Beginner Advice?


#1

Hello WaniKani Community! Just starting my journey into the Kanji learning process. The learning is still in the honeymoon phase for me so I’m looking forward to it but, any tips and tricks as this wears off?


#2

Best piece of advice I learned and had to reset a few times to fully grasp:

Don’t go too fast early on thinking it’s too slow. The pace ramps up quite quickly and if you don’t pace properly in the beginning you’ll easily get overwhelmed with reviews.

I would also add, and this is completely subjective, don’t abuse things like reordering items simply to learn all radicals and kanjis to blast through levels at the expense of learning the vocab that help reinforce readings. Your WK level should not be prioritized over actual knowledge. Don’t let the gamification aspect of WK dominate your learning. This thread is a prime example of reorder script abuse.


#3

Don’t give up unless you give up forever.

Getting bored and/or demotivated and putting your studies “on hold” indefinitely will make you feel bad later on when you realize that if you would’ve kept at it, even just for 10-15 minutes a day, you’d now know 500 or 1000 more kanji AND you wouldn’t have forgotten most of what you’ve already learned.

This can be fixed by getting into a habit of studying a little everyday.


#4

Oh boy that was a nice punch, if only I wasn’t lazy and actually stuck to it instead of quickly giving up bcz KaNJi aRe t0O hArd, since last year’s january, today I’d be near level 30-40, maybe even higher


#5

Welcome @paigekakert! My name is Gsai, I am the resident WaniKani genius so please take all of my comments with exact precision. There has already been some helpful advice laid out:

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I’ll add that you should resist the temptation to abuse the “ignore” function (I think this is only available on the mobile [third party] app), which allows you to “ignore” an item that you got wrong. When I started out, I was obsessed with being right and leveling up the whole time, that I would ignore things I got wrong just so that I could push along my leveling progress. This obviously completely defies the SRS system that WaniKani has in place and ruined some of the foundation I should’ve had.
Also, WaniKani is FREE up to level 3, so go ahead and utilize that before purchasing monthly or lifetime subscriptions – if you give WK the chance up to level 3, you’ll get a nice idea of how it works as you get further and into more difficult kanji.

In the end, your efforts will not make you a genius like Einstein, or Freud, or myself, but it will bring you a step closer, and you’ll learn a ton of kanji, seriously. It’s easy, it’s fun, and the community is super helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!


#6

Hello and welcome!

Practice reading early on. You won’t get everything at first, but you’ll be surprised how much you do get, even after just the first 10 levels.

Also, try to set aside some time for grammar study because the kanji won’t work all on their own!

Happy studying!


#7

Once you start getting a few levels in, the total number of “apprentice” cards is something to be mindful of. They get shown to you most frequently, so it has a big impact on what the workload feels like. Might get to a point where there’s too many and it feels a little overbearing.

Usually I aim for about ~100. ~125 is my soft limit. ~150 is where I might try to take an extra day without any new lessons to help clear some stuff out.

But everyone’s different. Up to you. Can opt to do all your available lessons at once, spread it out over a few days, put them on hold until your apprentice level drops down, etc.

As for the honeymoon phase - as it bound to wear off for kanji or Japanese in general - I always just ask myself, “Do I know more than I did yesterday? Alright, then I’m moving forward!” All about steady progress.


#8

Getting something wrong and having a low accuracy at times is not always a bad thing. Sometimes I’m having a bad day and my accuracy drops, my insomnia is playing up, or something is distracting me during lessons, and my mind has difficulty recalling information, or recording information.
Don’t just blast past getting something wrong, have a look at it again, study it again, and it will help it stick next time.
Getting things wrong is an important feature of the process and how it works.

Also everyone learns at different rates, personally my memory is bad, one of the reasons I decided to do this, to try and strengthen it, so if I get an accuracy above 80% I’m happy, but others average 98-99% accuracy and would be upset if it dropped below this.


#9

I’m relatively new here as well, but here’s the simplest, but maybe most important thing I’ve learned.

Create a schedule for yourself so that you’ll always be able to do the first batch of reviews on any new items (4 hours after your initial lessons) right on time.

Wanikani’s review schedule is designed to drill you on items right before you forget them, which sort of tricks your brain into thinking “hey, this information must be important. Let’s keep it in our long-term memory.” This means if you don’t do that 4 hour review right on time, your brain will think the mnemonics and readings aren’t very important, and the information from those lessons is going to start being purged from your memory and you’ll basically have to start over.

What works for me is this… I do all my lessons about 4 hours before I go to bed. This way the first batch of reviews on those items is ready at about bedtime, and I always do them the second they become available. The second batch of reviews on those items is 8 hours later, which is conveniently about when I wake up, so I do that batch while I drink my coffee for double the kanji reinforcement.

But yeah, keeping the first review session in mind, create a schedule that works for you and stick to it. If you really want to learn all the kanji and vocab wanikani offers, you’re going to be doing this every single day for at least a year and half, so get comfy.

Also, welcome to the community. :slight_smile:


#10

Hello and Welcome to WK!

My main tip is to try and make studying daily a habit, something you do everyday at the same time. It’s a boring tip, but it’s really important to make studying a habit.

I recommend trying to get a good texbook to study grammar points as well.


#11

Well put. I think it’s important not to get in the mindset of “I got this many items wrong” in your reviews. Any time I miss a reading or a meaning I take it to mean nothing more than “I need to reviews this item.” So I review the trouble item right then and there during the review (it’s called a “review” after all)… I review the mnemonics, consider why they might not be sticking, sometimes I write my own mnemonic that ends up working better, maybe draw out the kanji or write out the vocabulary by hand, whatever.

Basically, if you miss a reading or a meaning or you forget a mnemonic, slow down! Give that word some love.


#12

Prioritize reviews over lessons.
Do not skip vocab.

Welcome!


#13

Yeah, some items stick with me very easily, others I have trouble with, and it’s a completely personal experience. For example, I find red very easy because “Akka” is local slang for angry and your face goes red when you’re angry. “He’s going Akka” means “He’s getting angry”.
But other’s wouldn’t make that connection. I don’t even know what Wanikani’s mnemonic for Red is, I don’t think I even read it because I made this link instantly lol.


#14

Do reviews every day. It’s fine to not tackle lessons every day, but SRS is going to help you most if you keep up on reviews.


#15

This is all you need to know. Don’t worry about how fast you are leveling up compared to others. People who go faster, while not being consistent will remember less than you will if you go slower but maintain your review consistency.