Easy Reviews: A Beginner's Guide

This guide was originally called, “The fastest and easiest way to get to level 60”, but in posting it I discovered that it’s most useful to younger leveled WaniKani users that need help understanding why their reviews are so unmanageable.

Beginners to WaniKani should know that they can have a simple review schedule that allows them to level up every 7 days, and also keep reviews to an easy once a day chunk. The most you should be visiting Wani Kani is three times a day. 7am, 11am, and 7pm.


The first rule of this guide is: Be FIRM with review schedule.

Starting a level 3, the SRS system will be:
Learn Lesson > Level 1 > Wait 4 hours.
Correct Review > Level 2 > Wait 8 hours.
Correct Review > Level 3 > Wait a little less than 1 Day.*
Correct Review > Level 4 > Wait a little less than 2 Days.*
Correct Review > Level 5 > Meet Requirements for Level Up

*There is an exact formula, but it isn’t necessary to get into it.

Every level past Level 2 is a multiple of 24 hours (minus one hour). Therefore the simplest schedule for WaniKani is to come on three times a day. At, 7am Learn Lesson Items > Level 1. At, 11am Review Those Items > Level 2. 7pm Review them again > Level 3. Because Level 3 - 7 push the the items items forward at multiples of 24 hours. You can count on all reviews to be ready at 7pm in the future. This means that you have a reliable single review session once a day. If you paused lessons because you were overwhelmed you would only need to come once a day until your reviews lowered to a reasonable amount.

Possible schedules include 6am/10am/6pm, 7am/11am/7pm, 8am/12pm/8pm, and so on. To get seven day level ups. starting at 6am or 7am is preferable, as I will explain in the next section.


Rule 2: Be FIRM with lesson schedule.

If you do 20 Lessons a day you will complete in around 1 year and 3 months.
If you do 15 Lessons a day you will complete in around 1 years and 8 months.
If you do 10 Lessons a day you will complete in around 2.5 years.
If you do 5 Lessons a day you will complete in around 5 years.

How do I get consistent seven day levels with this guide.

You can use this guide to get reliable reviews, and level ups but it gets a little more involved.

I’l assume that you have just level upped and want to know how to organize a fresh level.

Day 1: Complete the radicals lessons at 7 am, Review at 11 am, Review a 7pm.
Day 2: Complete the first batch of kanji lessons, and the supplement with vocab, Reviews at 11 am, Reviews a 7pm.
Day 3: Vocab Lessons, Reviews, Reviews.
Day 4: Vocab Lessons. NOW on Day 4 you will “guru” the radicals at 7 pm, this means that a second batch of kanji will be released. The best course of action is to learn them right away and review again TONIGHT. If you complete the lessons at 7 pm. They will be ready at 11pm.
Day 5: Compete reviews for Kanji started last night at 7 am, complete you other reviews at 7 pm.
Day 6: Compete reviews for Kanji at 7 am. Take on new vocab lessons and complete them at the normal 7am/11am/7pm, schedule.
Day 7: Vocab Lessons, Reviews, Reviews.
Day 1: Level up at 7 am by completing reviews for the second batch of kanji and start over at Day 1 for new level.

Optional Rule: Split up your Vocab Lessons.
You will get reliable Vocab releases with the schedule proposed above. One on Day 1 when you level up and one on Day 4 or 5 when you “guru” the first batch of Kanji.

It is important to learn Radicals on day 1, and the Finish the first batch of kanji soon after, on Day 1 if possible or 2 at least. When you level up, the last of the vocab from the prior level should be released. You want to finish them by Day 4 if possible. For instance, when I leveled up I released 33 Radicles, 14 Kanji, and around 50 Vocab. This is a light level. I was easily able to complete it on days 1-4 at only 20 lessons a day. Today is my day 5. I will release more vocab tonight when I “guru” the first batch of kanji. It’s preferable to complete the second batch on days 5/6/7 Before leveling up, because you will release more vocab when you level up.

Optional: A Review Organizer is your friend.

Reorder Ultimate 2 by rkindley

I use this to put radicles on the top of my list so that I can level up at a consistent 7 days per level. Also if any of my reviews get off schedule I can ignore them until 7 pm by prioritizing the current levels review. This is useful of the 7 am reviews I get by leveling up quickly. Play around with how to best use this, BUT I do not recommend ignoring vocab for multiple levels. Complete the vocab as soon as possible after it is released because it will help cement your learning when the kanji comes back around for higher level reviews.


