Be honest: How many "tries" do you need

I’m curious about how many tries you need on new items before it starts to stick.

I did a whole bunch of lessons today, and I know from past experience that somewhere between 50-75% will have stuck from the lessons, but the other 25-50% will have not stuck and I will get either the meaning or reading wrong 3 to 5 times before it finally starts to stick.

So be honest (there’s no right or wrong answers lol)

How many attempts after a fresh lesson do you usually make for an item before it finally starts to stick and you can progress through apprentice and onward?


If I’m honest, usually no more than 1. My overall accuracy is around 95%. Of course there are leeches that I can’t remember after hundreds of reviews…

I would spend quite a bit of time on lessons though. Read the mnemonics a few times, write the kanji on paper, check visually similar kanji etc. I would also check the vocab and see if there’re any words I know already.

Also, I don’t do large batches of lessons. No more then 20 usually. And try doing the reviews on the clock, 4 hours later. The review intervals work really well for my memory.


1 gang rise up


I’m old (50), so I don’t know if this matters.

If I learn new kanji in the morning, I usually get them. Mid-day, about half remember, half forget. Afternoon/Evening, next morning I have no idea. [not alcohol related…]

I’ve never tried as hard as d-hermit lists, I think I will try that and see if it makes a difference.


Depends on the kanji. If it’s something I can guess the reading for (e.g. obvious compositions), then usually only 1. If it’s a reading with a mnemonic I can easily recognize then it’ll often stick quite fast too. If not then I’ll usually just end up getting it wrong for 2 days in a row before it finally sticks :grin:


I’m only level 6 so this may change later with more complex kanji but right now I usually remember them right away. Mnemonics work really well on me, and I rarely do more than 20 lessons a day.

Yeah, I experience that a lot of the time I either get it instantly or it becomes a leech. I find that it helps to not do lessons quickly. I can do a lot in one go (I often do 40+) but I do that across an extended period of time where I am doing other things too, which makes sure that it enters long-term memory.


Yeah, it can get harder (toady I learnt 整 for arrange), especially for kanji/vocabulary that look similar. See 動く vs 働く :sweat_smile:

I’m much younger (48. ha ha) and OMG, I have exactly the same pattern as you do. Alcohol in the evening certainly does not help although it tends to make Wanikani more fun :see_no_evil:


Yeah some kanji already get me confused, like 万 and 方 :sweat_smile:

Yeah, it’s an amazing difference between how well my brain operates in the am vs the pm.

A big difference is whether I’m learning a new word with the kanji, or a kanji for a word that I already knew. And some words just stick, some are just surprises.

kindama (金玉) for example, I always thought that was slang until I learned the kanji for it.

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Naturally people will want to tell you how brilliant their memories are :slight_smile:
But I think most mortals need extra time with some things. I get some straight away but others come back again and again and again (I’m looking at you miserable okonau to perform).
Also I (like others) am tired at the moment and my accuracy has dropped noticeably. But I’m too stubborn to give up. Even if this is my longest level ever because I know I can’t take on more lessons until I get my apprentice down!
Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others. WK is great because it makes you face the very things you can’t remember. People who don’t need the repetition probably don’t really need WK so much!


by level 10 twice I had the words memorized, but now on level 17 I have even 5 or 6 times. I start to confuse with early level words.

If I hit my afternoon and evening reviews at the right time, it’s about 90-95% with the remainder being leeches.

If, as often happens, that next Apprentice review goes to the next day, it’s about 70%. But I know that I’ll pick up most of that the same day and the leeches will be leeches.

It mostly depends on how rushed I am and what else is going on in my life. Some days everything sticks from the first session, sometimes I have a week or two where I can keep confusing half of the learned kanji :man_shrugging:

On average, I’d say 3 - 5 times for those that I don’t already know.


Appalling memory here. My scores usually waver between 50-85%. At 48, I struggle. I will rewrite the notes until I come up with a mnemonic that sticks.

Also took up the violin again in midlife and found my ability to recall more than about eight bars of music pretty poor. I had to learn on movement of a Bach partita from memory. It took FOREVER. Not holding up huge hope for recall improvement but I know stubborn persistence and consistent practice does pay off in my case in the very long term. And I am very very persistent if nothing else.


Depends on the items and how many I learn in one batch. Kanji are generally harder, maybe 2-3 tries. When I know the kanji, most vocab sticks immediately. I noticed I should never do more than 10 kanji lessons at once, because otherwise I would get half of them wrong later. A big factor is also the time you spend between a lesson and the first time you review it. When I sticked to the 4h interval for the first review, I had much better memory of the new lessons than when I did them after 6h or 8h. It seems like my brain puts content of new lessons in a short time memory with a half life of 2-5h, so I really need to repeat after a few hours to make items stick.


I usually get 55-75% on my first run of reviews for new things. 2nd run will be about 10-15% higher then things start to stick.


I adjusted my lesson approach - spent a little more time on the lessons themselves, and going through the lesson summary page a few hours after doing the lessons (basically I inserted an apprentice I review round without doing the actual reviews), then letting another apprentice I time window pass (4+ hours) before doing the actual reviews. It resulted in nearly everything moving through the apprentice stages without delay.
Of course, it really only matters if you have that strange urge to keep a tight grip on your level-up status (like I did).

My accuracy on the new kanji reviews was terrible until I downloaded the Self-Study Quiz script and used it to drill myself on all of the new lessons right after learning them. Now I get 90-100% accuracy on my first batch of reviews after doing lessons. Like others have said, putting a little more time and energy into your lessons initially ends up paying off a lot in the long run.