Cheating to prevent quitting

Hi! It’s my first time posting. I just want to share my wanikani experience, so please be kind :sweat_smile: and sorry if my English is weird.

I have never been bright at learning. English isn’t even my mother tongue and I can’t even struggle with English. I am supposed to know Spanish because of family, but I wasn’t able to learn it. I suspect that learning language isn’t my domain but I still want to challenge myself to learn Japanese of all languages. I tried before, but again, learning new words without using them I just forget everything and it demotivating.

Last summer, I was able to overhear someone using Wanikani and wanted to give it a try. I loved the mnemonics and thought it was genius, until I reached higher levels. The kanjis appearance made sense in the beginning and the stories helped me remember. Now that I’m at lvl 20 I’ve startet cheating. Well I started earlier… Not because I want to complete wanikani as fast as possible, but I want to learn more vocabs so that I can feel the feeling of mastery when I read japanese news, or when I will begin reading manga. I still have to work on my grammar.

But again cheating… It started small like, “Of course! I know this, let’s just redo and let it pass.” I had a rule for cheating. But I did myself a “bear service” as we call it in Norwegian. a disservice I guess. It only made my wanikani experience even harder later on when i was time to burn. I did only learn 10 new lessons a day from the beginning because I’ve read that it was smart to keep a low phase. Today, I only learn 5 new a day. 10 new a day started to accumulate enough to make me stressed.

Now, I’ve made a new rule: do not burn vocabs you can’t read, but let the kanji pass. Why? To prevent me for quitting wanikani, and I’ve noticed that I know how to read vocabs with multiple kanji easier than remember the reading of a single kanji.

I know if things gets to difficult and not fun, ill quit and hate myself for it. I tell myself that I can always look the kanji up or release the kanji from burned when I feel im able to take on that task again. You dont know how many times I wantet to throw my phone on the ground. (I’m working on controlling my emotions toward failing). But when I walk around and remember new vocabs out of the blue, and when I recognize words when watching anime, I get happy and excited. That’s why I cheat, to keep myself wanting to keep learning Japanese and have fun!

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Language learning is hard. It just is. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to get through WK and it’s a struggle for all, even those with prior knowledge of Japanese.

I think that for learning, you can end up feeling saturated with the knowledge. If so, take a step back and let what you’ve learnt so far sink in. Your brain will thank you for it.

Then, once you feel like you own that platform/stage of your learning, all that knowledge, it’s time to head on toward new challenges, and continue to learn more things.

I guess, you’re doing what you think is necessary, but I still feel I need to say that I think your choices here will come back to haunt you. Much more so than if you were taking things even slower, or even decided to reset to a lower level and do things over, but this time properly by uninstalling all scripts that lets you override wrong answers. After all, there is no such thing as “winning” WK. You can only win knowledge if you put effort into it. It’s learning, not a game. And in that sense, there is no cheating either - either you know something or you don’t.

You have lifetime, so you do have time in your favor here.

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Learning Japanese is never going to be easy (also I think your English is excellent, don’t be so hard on yourself!)

As someone who has reset twice, I recommend that you try to avoid shortcuts and cheats. The truth of it (or at least for me), is that there is no cheating Wani Kani. It takes time, a loooooot of mistakes (and I mean a lot), and patience.

Try reading a few bits outside of class. Writing sentences with words you have learnt. Really try to push your brain further into the word usage to help yourself out. It all adds up, and makes word memorisation much easier.

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There are userscripts which add more context to review which you might find useful. One adds example vocab to kanji reviews, and another adds example sentences to vocab reviews. I’ve used this setup for a few levels in the past and it does make Wanikani easier, but in a way that isn’t quite as ‘cheaty’ as simply redoing an answer that you got wrong.

I have no idea if they are still working after the recent updates btw

I think it helps to quiz Kanji out of context, and try to recall the context yourself. There are difficulties, in contrast with vocabularies and actual reading, but it should be rewarding in the end.

It’s pretty much always good to recall more than WaniKani teaches. We have learning and usage outside WaniKani too after all.