Rule 3: It’s okay to slow a level down a day, or two.

If you are consistent and firm with your review schedule but still feel that your vocab lessons are piling up, feel free SLOW DOWN. Add another day to the level. I don’t recommend taking on more than 25 lessons a day, levels 10-20 have some rough levels with a ton of vocab, it would be better to slow the level down and complete the vocab in a manageable four days then to stuff them all into two or three days before level up.

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I seeeee, if only i had known this 3 years ago. How long did it take you to reach lvl60?

Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 2.28.55 PM

This is my 2017. I only made it to level 9 when I started the first time in 2017. I wanted to get to level 60 so I did every lesson as soon at it was available and got up very early to try to complete reviews before leaving for work at 4:30 am. This was only maintainable for 2 months, at which point I fell off the wagon.

You can see the dark and olive green in the graph. That shows that in level 6-9 I was repeatedly doing 300-500 reviews a day. I saw myself falling into the same trap this time around. I hear others on the forums falling into the same trap and I wanted to write this guide to show them what I learned when I followed the logic to the end.

I haven’t gotten to level 60 yet, but the numbers tell me that you can get to level 60 in a year and some change. You have the choice though. You can do that by having random days of 500, 300, and 100 reviews, of you can do it steadily by taking on 22 lessons and 132 reviews every day.

I haven’t lived it in reality yet, but I know this path is my best shot of finishing this time around, both quickly and with my sanity, and wanted to share!

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Nice - I look forward to seeing you reach lvl 60 !

Thank you for being supportive! I have a tendency to go all or nothing, and learning kanji is really important to me, so I don’t want to set myself up for failure this time.

You words are exactly what I need to here right now.

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How do you get this little calendar thing?

This is produced by the Heatmap script. You will see it often in level 60 threads.

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Hey man, I’m all for doing consistent lessons each day. I found that this worked best for me also. Can’t say whether it works to get to level 60 just yet though, since I’ve still got a long road ahead of me myself.

Since you say you got overwhelmed last time, remember that you don’t HAVE to go at max speed. Taking longer is fine. Even if you only do 10 lessons each day, you would’ve been done for quiet some time now had you stuck to it in 2017 :wink:

10 lessons per day was my speed for 2 months now and it was pretty comfortable. Now I’m studying for the upcoming N4 and I need to commit more time to other stuff than kanji so I’m going to reduce it further to 5 lessons per day. Sure, at that point it is very slow (~40 days per level maybe), but at least I’m still making progress and doing reviews. I’m certainly in no rush, remember that Japanese people themselves learn kanji over a period 10 years :slight_smile:

Anyway, here is my lesson history and as you can see I came to the exact same conclusion as you 2 months ago, after my second burnout. :smiley: Another advantage to this strategy is how clean it looks on the calender :wink:

kanicalender

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I don’t think this is actually true? I’ve been going at max speed myself for awhile now (6 days 20 hour level-ups) and my current daily average review stack is 171. My actual daily review stack is in the range of 50-300, but to keep things more balanced I will put off non-progress related reviews if I’ve already done like 250 for that day.

Also my review numbers are also pretty optimal for taking the high-speed path, since I have a fairly high accuracy. So you could have a larger load than this going full speed if you had less accuracy.
image

I’m on pace right now to complete WK in a little less than a year, assuming I do the fast levels at full speed as well (not sure if I’ll do this yet but I’ll at least try for the first few I get).

My strategy that has helped me to maintain this pace while not getting burnt out is to just do reviews hourly, and to cap how many I do an hour (20 max per hour). At only 20 an hour a review session takes me 5 minutes. This keeps things from coming in super big waves. When I have new lessons I also do only 5 per hour, and around 40 max per day. This combined with doing the progress blocking reviews and lessons first make going full speed pretty easy IMO. (It’s also helped that I’ve been WFH since March, which has made doing hourly reviews much more feasible)

Going full speed myself, if there was anything I’d do differently it’d probably be aiming for 7day level ups instead of 6d20h level ups, since those have you waking up at weird hours sometimes to do progress blocking reviews. And you really don’t lose much speed with an extra 4 hours per level, maybe like a week of time at most. I’m sticking with it for now though since I’ve already come this far.

The other secret to maintaining this speed is to be addicted to WaniKani. Something about the gamification just “clicks” for me.

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This is basically what I am doing, and in my case is just 169 reviews a day on average, but lately I usually have more than 200 a day, with some days above 300 reviews. My accuracy is a bit lower, nevertheless.

