Coming back to WaniKani and now have less time to study

Hi all, I’m hoping for some advice please on a few points.

Here’s the current situation:

My WaniKani History

I started and loved it.

I was eager to learn as much, and as fast as I could, so I installed lots of scripts and always went for Lessons when I could. Around the first few levels this was great.

Then I became overwhelmed with the amount of Reviews I had, I tried to keep up but found it difficult. Then, kids and a demanding job meant I had less time to study and so stopped.

This year I started again. I’m limited on the amount of time I can spend learning a day, 10 minutes would be ideal, 20 minutes doable, 30 minutes rare. Whilst picking it back up and only concentrating on Reviews I’ve found that I struggle to remember things and thinking of rolling back a few Levels, or even starting again from the beginning.


  1. Given my stats, what do you think about going back a few Levels vs starting again vs keeping going with 600+ Reviews?

  2. In the beginning I never really concentrated on memorising specifically which was the Onyomi and Kunyomi reading, just that this ‘felt’ like this reading, or another. I’m wondering if people specifically memorise which is which from the start, or if this is something you more pick up further down the line?

  3. Is there a calculation to help with working out if you spent ‘x’ amount of time a day, what the average level up time would be, given that you did ‘y’ amount of Reviews and ‘z’ amount of ‘Lessons’? or any advice on what I should try next? e.g. Start again, do 15 minutes a day, concentrate on Lessons over Reviews and you should hit Level 60 in 4-5 years.

  4. Apart from WaniKani, I have the ‘First Thousand Words in Japanese’ and also the ‘SEGA TOYS Anpanman Japanese & English Talk a lot Words Book SuperDX Japan’ both are great and we very much enjoy :slight_smile: Are there any other resources you’d recommend for learning with a 3 year old?

Thanks in advance everyone!

どうもありがとうございます :man_bowing:t2:

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I know I’m way too new to have a legitimate opinion, but I’ve restarted from level 3 to 1. I don’t go near as fast as others, I take lessons 5 or 10 at a time and wait until I’m kind of confident I’ll remember them before I do the next 5 or 10 at a time. Works well for me anyway.

Onyomi and Kunyomi, if I’m supposed to remember which is which, then I’m certainly failing at that part and may have to do some extra studying, hopefully someone else can chime in there.

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I’m only at Level 13, so no expert, but I too have a Kid and not that much time to study, so maybe my opinion is helpful.

I would restart from Level 1, you are not that far in that it is worth doing 600 reviews. Should be faster so start over.

And then I would skip all those scripts. Don’t do all the lessons and overwhelm yourself with reviews, forgetting everything you have learned in the lessons.

I would recommend doing lessons in small batches like this:
Radicals - do all at once, its not that difficult and you only have 1 review per Radical, not two questions like with everything else.

Kanji - Do 5 or 10 a Day (maybe more in the beginning but not more than 15!), not more.

Vocab - Do 10 or 15, depending on how many reviews you have piled on and how good those go.

I will always do all my reviews before new lessons. I do them at least 2 times a day, in the best case when they appear. With this you have only a few every time and you can do this in little breaks (like on the toilet or waiting on the train).
I do my lessons every morning (so the reviews for thos will appear 2 times on the day I did the lesson) on each working day, but not on the weekend. This helps to leave Apprentice Items under 100. I would advice not going over 100 Apprentice Items, becaus otherwise there will be too many reviews.

I level up roughly every 21 days. Thats not fast, but I can manage this and do some grammar lessons on the side without being totaly overwhelmed.


Going to preface this by saying that spending just 10 minutes a day on WK would be very nearly impossible. I think you could do 30 and finish in a fairly reasonable amount of time (I’d estimate maybe 4-5 years), but any less than that, and I feel like it would just take so long to progress, it wouldn’t be worth it. Is this all the time you have in your day for Japanese, period, or just what you’ve budgeted for WK? If that’s all the time you have for studying in general, you’ll have a very long road ahead of you.

As for the questions:

  1. Yes, given that you’re only level 7 and seem to be operating on a very tight schedule, I’d reset.
  2. You’ll figure out on and kun readings with time. The on’yomi readings have a much more limited set of sounds, and you’ll quickly get a sense for what those tend to be.
  3. I’d choose a consistent number of lessons to do each day that lets you stay under your strict time parameters. For you, 5 lessons a day might be about as fast as you can go. I believe that should let you reach level 60 in roughly 5 years and shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes a day. At the beginning, it will be an especially light workload, but will increase as more items enter circulation before roughly stabilizing 6 months in. However, for even this speed to work, you’d need to be able to do WK at least three times a day (though at least one of those times will be extremely brief): first your lessons, then review them 4 hours later, then 8 hours after that.
  4. I don’t have any advice here, unfortunately!

Thanks so much for the replies everyone.

I did it! I’ve reset :open_mouth:

For the level 60 in ~5 years at 30 mins, would that be:

  1. 8am: 5 Lessons (unless there’s radicals, in which case do them all?).
  2. 12pm: However many reviews I can do in 10 minutes.
  3. 8pm: However many reviews I can do in 10 minutes.

Thanks in advance!

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Does this refer to only Wanikani or for all of Japanese?

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Yes, you could probably do all the radicals in one go and handle that, I think!

And the most important thing to do with your second and third sessions is to make sure that you get to all of the new lesson items so that you can review them and send them to the next SRS stage. The first review stage is 4 hours, and the second is 8 hours, so ideally you want to pass as many items as you can on both of those stages. Your memory will be better if you get to them soon, and also it’ll help you advance at a regular pace. Once they’re past those first two stages, it doesn’t matter as much when you get to them, because the review interval gets longer.

Generally, what I do is do my new lessons in the morning along with any reviews from overnight. As long as you stick to your schedule and do your night reviews before going to bed, you shouldn’t have many in the morning. Then the middle session is very short, not even ten minutes, because usually it just has the new lesson items and nothing else. Most of your reviews will probably end up accumulating at 8pm for you.

I’d estimate it’ll probably go more like this:

  1. 8am: 5 lessons (if radicals, do them all) + any standing reviews: 10 minutes.
  2. 12pm: All reviews (~5): less than 5 minutes.
  3. 8pm: All reviews: 10 minutes.

Obviously those are just estimations, and the beginning will certainly take way less time than that, but I think this is about where things will probably stabilize if you manage to keep this up for six months. I’d try to clear all of your reviews every day if possible. If you get to a point where you can’t do that, you’ll need to slow down on lessons even further.

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Just WK, I also do the 'First Thousand Words in Japanese’ and ‘SEGA TOYS Anpanman Japanese & English Talk a lot Words Book SuperDX Japan’ with my son. Open to other suggestions I can do with a 3 year old :slight_smile:


Thanks so much, sounds great, I’ll give this a go :bowing_man:t2:

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I think that’s about right. I did about an hour a day and finished in just over 2 years.

The thing is, if you don’t clear out your reviews for the day then they pile up and you’ll end up behind again. If you’re only doing 5 lessons per day it might be doable to finish all your daily reviews in 20m.

You may want to practice fast reviewing and move on if you don’t remember an item in a few seconds. The key to that is to take a bit of time at the summary page and go over the items you missed.