Any tips for beginners?

I’ve started using WaniKani since the 24th of January this year, and I’ve gotten used to the interface and how everything works. There’s some stuff to change in the settings which I haven’t touched yet.

I wanted advice from users who have been committed to the Crabigator for a very long time, that’s why I’m making this post.

All advice is appreciated, thank you! :purple_heart:


Hello! :smiley:

I personally can’t say that I’ve been comitted to the crabigator for a long time (about 2 months), but one advice that I hear the folks here saying over and over again is that you should be careful to not pace yourself too fast, because otherwise, you might burnout.

Another one is that you should start learning some basic grammar a bit earlier than WaniKani suggests. I personally started learning grammar at level 5, but you don’t have to do that, you can start whenever you feel comfortable with it :slight_smile:

Another one that comes from me now: The community is great and extremely helpful, so if you ever feel like you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask it! And also the WaniKani team is extremely helpful and nice, and always answers your question!

I wish you the best with learning Japanese! :cherry_blossom:

  1. Go steady and slow. Reviews will pile up. Burnout is very easy. WaniKani advertises that you can learn everything in a year but only the craziest of speedrunners actually do, it’s a lot of work and going that fast means your retention suffers. Unless you have a lot of free time, expect it to take 2 years at least if not more.

  2. Use external resources to your advantage. You will probably start doing this more the farther you go but dictionaries like (Japanese to English), (Monolingual), (Etymology), and (Frequency within Contemporary Fiction) are your best friends and can help you parse out what’s useful about the stuff you are learning. Later down the line you can start using tools like yomitan to get dictionary information by just highlighting over words you see on the internet.

  3. Use your user synonyms. There are lots of items on WK that have questionable meanings. Often times I get caught up with the fact that many kanji for example don’t have meanings that reflect the vocab that you will see. If you’re stuck on something and you do the research and find another meaning that makes more sense to you, write it in as a synonym. And don’t worry about getting radicals right all the time, they won’t be useful to you outside of kanji mnemonics. So if you can’t remember the radical and it’s not helping you with any of the kanji, just give it a synonym you can remember and move on.

  4. Read as much native japanese as you can. The way I see it there are three different ways in which you remember things when you are doing reviews.

    1. Mnemonics. The main selling point for WK. Little stories or scenes which make use of your existing associations to help your recall. These are very useful when you are first learning something but you tend to forget them fairly quickly. I’d say mnemonics help you to remember stuff within the first 2 weeks or so of reviews. After that you need something else.

    2. Repetition. The other big selling point of WK. Simple Spaced Repitition by just doing reviews will help you retain the majority of WK’s material but it doesn’t always work. Some items will never stick no matter how many times you see them. Which means you then need

    3. Context. The most powerful and the quickest way to learn a word is to see it a couple times in actual native material. Seeing how it’s used in context is one of the only ways to truly learn a word and one of the only way to break through words you’re stuck on. It’s also the only way to be able to do the thing you came here to do, which is actually read japanese.

You might want to wait a bit longer, get a few more levels in, and make sure you know a good amount of grammer before you begin but we have lots of book clubs of all levels in these forums once your ready to jump in. It will always be really hard and slow at first but ultimately it will be the most helpful thing in the long run.

It’s a long journey but it’s worth it. Kanji are weird and complicated and difficult. But they are also beautiful and dare I say, fun to learn. If you focus on the process of learning instead of reaching the top of some arbitrary knowledge hill, you’ll find yourself happy with every step rather than begrudging of every sidetrack along the way.


Thanks for the compliment :wink:

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  • Don’t give up
  • Less is more - if you’re overwhelmed by reviews, try doing less
  • If possible, do reviews 2 or even 3 times per day
  • At around level 30-40 branch out into reading, studying grammar via textbooks, etc.
  • Drop WaniKani after level 40-45 and continue learning Japanese via immersion

There is no need to be as slow, nor as fast, as others. Nonetheless, finishing all lessons in one go isn’t gonna make leveling up faster. So, adapt to how WaniKani works.

Another thing is just as said above. I find doing reviews 2-3 times per day helps. especially at the stage that I need help from mnemonics and memorization techniques.

I encourage looking up alongside WaniKani, so the websites that listed above are just what I listed. Reading Japanese resources isn’t that difficult, just keep trying to find one that is useful.

  1. Do your reviews. All of them. Every day.
  2. Do as many lessons as you can to ensure you have plenty to review without violating rule 1.

That’s it. Those are the only tips that matter. There are lots of second and third order refinements: dealing with leaches, motivation, mnemonic tricks, “efficiency”, speeding up the process, dealing with inevitable lapses, vacation mode, or whatever, but rule 1 is literally the only tip you need.

Follow those two rules and you’ll eventually complete all sixty levels and have a good start on being able to read most common kanji. “Learning Japanese” is a bigger task as you’ll also need to learn some grammar, build vocabulary, and practice output/production/speaking/writing. But learning to read many kanji and vocabulary terms gives you a jump start on all of those.

Note that in the early levels you’ll be able to do all of your available lessons and still easily comply with rule one. Many if not most users find they need to start pacing their lessons after they’ve been using the site for several months. however. It’s better to go cautiously slow but finish, than it is to become overwhelmed and give up.


Purrecisely! wricat


That pun was purrfect. noted 28

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Understanding how WK’s SRS works will make your use of it so much more efficient. When you learn an item for the first time, here are the timings for when it comes up for review:

X: learned the item
⮑ 4 hours later (Level 1: Apprentice 1)
⮑ 8 hours later (Level 2: Apprentice 2)
⮑ 1 day later (Level 3: Apprentice 3)
⮑ 3 days later (Level 4: Apprentice 4)
⮑ 1 week later (Level 5: Guru 1)
⮑ 2 weeks later (Level 6: Guru 2)
⮑ 1 month later (Level 7: Master)
⮑ 4 months later (Level 8: Enlightened)
Level 9: Burned

So the key is to learn new items in the morning. Then they come up for review at lunch (+4h), and again in the evening (+12). Aligning to this will minimize the amount of time you have to spend waiting for an item to come up for review.


I definitely see where you’re coming from with that but I’ll get my level 60 badge goddamnit!


Did I just witness a reply in real time?


Consistency is key!

Don’t get stuck thinking you need to do WK 1 way the whole journey. Do lessons when you can, sometimes you have more energy so do a few more than normal. Maybe on the weekends you’re busy or are traveling so don’t do any. But whatever you do, do your reviews.

Don’t let your apprentice number get too high, it will impact you in the future. I have kept to around 30 reviews a day as my standard number. I do 15 lessons at the end of 1 hour, then 15 more at the start of the next hour. So the reviews pop and hour apart. Some days I’ll do 40 reviews in a day and others I will only do 15.

I have not experienced burnout doing this!

Just remember, review consistency is key! You can do it! :mega: :fireworks:

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Hahaha, well you’re closer than I’ve ever been so only a couple of weeks left and you got it! :partying_face:

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keep apprentice number below 100, if below this number do 5 lessons.

Otherwise just do reviews on the next days until you lower that number. You will overwhelm yourself with so many items.

Doing that, in 3 years I hit lvl 60, no stress whatsoever.


We did some graphs of simulations of WK use in another thread just recently. The conclusion we came to is that the biggest difference is to do at least two review sessions a day (say morning and evening), which is a huge improvement over a single session a day. Doing a three-times-a-day routine is then a bit faster than that but if a morning/evening schedule is what fits into your life then you’re not losing too much compared to the “optimal for speedrunning” pattern. But it’s really worth trying to do more than a single review session a day, I think.


Ah, that’s really interesting to see it visually – thanks!

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