Any tips for University Student using Wanikani as Suppliment? Pacing question mainly

As title states I’m a University student learning Japanese (not as major, but self interest) and am wondering if any Wanikani verterans or new comers like me have any advice on pacing in regards to using the service.

A story on my current pacing issue:
I started using it while in my Japanese 101 class around October or so and it really helped me memorize the Kanji I needed to know and more! At first I was making good progress, doing 10 or so reviews and lessons daily until the semester ended. In the limbo time period between Fall and Spring semester I kinda forgot about Wanikani and to my distraught came back to 110 reviews and 100 lessons. Not remembering how the site worked I sat down and did all of the reviews and lessons only to learn the website was probably thinking: “Man you really want to learn fast, here are some more lessons!” And stacked up even more. So I’ve only been doing a few a day to slow it back down.

However I’ve come to realize that even though I did around 3-4 months of Wanikani I’m only barely into Level 3 and there are 60 levels total. My aim is not to do all levels in a year (that’s insane, props to anyone who does). But do it as a supplement to my Japanese class and learn a bit on top of it. Is the first 10 levels at a snail pace on purpose or is that just my perception?

When I was working at my part-time job they allowed up to use our phones in down time (I organize dishes at a dining hall on campus so there are 30 minute intervals between classes with barely anyone). And in that time I’d do a couple review sessions but often didn’t really remember any since I was distracted (by the noise around me probably). On top of the fact Japanese isn’t apart of my major (I use it for credits / self interest) so even though I want to put time into it, I end up putting more time into class assignments towards my major. So time management seems to be my issue.

So my main question in regards to pacing is: “How should I pace myself when also doing 5 classes and part time jobs, while not falling behind on Wanikani?” For example 10 a day, 5 a day, 20 a week, etc. Also any stories that you guys can tell in ways you spent your time studying and how you managed your time learning?

Side Note:
Just recently I clenched my eyes shut and purchased the lifetime Wanikani membership. Reason being is that I want to move to Japan a couple years from now anyways and thought it’d be wiser to pay once when it was $100 off rather than monthly overall for (I don’t even know how many) years. Thanks Crabigator


Don’t do new lessons until you are caught up. Doing lessons creates reviews very soon after.

Take the reviews lightly. That is, don’t fret over getting them all right. WK will re-present those you got wrong, and you will end up memorizing them.

Lifetime sub is the right choice; it will probably take you at least two years to get through WK. But if you stick to it (and also learn grammar), you will be able to read!



Hi there!

  1. Consider it a marathon, not a sprint, and pace yourself.

  2. Do all reviews first. Do not leave pending reviews till tomorrow.

  3. Number of daily lessons is the main indicator your speed and your review load. Do not do all lessons at once, if you don’t want to be overwhelmed. If you add 5 new lessons per day - in 6 months you’ll be doing 5*8=40 reviews per day minimum.

  4. For each new lesson, try to review it in 4 hours, and then in 8 hours, for example 9am lesson, 1pm review#1, 9pm review #2. So check the site three times per day if possible.

  5. Forums have answers to all questions. Try to lurk/search more. There is a master list of level 60 users describing their journeys:
    The Level 60 compilation - Learn from those that did it! 🍰
    Little numbers next to items mean number of clicks (popularity contest). I’ve read a bunch and got many points from those.

Good luck!


Go as fast as you are comfortable but not so fast that it crowds out everything else you have to do. Being ahead of your class in kanji is not going to be a problem, kanji is a small part of understanding Japanese. Given you only have so many hours in the day, and only a fraction of those that can be dedicated to Japanese a my tips

  1. Always do you reviews
  2. Only do lessons when you know you can review those lessons when the reviews come up (4, 8, 24 hrs). I find looking ahead in my day and doing lessons as soon as I have cleared reviews first thing in the morning works for me. (NB I am an early riser so this means doing reviews and lessons before 7am)
  3. You can always stop doing lessons - it takes a little bit for your review count to go down but it does go down.
  4. Don’t let your kanji knowledge get too far ahead of the rest of your Japanese knowledge - I’ve been hanging out on level 42 since last August because grammar, vocab and practicing comprehension are more important right no. (also travelling in Jaona, moving house and other life things)
  5. Other study will help lock in what you learn in WaniKani. This could be doing your grammar study. watching Japanese TV, Reading, etc.
  6. Get one of the model apps (Tsurukame on iOS is the one I use) to make it easier for you on the go - grab some reviews on the bus, when you take a break etc.
    (7. This might be the controversial one - don’t use the reorder script, if you don’t know what that is don’t find out)



