Hard stuck lvl 5 over a year

Some practical tips:

  • Consider using a computer for your reviews. I hate doing large batches of reviews on my phone, and will only do it if I absolutely can’t use my laptop. You may find that using a large screen and keyboard gives you less fatigue.
  • It sounds like you’re doing reviews once per day? You should review at least twice, but ideally 3-4 times per day. Try reviewing in the morning (before work/class), evening (after work/class), and night (before bed). Squeeze in a session at lunch if you can. This will help you remember things better and make each session less tiring.
  • 80% correct is good, if you average that you’ll make steady progress.
  • Make sure you’re remembering the mnemonics, especially for new items. If you forget something, take time to re-learn the mnemonic.
  • Get the ultimate timeline script so that your daily review count is not a surprise. There’s a system here, and once you understand it perhaps it won’t trigger your OCD.

Hopefully some of these tips will accelerate your progress, and the feeling of progress will help with your motivation!


Thank you for your insight!

I have to admit, sounds pretty crazy. I unfortunativly would not be able to study that often. 1 Hour every third day of kanji seems more than enough for me, since I do one day of speakingl/listening, one day of kanji, one for grammar/writing. I also draw which I have to do also everyday atleast 2 hours. Amongst spending time with others/work/cleaning etc stuff like that. It makes sense Im not making progress when Im probably meant to do it several times a day.

Cheers for the motivation though!


You may be right, I tend to get more done when I do at my PC i feel. Ill try to see if it changes over long term.
Actually Im doing once every third day now almost given up again with 50-70% now. I used to however do 1-2 times a day an hour with 80%+. It sounds like an awefully often though? Maybe I do not have the time to study that often/I have to get my priorities right.

I see a lot mentioning mnemonics, I will try to approach it more carefully and see if it helps.
Thanks for your reply.

Once every third day is absolutely not enough. Anyone would feel frustrated with that schedule, because you’ll forget new items before you get your first chance to review them. There’s a reason the first review interval is 4 hours after you learn the item.

It sounds like you’re trying to tackle Japanese from a lot of different angles at once, without having much time to do it. Perhaps you should try picking just one or two skills to work on at a time; whatever you find most enjoyable.

If you do decide to put kanji on the back-burner, I’d recommend halting lessons but continuing reviews (no less than twice a day – really.) until all your items are deep into guru/master. Then you can slow down the review pace to once every few days, and keep at it until it’s all burned. Don’t let yourself lose the progress you’ve made so far!


Since I am the worst man who was ever born maybe my advice is not worth much but I will try and help you anyway. First of all let me tell you something, you are never ever gonna learn a language if you don’t enjoy studying it. I had to study german for 6 years in school and I hated it, so now I do not even remember how to count to ten in german. I also studied french for 7 years and, once again, I do not even remember how to count to ten in French. If studying japanese seems like a chore to you or if you don’t feel motivated then try to remember why you started in the first place and try to see every little improvement as a victory to stay motivated otherwise you will end up like me and german/french.
I would also like to share my modus operandi hoping it will help you.
I spend a lot of time during lessons, I spend anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes on every new radical/kanji/vocabulary, and I use the wanikani story only if I can’t come up with a mnemonic that makes more sense to me.
I would suggest you come up with your own mnemonic aswell.
I do my reviews in small chunks basically 5-10 minutes every hour, i do them during the pauses of the lecture of my uni, but depending on your work/study this might not be possible.
During the reviews if i can’t remember a word i go like this:
発見, i do not remember it so i will try to remember only the left part.The left part is made of a tent and lantern items that are needed to go camping so this kanji could be something like going out or DEPARTURE. Then I try to remember the right part, it is made of an eye and some legs, and i would bet a walking eye could SEE a lot of stuff. So if you go out and see it might be because you want to DISCOVER something.
After a while i start to remember them just taking a quick look so I do not need to divide each compound into the kanji that form it and each kanji into the radicals.
I try to never skip a day, in the 2-3 months i used wanikani i skipped only one day and it was because the day after I had a really important midterm.
I also try to end each day with 0 reviews to do, i may have some lessons left but as long as they do not contain radicals or kanjis then it is fine for me to postpone them for one, two or even three days.
I hope this lengthy incoherent rambling of mine will be of some use for you. Good luck mate.


