8 days a level...but how?

Just a curious question for all you speed freaks.

The other day I thought I was chugging along, happy in my progress. I unlocked the ‘second half of the kanji’ and all the sudden I had 160 new lessons! Well, I went through them and did them all…and the level took me 17 days. I vowed the next level would be different!!

So…I learned all the radicals and kanji as soon I could, I got on all the vocab and now my lessons are at 0 and the ‘second half’ is about to unlock.

But…I had some vocab from the last level that kept me from really starting this level right away…and now looking, when the new kanji come up, I’ll also have 74 new vocab to learn! I’m already at 9 1/2 days in…how did that happen?! And looking at the progression, it will be at least 5(?) days until I can clear all the new kanji and progress to the next level…and I’ll still have a bunch of vocab to get through before I can start next level’s radicals.

So, I’m looking at 15+ days again for lvl 7.

Anyway, I don’t mind about my time. I’m happy with my progress, my speed and how much I am learning. This doesn’t have anything to do with that, though I would be happier at around 12-13 days a level. I do reviews daily and I keep my apprentice around 100 (though it’s been closer to 120 this level).

I’m just curious as to how you all get past a level in 8, 9, or even 10 days? Is it because I’m not waking up at 3am to do reviews? Because I’m not memorizing every new lesson as soon as it comes up, and also not making mistakes in reviews? (I make lots of mistakes… :sweat:. I mean, I get above 80%, but I still feel it’s plenty of mistakes.))

And a big kudos to those who get through a level 8-10 days at a time…especially for an entire year!!! wow. The further I get, the more impressive it is…and I’m not even lvl 10!

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Once a day? If so, that’s a big reason you are taking 15+ days per level. You need to do reviews at least twice a day (specifically around 4 hours and 12 hours after you do your lessons, right when the reviews become available) if you want to get close to max speed.

It’s definitely not because you’re not waking up at 3am. Plenty of people level up in 7-10 days without waking up in the middle of the night. Your mistakes could be a factor, but from my experience that’s more likely to add a few days to your level time, not 8+ days.


One way that people level up faster is by using a script like [Userscript] WaniKani Lesson Filter to optimize their lesson schedule. They don’t do all the vocab lessons from level X before starting radicals and kanji from level X + 1. Some people will use the script to do all their radicals and kanji right away and then spread the vocab lessons over the course of a few days. For me, I liked learning with a balance of lesson types, so I’d do 3 kanji lessons and 9 vocab lessons every day (I changed my batch size in settings to 4), doing all radical lessons right when I leveled up since they were easier. That mix had me leveling up in about 14 days per level, but I know others might do something like 5 kanji and 15 vocab lessons per day to level up in 8-10 days instead. It’s just a matter of preference. The most important thing is to not neglect your vocab lessons if you choose to use a script to reorder your lessons.

It’s also fine to not use a script at all and do WaniKani using the built-in ordering. But you may find that following something like the 3 kanji / 9 vocab per day approach will make you more efficient and reduce stress since you won’t have to do so many lessons in one day.

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First off, thanks for the reply!

I meant I just do reviews daily, as in, I don’t skip a day. I do them at least twice a day (morning and night) and sometimes more than that.

But, and maybe this is the heart of my question… if I was to follow the 3 kanji / 9 vocab per day…well, level 7 (which is a short level), has 112 vocab. If I did 9 vocab a day, that’s still 11.5 days until I’ve seen every vocab, and then it would still be a couple more days to pass those. Like you said, around 14 days barring any mistakes. More if the level has 130+ vocab?

So really, I just have to up my lesson numbers and/or have a script to force feed me some extra vocab on days when I would be at zero lessons?

Ugh… haha. I can’t handle that! I might try to do an extra lesson here or there, but maybe 10 days is outside of my ability. Good thing I’m happy with 15ish days a level!

But again, kudos to all you who can do it. It’s an achievement!

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Well the key is that you don’t need to complete all vocab lessons to level up. When you do your last 3-4 kanji lessons, it will take 3.5 days to level up assuming you do reviews on time and don’t get those reviews wrong. So that gives you three more days of lessons to exclusively do vocab lesson which doesn’t impact your level up speed. Like I said, this approach gives just as much benefit in a balanced workload as it does for leveling up faster. There’s definitely nothing wrong with a 15 day level up speed! I tried doing 8-10 days for a while and it seriously stressed me out! I found 14 or so to be much more relaxing. It’s always better to go slow and steady if going too fast would just burn you out. :slight_smile:

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Ya…I’m impatient, yet luckily, I know my limits!

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Basically, what decides how long a level takes, is how long it takes for you to 1) guru all the radicals unlocking the kanji, 2) guru all kanji that unlocks the 2nd batch of kanji at which point the final time taken on the level will be when you guru those 2nd batch kanji.

