Considering level pause, seeking input

I’ve effectively met my goal of achieving level 27 by the first year. However, as of late my progress has slowed down significantly. (TL;DR note: I will mark *** where I stop chatting shit about my life and get on with the main point lmao)

The dips you can see earlier on were times when my studies became more intense. The later dips have been during a complete lack of motivation. Even now I have all of the lessons from level 28 pending.

I am considering taking a “level” break in which I shall continue to complete all of my reviews for everything I’ve studied so far, but will not take on any more lessons (aside from the stragglers of level 27). For the next two years I will be able to study the Genki I and Genki II books in a classroom setting, in addition to my major at college (which is nothing to do with Japanese).

Presently I am able to read the majority of the kanji in the example sentences, however, I have little to no knowledge of the hiragana words.

*** therefore I am considering halting my Kanji “intake” in order to catch up on the grammar whilst continuing to do my reviews. I am concerned that my ability to either come back to Wanikani lessons, or my current ability at learning new Kanji, will be impacted by this undefined break.

I would appreciate it if anyone who’s done something similar could comment, and any advice people might have to offer.

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That seems like a good idea. After I became level 29 I had to quit WK for a while, then for a long time I didn’t bother to start again. What I should have done is continue my reviews and maybe continued from level 29 about a year ago. Instead I waited like two and a half years without doing reviews, so I reset back to level 20. After cleaning up my reviews I started to level again.

So my advice is to pretty much do what you’re suggesting, take a break from lessons but continue reviews. When you’re able to continue reviews again, you will have a lot less apprentice/guru items (hopefully!) and it will let you level up further without burning yourself out.

(Note for posterity, I was level 23 when I posted this)


I’ve been on level 42 for 4 or 5 months now. I’ve been stuck with these leeches that have been following me since level 1–so I stopped doing lessons until I squashed them all (I’ve cut down my aprentice + guru from 700-800 to less than 400). Not learning new kanji has been sad but I feel like I’m getting what I have been learning under control.

No advice here though. As long as you’re doing Japanese stuff (reading etc) you’ll be fine. And if you decide later that it was a mistake, you can always just do your lessons.


If you’re worried over getting off the wagon of new lessons, you can also change your lesson size to 3 and do 1 lesson session a day/every couple of days. Your progress would be very slow (especially if you do it with the Ascending level then shuffled option), enough to catch up with other aspects of Japanese and your life in general, but it would help keep the habit going.


Disclaimer : I did not read anyone else’s responses yet so sorry if I repeat stuff but I’m in the same exact boat and I just want to spill out all my thoughts on the matter because it will help me too. :stuck_out_tongue: Sorry for the rambling!

I am literally doing this now.

I had this thought too when I decided to take a break from my 8-day levels. I’ve been at level 33 for 23 days now and while it’s a bummer that I won’t reach level 60 by the end of the year like I originally planned, I DO feel much better about my progress in the other areas of study other than kanji. I feel like I can read and comprehend so much more now!

I feel that as long as I’m still studying Japanese every day, that my ability to continue learning (future kanji lessons included) shouldn’t be affected by a break from WK lessons. You say you plan to continue doing your reviews - that’s what I’m doing - and it’s only made me feel better about my WK progress and experience. My accuracy had gone down which made me realize I needed to spend more time on the items I’ve already learned before moving on to more lessons. I know that I WILL still eventually get to them, but in the mean time, I feel it’s just as (if not more) important to focus on grammar and other vocabulary. I’m level 33 on WK but I still struggle with some basic grammar sometimes due to my lack of practice with it and other vocab. I feel that, for me, at this time, it’s more important for me to start grasping those concepts rather than worrying about kanji lessons that I’m going to get to either way.

DO IT! It helped me to feel much better about my progress and ability. I hope you’ll have a similar experience. ^^

Edit : added some words for clarity.


Excellent point, I feel that I’ve gotten a few leeches over time where I know the answer if I think about it, but a more recent kanji which looks kind of similar pops into my head. Hopefully this will allow me to crack down on it! I’ve not yet decided how long I intend to take a break, but I’ve got around 500 appr/guru items pending. Perhaps two months might allow me to increase the lesson count in the way Konekush suggested below, going at a slower pace as I don’t really need anything above N4 until I actually get to N3.

Thanks to you both!

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My thoughts exactly, thanks! :slight_smile:

Good to hear the thoughts of someone in the same boat as I am!

My accuracy’s dropped to something like 70% since I hit the 20s, so I think time letting my brain really learn the kanji I’ve learned so far will be helpful. It’ll also be nice to learn enough grammar to be able to do more than read and write in basic Japanese :p.

I’ve done it in a weird way where I’ve never studied any grammar properly, everything I do know is more from absorption. My introduction to Japanese was hiragana, katakana and then Kanji through Wanikani lol. Fortunately I’ll be able to take free Japanese lessons at college.

