Am I too slow?

Hey Wanikani people first time poster,

So I just figured out that I got to level 5 but it has taken me 300 days with an average level up of 74 days. I can’t find a single anecdote online of anyone else taking nearly this long. I will say I am only just figuring out the best study schedule and the intricacies of the SRS system. I wouldn’t even say I am feeling discouraged just weirded out at how different my experience seems to be. I definitely struggle a lot more with the vocab and the sheer amount of it than the kanji but it must be important.

I just felt like I needed to reach out and see what other people’s thoughts on this were and maybe some tips or something.


There is no set time on how long one level should take you. It really depends on your own pace and how easy or hard it is for you to learn new things.

But would you mind sharing how many times you review daily? How do you approach Lessons, do you do all of them at once or a given set of new content each day?


Though I rarely say this, 74 days per level might be a bit extreme, that means 12 years to reach level 60.

What are your study methods? How many reviews and how many lessons do you do each day? How many sessions do you have? 1? 2? 3? A session here would be a time where you sit down and just focus on doing your reviews.


Since this is important to most responders I am going to put my study methods in this post. So previously to about a month ago I had tried to do lessons only when my apprentices where below 20 and I would review once a day. I am now on better schedule of 5-10 lessons a day and reviews once in the morning, once at lunch, and once at night which I sometimes miss because I am really tired but I’m trying my best. I definitely feel my progress has improved since this change.


If I looked at my stats right now, the first few levels would be within a week or so each time but the most recent levels for me now are taking about 4-6 weeks or longer. Take your time, get to grips with how you learn best and don’t stress too much about it. If you use additional sources like reading easy Japanese news or graded readers etc, you’ll find that your speed will improve as you pick up kanji/ vocabulary through reading that are reinforced through WaniKani and vice versa.

It’s not a sprint to learn Japanese, it’s a marathon you take at your own pace and learn your way.

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Yeah, that would’ve been a big issue, that means you can only advance at around 20 items per week, which means at least 5 or so weeks per level, which maches with your 34. 5-10 lessons is a much healthier number, you’ll get used to the review amount sooner than later, not stretching a level out to 5 weeks will help with the srs timings too.


If you are doing 5-10 Lessons a day and are reviewing them 2-3 times a day your average time for a level up should decrease a lot, as long as you don´t have an abysmal accuracy.
Trying to keep your apprentice items below 20 is a little extreme (as you figured out already I assume). Most people try to keep them below 100 I think. I sometimes I go up to 150 if I have the time, but sometimes this bites me in the ass further down the line.
But you should still try to stick to your own schedule, if this is too much for you then you can reduce that as much as you want. It´s not as important if you are fast ore slow compared to other people here, the only thing that matters is if you are fine with your learning speed.


Simple answer: Yes. Why? because as far as I’m aware levels 1-3 are fast levels meaning they should take you like half the time of a regular level (3.5 days to level instead of 7 at maximum speed).

So what you need to consider here is that actually, you’re now at level 5, you’re onto slow levels, and so if your average is 74 days including the fast levels, you’re actually going to slow down even more.

I think the real question to ask now is “What is your goal with WaniKani?”, if you can spare more time, and do reviews even twice per day say, once in the morning and once in the evening. You will find your speed increases greatly.

As far as lessons are concerned maybe try to do 10 lessons per day and see how that feels for you, try and bring your level-up time down to one level per month. That’s still nice and slow, but it would mean that in the next 300 days you’ll be going up another 10 levels! which would be awesome right?

Don’t feel bad about your progress up until now, you’ve stuck with WaniKani for 300 days, regardless of your level that’s an achievement in itself!


Come on over to the Team Snails on Vacation thread. We’re all taking the leisurely route to level 60.


Nooo! Join us at the Durtling scenic route!


Our slowest durtle leveller is actually 72 days per level :stuck_out_tongue:


You guys are Durtling pretty fast for Team Snails!

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Thank you everyone for the replies. :slightly_smiling_face:


Good luck, you’ve got this.

I don’t totally agree there ; level 5 might be the level with the most kanjis out there. It’s really long at first when you’re discovering kanjis and having to take all this critical knowledge and structural logic in.

I spent a lot more time on levels like 5,6 than I’m doing now at level 15. Because you start to reach a point where you can remember readings without even trying, and you can make your own story with the radicals in 5 seconds for the meaning (actually now I don’t even need stories anymore, it just sticks). And that’s not even talking about the ones taking their readings from their radical which start to pop up often enough. (洋、功、性 are just a few examples coming to mind).
Also, writing the kanjis becomes so much easier once they’re just a sum of kanjis/radicals you already know. You don’t even have to think about stroke orders anymore since it makes so much sense 99% of the time. (not looking at you, 必)

So yeah, I actually believe it gets easier with time, even if the kanjis look more intimidating from the outside. OP, take as long as you need now that you’re building the foundations of your knowledge, it’ll make the future levels that much easier. Of course you need to make sure that aligns with your goals and that you still have fun doing all that.

I think it depends because I know some people wait until they are approaching level 30 before they do any real content outside of WK (e.g. reading).

So if they’re not doing anything outside of WK, and they’re going to go at a pace of 74 days per level, you’re taking an extremely long time. I don’t know their goal but, if they wanted to learn to read & output and speak & listen. Then they need a faster pace because it takes a long time to learn to do these things.

WK does not teach you to read, after all, it’s only Kanji and some Vocab. I didn’t even mention grammar either so.

I think there is such thing as too slow if you have actual goals you want to achieve.

I think going slow to lay a foundation can be a cop-out depending on what the situation is, and regarding this situation in my opinion it’s better just to jump into it head first. Language is learned through repetition and experience, and no amount of going slow will change that, so it makes no sense to me really.


Why are you keeping apprentices so low? Are you afraid of the workload if it gets higher?

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