Does anyone else feel like they’re slower than the turtles we burn?

Hi, I’m not looking for sympathy, just curious if anyone else feels like their road to level 60 is going to take…well…. A LOT longer than most of these level 60 posts we’re seeing.

I’ve been very committed to slowly adding cards and hitting my reviews for the past 7 months, but am only level 11! I can’t for the life of me figure out how to go faster with my current schedule, so I’m thinking WaniKani is going to take me 3+ years to finish. Pretty grueling!

But I’m committed to doing this. So I guess good luck to you if you’ve got a long road ahead as well.


I’m in the exact same spot, so I know exactly how you feel! I’ve never been great at memorizing stuff in the first place, so my pace is a lot slower than a lot of people. I do my reviews on my phone, so the extra typos I keep making certainly don’t help lol.

If this is any encouragement, I’ve found it’s much better to go at a slower pace and really learn the information, rather than speed through it and forget it all later. I’ve been learning Japanese for a while, and a big chunk of that was in school. Theoretically I should know up to the N2 level kanji, but for my classes I’d cram sets of 100 kanji for our Kanji quizzes and then immediately forget them later. Taking it slow at my own pace has been going much better, despite the slow progress.


I think 3-4 years is a reasonable amount of time. As you say, you could go faster, but it’s unlikely that you’ll remember most of it long term, so it would be kind of pointless. I was averaging 10 days per level for most of my first year, but I’ve slowed down considerably now, because I realized I was just cheating myself.


Hello friend. I feel your pain, I am level 19, and I have been here since 2018 <3

Problem is, I don’t follow anybody else’s super fast plan to finish this, because honestly I live in Japan right now (but will be moving back home soon) and my life is smothered with kanji already.

I also get bored when I don’t have much to review. Haha, right now I am sitting on a little over 350+ to finish for this morning, but I also work full-time so I just do it whenever I can.

I’m sure this makes me sound really lazy, but this is really just a fun way to pass the time for me (since I hate coming up with my own flashcard decks and reading through them.) and practice kanji.

Anyways, it sounds like you have a much better pace than me so keep on at it and I’m sure you will keep improving step by step. <3 It doesn’t matter how fast you finish, only that you enjoy the learning process and keep striving to learn more!!

I still love everybody on here, no matter their speed. A lot of people boost my encouragement from time to time. You can always up the challenge for yourself and try to add a little more but don’t let yourself get carried away like me. Ahahahahaha…

Anyways, take care and がんばってね!!


I started WK at the end of 2019, and I’m only level 9. I’ve taken breaks/quit 4 times. I have a poor memory, I’m lazy, and my attention is all over the place. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one struggling or going at a slow pace. I started WK again at the beginning of this month and I’ve been consistent so far. I’m feeling good about it this time around. We have to keep in mind that it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. I just wanted to say that there are others out struggling with you, and we’re going through the same thing. One day we can make one of those level 60 posts that I always see posted on here.


So what are you doing then? I’ve gotten to where I am after a month and a half, and I’m just doing reviews when they pop up. What do you think would be a better way of going about it?


I’ve been here since March 2016, so it’s been almost exactly 6 years!! I keep getting stuck. I’m definitely slower than a legless turtle. But no regrets, just keep chipping away.


The last 3 level 60 posts I saw ranged from 2-5 years, so you’re doing ok so far. I think what’s happened is that you’ve finally realized how much of a commitment it’s going to be to do something day after day for 2-3 years, and that’s perfectly normal.

After about 6 months the novelty wears off and you can see the grind ahead.

I used to climb cell phone towers for a living, and they ranged from 80 to 120 feet tall. When most people talk about heights, they tell you not to look down. In my case, I felt like it was even worse to look up and see how much farther I had to go. In either case, though, I mostly looked straight ahead and just kept climbing rung after rung.

You’ll get there, just keep going. :slight_smile: :+1:


This is very validating! I have been doing this for 8 months and am still on Level 4!! But I’ve signed up for life so the commitment is there. I do my reviews daily but I only do 5-10 new lessons every now and again. I am obviously a beginner but like you, Ladymeralan, I find this a fun thing to do.

I have also been doing Duolingo for nearly 12 months and with this combo I have learnt so much more Japanese vocab and grammar than I did in 4 terms of adult education classes. It is the consistency of daily practice I believe. I am obviously a novice student of Japanese, and I realise there is much more to learning a language than what I’m doing, but you have to start somewhere!

Go well fellow slow coaches!


I feel like the turtles we burn really shouldn’t be moving at all. You guys haven’t been burning turtles alive, have you?


