trait of mine). So, that means that I like to feel like “I’ve really got it” before I move on, even if that means I’m over-prepared and could have advanced earlier. But anyway, that’s just me.

As for the ghost review experience: Personally, I like that ghosts will stack up if I make too many mistakes in a certain period of time. What it signals to me is that I’m ‘going too fast’, and need to slow down (or even temporarily halt) doing new lessons. So, I will slow down, and focus on just doing reviews until my ghost count gets down to a more reasonable level. Say, below 20, or better yet below 10.

Currently I have over 60 ghosts, and it’s because I added too many vocabs to my overall reviews, and I’m working through them bit by bit; but that also means my grammar reviews are being slowed down as well, so I am starting to miss some of those and they are piling up as well. [I chose to always do *general* Review sessions, rather than splitting them by grammar/vocab, since I want to eventually get to a point where I have the right balance of vocab and grammar so that I am proceeding steadily with grammar, but also fitting in a balance of vocab along with it.]

So, I haven’t been doing any new grammar lessons for a while, and I’m even removing some of the more unfamiliar vocab items from my reviews, trying to pare down vocabs to get more in line with the number of grammar items I already have going on. It’s a slow process, doing a few reviews, removing a few unfamiliar vocabs from my stack, occasionally getting a grammar review wrong (thus generating a ghost), and not really working-down the number of ghosts because the number of vocab reviews is still quite high, diluting how many grammar reviews I do per session.

But I’m okay with it, because, like I said, this accumulation of ghosts just signals to me, “Yep, you still need to keep the brakes on, keep slowing down, until you start getting those ghosts to go down as well.” Eventually, I will get there, and then I’ll have a much better sense of how I should balance vocab with grammar.

I suppose I could take a short-cut and just remove, for example, all N4 vocab from my reviews all at once. But I’m okay with just doing it a bit at a time, as I come across unfamiliar vocab, and just removing them one by one during reviews.

I guess the thing that makes me all okay with this is that BunPro is very flexible, and if I really need to I can always just remove a large chunk of vocabs, and I could also reset all the ghost reviews as well. But like I said, I like having them around as a reminder that I need to slow down.


As some people have mentioned here, to force-create a Ghost with the “minimal” setting, you need to get it wrong twice in the same Review session.

What I usually do is when it comes time to wrap-up, anything review I want to create a ghost for, I’ll purposely get wrong again during the wrap-up. On the third time it appears I get it right.

This however is essentially a hack.
We’re planning on adding a few new ways to add Ghosts, both on the Grammar Point / Vocab pages and directly within Reviews.


An update after a few months of “Ghost Reviews” set to “On” (aka ghost creation on first mistake): I like it a lot.

It certainly adds a bit of a load. I try to do around 2 new grammar items a day (although lately I’ve slowed down a bit because of the holidays) and I average around a dozen ghost items at any given time. It still feels like very valuable practice however, and if I feel like the number of ghost reviews starts exploding I know that it means that I should slow down with new items until I commit the existing things to memory.

The regular “slaying” of ghosts also feels motivating, you’re not just kicking the item to a higher SRS tier as usual, you’re actually getting rid of an entry altogether!

I’m very happy with this configuration, however I still think that it would make sense to have a setting where beginner items never generate ghost reviews but higher SRS tiers generate ghost reviews immediately. I would even go as far as saying that it would make a reasonable default for most users.


To add on to this, it would be great to be able to set separate options for ghost reviews with grammar & vocab.


Just to clarify: Currently Vocabs do not generate any ghosts. They’re just typical SRS items like on WaniKani or whatever.

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