Back to square one

Hello everyone,

I wanted to share with you my small experience with Wanikani, and may be help newcomers with a similar background to avoid the mistake I did.

I started Wanikani, like a certain number of people here, with some Japanese background, i.e. I had the JPLT N3 and already learned 1500 kanji or so. I came here to finish the remaining kanji and may be dust off the previous ones, already quite hazy.

As I used the Remembering the Kanji by Heisig, I basicaly skipped the radicals, keeping the meaning I already knew and rushed through lessons, not reading any of the given information, wanting to get as fast as possible to the new stuff.

Now, I realize the mistake I made: the kanji and vocab I learned are quite inconsistent, the mnemonic erratic, barely 90% accuracy on words I was suppose to know, level up ranging from 7 days to 20, mix up similar kanji as I did not properly learn each radical and basically just did image learning…

My realization: half-assed learning give half-assed results (shocker, I know). There is no shortcut to WaniKani, having previous knowledge does not make you go faster and is not an excuse to work lightly. Has stated, effective learning comes with thorough and mindful pratice, not with Kanji review while watching TV.

I therefore decided to just reset my account and restart my journey from the bottom, but doing it right this time !

(this is a personal feedback, your millage may vary)


Welcome back, Kalas!

Thank you for your insight. This is really important for me to remember since I feel like I am rushing through WK, myself.

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Moved this from #wanikani:feedback to #wanikani since the #wanikani:feedback subcategory is intended for feedback on Wanikani itself (i.e. what is done well and what could be done better).

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I dunno. Previous knowledge makes me go faster, but I still try to learn the stuff I’m going through here. My accuracy so far is 95%, I expect it to drop markedly once I reach level 15-20.

A 7 to 20 day level up time seems within normal values. 20 days is perhaps a bit too long, but it’s not too bad.

Guess I agree that half assed learning gives half-assed results.

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Totally agree! I noticed that wanting to go faster and going through the lessons just to get them done, makes it way harder to retain the information. It’s not a race.

Good luck on the new run :smiley:

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I’m pretty new, but have been looking at trying a seven day cycle.
This is a timely reminder that as much as WK is gameified to help motivation, the point is to learn efficiently and accurately - not just unlock levels. I may back off my pace a bit I suspect…
I think your logic is spot on. Good luck!!

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Wow, that’s quite the tale! What level did you reset from? Really wish you all the best for your second run :slight_smile:


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@finnra : Yea of course, previous knowledge do make you learn faster, but as you said, it clearly does not exempt you from actually re-learning it here. Skimming through was my mistake.

@Radish8 : from level 16… It’s quite a step-back but the idea to master these levels and their items instead of just more or less know them truly motivate me (for now :stuck_out_tongue: )

Ah, ok. That is quite a step back, but at least it’s not, like, level 48 or something! I really hope it’s a super positive experience going forward :slight_smile:

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It’s always impressive when someone can look at themselves introspectively and objectively and proceed to try and remedy what they see and don’t like. It’s such a difficult thing to do, perhaps especially with the small things. Glad you’re not giving up and are improving your Wanikani experience.


I think prior knowledge does help, though. I also had N3, good vocabulary base and like ten years or consuming various Japanese media. The most basic thing I’m lacking in is kanji. On WaniKani, I’ve had to enter a lot of things I already know but it’s ok. It’s just revising and immersion in it’s own way. It’s really hard for me to imagine what WaniKani is like for people with zero knowledge on Japanese haha.

Anyway, welcome back! As you said, half-assed learning is no good and doesn’t benefit you at all in the long run.

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Good luck with starting back up! My one piece of advice…Regardless of how long you plan to take to level up, make sure you follow the SRS times really tightly. Some people who level up slowly seem to have trouble remembering items because they don’t follow the SRS, but as long as you let it do its thing, taking your time leveling up should not get in the way of retention. 頑張れ。


my background is… i just started. I’ve been keeping a study log (for science!) and i’m comfortable reading kana now and that’s it. next weekend I’ll get a printer and start writing it… thanks for your input though. it reinforces what I’ve been working to convince myself: don’t rush. I wanted to get the Heisig book but this looked like a better choice in the long run. Plus, radicals seem kinda fun.


Ah, if you plan on writing kanji, I recommend using the Stroke Order script. It’s quite useful for not having to pop over to another site like Jisho and shows up on both lessons and reviews~. :smiley:

OP, great attitude to be able to take the step back and solidify your foundation. Hope you find your decision beneficial. :slightly_smiling_face:


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