Feeling a little discouraged, but still trying

Yeah I’m there for sure: I know I need to review it more, and with the amount of retention I have, maybe doing 5/day is too much…the last few days I’ve only been doing reviews as they come up to give myself a chance to retain the last few I’ve “learned”

In the first few levels my vocab scores tanked. It got better around level 5/6. Partly I think because you get used to the format - but I also approached the reviews differently. When I get a review item (kanji or vocab), regardless of whether it asks for the meaning or the reading, I recite both of them out loud before answering. I feel it helps to ‘link’ both of them in my brain.

I never had to ‘get over’ having a large lesson queue. I seriously dislike running out of lessons, so a large available queue just makes me happy. Reviews I want at zero though.


As much as I’d love to jump on reviews as I’m notified, I simply can’t do it every time. I like my sleep, and I’m not dead set on finishing as soon as possible. So usually I’ll review 1-3 times a day, and learn 1/day.

I don’t necessarily agree with mathematically comparing my learning rate as 5/day until the end, because I know from learning other things that eventually I’ll be able to take in more with less effort as I’m more familiar and confident in the basics.


This is great, and I think it helps clarify my intent behind my op: Looking for other ways to figure out what works for me. I only know my experience, and by asking others I can be exposed to other ideas. Thanks! :v:

I did look up the difference because I was getting frustrated with that example in particular… with noon I thought of the slide as a shirt on a clothesline (dry) and you have to dry laundry at noon because that’s when the sun is out :sweat_smile: Cows have horns and long faces, so I think of the bit at the top as a horn, and the slide as the face

Here’s what worked for me. Figure out the maximum number of reviews you can do in a day (each person will have a different number, I think that’s part of the magic). At days when your number of reviews reaches or goes above this number, don’t do lessons. At days when the number of reviews is lower than the daily max, do an appropriate number of lessons, depending on how low the number of reviews is (again, each person will be comfortable with a different number of lessons, especially considering that lessons will become reviews the next day - hence the importance of knowing your max review number).

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My review and lessons approach is very simple. When I was on the first 5 levels, I would immeadiately do all my lessons and simply learn everything reviewing. That proved to be very inneficient, and on level 6 I almost gave up WaniKani. What I learned is, vocab is the most numerous section of any given level, that is, in any level you’ll find 30 something Kanji, 15 to 20 radical and something like 130ish vocab. That can be really overwhelming, but a lot of vocab is from a level is actually from lower levels, meaning you “already know”, most of the time, at least the pronunciation of that vocab. Keep in mind, that reviewing vocab makes your Kanji knowledge stronger. Most of times, Jukugô words take On’yomi readings, readings that you probably learned when you’ve tackled that Kanji earlier, making the process of reviewing vocab one of the best ways of keeping your Kanji game sharp.

Anyway, my tip would be: do more vocab lessons from the earlier levels and practice them on your reviews whenever you can. It’ll help you on earlier Kanji and they are less tiresome than new kanji/radical lessons, since you already know the meaning of those kanji.

One other piece of advice you’ll hear a lot is that WaniKani, or should I say Japanese learning in general, takes some time to get used to. Every new level is kinda chaotic and tiresome, but after some time you see that things tend to stabilize.


Thanks! I know WK has explained different types of words, like Jukugo, but aside from Onyomi, Kunyomi and most verbs ending in る, I’ve forgotten what that stuff means. I think this is what @Joshikii is referring to about my understanding of Japanese not being strong yet. It seems like the context is somewhat grammatical, and I haven’t studied much grammar yet, so the meaning is lost to me rn.

Haven’t blasted through lessons because I want to feel confident that what I’ve recently learned is sticking before adding more.

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making simple mistakes like confusing 牛 and 午

Knowing the difference exists is half the battle, just take a good long look at them and try to find your own way of remembering the difference in meaning/reading. That’s what usually works for me.

It really depends on multiple factors. It’s a fact that you can’t limitless learn new stuff so you need to dose it out. When doing lesdons, refuce the reviews and vice versa. Don’t spend more than an hour per day.
Also, it helps if you’re rested and fresh. If you combine this with work or school try getting up half an hour early and do your lessons then. During lunch break do some reviews. After 8 hours of work it’ll be much harder to absorb new stuff.

What really helps me with similar kanji and vocabs is to group them and put them in Anki. Putting 牛 and 午 together in the front card and
Vocab: 牛 kanji:ぎゅう うし cow
Vocab: 午 ご noon

Also saying aloud the radicals also helps: cross and gun is cow. I didn’t like the mnemonic and I like bloom into you. The lead character is Yuu. Give yuu a cow becomes gyuu in my head. Ushi is a dutch impersonation character ushi en van dijk. She pretends to be a japanese woman.

Dry slide did work for me for noon. Dry doesn’t stick out at the top, the cow is behind a fence, horns sticking out.

