Average level completion rate? And possible goals

Hey all, I don’t even remember if I’ve posted here before but I’m officially a subscriber now (was awfully cool of them to offer a discount after you pass up the lifetime sale lol) but am still only level 4. I spend more time with reviews than lessons, but would like some clarity:

Do you always level up when the Lessons are finished? And will there always be 100+ lessons for every new level now? I feel like this’ll take ages with my current rate… but I should know everything pretty well in the process, I guess. I try not to add like 20 lessons to my review at once unless they’re radicals. Obviously there’s no “right” answer on how to proceed but I started in like November… So it seems I’m going at a snail’s pace overall.

As far as goals: To everyone’s experience, do you agree with Tofugu’s suggestion to wait until level 10 here to really buckle down on learning grammar? I’ve read some intro stuff in Tae Kim’s guide but have mostly been putting it off. Will I regret that? Or do you agree with waiting until level 10 so you know most of the words you’ll see, like Tofugu initially suggests?

And for those of you who may be finished (level 60): What kind of reading proficiency can I really expect to have with just this site and grammar studies? I’m also thinking about exchange teaching in Japan (granted this virus situation ever settles down…) and am hoping for an end goal of localization editing. Even if I may botch the spoken language, I’d like to be able to read with great proficiency one day. Maybe within 5 years? Possible?

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

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You level up when you have guru’d at least 90% of the kanji for that level. You unlock a kanji or vocab lesson after guring everything it depends on (as well as reaching that level).

This means that most levels have two steps required to advance. First, you need to guru all the radicals for that level to unlock the kanji. Then you need to guru all the kanji for that level. Then you level up and repeat the process. Vocab doesn’t matter at all for leveling, but it’s still important because it reinforces the kanji.


It takes me forever to learn all the vocabulary after learning all the kanji for that lesson, but it is worth the effort. You can’t speak or read the language without vocabulary.

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Regarding waiting until level 10 for grammar: If you have extra time to spend, and you want to take a crack at grammar sooner, go for it. If you find that lack of kanji knowledge is getting in the way, either find a resource that is less kanji-centric, or put grammar on hold until you’ve gained a few more levels on WK.


You have 3 posts here now. Welcome back, your last post was 4 months ago:

Note that there is a difference between studying grammar and familiarizing yourself with some key concepts of the grammar. I’m in pretty much the same boat, but started on some of the grammar anyway, because I got annoyed at the fact that I was learning verbs but had no idea how to actually use them.

Concepts like ichidan/godan for verbs and whether a noun is a -な adjective have gotten me to pay more attention to some of the other information that is provided when learning vocab. Stuff that I was ignoring up to that point.

My advice is to go ahead and start, albeit not with the intention of memorizing everything right off the bat - note that the reason Tofugu gives for waiting is that once you recognise more words, you’ll have an easier time with context sentences and practice. I do intend to hold off on the serious studying until I’ve gotten a firmer grip on my reading.

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I only found WK after almost a full year of studying Japanese, so you can do whatever.

With regard to pace… if you can get some study time in twice a day every day, I think that ~8 days a level is really pretty manageable. I do roughly 6-7am and 6-7pm, somewhere in those windows, and can hit things pretty consistently when they come up. I only take new lessons when I know I’ll have time 4 hours later when they come up for the first time. I really think getting that first review on time helps a lot with retention.


This is nonsense. there is no reason not to start grammar straight away. Tae Kim can be a bit impenetrable as a learning resource (great reference though).

Try the Cure dolly Videos on You tube or the Apps LingoDeer or Human Japanese.


I’m in the same boat. I’ve been studying mostly the spoken language with a Tutor though Italki, Pimsleur app, Memrise, and Human Japanese app for 2 years. I still feel like a beginner even though I’ve been studying pretty much every day for 2 years. Study whatever seems interesting to you in whatever format works well for you. If it feels like a chore try a different method. I just started WaniKani a month or so ago and really like it since I haven’t really focused on Kanji yet.

I really liked human Japanese when I first started. It explains Grammer and sentence structure in a very relatable way.

I watched a Cure Dolly video, but I didn’t like it much. I’d recommend Japanese Ammo instead.

I have an online tutor here in Japan from a company that is a well known language school. Its kinda expensive but its an average amount here for Japan as a language school in comparison with others. If you feel you need better structure to progress let me know. I’ve been with them about 3 months and my speaking and grammar has improved exponentially.

Just want to say I appreciate your username. I graduated from that school!

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I think they suggested it so that you would get into a routine you would stick to. If you find a grammar resource that you will continue with and use, by all means start now.

You will regret not doing grammar when you end up at Level 21 and have to learn what だが is in order to understand だが断る (But I refuse.)

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I’m surprised no one’s recommended it yet, but you sound like someone who definitely needs to read the beginner’s guide. Much about using wanikani is learning how wanikani itself works. If you make your schedule 9am, 1pm, 9pm everyday for example you can level up in 7 days, which is the fastest possible.
My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )


I’m also living Japan and looking for a tutor. What company do you use? My last experience with an online tutor, about a month ago now, was less than satisfactory. Some teachers just refuse to type in kanji. I tell them I know the kanji, please write it, but they insist on romaji like we gaijin could never really learn :man_shrugging:

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Honestly, that should be linked before you can make a non-Campfire topic.

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wait, romaji? Not even kana?

Yeah that would be great. We’re seeing heaps of these threads where if they just read the guide it would answer pretty much all their questions.

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Yeah I’ve had that happen with multiple teachers both online and in person. Ive used minna no nihongo from day 1 which is 100% japanese. It’s like…come on…romaji is the worst thing you can do to yourself.

yeah farout, it should be your first thing to get out of romaji asap.