Be honest: How many "tries" do you need

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.

until about level 11-12, my accuracy rate on first review was in the low seventies.

i have since upped my game. i spend much more time on lessons (2-3 minutes per kanji); i really figure out the mnemonic, with adaptations as necessary so that it sticks and covers all the radicals in the kanji. and about half an hour after lessons, i have a quick review (just visually look at the kanji, and recite mnemonics and readings to myself).

my accuracy on first review is now in the high nineties, and remains high as the level progresses.

I do few lessons (10-15) and I usually remember them in the next reviews, in apprentice I do few mistakes, I have some, of course. I also try to always hit the 4 hour review and be close on the 8 hours too. I usually have more trouble with the long term memory and I make more mistakes going from guru to master and master to enlightened.
My overall accuracy (wkstats one) is pretty good at around 97%.

Honestly, I know a little Chinese so that helps with the meanings and rarely, the readings. With others, I usually remember it after two tries, others, I can really struggle with.

Nice to see all your replies! I’m just gonna reply to some of the main points people bring up here instead of individually replying.

As for time: I too have times when I seem to be more of a sponge, but whatever. I also do lessons while under the influence of painkillers which is a terrible idea haha but I do get them eventually so, meh.

As for the amount of lessons: I’m online all day, so it’s usually faster for me to do ALL my lessons as quickly as possible, and then maybe fail a few of the early apprentice reviews than to space out the lessons. Sometimes though, when I’ve got a lot of lessons from a level up I might get tired or bored and do them in batches of 30 or so.

Lessons themselves: For radicals, I read the meaning, move on. For Kanji, I look at the meaning and the reading (if I need to. I have been dancing around Japanese for almost 20 years, so my kanji and vocab are all over the place just from being exposed through other sources so I know some level 2 kanji/vocab and some level 20 kanji/vocab) and move on. For vocab, I look at the meaning and reading if I need to and then read the example sentences, and move on. I’m a firm believer in you either know it or you don’t. I like to get through them as quick as possible to start practicing.

As for mnemonics, I ignore them. Mnemonics are BS in my opinion (although I don’t judge if they work for you), and I find it takes more time, effort and memory space to remember a silly story than to just recognise it on sight. Also, I personally detest the WK mnemonics in particular, because they rarely teach the correct pronunciation of the word.

I find that early mistakes really help it stick. I have some leeches (particularly body/rest) that I will occasionally get wrong, but typically I don’t get many wrong once they pass from Apprentice to Guru. That said, I have absolutely no problems with making mistakes, I just don’t like it when dumb typos hinder progression XD


Right now I have 40 lessons left and at level up I had like 100, I’m pretty sure I’ll forget many more of them for the first reviews if I did all of them at once rather than my usual 15.That’s why you can’t really compare.

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Somewhere between 1 to 4 times. Mostly depend if i know it before or not(and if mnemonic make sense)
On the other hand i still got friends from level 1

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