Do you tend to take notes with your WK lessons?

I know the subject of supplementary study or reinforcement can be touchy for a lack of better word since some will tell you to trust in SRS alone to do the reinforcing, but it still has me wondering how many folk are taking notes or anything of the sort alongside their WK lessons.

I’ve been keeping a notes spreadsheet myself alongside my lessons. That said, I never seem to go back to them for studying purposes, and I’m wondering how effective that truly is to helping my memorization. I’m half-temped to just stop for a level and see how I fare using SRS and my memory alone, since taking notes is turning what should be a quick lesson into a more drawn out study session while I spend 5 minutes updating my notes for each kanji/vocab I learn.

What have been your experiences with taking notes?


It’s an interesting question - I have not been taking notes, although I suspect that the action of taking notes alone may help to ‘cement’ the learning, even if the notes are never referred to later on.

I may change the way that I do things in the future, because up to now (in level 10) many of the kanji and vocabulary words that I encounter are ones that I already know, and so it is more often the on-yomi or kun-yomi that is new for me, or finding the exact meaning that WK is looking for - but as I advance perhaps that will increasingly become less the case, and so taking notes may help me.

But for now I’ve been glancing at the new lessons, trying to memorize things (which is a problem with my poor short-term memory), and then relying on the reviews (including making mistakes) to help cement the lessons.


I’ve never taken notes during lessons,but I used to (try to) write out my morning lesson’s kanji, followed by reading and meaning, from memory when I arrived at work. I stopped doing this last September though, since I was back in school.

I can’t check right now but I’m pretty sure I remember seeing a noticable dip in my review accuracy once I stopped. At the very least the first few reviews were much, much easier.


I typically do not have the time for that, I get 250-300 reviews per day at the moment, yesterday, it was even some weird 390+. It’s too much for me to take notes on top of it all : P


There is no harm in doing that for sure. While it’s helpful to put more effort into the lessons, it’s strictly not necessary. The idea with SRS is to make study-time limited and effective. Less lessons and rote memorization, more “just do reviews and eventually things stick”.

It’s a matter of preference really. So, no harm in just trying stuff out and see how you fare. Maybe you’ll wanna retain some sort of note-taking, while diminishing some of the stuff you’ve been doing and so spend less time on the lessons? You’ll only know if you try and make some comparisons here. :slight_smile:


I have actually taken notes with my lessons before. Usually just pausing during the lessons to write out the radicals and kanji in a notebook along side their meanings and readings, sometimes drawing small pictures. I stopped a few levels ago. While it was good handwriting practice and probably did help cement the knowledge in my brain, I spent more time taking notes instead of other more useful activities like reading or grammar studies. It also led me to sort of brute force memorization instead of using the mnemonics.


Usually no. But sometimes at the beginning of a level I’ll write down all the kanji & their reading/meaning. Not during lessons, but before (usually when I’m still working through the last level’s vocab). I find it helps a bit with that initial memorization stage and helps me get used to writing Japanese in general. I don’t ever go back to review this, it’s just prep. And when I study vocab leeches I’ll write down the common word combinations. But other than that, no, I don’t take notes with WK.


I’ve never taken notes bc 1) I’m too lazy and 2) I’d lose/forget about them (that’s what happens when I try to take notes on grammar). Plus, a good portion of the kanji I either already know or can tell the reading and so really just need to remember the meaning. If it’s one I’m unfamiliar with (at least, if I’m doing lessons on Tsurukame, which I usually am these days) I’ll look at the words that use it before looking at the kanji info again, but I don’t write anything down.

It’s when I have trouble with something, whether kanji or vocab, that I try looking into things more and then leaving the rest to SRS. Like, I’ll look it up in a JP > EN dictionary and see if that helps me get it straight, and if it’s a vocab item I may look it up in a monolingual dictionary too. But I still don’t write anything down aside from adding user synonyms.

A while ago, I did try writing down all my mistakes during reviewing in my study log, and I did find that sometimes just writing it down would help. But for me, it was far less than half the time, so it just wasn’t worth the effort and I soon stopped. But if a single one is giving me trouble, I’ll still write about it (usually in my log, but I’ve also put it in my Read Every Day updates if it was relevant there), and that can help. Like recently I had trouble remembering that 寿 is じゅ and not じゅう, and I wrote about that, and I think I’ve got it now?