I started WaniKani when it was in beta back in January 2015 maybe? I’ve made it to level 28 twice and stopped about there.
This time I’m determined to make it past 30.


Everyone’s situation is different and I think we see a LOT of here’s how I got to level 60 at max speed posts on here that are discouraging to other people, but my plan is honestly something like 5 years. If you’re actually trying to learn Japanese you’re going to be spending time on things other than just WK. Depends what your end goal is if you even need level 60 necessarily, but for me it’s a lot less discouraging to really feel like I retained the things I’m studying here, and that only happens at the slower pace for lots of reasons, so I decided for myself if I keep a level under a month I’ll be completely satisfied, and that also frees me up to go study grammar or vocab or even just do other hobbies without just fruitlessly trying for force more WK into my brain.


I’ve been here since 2016! I knew I wouldn’t have the same amount of hours a day other people have and got the lifetime sub right out the gate. I’m glad I did because it’s taken me a long time to figure out a method that has been something I can stick to. This thread might be one you’d wanna check out:


Thanks. Out of all the replies, yours really resonates with me the most. It’s definitely become a daily habit, so I’ve got momentum on my side. Will just keep moving forward and climb lesson after lesson, level after level. :slight_smile:


Only 3? I’ll take 5 or 6 at my current pace.

As a word of encouragement, I’ve found the difference between the early 10s and the early 20s to be pretty huge as far as what you start to recognize in the wild.


I’ve been at this for 5 years and I’m only now halfway through. It really depends on the person and what their learning speed and schedule is like. I work a two Japanese elementary schools and have a fiancé. I’m also not very good at learning languages as it turns out :sweat_smile: :sob:
Don’t worry about how fast or slow other users are and take this at your own speed. I prefer going slower and using the kanji knowledge I acquire outside of WK, but don’t always have the time to sit and read native material :woman_shrugging:


You might have already read this (and if you have, I apologize), but have you looked at the ultimate guide to WK? Even if you aren’t going full speed, it wouldn’t probably add too much time to your schedule if you wanted to go a little faster! There are some tricks that go a long way to making WK much less painful to do. Two of the easiest methods are paying a little more attention to the early SRS stages, and doing a set number of lessons every day instead of binging them. I’m going at a rate of about two weeks a level (roughly 12 lessons a day), and it’s not strenuous at all.

Of course, if your pace is working for you, there’s no need to go faster! I’ve enjoyed the Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route thread (linked in an earlier post) because of the focus on going at your own pace rather than trying to rush to a particular level number goal. It’s nice to have somewhere to celebrate your milestones, even if they take you longer to reach than other people.

Also, if your time really is super limited, you might be better off putting any extra time into learning other aspects of Japanese besides kanji, as kanji is only one small piece of the puzzle. I think striving for balance is more important than speed. If you manage to reach level 60 after 3+ years but also have a solid foundation of grammar and a bunch more vocab under your belt, you’ll be better off than someone who rushed to 60 in a year and skipped grammar study completely in order to do it.


When I first started WK in the beginning on 2019 I thought I’d get to level 30 in a year. I thought thay would be reasonable at that time. Here I am 3 years later and should be reaching level 30 in the next month or two. I rushed and stayed on track, but then life got in the way and it has made it difficult to stay on track. I’ve had a lot of times where I didn’t touch WK for months at a time. I’ve learned to pace myself and to get back on it. Sometimes life will hold you back, but don’t give up.
It’s truly great that some people can find the time, motivation and ability to learn kanji and vocab so fast. It does take a lot of time of effort. You have to find what works for you. It’s better to go slow and steady rather than too fast and quitting or forgetting everything. Of course there’s nothing wrong with going fast, but it’s not something everyone can do.


“Finish” is an interesting word. Learning a language never really ends, and since WK level 60 doesn’t mean much when it comes right down to it, you might consider some other near, mid, and long term goals to keep you motivated.

I’m happy for the folks that get to 60 at warp speed, but many of us mere mortals might benefit from focusing on other things besides our “finish” date:

  • streak tracking:

    • how many days can you go without skipping (doing at least one review, hopefully more?)
    • longest streak of reviews or questions without an incorrect answer
    • days with accuracy above 80% or whatever
    • etc.
  • round number targets:

    • burned item counts or percentages
    • total unlocked items
    • total vocabulary words you’ve learned (guru stage and above)
    • lessons per week
    • days or weeks per level
    • etc.

Human motivation is weird. Most of us respond to the silliest hacks.


Best not to compare! But if it makes you feel better, I started in 2018 :slight_smile: