Advice on WaniKani schedule

I’ve been finding in the higher levels a lot of the mnemonics don’t make sense to me, so I’m writing my own about 50% of the time. One thing I do that is a good indicator of weather the mnemonic will work for me or not is to try to think of one just from the radicals shown on the first page of the lesson (just the first thing that pops into my head), then when I click to the next screen if the given mnemonic is somewhat close, I will have a good chance of remembering it. If it’s way off, then I usually write my own.

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Higher levels have harder kanji and vocab, and as time and the SRS goes on, the items from way back will start to appear in your reviews, too.

I did 50 reviews just now and that took me 7 min. Btw, I got 8 of the items wrong, and I burned 5 items.

Some vocab I just can’t seem to differentiate nowadays: 審査, 検査, 捜査, 捜索, 検索. All of these have a similar meaning and the kanji are used multiple times. So of course it’s not easy to keep track when items like these take up your time. Btw, these kind of items that you just can’t seem to get right are called leeches.

About 20 or so radicals since I unlocked level 4 yesterday. Usually I don’t get any radicals.
120 was just for that single session, I usually do them as soon as they are available (ironically I let 120 build up today since it’s Saturday and I went to a Japanese class then hung out with other students for a couple of hours). So this was the first time I had a large enough stack of 100+ to time myself.
I don’t spend any time outside of the reviews looking at the reading or meaning. But I’m only level 4 so that might change later. So for me the only time it takes is the time it takes to type in the answer, and if I get something wrong the time it takes to review and listen to the word again (in the case of vocabulary).

I’m just curious on how large these stacks will continue to grow before reaching an equilibrium.

To be fair at level 3 you get a lot of radicals which are really easy and quick and isolated kanji which are easy. At higher levels you get more and more vocabulary which takes up a lot more time and is harder/slower. But yea, some people take way too long to do reviews because they actually study while doing the reviews, like they redo the mnemonics carefully, maybe even write down the answer, go through the example sentences, etc. I just lazily go through them, accepting that I forget things and not spending five minutes trying to recall something I forgot when I can just get the answer wrong and see it and hope I do better next time. I used to pre-train lessons and the next level’s content with the self-study script but I rather just watch anime and let the srs handle the material, even if it takes me forever to move to a higher level.

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If I don’t do my reviews for the next whole week, it will pile up to 1003 items.
Does that satisfy your curiosity? :slight_smile:


The stack is not going to grow to 3,000 unless you start skipping days and even then you would need to skip a lot of days. I mean in theory they could, if you just keep getting all the vocab wrong all the time, but in practice the only people who get insane numbers of reviews are people who use reorder scripts to skip the vocab and people who get busy or depressed and just let things pile up day after day instead of doing the reviews (think of it as getting fat because your lazy ass kept eating doughnuts day after day instead of doing cardio).

The kanji/vocab get harder but the reason why I specifically asked about radicals is because there’s one “card”. If you visualize the items as actual flashcards, 20 radicals=20 cards. 20 kanji/vocab items=40 cards.
I’m also bipolar so sometimes I’m depressed and it might take me a while to do reviews because of that and sometimes my brain is like a slot machine that goes to superspeed and never stops then I realize I barely did anything that I was trying to do. I also have fatigue a lot of the time. That’s why it takes me “way too long” to do a review session.
I know this line of discussion is off topic but I think some of the comments judging how long a review session should take might be harmful to new users who take a while.


Yeah, I am curious to see how I will adapt and survive in the higher levels when the kanji gets harder. Maybe do fewer lessons as needed.

I do sometimes write my own mnemonics as well when the WK one’s are too random for me to puzzle through. :rofl: But it sounds like you have a good handle on a method +how your memory works! I’m always one for experimentation and figuring out what works best for a person if that means that they don’t give up.

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I am on WK at least 4 times a day, with my first lesson and set of reviews happening during breakfast. I am considering waking up a little earlier though, like maybe 15 minutes, to do my reviews (if they’re available) so that I can just focus on my lessons during breakfast. Then I do my review during lunch/dinner and when I have some downtime. And then my final session is before bed.