Though I also read quite a bit, so I can probably afford to entrust the rest to SRS, since SRS isn’t my only exposure to the words. I don’t come across all the words in WK while reading, of course, but most of them either I do or they end up sticking fine anyway somehow.


I typically don’t take note during lessons, but rather during review, when it simply doesn’t stick. Just type in Notes textbox.

More often, I look up on Goo or ALC, but don’t really take notes. I also sometimes look up on items I have looked up some time before.

I have used Item Marker, to mark hard-to-remember things, to study more later. It’s an old script, so probably long broken.

I have done writing, but that’s just another SRS, with Anki on Android + S-pen.


The only notes I’ve taken to lessons are in WK. They stay there and can be checked back on if I truly need them. Stuff like my own mnemonics. Or explaining connections between kanji and how they’re used in vocab, to cement the readings mostly. :slight_smile: It’s very short to the point, but that’s enough for my needs I feel.

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I made a habit of writing down all the new material including reading/meaning when doing my lessons. But I stopped doing it around level 30-35 somewhere I think. I don’t really know how it affected my learning, if at all. At the time I was studying Japanese in university (some of it in Japan) and I actually needed to know like 300+ kanji by hand, but after I graduated I decided to stop putting time and effort into learning to write and only focus on reading.


In my case, I reset WK when I was close to level 60, since I took a very long break (2-3 years) and couldn’t keep up with it, so it’s maybe a bit different. But during my first WK run, I would write down words/kanji, until the point it became just too much (with all the reviews and time needed to write things down). Nowadays, I still keep a notebook where I write interesting/new words or expressions, or even sentences, but mostly I don’t take notes. Funny enough, I do write now new words/phrases I come along in my Anki decks, though.


I’ve started taking notes on vocab words I frequently mix up. For example, I wrote down 実在(じつざい)(def: reality) vs. 実際(じっさい)(def: actually)。It’s helped. I feel like I can’t do any detailed note-taking, though, or I’d never get through my reviews.


I’ve never taken notes with WK.

It would definitely work without notes but some people get benefit from just taking notes. The act of recording the notes can be useful for some.

So even if you don’t refer back to them, it doesn’t mean they are useless. You’d have to test it out really. For example stop taking notes and then see if it affects your accuracy. Good luck!

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I write the actual Kanji as it helps me to remember. I did a short period where I didn’t write it down and while it was faster I realized I forgot more. I don’t ever actually revisit this but it still helps to write them down. Not sure why.

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I like using a notebook, but I can see why some people don’t use one. Do what works best for you. Old thread on this topic: Show me your notebooks!

Each WK lesson has 2 pages in my notebook. Yes it takes time to write each lesson, but if it helps me learn, well that’s the goal. Keep chipping away.


I’m not generally in the habit of taking notes, but I do have one regarding the meaning of 肉.

I think it kind of looks like a slab of beef hanging from a butcher hook.

I was wondering if there were any other good little mnemonics anybody has that are better than the lesson ones honestly.

Mostly none that I can discuss in polite company, because they involve vulgarisms (I did mention a couple of them in the POLL thread, but that doesn’t typically fall into the category of ‘polite company’).

But making up custom mnemonics has generally been pretty useful for me.

A lot of them only make sense to me as an individual - for example, I’ve found several cases where the most meaningful mnemonic I can come up with is based on a reference to a song.

Some of those would not make sense unless you knew the song well, and you are good at ‘lateral thinking’, while others are just plain dumb (but effective!).

For an example of a really dumb one:

For 業 (business): (with profuse apologies to Irving Berlin and Ethel Merman)

“There’s no business like ぎょう business”

That’s for a case where I recognize the meaning of the kanji, but I need a mnemonic for the reading - as opposed to mnemonics to help recall the meaning.

(See? I told you that it was really dumb - but if it works for you, go for it. If you’re truly a Lisa Marie fan then maybe other song-related mnemonics might make sense to you.)


Not taking note exactly, but when I do WK lessons, on some new kanji / vocab, I sometimes wonder how much it is used / how it is used so I look it up in the books I have to have an idea.

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