Even without any kind of script to handle lessons or reviews, you can simply take note of when your most important leveling times will be, and plan ahead to get reviews ready to speed things along. Especially the first 2 review-intervals are important. If you do your lessons, then the next interval is 4 hours away, then 8 hours. If you complete all reviews for what you unlocked within a day, that will speed things along.

Note that the first batch of kanji you unlock from your radicals are not important to guru quickly. In the end, what decides the final time on the level is the second batch of kanji, so only some of the first batch of kanji are important to nail on your first attempt.

And of course, vocab doesn’t affect leveling at all. Just do them to reinforce the readings and learn additional readings for kanji. In the end, what’s important is that you learn, not win the race.

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Most people don’t.

The speed freaks are an exception and are, I think exceedingly rare, despite the attention they get in WaniKani’s marketing materials and here on the forums.

Most people quit. Don’t quit and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, you are still ahead of the vast majority of people who embark on the journey.

Welcome to the slow train. There are lots of great people along for the ride.

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Indeed. There’s often hidden aspects that supports speed-running WK.

As for me, I had been learning Japanese on my own for 15 years when I started using WK to learn kanji. I knew thousands of words by then, just not how they were written.

While most users should divide their attention between WK, grammar studies and immersion, I basically only did WK since I already had a good grasp of grammar and vocab.

If you have time to devote to WK, there is nothing wrong in speeding things along, as it’s also a matter of cost. But, there is no real worth in speeding along WK and failing to learn the other aspects of Japanese since knowing kanji doesn’t mean you know Japanese after all! Then it’s both a waste of time and money. ^^;

In the end, it’s best to not compare yourself to others, but just find a pace that works for you. :slight_smile:

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To add on to what the others said, doing 8 days/level is one of the easiest ways to burn yourself out and quit. Personally, I tried doing 8 days/level until level 20. At that point, the amount of reviews just pile up and WaniKani just consumes most of your free time. After that, I decided to take it easy and now my level up time is 2-3 weeks per level. I’m surprised that I haven’t quit in the 30s

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It’s an issue of timing and workload. The timing part is simple, the workload part not so much.

To level up fast you just need to get the new radicals and kanji in rotation as soon as possible after they unlock. And review your current-level Apprentice radicals and kanji when they come up, the sooner the better. If you’re generally on top of this and don’t make too many mistakes then 8 days a level should follow naturally.

On the workload side, progressing kanji does tend to unlock a large amount of vocabulary at a time, especially on a faster timeline. Consistently working vocab lessons into your schedule is a must to keep things moving along, but it’s still common to level up and have 50-80 vocab from the previous level blocking the new radicals. I’ve seen reordering scripts mentioned in a few places, but I’d advocate simply powering through the lessons instead of deferring them. Even if it’s a taxing schedule of 5 vocab lessons every hour until the radicals are in play, and even if you make a lot of mistakes reviewing the new vocab, it’s new content you’re being exposed to and now it’s not blocking progress in the new level.

And that’s pretty much it. Going at a faster speed does significantly increase the number of daily reviews, though the full effect ramps up over several months. If you have the time and can handle it, there’s nothing to lose. Some of the burnout stories mention racing through the early levels and then being worn down by huge amounts of reviews later on, and this is definitely a risk. How well you learn is also a huge factor here, with an open secret being that good retention and higher accuracy results in fewer reviews, which makes faster levelling much more manageable. :grin:

Having said all that, 10 days a level is fine. So is 15, or 20. As long as you’re happy with your progress and workload.

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Please just choose your pace!!! I did some levels in 7 days just to see what’s possible… But I would not advise this…or not if you want to learn Japanese!

What I mean: if you just want to learn all kanji and want to impress some dumb people… Here you go… Choose the fast lane and do it in 7 days! (you need scripts for that to avoid vocabs and early level reviews)

But if you really want to learn Japanese, talk watch movies etc… Then you need more time. You need to learn kanji and most important you have to learn vocabs!!! How do you want to have a proper conversation and write a text like this here… If you don’t immerse?
What I also find helpful for remembering kanji if I knew the vocabs before - just by chance (like sushi, karate, karaoke, all the Japanese place names) or because I learned them actively with another program

With every kanji I take my time, try exactly to remember how it looks, compare it with similar ones, remember normally from the start both readings (on and kun)

With vocabs I use them in many sentences (I yet can’t speak Japanese so I use German sentences) and include the vocab.
I read and translate the example sentences. I try to understand their grammatical structure. I really doubt that you could do that in 7 days - with a 10hour full time job.

These fast speeders are the strava koms of wanikani… If anyone can relate to that.
At strava - the outdoor sport app… You track your cycling ung/running tours… With distance time and so on… You get compared with other users if you want to… And what happened?
Some idiots just use it now to make themselves bigger…
The use ebikes to be on top or just cycle this 2000m track as fast as they can to be listed as winner…
How could they feel proud to be faster than someone who cycled that day 150km? (these are most men doing it,… Maybe that’s something… The urge to be better and compare yourself? Don’t know)

Bottomline: take your time, don’t compare and be happy with your progress!