The way I recall Kanji reading and meaning, is similar to recalling several vocabularies having that Kanji. I saw someone do, Guru the Kanji, to unlock vocabularies, then, revisit the Kanji later – I don’t think that is a bad idea. Another idea is pre- self-study for vocabularies without SRS. (Also, there are sometimes more Kanji readings, or even meanings, than what are taught in WaniKani.)

There is another thing might help, especially if relying on SRS is going to fail. Invest in memorizing too. It’s not only about limited lesson count per day, though not too many lessons per day might help with making your work real.

Memorizing items outside context is just a makeshift measure. Nonetheless, to be able to use vocabularies and Kanji when time comes, you need to have raw materials in advance.

Don’t kid yourself. Uninstall all of the redo scripts, they are for cheats. Reconcile yourself to the fact that if you get the word wrong, you do not know it well enough.

If you cheat, the only person you are cheating is yourself. Remember, nobody else cares. The important thing is to learn Japanese.

If you find Wanikani is too hardcore, try something else for a while and come back to it. You have a whole lifetime to accomplish your goal.

When you finally decide to do Wanikani properly, without cheats or scripts, do it and do Kaniwani as well. Kaniwani will test if you really know the word or if you are just kidding yourself.

Good luck

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This is satire, right? Redo is for cheating?

First of all, english isnt theirs first language, doing WK without redo script is basically asking to quit out of frustration for some foreigners (me including). Sure, i dont think that “cheating” is the way to go, but OP didnt really specify when and how he decided to redo answers, if he is fine doing it this way, is aware of the negatives it might cause and still learns while doing so, why judge him?

Also i dont think Kaniwani is that good of a tool, WK vocab isnt made with eng->jp in mind, theres lot of synonyms and uncommon vocab you dont have to learn, spending that time elsewhere will yield better results.

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That is not true, there are different levels / stages of “knowing” something. For example, only being able to recognise something in context, or knowing an item roughly, but not exactly, knowing the reading to 90% but misremembering the length of a vowel etc.

You said, WK should not be a game and I agree. In the end, SRS is a means to an end and you gain exactly nothing from following its rules to a T. You yourself have to decide at which point your knowledge is good enough to proceed. Ultimately, true learning needs to happen through engaging with the language, SRS is just a (albeit very useful) crutch.

Obviously, if you’re not very experienced with Japanese and/or learning Japanese in general, it can be useful to “follow the rules” a bit more at least initially, but in the end everyone has to own their own learning and that includes knowing what needs review and what doesn’t because it’s not important enough (e.g. baseball vocab).

I vehemently reject any and all implication that using scripts is “cheating”. That’s just moral grandstanding and gatekeeping.

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A semantics protest. I’m not in disagreement though. It’s as you say, but it sort of misses the main point for the comment.

About cheating…you’ll just have to reread my comment about that.

Btw, we also say “Bärendienst” in German, I had no idea you could say that in Norwegian, too :smiley:

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Only you know best what works for you. There is even a school of thought that says it’s only useful to learn kanji within words rather than in isolation, so if you don’t “cheat” on vocabulary but only on kanji, you’ll still get there eventually. You won’t be strictly following the Wanikani method, but that’s not the issue anyway.

What I would recommend is to supplement your Japanese studying with something else, if you don’t already do that - preferably reading. I didn’t “cheat” to get to level 60 (although I did use a script for mistakes I didn’t think mattered, like valid synonyms or close enough answers, to be completely honest), but I find I only actually internalize the words when I encounter them (multiple times) in reading. I have often had to look up words I was supposed to know from Wanikani, but it’s only in context (kanji within a word, and word within a sentence, and sentence within a broader context), that this knowledge makes sense, forms connections and solidifies.

In short, I wouldn’t worry too much about cheating, as long as you don’t rely solely on Wanikani. Make an effort to see those kanji in as many contexts as you can, and eventually I promise they will stick. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes of course ‘redo’ is for cheating. If you knew the word properly, you would answer it correctly. Stop kidding yourself, you just don’t know the word well enough if you got it wrong. Keep repeating it until you get it right.

As for Kaniwani, yes there is the issue of synonyms. This problem can be alleviated by adding synonyms to vocabulary where appropriate. But beware, because many words have subtle differences in meaning/nuance/grammar etc. Kaniwani is very very good at teaching you these nuances by sheer brute repetition. For example, Kaniwani schooled me in transitive/intransitive verb usage much more thoroughly than Wanikani.