At level 5 I had trouble with this (anki front)

Anki back:
きんねん recent years
ねんらい for some years
まいとし every year

After a few days grouping this together it began to stick and reviews in wanikani of these vocabs go well now, even after weeks between reviews. Some kanji or vocabs just need some extra time to sink in.

After a while, whenever I do vocab lessons I try to predict the reading before going to the reading tab. More often I get it right, which helps with retention. I can breeze through those vocabs at a much quicker pace.

I aim in reviews gor 80 to 90% correct. Above that it’s too easy, so learn more lessons until reviews drop below 80%. Below 80% things start to get difficult, most often I do more than 15 kanji/vocab lessons in those cases. 15 is about max for me per day.
When you get something wrong, get a lityle angry, that helps. If the kanji mnemonic doesn’t work, invent your own. You can go as crazy, erotic and dirty as you like, it helps to remember it.

I’m not sure how much your retention rate is affected by your speed. As long as you’re not going at a ridiculous pace and burning yourself out, whether or not an item sticks is more about its difficulty IMO. I don’t care if you’re doing 1 lesson/week or 25 lessons/day, 一 should pose no problem while you’ll probably struggle a few times on 八日. SRS will make you remember the difficult ones by asking you a few dozen times if it needs to, like “Here’s your monthly reminder that 絡 isn’t 結” :expressionless:

I’d actually recommend going faster, if only up to level 5 or so. The early levels have a lot of numerals and generally abstract stuff. The more concrete words later on should make it easier for things to “click”, so to say.


I don’t have huge amounts to add to all the great advice and insight that’s been given above… except to say that it goes in waves. Some days you will cruise along and be bashing out words and radicals easily, and surprising yourself at what you remembers… other days it will feel like you can’t remember anything. It’s part of the journey. For that reason I would advise against resetting. Let the SRS do the work!


I reset from level 6 down to level 3 recently because I’d taken more than 6 months off and I’d simply forgotten most of the kanji. I had 500+ reviews and was getting 80% of them wrong on every review. This meant I just couldn’t bring the number of reviews down to something manageable and I wasn’t actually making progress - just getting frustrated. So in that context resetting made sense.

But it general I’ve got no problem getting stuff wrong in reviews. I’m old enough to remember studying back in the days before SRS on paper Flashcards. To be honest, the labour intensive process of creating the Flashcards probably helped more than the cards themselves because you had to rely on your own judgement to repeat the difficult ones, or just review the whole damn deck over and over. I love that WK looks after that all for me. If I struggle remembering something i know that it will just keep repeating it until it finally gets through my thick skull. It’s doing all the meta-study work for me.

The advice I’ve read for WK that’s worked for me so far is:

  • don’t try that hard to make sure something sticks during the lesson, just go over them all quickly spending 1 minute or less per item. Then review the ones you get wrong - that’s where you do the real study
  • make sure you do those first reviews at the right time, it’s easier if you only do lessons one or two mornings per week so that you can manage your schedule to knock over the reviews at the right times
  • for those first reviews repeat the mnemonic aloud if you can
  • don’t see the reviews as a test, if you get heaps wrong the system is going to naturally slow down your progress until you get them right
  • work out how many reviews you can handle per day - personally I’m ok with somewhere between 50 and 150 (but that’s because I don’t care too much if I get some wrong - I don’t get frustrated until my reviews are regularly below say 70% and I’m happy when I’m cruising along at about 80%)
  • slow down on lessons if you have more than 100 or so apprentice items
  • load a script so that you get your radicals and kanji first, but don’t skip the vocab

P.S. As for similar kanji, this userscript has helped me: [Userscript] WaniKani Similar Kanji

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well, this cute little durtle 牛 (cow/ox) has a small horn right above its head, while 午 has no horn.
remember this and you won’t mistake these two for the rest of your life :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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I still do this, so don’t feel too bad. :wink:

This is how I do it too. Out of, say, 10 lessons, there will be 3 or 4 that I just blank on when they come around for the first review. But that’s ok, I just try to fix the meaning/readin/mnemonic and move on. It will eventually stick.

One thing you may not realize is that you’re not just learning Kanji, you’re learning about “how to learn Kanji”. It’s a skill, like any other, that starts out difficult but becomes easier the more you do it.

Along the way you’ll find things that work and things that don’t. Keep track of which is which and keep on trucking. :slight_smile:

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LOL! Yeah that’s how I remember it now that I compared the two side by side! Up until I looked them up together I kept missing it because WK doesn’t display them together in reviews.

Thanks! I for sure have 牛 and 午 down from this thread alone :rofl:
What really makes me feel better is knowing that others get lessons wrong the first 3 or 4 times too.

I really appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement! I’m definitely going to keep at it! Thanks and see y’all around the forums! :v:


Theres a script to hide it which I use

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