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Hogwash, I’m learning Japanese as much as anyone else here.

I’m here to impress only myself.

I’m really learning japanese…

More time than who?

I am learning vocab, everyday.

yes…me too.

as do i…and i work a full time professional job.

no you don’t. I don’t use a single script other than wanikani stats…it’s a bit of a slog getting through 80 vocab in the upper levels before you can even get to the radicals and kanji but it can be done. Granted I’m not going at MAX speed but I agree that that isn’t the point.

I’m sorry you can’t do it…but the honest truth is that wanikani doesn’t allow you to “speed run”. The spaced repetition system ensures that. Speedrunning just means that you do all lessons as soon as they are available and if I have the inclination to do that who are you to tell me that that is unwise…
Oh right…I’ll burn out…well level 50 now, still enjoying my daily kanji routine, don’t think i’ll burn out in the next couple weeks. Hard to burn out when you really are enjoying something.

I agree people should go at their own pace without being judged…and that should include EVERYBODY. You can encourage people to go slowly without making people with different skillsets and abilities feel villainized for being themselves and doing things at THEIR own pace.

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Sometimes I think fast vs. slow is the only discourse on this website. The truth is exactly as you say, everyone should go at their own pace. But, I also feel that those whose pace is slower may need more encouragement that it’s ok to go slow, because people can be competitive and there’s sometimes a weird intellectual shaming for people who take more time to learn things. (Not necessarily here on wanikani, but in culture more generally, at least where I’m from)

Anyway, do what works for you! The most important thing is to avoid burnout, because the only true way to be successful is to not give up. But burnout depends on the person and their circumstances, and each person’s limits can even change over time! My advice is always to try to do a little more, to see if you’re being held back by low expectations, and if you decide that actually it’s too much, then slow down again. There’s no shame in going either fast or slow, and there is no magic way to learn, and let’s cheer each other on without judgement! Let’s go speedsters! Let’s go scenic durtlers! We’ll meet each other at the top!

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Sounds like copium for going slow. If anything I’m learning faster, by going faster. Should be quite obvious.

Ofcourse you should immerse aswell. WK only take an hour roughly a day, the rest is spent immersing, 7-8h of immersion daily is easily done.

How do you find out how many days it took to level up? Is it an API thing or do you just count manually?

I use the flaming durtles android app, and it’s automatically included there. Lots of people also keep study logs

Oh okay, that’s too much effort for me.

First of all, please take as much time as you need to get new items in your head and do not rush it too much.

As many have stated already, the 4 and 8 hour reviews are important. Those are the reviews that initially Anker the new items in your brain. Spacing them out much longer really hurts your accuracy and consequently learning efficiency and speed.

Now, let me give you an example schedule (mine) on what leveling up every 7 days can look like.
I generally level up Fridays between 6pm and 7pm making sure that I only bring the minimum number of kanji to guru. Then I do all old vocabulary lessons and the radicals. Four hours later comes the first review. Then, or somewhere in between, I do the remaining reviews and the remaining old vocabulary lessons. (To keep the leveling speed, there must not be any mistakes on radicals.)
Saturday morning, I do the next review batch and all kanji lessons; at lunch, the first review batch; in the evening the second. (To keep the leveling speed, one or two mistakes on each kanji are OK, depending on which review.)
Sunday morning is my time for the next radical reviews and the the remaining vocabulary lessons, again followed by the usual four and eight hour reviews.
Monday is my easy day without any lessons.
Tuesday morning is the time for the radical guru reviews, followed by the kanji lessons. To get the four and eight hours reviews on point is important here in order to finish the level at 6pm on Friday. (To keep the leveling speed, there must not be any mistakes on the second batch Kanji reviews.)
I space out the new vocabulary lessons between Wednesday and Thursday, always doing my four and eight hour reviews. Then, the next level starts Friday evening.
During the whole time, I generally do all my reviews when as soon after they come up as my work allows.

This schedule requires some dedication and only really works out if you are good at memorizing radicals and kanji through the apprentice levels. So, please take it a bit more relaxed than this if you feel that it would stress you out. However, with a bit of planning out your lessons and four and eight hour reviews, you should be able to go a bit faster.

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An easy way to find out how long it takes you to level up is to use the wkstats website.
When you insert your wanikani api key there, you can get a diagram of your level up times and all kinds of other useful stats about your account, like your accuracy.

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I got through Level 1 in 4 days, Level 2 in 5 days, and I’m on the 8th day of Level 3. I got busy and forgot a bunch of sessions, so I could have done it in 6. For me though, I already knew a lot of Japanese and listen to a ton of Japanese content. So to me, speed entirely boils down to your level of exposure to Japanese outside of WaniKani.