Captura de pantalla_2020-08-05_23-46-26

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I think it’s probably closer to 200 a day for me too, yeah. Just the average gets a bit offset by the low flow of reviews in the first 10-20 levels.

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Honestly, I like it better to not cap how many I do an hour that way I can spend like 30 to 45 minutes staight doing reviews in a clump then not have to worry about it for quite a while

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The only thing about the level up tracker is that is tracks the level that you complete kanji and radicals. I recommended using the filter to put kanji/radicals at the top of the lesson stacks, so even with my guide it is possible to have seven/eight day levels across the board.

It also isn’t necessarily a guide for people that have a method that works for them. It’s a guide for people that are disorganized and feeling overwhelmed. I wanted to let them know that they can complete WaniKani at a fairly speedy pace and also keep the reviews down to a reasonable number per day. You don’t need to do every lesson right away to get to the finish line.

Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 6.37.07 PM

Only doing 20 lessons a day means that many levels are going to be 8 days long. 8 days x 20 lessons, means 160 items, means you keeping up nicely with vocab and never faling behind. Which is fine in my opinion. It’s the balance of fast and easy I’m interested in. If you look at Monday on this graph as an example. You should log into WaniKani 3 times of Monday. 7am, 20 Lessons for the day. 11am, First review for those lesson. At 7 pm you have a review of 140, because all items will be clocking their review time in the evening if you start every item at 7am.

All I’m trying to do is give people a way to understand how they can take control of their reviews and make it simpler and more manageable, and feel like they are still make speedy progress. Obviously you have a way that works for you, and thank goodness. With my guide most people will get to all items burned quicker than they would if they were overwhelm by reviews to do poor planning, and stalling out regularly. It should be noted that my guide is more interested in all items burned than level 60. So I sacrifice the fastest possible speed of level gain for easy management on reviews for all items.

TL;DR You can go at a steady pace and still finish the race in about the same time.

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I know, I know, Don’t rub it in! I’m kicking myself for not sticking to it.

Exactly this is for finding a way that works for you! And giving people another option. Good luck of the N4. The speaking section got me! 頑張ってましょう!

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Excellent advice man, I’ve only recently realised the importance of maintaining consistency in regards to lessons as you’ve said about 2 levels ago (I believe that I’ve caught on early enough as to not be too harshly punished for it in the future). There would be times I’d do lots of lessons in one sitting, and then be unable to retain that information which would create a lot of leeches. Then other times I’d just do lessons at weird intervals with no concern for the SRS, which led to me forgetting more things, and again creating more leeches. Now, I’ll only ever do 20 - 30 lessons per day as it’s far more managable for me.

Things that have also helped me with maintaining consistency are:

  • Timing my lessons so I can get an item to apprentice level 3 within a day (+4hrs +8hrs)

  • The scripts WK Timeline and Reorder 2 - WK timeline lets me see when I need to do reviews so that I’m not wasting time constantly checking in on WK. Reorder lets me learn all Radicals for a new level on day 1, meaning I don’t have to grind through 40 odd Vocab lessons to get to them. This then allows me to balance learning the first set of the new levels kanji alongside vocab from the previous level.

These are things that most WaniKani users (from what I can tell) are familiar with. However until recently I didn’t know about them and they have been an absolute game changer, so hopefully this can help those, who like myself, are new to WaniKani. I learnt this from zEUs_japaneses’ guide on 'How to build an efficient WaniKani schedule (How to build an efficient WaniKani schedule (level up as comfortable as possible): the guide).

Best of luck to you on your Japanese learning journey!

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Exactly. Level 10 seems to be the level that everyone actually figures out what they are doing lol.

I read zEUs’s guide today! I was laughing because we have very similar talking points. My bad for repeating it.

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I think you’re right. So far I feel I’ve found a good rythem with 20 - 30 lessons a day, meaning I can kinda anticipate when I’ll level-up and such. You should check out zEUs’ immediatly unlocked Vocab list also if you haven’t already. It helps a bunch for creating “lesson forecasts” (dunno what else you’d call it) for when you level-up (Complete list of immediately unlocked Vocabulary words/items after Level Up [as of 8.20]).

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I didn’t check the math but… didn’t you consider accuracy at 100%?

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Yeah I was mainly replying because the guide states that more than 130 reviews a day does not let you level up faster, and is detrimental to your learning. The second one is clearly subjective, based on the pace a user can handle, but the first statement is objectively false.

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