Does progress in WaniKani get any easier during the later levels?

Hey all,

For those of you at level 60, or close to it, does level progress speed more or less remain the same throughout the entire experience? Or did things start to pick up at some point for you?

I know only working with the end in mind is dangerous and can be a bit counterproductive at times, but I can’t help but try to gauge my progress as I approach level 20 (will be 19 in a couple days). What does it really mean to be a third of the way to level 60, and should I expect similar timelines from my experiences while going forward?

I lost almost a full year from lack of progress/motivation at this point, but have been getting back into it. It’s easy to regret when the advertised speed-run is just a couple years, and I’m going on my 3rd year with this account.

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Unless you have near perfect recall (i.e. you burn everything on the first try), progress should get slower as you reach higher levels, because you will have more items built up and coming back for review. At least that has been my experience. Levels are taking progressively longer to complete (on average).

My advice is to take your time and let items sink in.

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now at lvl 38 my error percentage is always growing. I use workload graph script that shows the errors per level, and it becomes overwhelming in my option.

But hey, learning a language is like this, through error and error until you get it right. With patience.

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i ve reached my point around level 30 where i started to value more the items i learned so far to practice with it, then leveling up with quite the pace i had before. Idk what exactly the reason for it is or was, but i think it was a healthy cause that i lost my grief for gaining levels on wanikani. Was kinda like a drug for me. I know my post doesnt match ur question quite well, but otherwise i would have to do lessons and level up on wanikani.

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I’d say the pace stays about the same for new kanji and vocab, but there are fewer radicals per level as you progress, so that saves some time there!

Also, if you’re studying Japanese outside of WaniKani, doing things like reading books and manga, or watching Japanese shows with Japanese subtitles, you’ll pick up a lot more kanji - or at least get used to the shapes and/or meanings - and then the “new” lessons aren’t really new information so they do go a lot faster then, in my experience.

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I’ve realized a lot of stuff and developed strats to optimize leveling up after a while (like using scripts and prioritizing memorizing kanjis and radicals, but still doing vocabs lessons to solidify the readings in my head)

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Agreed with @vspree especially about reading and study. I’m learning and have learnt kanji and vocab through my weekly classes that didn’t show up in WaniKani until at least level 30 and then it’s just revision of grammar and vocab really. This really does speed up your pace a little since you already (at least semi) know the kanji/vocab.

General pace stays roughly the same in my experience, but can be influence to a degree by how you tackle reviews and lessons. For myself I was (somehow) almost matching the speed-run pace when I wasn’t speed running, but got to about level 28 and had too many items coming back for burning so it took longer each day to get reviews done to level up. Since then I’ve balanced the new lessons and even levelling up with spreading reviews out around work/gaming/friend catchups/life stuff and I feel that my pace may have slowed a little from “speed-run like” pace to something far more manageable but also I seem to be levelling up far more consistently with less leeches.

TL;DR Pace will match your ability to recall and subsequently burn items, or your desire to just level up. Recommendation: stay consistent to what works for you to not burn out!

EDIT: I don’t use scripts beyond my own custom dashboard and occasionally Item Inspector for some stats, so pretty vanilla WaniKani usage :slight_smile:

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Yeah I’ve noticed the reduction in new radicals when perusing the content of later levels before. With how long it’s taken me to get through the first 20 and that it’s allegedly possible to do all 60 in under a couple years, I was thinking somehow later levels may just breeze by. But comments here seem to instead state what should’ve probably been obvious lol.

I just feel so behind because I feel like I won’t progress in my life until I add a new skill… I’m trying to do a certificate course right now in case I want to do data science later. And I’m trying to get to N1 level for Japanese to try to be a localization editor. Idk what path I prefer yet… but either way the sooner the better. I know you can’t rush these things but the downtime just feels like life passing me by, if that makes any sense.

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It slowed way down, for me. There are more words with similar meanings, and Kanji with similar radicals, so reviews go slower, because I have to think a bit longer about each one. Also, I already knew a fair number of the words in lower levels, and far fewer of the words in higher levels. Higher levels also have specialized vocabulary I don’t rightly know in English-- especially military ranks.

