Am I going to slow?

I’m concerned because I’ve been doing this program since around August of last year, and I’m only Level 6. I see people who claim to be 10 levels higher than me saying they’ve only been at this for a few months and I can’t help but wonder if I’m being left in the dust. It also doesn’t help that I sometimes forget words I thought I had previously mastered since they disappear for a month at a time and then come back, I mess up, and they go back to Guru instead of Burn. With only about 99 items in Burn atm and only being Level 6 despite being at this for about 6 months, I feel I’m doing something wrong. Any advice?


Your level is basically determined by how fast you guru the kanji on a level, and it’s okay to go at your own pace.

If you want to speed up however, my advice would be to set a number of lessons you will do a day (e.g. 10/15/20) and keep yourself to that, while doing reviews as many times per day as possible. Over time you can figure out how many lessons a day work for you and will be progressing at a steady pace.


See, the appeal to me of Wanikani was that I could simply leave the window open at all times, check in a few times a day, answer some reviews, and keep going. I always figured that if I just kept adding too many new items, I’d have a hard time remembering anything or ever progressing on anything. As such, I’ve always waited until I can get all of the new vocab and kanji into at least Guru before trying to learn a new batch of stuff. Is that perhaps where I’m going wrong? I want to go faster, but I’m such a slow learner, and it feels like it takes me a week or two just to memorize maybe 30ish kanji or vocab.


The thing that helped me memorize kanji more easily was taking my time and imagining the mnemonic properly and when it came up in reviews I’d see the radicals, remember the story and the meaning + reading along with it.

If you feel like this helps you remember things better, then keep doing this, but this is the thing that really slows you down. In my opinion you should try doing consistently doing 5/10 lessons a day at first and see how it’s going after a week.


No such thing as too slow! Take your time, its not a race! We all have different learning capabilities, and just because someone is leveling faster than you doesnt necessarily mean they are learning faster than you


I’m also concerned that I forget old words and end up just pushing them back into Guru if I mess them up. Should I be concerned that I may even forget stuff that ends up in Burn?

The point of sending them back to Guru is to make you remember by coming up sooner in reviews.
It’s okay to make mistakes, as the system will help you to learn these words and it’s better if they’re in Guru than if you’d burned them and then forgot.


There may be pressure as to other people bragging showcasing about their speed in the lower levels but I wanna see them continue talking about how fast they are when they reach level 30s or 40s, up to 60. Now that’s pure commitment. (One already did and do not recommend rushing)

Now, you may consider that just because others are doing it fast is because they may have been learning the language but not the kanji/vocab themselves. So in that point, they already have the foundation in learning the language.

Do take note that learning should be a fun process and should not be based on how you perceive yourself compared to others. You’re not in school and you have all the time you need! (This is more like a shoutout to myself because I’ve never been good at academics and do end up comparing myself to others most of the time, sorry if this sounded selfish but may apply to your case as well.)

But all in all, as long as I’m having fun (and challenged) by the learning process, I won’t stop!

Learning this language (or anything, in general) is a marathon, not a sprint!


Many people who are going fast are also re-ordering the lessons so that they do radicals first and then kanji. Vocab is done when you have no other lessons.

You’re doing roughly 1 lvl per month, right? That’s pretty slow. It’s possible to do 1 lvl in 2 weeks without sweating. And even 9 days is fairly easy.

But 7-8 days is a real challenge because you can’t afford to skip a lesson or review session and you have to follow a strict schedule for a year. Your whole life revolves around WK. That’s too much of a commitment for most of the users.

On the plus side of going faster, I think it’s actually easier to remember all the items if you do reviews consistetntly 2-3 times a day, because you are going through all of the items and reinforcing them all the time.