This might have already been said, but I recommend writing out each kanji along with its furigana and meaning. Hope this helps! :smile:

I highly recommend you set a session or two a day at a certain time to practice and not worry too much about the number of reviews you have. So whether you have 50 or 500 reviews you have a set amount of time to calmly do some reviews at your own pace and not worry about how many are left over at the end, What will happen is your review intervals will get longer and eventually you will start burning the oldest levels which will remove them from your review queue permanently. This of course means you CANNOT reset your levels. Stop doing that, be more consistent.

If you really want to level up faster get the userscripts for greasemonkey or tampermonkey. Specifically the WK reorder script and focus on the kanji. However this will just give you even more reviews at any one time so consider whether the risk of being completely overwhelmed is worth the gratification of leveling faster.

I’ve been overwhelmed to a point where I simply couldn’t correctly do 50 reviews a day. If I have 500 words I don’t know and I review 100 incorrectly at a time each day. That’s 100 words i’m not going to see for another 5 days. This completely destroys the 4hr, 8hr 1 day intervals WK sets for these words and makes it much harder to remember them. Eventually i reset several levels and took it one step at a time. So the lesson learned here is to take it slow and build your foundations, get words to guru before pushing for more. Don’t take breaks and if you can only manage an hour a day then you need to manage how many items you try to learn at any point in time


I just wanted to emphasize what others have said, specifically that if possible you should do reviews on your laptop. Keyboard just makes reviews like 3-5x faster for me and with less errors. Especially if you know how to type. Also I think its better to go though a big chunk of reviews at a time, because I get disappointed if I do a few reviews then come back next hour to the same previous amount or way more. Doing big chunks at a time can mean you usually wont have a bigger pile than last time if you do reviews 2-3 times a day.

Edit: To be honest if you can only usually come to do 80 reviews every 3 days, its not even worth paying for WK unless you invest in lifetime. Maybe you can get some grammar books like Genki, learn from those when you have time, at your leisure.


My recommendation would be going back to your big why.

Why are you studying japanese?
Do you have a goal in mind for when you want to be proficient?
How do you measure your progress so you can track proficiency?

I think it can be hard to remain motivated if you do not find a way to make Japanese study an integral part of your day. There are scripts that limit lessons, and there are also ways to batch your reviews so you’re only doing 20-30 at a time–

But the most important thing will be remaining motivated as the information steadily increases. Unfortunately, we can not help you on the motivation front, but we can give you tips to structure your day around language acquisition.

I encourage you to go back and make SMART (specific | measurable| achievable | realistic |timed) goals as for your Japanese education. Figure out a pace that makes sense for you based on the timetable you’re giving yourself to achieve your goal. And then find friends locally or online (this community is a great place for that) that can help you stay accountable to them.

Let us know what you end up doing! We are rooting for you. :heart:


Writing my own mnemonics has really worked for me.

Best wishes on catching up.


Stop resetting ; just keep grinding forward. Wanikani only gets harder as you go, but you also get better as you go. You’ll be surprised at how many reviews you can handle once you get to the higher levels, even if it doesn’t seem like it now.



My current strategy is to never do lessons if the lessons would cause the reviews in the next day to go over 50. It’s a bit slower, but that way I’ll usually get through all the reviews in a session, so I won’t forget the ones I just learned.

I also don’t do lessons too late in the day, so that I’ll get my first review that same day and have an easier time remembering it.

And listening to the vocab pronunciation every time it comes up in review seems to help a lot as well, especially when trying to remember which reading it is.

I also go a bit overboard in the notes with etymologies and mnemonics, but I think that’s just me, and it is a bit time consuming. Especially with kanji.

I tried this site a while ago, and got up to level 8 before getting too overwhelmed and stopping. I restarted at the start of the year with these techniques, and it’s been a much calmer experience getting here. Even stopping for a few months and coming back wasn’t too painful.

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Seen several people on here talking about needing to do reviews more than once per day to level up reliably.

When/if that’s simply not possible (i.e. I’m getting about 15 reviews every hour, but I can only complete 3 or 4 reviews during downtime between classes, and I can only reliably devote an hour in the evening to doing reviews and lessons together) what do you suggest? 3rd party apps?

I totally get why the srs system works how it does because on free days that i can just screw around on my computer I actually catch the reviews as theyre intended to be, remember them, and have a manageable workload, but it sure would be nice to level up faster than once a month on my regular schedule :pensive:

For myself, I’ve noticed the more I expose myself to the things I have trouble with the better I do later on.