Like others have said, it’s best to make sure your review pile is at 0 at the end of the day so that there isn’t such a backlog when you get started in the morning.

I suggest experimenting with timing. If I can’t get my lessons done by a certain time, then I just don’t do them for the day because I don’t want to see more than I “need” to first thing in the morning. But this is me. Everyone does something different as you are seeing!

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Yeah I was barely able to catch up to my reviews when was tired two weeks ago.

Not only that, but people have different reading, recall and typing speeds (PC/Mobile). On PC I also have scripts like the jitai font randomizer, which ups some challenge and delays me quite a bit when it’s a bit tricky to figure out the strokes.

When I don’t know a reading or meaning, I’ll definitely look at the right answer for a while. And when you got all the new kanji in the mix that adds up.

My only advice is to keep going at it every day, if you skip a day, it will just add them up to the pile and that is definitely one of the biggest demotivators to start reviews with. It’s really not a good position to set yourself in, even if clearing it will give a big boost.


By the way, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend installing the user script “Wanikani Ultimate Timeline”:

It will really help with visualizing upcoming reviews and planing your schedule. Without it feels like flying blind.


Not trying to contradict @jprspereira, because this works really well for some people, and there is something to be said for consistency in your schedule. But if you are the kind of person who finds themselves picking up their phone every 1-2 hours to check facebook/twitter/reddit/your personal social media black hole of choice (like I am), then why not use that time to do a handful of reviews instead? Replace a social media addiction with a WK addiction :wink:

I generally have a decently-sized stack of 50-100 reviews that pile up overnight, which I get done right away in the morning. After that, I’ll have a few (generally <5, and rarely more than 10) every hour that I do whenever I pick up my phone throughout the day. If I don’t think I can get through all of them at once, I’ll just do what I can at the time (using the wrap-up button in the app), and pick up a few more the next hour. It gets me more repetition throughout the day on new kanji and the worst of my leeches (though I’m only at level 13, so they really aren’t that bad yet…), and its not like I would have done anything more productive with that time anyway.

That said, if you can’t keep up with new reviews consistently every hour or two, you’re probably better off with setting some specific times for reviews… I second @Nightscotsman in recommending the Ultimate Timeline to see how your chosen WK schedule affects your review count. Find a schedule that works for you and try your best to stick to it. Best of luck!


I kind of do the in between. I wait until I have over 20 reviews in the queue so I have some breathing room, but I try very hard not to let them get over 40 because my accuracy steadily drops the longer the session due mostly to typing fatigue.

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My schedule pretty stable for already several months, and I am very satisfied with it.

I do all reviews at morning around 9-11am. Every day I have 100-120 reviews which takes half hour or more, sometimes I do with pauses.

At morning reviews I turn off reorder script, except 1x1 mode, when meaning and prononication comes together. I really don’t think I could learn something from errors when I just was too quick and haven’t noticed what exactly is needed. So I always answer meaning, and right after that kana.

During the day around 5-7pm I do 10-15 new lessons. no reviews at all. It takes around 10-20 minutes. I use reorder to balance complexity, like 5 new kanji, 5 new vocabs, and so on, or just roll “Force Reorder” button to easier vocab, when I tired.

Before night I do reviews for new lessons, and use reorder script to prioritize only current level, so all “old” words will fall to next morning. It takes another 10-15 minutes.

Here is my timeline, morning bars :slight_smile:

And plenty of free time from learning, when I don’t have to look at WK every hour.


Oh yeah, I totally agree. That’s what I did 2y+ ago, and it led to me doing reviews every hour, which made me succeed pretty well :stuck_out_tongue: It’s definitely a good improvement.


The problem with this is that Japanese is not a language where you can substitute words and understand them like you might translating German or Spanish or something to English. I can read a sentence where I know every single kanji and hiragana word (at least the base) and not understand the meaning at all - not even the gist because I don’t know enough grammar. And basic grammar is seemingly almost never used as the basis of the majority of sentences. At least in my limited experience.