I’m now being told off for replying to multiple people in different posts instead of the magical invention of the @ system, oops.

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Same, but mine started when I reached the 30’s.

That was also my thought and it’s helped immensely so far, even after only a couple weeks.

It is! It really is! Huge confidence booster and motivator as well!

Exactly the same for me! I went straight into WK after learning all the kana and never really focused on any other areas until recently. If I could go back, I would’ve started with grammar and vocab much earlier on.

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If you feel you need to slow down for a while, do. Do it before you burn yourself out.

I really like Konekush’s suggestion, personally, that way you don’t drop things completely.
I intentionally slow down levels now, after I dropped away for 7-8 months last year and struggled to come back, doing something similar to Konekush’s suggestion.

Keep at the reviews… and if you feel up to 1 set of 5 or 1 set of 3 lessons sometimes (once a week, once every two weeks, whatever), go ahead. If you don’t, don’t worry about it so much. You’ll see your Apprentice pile go way down, and eventually you’ll have nearly no reviews (I’ve hit that point myself, I slowed down level 15 a lot), which may make it hard to remember to do any reviews… it’s at those points when I come back and do a set (or two) of lessons.

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Take a break from lessons and just focus on getting your guru’s down to under 300.
That means still log in twice a day to do reviews.
Not that easy because if you fail any master or enlightened, it adds to guru.

I’ve taken some time to calm down and get my gurus under 300 a while ago.
It gave me time to start doing other things like reading and watching more Japanese TV.
Now, instead of having 300 reviews in the next 24 hours, it’s only about 200.
By taking a break from new lessons, but not going on vacation mode, your items are still aging.

I wouldn’t recommend taking a break for more than a month.
You’re still paying for WK after all.

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I’ve been on level 23 for almost a month, my longest time on a level. I took a pause myself because I kept missing the same set of words over and over and the reviews I had to do each day started getting out of hand.

I’m finally getting ready to keep moving on and I’ll be level 25 or 26 at the end of my first year. I think letting myself stay on this level for a while was a good idea. I kept up with the reviews and didn’t take a break, just stopped doing lessons for two weeks or so.

What keeps me motivated is the remarkable progress I’ve seen from my time with wanikani. I really try to immerse myself by watching anime, reading manga and using my cell phone and computers, (even at work) in Japanese. I can now read manga like Yotsubato without much issue, I’m starting to comprehend a lot of what I am hearing in anime and I can understand enough to enjoy a lot of content without subtitles and only occasionally looking up words. I’ve played a lot of the new Zelda on the switch in Japanese.

I find it a lot more satisfying to see words that I learn out of the context of wanikani, and then develop a deeper understanding that goes beyond pair of kanji = English word.

This approach is working for me. I see a lot of people, (yourself included) who level up faster than I do. For me, this is just a hobby and I rarely put any effort towards studying beyond doing my reviews a few times per day. Sometimes it gets frustrating, but this site has really worked for me.

As others have mentioned, I think it is important to not allow yourself to quit or give up altogether, in my case I paused lessons but not reviews.

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As another option you could also put your WK account to vacation mode for 1 month or so and focus on other apps such as KaniWani (for your already burned or forgotten items) or Houhou/Anki (for handmade or special decks), that way you would revise things you are having a hard time remembering and not stop completely your kanji studies. You could even throw some kana decks on anki/houhou.
God knows that KW helps a lot with remembering at least how to write kanjis, even if it uses hiragana.

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I’ve always kept up with my reviews, and limited things on the taking new lessons side. Of course, if you decrease or stop taking lessons, it takes a while before your review level responds in kind.

I never use vacation mode, but I’ve gone as far as not taking any new lessons for a month or so while I studied grammar, practiced reading and listening, or worked on other stuff. I’ve also done the five lessons a week approach, five lessons a day approach, and my current speed which is ten lessons a day.

Definitely don’t burn out. Slow down or stop lessons instead, and keep up with your reviews. I’m guessing if you stop new lessons today and keep up with your reviews, your review load will be almost nothing in a few weeks.

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I love how supportive everyone here is!

I’m non stop studying genki and supplementing with rosetta stone. You have to make it work for you. Learning words is good but knowing how to use the them is the whole point.

If someone said what english have you learned today and you said… I learn how to read the word prince, princess, queen, king and dog today. They’d think you’re crazy. But that is what I’ve done today. But I’ve also learned how to say I need something, and I prefer something over something else. etc. You get my point.

Slow down, no one is judging you, in fact they obviously support whatever you think it best.

But whatever you do… don’t be a stranger and don’t stop. That’s just my preference though.

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That’s actually an excellent point.

I’ve access to both Rosetta Stone and the Genki books, but I’ve been putting them off after losing motivation from the constant bombardment of reviews. I think I should get back into Rosetta Stone, at the very least, and study Genki in the structured language classes I’ll be taking.

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