Did I do it all wrong?

So I have been around awhile and learned my kanji on this beautiful website and am currently at level 16. But know as I begin to experience troubles recollecting the meanings and readings of all the different kanjis and vocabs, I came to think that I might have been going at learning kanji the wrong way.

Up until now I have always done my reviews as often as possible and whenever I had a few minutes on my hands. I usually average about 90% of correct answers in the longer review sessions which is all fine and dandy. But recently I spend less and less time learning the mnemonics of a given kanji and just try to remember the damn thing completely without it. This is partly because I have less time for my WaniKani sessions than before.

So the natural effect of this is that I either remember the kanjis meaning on the spot or not at all.

As my percentage isn’t dropping dramatically, I question myself if that even is such a big deal. But I fear as the number of kanjis rise and it isnt about clear distinctions in meaning anymore but small nuances, that I am walking a very dangerous path doing it this way.

Should I take a break at progressing from level to level and spend more time on going back and learning the mnemonics again to ensure that Im not getting overwhelmed?

Good question. I use mnemonics extensively but do make my own up rather than use the pre-cooked ones. Sometimes, if I can’t remember a given kanji, I can re-create the mnemonic by looking at the radicals. Other times, it just doesn’t work.

And there are certainly people here who don’t bother with mnemonics at all and do fine without them.

So I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘doing it wrong’. It’s kind of up to what works best for you. What I think you’re probably running into is something that is pretty common around level 16. You were able to do pretty well remembering what you learned in first levels, but as you progress, you’ve learned more and more things, so your brain starts to discard unused information (and WK’s SRS system is designed that you don’t see kanji for a period of time which tricks your brain into thinking that the information is not useful).

In theory (or in WK’s theory) they test you on items just before you would have forgotten them, thereby solidifying them in your memory. This sometimes works! Often, try as you might, you just can’t remember the darn kanji (or radical or vocabulary).

I think that’s all pretty natural. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The thing to do is

  1. after a review session, on the summary page, test yourself on the ones you got wrong.
  2. if mnemonics help you, make up new ones that can jog your memory about the meaning and/or reading.
  3. don’t worry about maintaining 90% or whatever accuracy. Just keep doing your best and relearning. The more times you learn something, the more likely it will stick eventually. Then you’ll forget it again. Then it will really stick.

Believe me, I’ve been through all these cycles over and over. I’d love to think that I’ll never forget the kanji I learned 20 levels ago, but it happens. I just relearn them again.

Final point is that reading really does help, because once you see kanji/vocabulary in context, your brain suddenly realizes that this isn’t just an abstract exercise. These things you’re learning are actually useful, so you’ll be much more likely to remember them. Hope this helps!

Oh, one more thing you could try is install the self study script. It’s really flexible and lets you test yourself whenever and however you feel like it.


I think I good way to combat this is trying to get some native material involved (if you have time of course). I would personally recommend NHK Easy articles. Even if you’re not reading them, it may help to click on one that looks interesting and cast your eye over it looking for Kanji that you know. This would perhaps help alleviate some of the problems you are having. WKstats tells me that at level 16, 79.60% of the Kanji in NHK Easy articles have come up on Wanikani so I think it would be beneficial :upside_down_face:

This also has the added bonus of making yourself more familiar with Kanji that appear more often so you recall the more ‘useful’* Kanji quicker.

*useful meaning more common


That are really awesome replies and useful resources you guys :smiley:

Thank you very much!


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