Implying that knowing a Japanese word is only possible if you know a specific English translation of a word that wanikani wants, and not even allowing for bad typos?

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My apologies, im still not certain if this is satire or not. Surely you dont mean to tell me that i can only understand the japanese word if i can correctly input its english translation without typo or accidentally using synonym WK doesnt expect me to, right?

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Yes, I agree it is silly that sometimes for example ‘agree’ is not accepted because ‘agreement’ is the correct answer but that is what ‘add synonym’ is for. I must admit though most of the time I just try to remember the verb form that is required as I cannot be bothered entering a synonym.

As for non native English speakers, I do sympathise

Hi Nirgan, of course my posts are not satire. There is the option that if you perfectly understand the Japanese word you can add your own synonyms in your native language.

If you’re cheating by abusing the ‘redo’ button (which is what is this thread is about) then that’s another story.

But the wonderful thing is that no one cares! The only person you are cheating is yourself :slight_smile:

I i see, of course it can be used for cheating and this case it most likely is, as author is saying,we can agree on that.

I just cant agree with the advice to get ride of that tool, thats like last resort move for people with no self controll who need strict control.

I could see synonyms being a half decent alternative if your answer got accepted immediately upon adding it as synonym, but because it does not, it will punish you for no reason. This isnt a big deal for one item once, but if it happens multiple times a day and then you guess another not yet added synonym next time, thats just demotivating time consuming hell.

Also sometimes you can think about the exact concept for that vocab, but putting it into words just isnt ideal and you will lose some meaning no matter which words you chose.
For that reason i think even anki mode is valid option for some people, just answering “know” or “dont know” similarly to as in anki, its probably not the best to start with because some people might think that こ and こう are similar enough, yet its quite important to, but eventually you will realise what can get a pass and what cant (which depends on individual persons mindset and priorities) - lot of people learn without WK mainly via Anki in the first place and it works for them, so why not? (but i didnt go that far myself with WK)

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This is the same trap I fell into.

I learned about 2,000 words and forgot probably 1,500 of them before I ever started reading. (This was not using WaniKani, so I wasn’t really learning the kanji.) I wasted so much time.


Start learning grammar today.

Once you have some grammar, join one of the Absolute Beginner Book Club books/manga.

You won’t be able to read at first.

You have to decipher every sentence you see. You need to figure out the grammar and vocabulary in each sentence, each panel, on each page.

The more you decipher sentences, the easier it gets over time.

You’ll learn a lot of grammar along the way. Eventually, your brain will start recognizing patterns of grammar and vocabulary, and you’ll start to feel like you are actually reading.


Since you have WaniKani lifetime and are on level 20, I recommend the following:

  1. Stop doing new lessons.
  2. Continue doing reviews.
  3. Start/continue learning grammar until you’ve learned about 20 different kinds of grammar.
    • This can be 20 chapters from a textbook like Genki, or the first 20 videos from Cure Dolly’s subtitled “Japanese From Scratch” series on YouTube.
  4. Join the Absolute Beginner Book Club. Learn more grammar through the club discussion threads.
  5. Continue deciphering native Japanese material (manga, news articles, etc) until you start to feel like you are reading.
  6. Start doing WaniKani lessons again.

This is my recommendation.

Some people will agree with it.

Some people will disagree with it.

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I think people have different tolerance levels for engaging with native content. I personally prefer learning more grammar and vocab and working through “less natural” input (textbook dialogues, graded readers, etc.) before plunging headlong into native content. Other people find Genki readings etc. too boring and prefer to engage with something they find interesting, even if it’s more work. I think both work.

I definitely agree with you that they should probably branch out from WK, learn about grammar (and common vocab) and engage with the Japanese language in some sort of way.

As for all of the “cheating” discussion, whatever. Some people here like to judge how other people choose to learn, apparently.

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This is one reason I recommend people try both. By trying a grammar-learning route to give some grammar background, then trying reading (with the intent to decipher at first), there’s exposure to both methods and hopefully one of the methods will prove to be useful.

The question should always be, “Are you advancing with this method?”

If yes, then it should be considered an acceptable method. Maybe there’s a better method, but one should be advancing.

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