Some people are in a rush to finish, but I don’t recommend it. Just finishing is plenty.

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I just feel so behind because I feel like I won’t progress in my life until I add a new skill

It might be helpful to reframe your thinking a bit here - you’re focused on the long term, which is super, but can be demotivating since it’s not going to help you on this leg of the marathon. Learning Japanese is unavoidably a marathon, and it’s better to accept that there are very few shortcuts, it’s mostly a matter of showing up, and then keeping on showing up. You are adding a new skill through learning Kanji, and every hour you work for that goal (or wait for reviews, to cement items in your memory well) isn’t downtime or life passing you by, but you actively pursuing a long term and challenging dream.

I recommend focusing on incremental improvements - the difference between level 18 and 20 is worth celebrating as an achievement in its own right, not just as ‘close to 1/3 of the way through a program that teaches an arbitrary number of Kanji’. The content of every single level matters! Enjoy being level 18 - it’s further than most people get!

Also are you doing much Japanese study outside Wanikani? Are the things you’re learning here helping much with that? If not, I recommend switching up your study so you can see progress in smaller intervals. Eg join a book club in these lovely forums, if only because it’s one of the biggest motivations for most people, is seeing a kanji you just learned in the wild.

That’s assuming you don’t want to speed up. If you did want to experiment with going slightly faster through WaniKani, you don’t need to compare yourself to the speedrunners, but you can learn from them. Make sure you understand exactly how the SRS system works, are timing your day to review things when they come up and doing reviews at least 2 or 3 times per day, every single day. Everyone is different and there is no correct pace, but a 10-14 day level up pattern, focusing on accuracy, and keeping it under 100 apprentice items, will give you a reasonable workload (for many people, your needs may differ) for the entire duration of Wanikani, and would get you to level 60 in about a year from now.

To return to your original question, yes for me the later levels have been much harder like others who have posted here (more reviews, more unfamiliar and nuanced vocab/kanji, more fatigue at wading through mountains of reviews each day.). The trick for me has been to lean into how far I’ve come already, recognise that wanikani itself is just a milestone on a broader lifelong learning adventure, and remain grateful both for the existence of this site, which really is amazing, and the stellar community of people on it.

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Last 5 years or so just seem failed and I look at a career change as my only ticket toward something. Pandemic didn’t help since it essentially incinerated 2 years but I suppose that’s everyone’s experience.

The irony is that I had a big break last year in part due to feeling the effects of my studies. It was easy to take time off WaniKani and focus on grammar and studying with other things. And my retention was still high–I burned several items when I initially came back to that stack of nearly 1k reviews. But I just feel like my whole life has been procrastination-focused, and I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m not young enough to look at having my whole life ahead of me. I know it’s mainly societal stereotypes talking, but when you feel behind in life and you’re not a kid anymore, it feels like enough for them to coin a quarter-life crisis or something lol.

It’s just been a lot or rejection since graduation and even though I’m currently at the best job I’ve had, it’s not sustainable. Not to say I don’t appreciate the advice or that I’m not receiving it well, just … idk spewing some background at you so you know where I’m coming from. I should probably go back to finishing Genki, though, now that I’ve finished another grammar book I had. Will prob help the feelings of accomplishment too

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I defo got a better routine going as I used WK more. Not just the study technique, but also having those SRS-timings pretty nailed down by then (when to do lessons to be able to do the first 2 SRS-levels within the same day) :thinking: I was never into fixed scheduling of my WK reviews and lessons, but you’ll still develop a routine eventually. Comparatively, I was just less aware about the “mechanics” of SRS-learning systems like WK, and how to make use of it.

That being said, the fast levels are a game breaker. You can either just continue as you were (unchanged pace) OR you can go much faster. I did something in the middle; doing some levels a bit slower to not get too overwhelmed by apprentice items. :eyes:

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It probably get faster, as you know the drill, but most of the problems come from higher SRS level items (e.g. mastered)…

Reading quizzes will seriously depend on your immersion and usage. Remembering with mnemonics alone in long term (actually, medium term) isn’t easy. You need to properly know the words somehow. Tripped by misremembering Kanji shapes isn’t so bad, though. Just bear with it.