Basically, to go faster:

  • do lessons every day until you run out
  • do a fixed number of lessons 10‐30 but consider changing the number of lessons depending on the item type (e.g. I remember vocab much easier than kanji, so I do more vocab lessons per day)
  • prioritise getting radicals to Guru as fast as possible
  • do your reviews 2-3 times a day (do = clear all of the items available)
  • if you want to slow down - skip lessons for a day, but don’t skip your reviews

I also suffer from comparing myself to others, it is not the route to happiness! You have a strategy that works for you, you only need change it if you set yourself a different goal :slight_smile:

I also worry about burned items and imagine myself seeing a word float gently down a river never to be seen again lol. I try to use kani wani to check up on them, I have set the parameters to only give me burned items I sometimes rest a word in wani kani when it has completely floated out to sea (see eralier metaphor)

it is really not helpful to compare yourself to others, but very hard not to, I put a similar post up a while ago and found it helpful when someone pointed out how many people start, and give up without ever getting to level x. Compare yourself to them, you are doing so much better!

If you don’t mind me asking, what is kani wani, this thing you mentioned for reviewing burned items?

You need to get a token from wani kani account to link the two accounts it then works in a similar way to the review system here, but it offers you the english and you have to type in the hiragana.

Hope this makes sense!

Sorry for so many questions, but what tokens do you mean? How do I get them?

wanikani api token - 3rd paty apps use it to authenticate with wk on your behalf and get your data

get it in your wk profile settings

I second the opinion, that you forget because you are going too slow and thus messing with the schedule of the SRS.

Don’t let old reviews sit on the Dashboard for too long. You should do a few more lessons, too. It’s not that hard.


I think you are going too slow and it is backfiring you. You are still in the easiest levels and takes you more than a month to complete one, at this pace it will take you 6-10 years to get to level 60! I think you should review your strategy because it surely can help you learn faster. Try different things, writing the kanjis several times when you learn them, creating an extended story with them, using them in different sentences… whatever works best with your way of learning.

There are several posts in this community with advice from LVL60 users. I attach a couple that were useful for me:

Hope it helps!


I’m slowly learning that accuracy is better than speed when it comes to Wanikani. I frequently try to blitz through my lessons and I keep making dumb mistakes, especially with similar-looking Kanji.

Like today! I accidentally sent 土 from the Guru pile back to Apprentice because I’d just learned the radical for Samurai and wasn’t paying attention to the coloured backgrounds.

Plus the more mistakes I keep making, the more reviews I have to do later which slows me down further.

So I wouldn’t worry about your progress. It’s much better to go at your own pace and make sure the knowledge is actually sticking for you. I understand though, I constantly compare myself to others and feel bad about myself. It’s like a compulsion, if I’m feeling too good about myself my brain will actively look for ways to compare myself to others to make me feels bad.
This is why I need therapy! :grin:

1 Like

There’s no right or wrong way to do this. I’ve been at this for 16 months and only level 10. I forget a lot of readings often but eventually they stick. When it comes down to it, it’s not a race. I still enjoy learning/studying even if it feels like I’m not progressing. Using different resources can help keep things interesting in your studies.
Good luck.


a month per level is okay

just the past few weeks there were two new posts by people who reached level 60 after 5 years, that’s what it takes if you do a month per level

the main determinant for how fast you go is how many lessons you do per day. i’d reccomend doing at least a few lessons every day (5 is totally enough), and doing the 4-hour and 8-hour reviews for those lessons on time. doing a little bit like this every day helps your brain learn how to learn, and keeps it in the habit of learning a little bit of new stuff every day. and the 4 and 8 hour reviews are the most crucial for making the lesson stick long-term

but again, a month per level is fine :slight_smile:

1 Like

This is just my experience obviously. And it echoes others’ posts. I keep about 100-110 in apprentice. Some I get rid of really quickly, because some stick straight away. Yes there are some leeches that I can’t seem to ever get right and they just slide up and down between guru and apprentice. But at least I know which they are by getting them wrong, and attempt to make a better mnemonic to get them to stick. What’s more motivating is getting the easier ones done and sent along the chain. Because that way I can do more lessons and see myself levelling up. And that’s encouraging. Especially when I then notice those words out in the real world.
I totally agree everyone’s got to go their own pace (at the moment it’s quietish at work so I can put aside enough time to level up every 11-14ish days). But at the same time, I don’t think it’s the idea of WK to avoid lessons just because you feel some items aren’t sticking. If you have time for lessons and reviews then it’s good to do lessons (and many people say 100 apprentice is a good amount to have). Because some of those lessons are easier than others? I don’t think people should be afraid of getting things wrong repeatedly. It’s the repetition of the SRS that is the key?

1 Like