Finish all radicals before starting on kanji for a level?

So far what I’ve been doing is always just going through all the lessons as soon as I can whenever I can, using the default order for lessons. However I’m a bit conflicted.

Once you start a level, you have part of the kanji already unlocked. I’m tempted to study them already, in part because I wanna reduce my workload later on, but on the other hand it shouldn’t change my overall level progression pace as I still need the locked kanji for that.

I also kinda feel like there’s an order to how the kanji are taught in each level. I don’t have a specific example in mind but I remember one of the explanations definitely making me feel that way, it made much more sense after I unlocked another kanji that is supposed to come before it.

I guess I’m just asking, does anyone else feel that way? Is it just in my head, or does the order not make any difference? Do you usually power through everything or do the radicals, kanji and vocabulary in “separate” batches for each level? Thanks!


I normally do all the radicals, the kanji, then a few of the vocab at once, its just faster and yes less work load

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I personally just push through all the radicals and kanji at the beginning of any level (I reorder to prioritize level ups) sometimes I kinda felt the same way, but eventually you’ll probably know the mnemonics for certain readings enough for it to not matter a lot of the time

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I usually batch the already unlocked kanji and review them over the next 3 days in 3 batches, usually something like 7-7-6 to even the “workload”. When the locked Kanji unlock, I do all 15 or so of them in one batch. Like this after some time the daily reviews fall quite nicely and evenly in place for me.

I usually do every lesson at once, but definitely prioritize the radicals first. The reasoning is simple; after going for radicals first you can always choose to do kanji lessons at a slower pace, but you cannot increase speed if you find the level is too easy after not doing the radicals. To obtain max flexibility, the sensible thing to do is the radicals first, combined with however many kanji/vocab you additionally can handle (but not more!).

Other than that, I try to get a broad idea of vocab associations with a kanji, rather than the WaniKani meaning of a Kanji. I feel in general that is a more useful approach than ‘just’ learning the WK meaning.

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I think maybe I didn’t word my question properly, the order of Radicals → Kanji → Vocab is perfectly logical to me and I’m not concerned about that. My question was rather about whether there is a problem with learning only the unlocked kanji before guru-ing the radicals of the level, instead of waiting until you unlocked all kanji and then doing them all at once.

For example when you unlock a level, you move all the radicals to apprentice level, and immediately also whatever kanji you already unlocked straight with them, instead of waiting until all radicals are guru and then starting on all kanji at once. This way you basically have two waves of kanji for each level which throws the “official” order of the kanji off.

I think for myself, after the other replies here, I’ve figured I should just go for it to reduce my workload later on and space it out a little, as the cases where the order in which you learn the kanji matters at all are pretty rare from what I can tell. But I’m still curious what others have to say.

I’ve moved over time. Initially I did all lessons ASAP, but that caused bunching and if I was trying to learn too many new items of any type at once it would take longer for any of them to stick.

Now I still do radicals immediately, and then a mix of kanji and vocab depending on how well items are sticking. I find vocab to be easier than kanji, since many of them you already have the meaning partially learned from the kanji and sometimes even the reading (while after the first few levels, the kanji and radical meanings are often very different, even for single radical kanji).

I think forcing yourself to get the radicals down before starting any kanji is counter productive, especially if you then start all the kanji after finishing the radical. I think it’s better to pace the kanji through the level, and that means starting some while you’re doing radicals (especially as the number of radicals per level swiftly declines), while also not picking up all of the kanji as soon as either batch is unlocked.

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Oh that’s interesting, so you suggest intertwining the already unlocked kanji with the radicals? Are there scripts that do that, or do you just use the setting on the website that shuffles the lessons?

With how my experience has been up to level 5 I can usually just go through all radicals super quickly and immediately remember them, so I think for now I’ll stick to doing those first (it’s also really rewarding to start the level with something i don’t have to put too much effort into memorizing lol). But if I ever notice any of those things you mentioned I’ll definitely look into mixing them as well, thanks!

Before I dived into more advanced functionality, I just did it by picking up all the radicals and then one group of lessons of kanji. Then add another 1-2 lessons of kanji per day depending on how my workload was going. Since there’s usually 15-25 kanji unlocked at the start of the level, that usually means you’ve added all the initial kanji to your lessons just as you start to guru the radicals.

Then later to pick up vocab ahead of kanji I just set my mobile app to pick vocab first while leaving the web app to do kanji first so I could pick content type by where I did lessons. There are userscripts like the lesson picker userscript, and now the inbuilt lesson picker that let you do this in a less hacky way now though.


I had no idea that lesson picker existed, thanks! And yeah what you’re saying makes sense, I think for now I’ll do it that way.


WHAT. When did this happen?! I guess while I was on hiatus for several months. Nice! I’m going to start experimenting with this to see if doing a mix of kanji and vocab* — with a kanji being immediately followed by vocab using it — is a more effective/efficient way to learn than all kanji, then all vocab.

Currently I blast through the radicals in one go, do about 10 kanji a day, then 15-25 vocab per day depending on a number of factors (the last few levels in particular I’ve run into a lot of words I already know.) But I’ve been wondering if it’d be easier on my brain if related items were back-to-back.

* I know WK offers a “mixed” option in the base app settings page, but I didn’t know for sure whether that mixed order was curated or totally random, so I didn’t really use it.

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Note you still have to Guru a kanji before you can start picking the vocab that uses it.