Goldlist Method for that Sweet Sweet Working Ahead

So lately my activity on Wanikani dwindled because of this (I picked it back up again but I was rather excited about this) but I found out about a word-learning method called the “goldlist method” (click for video explanation) a few weeks ago and experimented with it!

Basically, you write down 25 words a day with translations in a notebook and two weeks later you test yourself, cross out what you still know, test yourself in two weeks again, and so on, and so on. (The goal being tricking your brain into putting stuff into your long term memory right away.)

I found it incredibly helpful (alongside reading Japanese books etc.) but instead of translations, what I did was look up the definitions in Japanese, wrote them down, and if I really needed a translation bc I couldn’t understand the description I also included English. (See photo below.)


I highlighted stuff on the left that I got right (the ones I didn’t now residing on the next page as you can see it peeking through) and later on I also went ahead and highlighted stuff in the descriptions that I don’t know (I know - it’s a lot!) and added them to later lists.

I found this method not only helped me finally start thinking in Japanese (only after two weeks!) but also widened my understanding of common words and nuances between what would be synonyms in English. I use this on the side to Wanikani to speed up my word-learning progress with words I actually encountered while reading or playing マンハン

Perhaps an improvement would be if I could also include an example sentence on that one line I am allowed for each word, but I really cannot write kanji that small, haha.

In conclusion, I really found it helpful and I recommend this because it takes less effort, time and paper than flashcards.


Very nice!

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Wow! This seems like a brilliant method to me, and I can really see how it would help one think in Japanese, too. Thanks so much for sharing :slight_smile: I feel hugely inspired!

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It was honestly such a relief to find some alternative to flashcards! I can imagine doing this for languages I’ll pick up in the future from the start, it seems like a really neat way to get yourself right into using your target language

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Cute, but im skeptical that this works out in the long term. Even if you remember a bunch of words within two weeks, how can you be confident youll still know them in a month?

The simplicity is nice and and im tempted to use it for Chinese and possibly Japanese after i finish WK, but im also worried ill waste my time if i use this over Lingodeer, Anki, or Duolingo. Is there any good support for this method?

Yes!! Agreed! (High fives you)
And I like how it’s got you writing things down with purpose rather than just repeating words. Without spamming your Japanese penpals. Which I am a bit guilty of doing.

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I was thinking if I forgot a word, it will end up on a list at one point again anyway, so I’m not worried about repeating words on lists either, even if I had them on previously, because that just means it’s common/important enough for it to have appeared more than one time. Thus I get to practice it more and my mind associates more meaning to them with the descriptions vs. translations way of doing things. (Semantic method of learning ftw!)

I’m personally not afraid of forgetting words - if I forgot so easily, it must not have been that important after all! :slight_smile:

Yeah, exactly! It gets you to try to remember what those things actually mean right then and there, and out in the world, rather than writing it on a flashcard and depending on the flashcards teaching you vocabulary. You actually have to think about what the words mean primarily, and what the descriptions are trying to tell you, which is proven to be the best method of learning.

I found this made me quicker at reading Japanese too, and made me stop skipping over words I didn’t know, now I stop at those words instead and actually spend time trying to figure out what they mean.


Awesome! I’m gonna give it a try. Thanks for sharing. :smiley:

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I do this sometimes, but didn’t know it had a name.
It’s pretty useful to write down new words, after seeing them two or three times, I almost never forget them. :slight_smile:

I’m definitely intrigued by this method! I also like that you write down Japanese definitions for each word. That seems much more effective then just writing down the English translation. Where do you go for your Japanese definitions?

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it looks like SRS to me?


I literally just type the word and add 意味 after it, haha. Google is set to Japanese for me though, not sure if it will come up if it’s set to English. It generally directs me to these three sites:

It’s similar to SRS, yeah, but unlike SRS and flashcards, you only do this every two weeks, thus (supposedly) forcing the words into your long term memory. Doing definitions is my own twist on it tho. It’s not supposed to be completely different from SRSing, just a different approach to it :smile:

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Ah nice! I wonder if I’d find it difficult to understand the definitions that I read - do you ever have difficulty with that? Trying to think about using this strategy from a more novice standpoint.

To be honest you start to pick up what things mean very quickly (especially if you occasionally go back to previous pages to add some words from the descriptions to newer lists).

I think this is an all-levels thing. If I didn’t understand anything I still write the description down (this happened a lot at the beginning), with an English translation at the end so I still try to read the definition beforehand. It gets you familiar with those words and slowly you’ll start to understand what they mean, with occasional double-checking in English.

I’m about 500 words in now, and I find I look at English translations a lot less. :smile:


You’ve got nice Japanese writing!

@mindfroggery Penmanship + 10

Okay! I’m sold. I think I’ll try this method out. Thanks for bringing it to the forums :D!

Thank you :sob:

頑張って!I hope it works well for you! また誕生日おめでとう!:balloon: :birthday:


I already use (from time to time at least) the Iversen Method (no need to print out the sheets, you can just draw the lines in a notebook), but today I came across, for the very first time, this Goldlist Method! It looks amazing!

Tomorrow I’m going out to get myself a notebook and get started! I’m not sure quite how to form my headlists though. I’m thinking of mining sentences and short phrases from the books I’m currently reading with the bookclubs (Chi, Girls Last Tour, a bit of Yotsuba), but am not sure whether to add translations or not. I’m thinking not, but not sure.

Anyway, great method! Very happy to find a thread on it here! Thank you all!

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