Meaning quizzes (also, radical quizzes) are… either you cheat double-check with ignore scripts, or your English is very great. Nonetheless, it doesn’t really correlate that well with your Japanese usage (like Correlation and Grammar).

This is not to mention fast levels, with premature new lessons, of course.

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I would say around level 40 it can get significantly slower, especially when you learn Japanese outside of WaniKani, because you have a much greater congnitive load in general and WaniKani’s 1:1 gloss system doesn’t align too well with content learned outside unless you add synonyms to items all the time.

Burn items began to bite me in the 20’s, then in the 30’s I got hit with all the leeches I had accumulated in the 20’s. The Hell levels were definitely the most hellish for me.

Contrary to others who have found the 40’s even more difficult, it’s been literally Paradise for me. Oddly I already knew many of the kanji and vocabulary in Levels 41-43. I also reduced my daily lesson amount from 20 to 10 and increased my pace to 15 days a level (compared to the 8-day pace I kept up with in the Death levels).

If I had decided to keep the same pace throughout, I would definitely have burnt out long ago. Instead of the possible 200-400 item per day workload I could be sinking under, I’m cruising on around 130 items a day and an apprentice count hovering around 60.

So, does progress in WK get any easier the higher you go? I would say it gets harder, unless you do something about it to make it easier.

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How old are you?
Because I’m 45 and just starting a whole new career.

Yes, society pressures suck, but it can be done. Here’s something I do to counteract the constant stream of society voices telling me I can’t do it: write out your desired future, in present tense (affirmations) on post-its or something, and plant them where you will find them randomly, having forgotten that you did so. Give yourself a moment to simply believe that you’re getting closer to that fate every time you find one of your affirmations.

Also, just on a practical level for keeping yourself positive about learning Japanese, are you reading native material, yet? I always feel delighted when I come across a word I just learned–it’s very motivating. The absolute beginner bookclub on here’s is great for starting out

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Neither easier nor harder. You go through the same loop of kanji supporting vocab and then kanji. The number of wanikani radicals dramatically drops to just a few each level. Sure the number of stuff in the system increases as you move on, but you’ll hopefully also burn more stuff so the load becomes smaller. Especially if you go slow but steady.

There’s some fast levels near the end but ultimately your plate is the same, so I took about the same amount of time as my other normal levels…

Either way you decide the pace. Clearing all your reviews and doing the amount of lessons you want is how you can manage. With the extra study option it should be easier to get new kanji in faster and also learn from your mistakes so leeches are not weighing you down.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have come this far, then you can definitely make it. Good luck!

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I’ve been doing around the same amount of work each day since starting WK and this is how my level ups have looked:

Aside from the huge spike around level 31, which was due to me not doing lessons for a bit to slow down reviews around my thesis deadline last summer, and the levels after that which were a bit slower since I had to catch up after taking it slower for a bit, the rest is pretty consistent.

Generally, I found that you get slightly slower over time if you try to keep the same workload. You can level up fast in the beginning as you only have a few SRS stages do deal with, but after the burn items come back you eventually settle in to a slightly slower but consistent pace.

As long as you keep doing all your reviews every day and do a fixed number of lessons on average each day (with the amount varying on the pace you want to achieve), you’ll make steady progress. The material itself doesn’t really get any harder or easier after the initial stages. You just cycle though radicals → kanji → vocabulary → repeat as you level up.

I’m just a month away from 30… so speaking of societal norms, I’m assuming it’s one of those milestones that makes people depressed lol. The end of your 20s sounds daunting.

I have dabbled in graded readers but haven’t done a full dive yet. I feel like I could pass the N4 with the practice questions on the JLPT website, but even N5 readers have formats I feel are beyond me, so I put them down and figured I’d come back later. I finally breached the grammar barrier last year but without something like wanikani I feel like it’s harder to make it stick. I’m comfortable with the rudimentary stuff but some grammar stuff in the wild still makes me do a double take.

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That’s a definite advantage of book clubs: support to get through mysterious grammatical constructions.

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