It sounds like you’ve got a pretty busy life, so you’ll need to take WaniKani at a very slow pace. One good way to pace yourself is based on the number of Apprentice items you have. If you keep it to, say, 50 or fewer at all times, you shouldn’t ever have too large a workload in any given day. You can adjust the threshold as needed to maintain a comfortable pace. Moving at maximum speed means often having ~150 items in Apprentice, so you’ll be going quite a bit slower, but that’s OK! The most important thing is to keep up with your reviews every day.

I’d recommend dedicating time to review and using a laptop if possible. Doing reviews on your phone in an environment where you can’t focus sounds stressful and possibly a waste of time.


A lot of people have had good advice on here!

Like most people have said, if you do less lessons, you will have less reviews. How many lessons you should do, then, depends on how fast you want to level. Based on your post, you’ve been taking about 1 month per level, so let’s do the math based on that.

For levels 1-10, you will have about 15-30 radicals (this will go down to <10 starting with level 14), about 30-40 kanji per level, and around 110-135 vocabulary items per level, for a total of 155-205 per level.

Of course, many kanji won’t be unlocked until you learn your radicals, and many vocabulary items won’t unlock until you learn your kanji. Given that it takes at the fastest 3.5 days to make an item guru-level, you’ll probably have a lot of vocabulary items to learn before you can start to learn the radicals for your new level. If you only did 5 lessons per day, you would be going really slowly - more than a week to guru just the radicals, almost 2 weeks to guru all of the kanji, and another 3+ weeks to learn all of the vocabulary from your old level.

As @kenbongort pointed out, ~50 apprentice-level items will mean not that many reviews, and to keep that kind of pace, you should be doing at least 10 lessons per day when you get unlock the radicals/kanji for a level, and then add on as many as you need to maintain a lower item count (or don’t do any for a while until you finish off more items). Taking longer for levels is ok! I’ve had my fair share of levels that took a long time (and had a 6 month level when I fell of the horse for a while).

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I’m a newcomer who is on level 9 after starting wanikani around October last year, about a month after starting Japanese. People will give good advice about using the site (I learnt a fair bit from reading forum threads like this), I’d just say that you need to be doing language practice every day and that you’ll figure out your own pace once you work out how much daily time you’ve got to spend on Japanese. I feel like the wanikani program demands at least two study sessions per day in order to progress through lessons and reviews at a steady rate but I’m sure others can pull it off in one session, they likely have better memories than me.

  1. Always do your reviews. At least once every day, ideally more. Some days I like to do them all in one block on my computer, other days I prefer to chip away at them a few items at a time on my phone.
  2. How many lessons you do per day/week will determine the amount of reviews you have to do. This might take a bit of trial and error to figure what’s right for you. Maybe try 10 a day to begin with? Or if that seems too fast, 5 a day?

Hey, I am also a university student who studies japanese on the side. I don’t know if You should do it like I do it, but I’m just gonna leave this here.
for the past three months I’ve just been doing all my lessons as soon as I get them, after that you get two more busy/annoying days where you get 200 reviews and get like 70%/80% on them, bit after that it just get easier. I clear the reviews in the morning before the lectures (or during lectures if they are boring hehe), then I clear them again before going to sleep, sometimes
I do a bit during the day too. If you are a masochist like me who still wants to do reviews for 1 hour after doing maths for 5 hours, then You should be fine.

but, remember, do what works for You, it’s not a race, you can be slow at it, it’s just important that you are actually regularly studying. Get a healthy habit/routine and keep going.

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As always this guide is recommended. Reading just sections 4-7 or 4-9 may be sufficient if you want a shorter read. This should allow to manipulate the pacing to your needs at that moment such as during semester and out of semester and reduce the need of “doing all your reviews” all the time.

Looks like the right approach to time management to me


Depending on accuracy, even 50 apprentice items can lead to over 100 items to review a day eventually. I’d recommend starting with 5 lessons a day, and maybe a couple of days a week where the OP would do 10, depending on their availability the next day.

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A rule of thumb that I’ve found for myself is that 30 review items take about 10 minutes to review. Maybe other people are faster and slower, just time yourself on a big set of reviews sometime to find out.

So if you have 100 reviews in a day, that’s already about half an hour just of reviews, not even WK lessons, or learning other non-WK aspect of Japanese.

Doing 10 lessons in the morning every day means you have 40 reviews for Apprentice 1/2 per day, plus all the reviews of all your previous items that are due on that day. It can really get out of hand quite fast if you’re limited on time.


Fair enough! For kanji/unfamiliar vocab, 5 per day could be a good rate if you want to take it slower. I was just thinking that at a lower level, since there are no burned items and few master/enlightened items popping up, it’s ok to take on a little more.

I will say, though, that it’s easier to do radicals at a much faster pace than 5 per day - since you’re just learning their meaning (or if they don’t have much meaning, associating them with something to use for mnemonics), the reviews for them go much faster. Also, for vocab where you already know the reading/meaning (e.g. 二 is に for the reading you learn for the kanji and the reading for the vocab word for 2), you can do more lessons at a time, because there’s less new material.

But all this will just need some trial & error - good luck!

I’m also a university student (Masters) while
working full time (I take around 2-3 classes for my Masters at night or during weekend), and at the same time studying Japanese out of self interest. I plan to take Japanese classes soon, since I found out it was cheap to do extramural language classes in the university than outside.

Anyway, my schedule is usually like this:

  • 3 WK reviews throughout the day, usually around 8 am in the morning during my commute, 12nn during lunch break in work and around 9-10pm at night after my class during commute going home. I roughly also do my iKnow reviews at night only too.

  • For Lessons: I try to do 20 lessons a day if most vocabs and kanji are not familiar. But this is from someone who is familiar with so many vocabs through exposure so maybe I’m taking this too fast. With 20 lessons a day and with the use of reorder script (during lessons only), I finish a level around 9-10 days.

  • During the days I don’t really wanna do reviews, I still do them altering with doing some hobby. Personally, I alternate reviews batches while reading my favorite manga. I read a manga chapter then do twenty reviews, then another manga chapter then another twenty. Skipping them is out of questions. Facing 100+reviews is hell

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Yeah I’m been trying to keep it going at a steady pace. Usually when new lessons come along and I review them I generally get 30% of them right, then 60% the next time, and so on. I think my pacing issue came after winter break came and I didn’t keep up with the website and fell behind a bit.

To build on that, I’ve been trying to figure out my strong and weak areas so that I can see how much I can do a day without going over the top or too slow. Learning Vocab is my strongest area, followed by Kanji, then hardest being radicals.

Radicals are harder for me to remember since they aren’t the literal meaning of the symbol unlike Kanji and Vocab so its harder to memorize them. I often get the answer wrong when I see the Kanji 右 and think in my head, “Oh it’s ‘Right’, みぎ, or , ゆう”. Only to find out I had to answer the radical name which was “stone”. Since from my limited knowledge 右 doesn’t mean stone in any case that I’ve learned so that word never stuck, probably since it doesn’t appear in vocab or the meaning of the Kanji. That’s probably why in reviews with mostly radicals I get around 30% right.

I’ve noticed this as school and ironically the more complicated kanji I see the better I memorize it. While only 4-5 stroke Kanji I’ll spend a week on. For example it took me a week to memorize how to write 万 and memorize that it was “ten thousand”, but as soon as the teacher taught how to write 寺 or 曜 I immediately remembered the meaning and exact stroke order. I don’t know why but it happens.

While 右 is indeed mean right, the radical you had issues with is 石, which really does mean stone. You’ll notice the right direction kanji has a small antenna.

(And I think later you may have meant 時, time instead of 寺, which means a Buddhist temple)

Most of the radicals are indeed standalone kanji that will be taught later (or had been taught earlier). If you install the phonetic-semantic component script, things will probably be easier for you.


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