Doing Vocabulary

Hi! I noticed that you don’t need to do the vocabulary to level up and unlock new kanji. How do you study vocabulary? Do you study it separately from Kanji and radicals? I noticed that my vocabulary has started piling up because I do my radicals and kanji first.

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Not totally sure of what you mean by studying it separately but it sounds like you use the reorder script if I’m not mistaken?

I personally used that script to deal with the “level up” items as fast as possible. However, it is important to make sure to do all your vocabulary items before going to the next level so that they don’t pile up. After all, the vocabulary items are there to reinforce the readings of the kanji that you are learning.


Like @heisamaniac said, I heavily recommend doing the vocab. It not only reinforces the kanji readings, but also helps to understand what readings are used when. This is especially very important for kanji with more than 2 different readings. So I recommend finishing the vocab before continuing to the next level.
How many lessons do you do per day?

I personally made a rule to never use reorder on lessons, and only on reviews.


I will do my radical lessons first and then make sure I do my vocabulary before I touch any kanji.

Skipping vocabulary for more than one level is what resulted in this thread: Script Abusers Anonymous


I strong recommend deleting the reorder script. It hurts more than it helps imho.

This is not a race, take your time.


Yes this! It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon


I don’t know if I’d claim it to be as black and white as that.

It does no harm at all if you use it properly and definitely allows you to go at full speed if that’s what you’re trying to do. Yes, it’s not a race, but some people (myself included) do try and maintain a seven-day per level routine and using the Lesson Filter script to take your radicals before your vocab is both perfectly fine (so long as you do your vocab lessons) and essential (if you want to maintain that speed).

Everyone uses WaniKani differently and there’s no harm in using scripts to support that :slight_smile:


For every person that uses it properly there are probably 10 more that do not. You yourself have said it got you into trouble before. I have noticed a number of posts recently from newer users who do not even seem to fully understand what the re-order script is and what it does, they’ve probably just installed along with a bunch of other scripts from a list.

Personally I think it’s responsible for many people burning out and quitting WK.

But people are of course free to study however they want.


Definitely do the vocab! It’s so much easier remembering the kanji readings when you got an actual corresponding word.

I’m doing the vocab lessons while waiting for the kanji to level up to Guru to get to the next level. Then do the rest of them mixed with the new radicals. Though I haven’t tested how long it takes for me to level up if that’s something important for you. I actually don’t really want to know how long I take to not put pressure on myself if I’m going slower than usual. I’d rather make sure not to overwhelm myself with the number of new stuff and reviews.

As @Pep95 said: it’s a marathon. Doesn’t matter that much at what place you finish, as long as you do.


I also do radicals first upon level up, but I also make sure to do all my vocabulary lessons every level. I level up roughly once per week, maybe a little less than that, but I usually hit 0 lessons at least a couple times in the week.

My routine from the start of a new level:
First, I always do lessons in the morning, so I usually end up waiting until the next morning anyway, since I level up in the evening (a natural consequence of doing lessons in the morning).

  • day 1: 20 lessons (all radicals+a few kanji+some vocab)
  • day 2: 20 lessons (unlocked kanji divided by 3+vocab)
  • day 3: 20 lessons (unlocked kanji divided by 3+vocab)
  • day 4: up to 20 lessons (last kanji batch+vocab) guru radicals in the evening
  • day 5: up to 20 lessons (all newly unlocked kanji+vocab)
  • day 6: up to 20 lessons (vocab)
  • day 7: up to 20 lessons (vocab)
  • day 8: up to 20 lessons (vocab) probably level up in the evening.

Sometimes I end up leveling up very early evening, so I might do the radicals so that I can hit the first review before I go to bed, which shaves about 10 hours off my usual level up time, I guess.

Oh yeah, also, the vocab are important because thye don’t only reinforce the reading you learned with the kanji, it also teaches new readings for those same kanji. For example, had you done this from level 1, you would not have learned やま、のぼる、みず、ください and other important words. Also, you would not have been exposed to phenomena like rendaku and counters. Of course, I don’t know at all the experience you already have with the language, and what you already know from studying outside of WK.


You need to learn words to read, so it’s kind of important to study that aspect of the language. If you want to learn Japanese, stop skipping vocab lessons. If you just want to “win WaniKani” then feel free keep skipping vocab lessons. :wink:


abuser alert. Abuser alert!

  • I take radicals lessons first.
  • I take kanji lessons next.
  • I make sure I take all vocabulary lessons before leveling up.

The third step is very important even though it is not needed to level up. Skipping it leads to big trouble as others have pointed out. Your vocabulary lessons will pile up and become a hard to manage mess.


WaniKani could easily prevent this abuse by requiring users to guru 90% of the previous level’s vocab (in addition to 90% of the current level’s kanji) in order to level up.


I’ve explained my process before, but this is what I do:

  1. Radicals - order them to the front, knock them out AS SOON as they appear.

  2. Kanji - I order these to the front as well and knock them out within a day or 2 of the Radicals appearing. This is the FIRST set of Kanji you get when you level up (you get Radicals, Kanji, and Vocab in most level up scenarios.

  3. After I do the first day of Kanji lessons, I break out 20-25 lessons of vocab. By the time I have guru’d my Radicals and the next set of Kanji appear, I try to ensure I have zero lessons in the pile.

  4. Do all Kanji lessons and do reviews 3-5 times daily. By 8AM I zero out my reviews. About noon/lunch I zero out my reviews again. 6 PM I zero out my reviews again. Between 9 PM and 11 PM, I zero out one more time so that when I go to bed I go with 0 reviews left for the day.

This has allowed me to level up consistently between 7 and 10 days and normally by day 8.5 in most instances.

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I’m amazed how many cases of “I don’t do my vocab” come up here. I guess I use the reorder script (I strictly use the Tsurukame app and that does reorder if you want), and like Joeni it’s to maintain a 7 day routine. (However, I do kanji before vocab.) I especially like how I have it now, where I level up on Saturday mornings. But just ignoring the vocab seems to completely defeat the purpose of doing WK. What is even the end goal in these cases?? “I learned the alphabet but who needs words!”


I guess you’d be able to guess road and shop signs? :stuck_out_tongue:


Learning the vocab is my favorite part. Sure, WK isn’t going to teach you all the vocab you need to know. But the number of times I encounter something I just learned is pretty astonishing. It helps keep the other parts of my studying, like immersion of reading / listening, more interesting and productive.


Learning the vocab is my favorite part.

I agree with this.

First, it helps me cement the Kanji itself. The more of those dang things I see and burn into my brain, the better I am at recall.

And second, it’s fun to see what something means. I know a lot of spoken Japanese and until I see something like say, 飲み物… drink thing means… drink. Or 電話… electric talk is… telephone. Sometimes the way you get to the meaning is weird but more often than not it just makes sense and for me, is fun.


This is so true.

When a Kanji, which doens’t come up in many vocabulary items, comes up for review again after a while, it’s so hard to remember. (Meaning: I fail).

Vocabulary reinforces your Kanji knowledge and it gives you a good head start for Japanese vocabulary.