Frustrated in 20s and slowing down Wanikani to focus on reading

As many have mentioned, 1.5 hours/day is a LOT of time to spend on WK. Everyone learns differently, but I agree that that’s at the far end of the spectrum.

You don’t mention how many sessions you have per day nor how many items you typically review in each session. Is this one marathon session, or two, three, or even more sessions spread throughout the day? I’ve always done just one ~45 minute session per day for what it’s worth, but I’d recommend two or even three sessions shorter sessions per day if you can swing it.

Most people seem to prefer a pace of about 6 to 10 questions (or 3-5 items) per minute (depending mostly on typing speed!). While it’s good to struggle to recall some items (that struggle actually programs the neural pathways in your brain) it’s bad to spend too much time on any individual item or, worse, most items. It’s often better to just give up if you can’t answer in 20-30 seconds or so.

Remember that repetition is a huge part of the process, and answering incorrectly just gives you more repetitions for an item. That’s what you want! The ideal case is when you’ve seen most items enough times that you recognize them and can answer instantly and effortlessly.

This explains the frustration for sure. You mention only 50 apprentice items, but how many guru items do you have? If you’re spending 1.5 hours/day with only 50 apprentice items, I’m wondering if you have a huge number of guru items that you haven’t really learned well yet.

I’m a fan of the rule-of-thumb to keep apprentice-items + guru-items/10 around 100 to 150 items, since those will always be the huge majority of items in your daily workload.

Some userscript suggestions

It can be edifying to configure the ultimate timeline user script to show the SRS breakdown of scheduled reviews for the next 120 days.

Mine looks like this:

Notice how pink and purple (apprentice and guru) dominate the next several days of reviews).

I’m biased, but I’m also a fan of the GanbarOmeter to manage one’s workload.

Here’s mine:

Since you’re on level 24 and started more than 6 months ago, you should also have a few master and enlightened items each day. It’s totally normal to miss a higher percentage of those since you haven’t reviewed them in months, but they should only be a relatively small fraction of your daily workload.

Lastly, I’d STRONGLY RECOMMEND stopping lessons altogether and using the extra study feature to get in more repetitions until your overall review accuracy gets to a point where it starts feeling easy rather than frustrating. You need to figure out if it’s “recent lessons” or “recent mistakes” that are causing you the most grief, but either way the solution is more out-of-band reviews.

The old saw about marathon vs. sprint is true. Motivation is key. Who cares how long it takes? As long as you’re making progress and enjoying the learning process, you’ll get there eventually. Quitting is the only sure path to failure.

Yes. Extremely. Especially after the first six months when enlightened items begin to appear in your queue.

Maybe, but unless you really enjoy manga, children’s stories or even the truly excellent Satori Reader content, it’s hard to read much until around you’ve reached around level 35 (95% of JLPT N3 content).

I’ve only recently started to feel even moderately comfortable reading (though I’ve spoken the language poorly for many years). It’s never too early to start reading, but one needs to build up an awfully large corpus of recognizable vocabulary before reading is anything but a difficult slog.

Finally, remember that even level 60 is just the beginning of a journey. Relax. You’ll never stop learning about the language.