Maybe if you’re playing a game you know well in translation and you try to play it in Japanese you may pick it up better?

Also, I know many people have said you need to do the lessons in the morning, I don’t have a problem when I do them at night as long as I’m doing the first reviews within an hour or two of waking.

Take a night off, sure, but know that you’ll have a lot more reviews to do the next day. Lately I have to do at minimum 1-2 hours a day of reviews just to keep my review pile from getting out of hand, I haven’t been able to do new lessons for months because I simply haven’t had the time to get the pile down to 0 because I’m now focused on grammar.


I have a “schedule” for radicals and kanji if they are on apprentice level. Everything after that is kinda free-for-all timewise. I either do them when I have spare time, like commuting, waiting for a class to start/friend to come/etc. However, im so much slower on smartphone than pc, so mostly I still have some reviews by the time I come home/go to sleep, so that’s when I make sure to empty my pile.
Sometimes after a trip to an izakaya I just might skip vocab reviews though…


Those are great points. Maybe I should go for learning vocab from two different sides: simplest kanji (WK) and simplest (or more common) meaning.

That is great advice

This doesn’t make sense to me, isn’t learning vocab is ultimate goal here, why would you skip it?

Well I opted out of all social media interaction long time ago. I only use reddit for video game news. So, not much time to find there.

Also another obstacle in learning Japanese for me is that most useful resources (like WK) are obviously in English. And they teach Japanese in relation to English grammar, while I think Japanese is closer to my native language in some cases.

In my uneducated opinion the best way to learn language - is through reading. Not just books or manga. If you like movies, stop reading websites about movies in your native language and switch to the language you are learning. The urge to get information you interested in should push your brain.
Well that is my theory

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There are exceptions, I’m sure, but I don’t think most people who use these are trying to skip the vocab. The reorder scripts can be really useful to help you level up more quickly (and learn more kanji!), but they have to be used the right way, or you will unintentionally get a huge backlog of vocab items.

I know you weren't really asking about this so I'll leave it hidden, but if you are considering a reorder script, this works well for me...

I never use the reorder script for reviews. I’d much rather see items completely at random—I feel like that is a better test of how well I know it.

I turn on the reorder script for lessons immediately after I level up to unlock all the new radicals as soon as I can. This lets me (temporarily) skip over the vocab from the previous level that unlocked when I guru-ed the last set of kanji. Once I have the new radicals unlocked though, I either turn it completely off, or use settings that let me mix a few of the new kanji in with the old vocab lessons. I know I have about four days before all of the kanji for my new level are unlocked, so I try to finish the old lessons before that happens. I always make sure to have the lesson queue at zero when I know I’m getting close to leveling up (this is very important).

Where people go wrong with the reorder script is just not ever being able to make time for the old vocab reviews and/or lessons and letting them pile up just to be able to level up faster… If you can manage the lessons responsibly, though, it can a great way to keep your progress up, especially as you get further along.

Fair enough :slightly_smiling_face: I’m sure you’ll find a schedule that works well for you.

I haven’t done much “formal” grammar study either, and I definitely prefer reading as well. However, I find myself stumbling over the grammar often—I can get most of the meanings of the words, but I can’t quite put them together in a way that makes sense in context. Maybe your native language will give you more of an advantage, but I also agree with the others who have recommended at least some grammar.

Personally, I started using Duolingo before I got started with WK. It has its problems, to be sure, but it has helped me learn enough of the basics to know what I need to look up. It also doesn’t really “teach” the grammar; it’s more about reading sentences and translating back and forth. It’s kind of up to you to start to recognize the patterns and how the Japanese works in those sentences. You’d probably still have to do it in English, rather than your native language, but maybe that approach would be worthwhile to consider.

Last piece of grammar-related advice I have: when I am reading something in Japanese, I’ve found Bunpro to be a great resource for looking up grammar I don’t know. If you don’t want the grammar SRS, you can still use the free version to search for unfamiliar grammar and get links to useful grammar resources. I talked a bit about my approach to reading in another thread a while back, the link is here if you’re interested…

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