I did the Tango N5 book before learning about WK. I found it easier when I wrote down things I had trouble with. Then looked at them regularly throughout the day, like my own personal “critical list” I could hold.

I would try to associate the items with real life things in an attempt to get them out of the SRS program I was using and into the real world. It helped to write them down. For some reason getting it out of the sterile SRS helped me to solidify things. If I knew I knew a word I was saying in English I would try my best to remember it in Japanese, and if I had something to write with, I’d write it. It was a mixture of that, and rote learning for me, not ideal for most, but for me it gives that extra little push.

Read the mnemonics provided by WK, but also try to think of your own if you can. Associating it to things in your life, so you have a personal memory tied to it.

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Once every third day won’t work out unfortunately. Items don’t stay that long in your short term memory usually. Once a day even might be too low. Even if I were time-constrained, I’d still try to get in 2 review sessions a day. @Omun ‘s schedule of 8:00 - 12:00 - 20:00 seems to be the most efficient way for long term retention because you line up with the critical apprentice items’ review intervals. It’s also not a huge time investment tbh. I’ll take 1 batch of lessons at 8 in the morning, and then do my reviews and that’s the most time I take out of the day for WaniKani, and it’s 30 minutes at most. After that, at 12:00 and 20:00 it’s just reviews, and they don’t usually take longer than 15 minutes. You’ll need to experiment with this yourself, but otherwise just doing WK twice a week is probably not going to work long term for you.


Maybe try to do more, but shorter sessions.

I’m doing reviews in the morning, as well as 10 to 15 lesson. If you have trouble remembering your current items maybe go for 5.
About 4 hours later, at noon (so I get the reviews of the lessons from the morning) another batch of reviews during my lunch break.
Another 4 hours later, an afternoon/early evening session, where I can re-review items I got wrong in my lunch session.
At last, another 4 hours later a 4th review session before I go to bed/while laying in bed.

Each session takes maybe 10 minutes and I’ve reviewed the lessons from the morning at least two times. Some times I do skip the afternoon session, depending how much time I’ve go.
If you do them like that, they won’t pile up and you’ve got less reviews at once.

And as others said, take the time to read the mnemonics, I skipped them in the beginning, but they’re helping me a lot. And if they aren’t working for you, try to find one on your own.


On one review session per day:

My 2 cents worth: I am super happy doing reviews only once a day. Works for me. Usually have about 80 or 100. My progress is slow and steady and that suits me fine. I think it’ll take me 2.5 to 3 years to get to lvl 60 (5 to 10 lessons a day at the moment, but sometimes I pick up the pace depending on life). Occasionally I skip a day, but not often. It has turned into a habit.

On mnemonics:

I do take my time on lessons to stick the new info in well and force myself to recall the mnemonics in the first few reviews rather than relying on an initial impression of the meaning/reading (which is usually correct in short term but flies out of my head later on if I haven’t refreshed the mnemonic pathway). If I do it this way I find that I recall them much easier when enlightening or burning them. I expect I will ditch most mnemonics in the long term when I really know a kanji solidly and can read it in context regularly, but they are a very useful scaffold in the interim imo and worth the extra time investment. Perhaps they will remain useful to me in the long term for rarely encountered kanji, but not sure.

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The bigger problem is that the OP is only doing WK once every three days :slightly_frowning_face: which is unsurprisingly not really getting them anywhere.

@Soffeh Could you potentially break that up into 20 minutes a day instead? Coming on at least once a day, just for a smaller amount of time, should make a really big difference in your retention. (20 min/day is the same amount of time as you put in now, but means your brain won’t have discarded as much of the information as unimportant between sessions.)


My suggestions:

  1. Understanding how WaniKani’s level up system works

For this, I highly recommend reading this guide (don’t worry about the title, it’s worth reading even if you can’t or don’t want to finish WK in a year), especially chapter 4:

  1. Figuring out how you can fit WK into your daily life

The guide above has some suggestions about that, and other posters on this thread have also shared their ideas.

It’s not necessarily about checking WaniKani all the time, or spending several hours a day. Basically, on a day with lessons, ideally you would access WaniKani two or three times a day:

  • Morning lesson pattern: lessons in the early morning, first reviews at lunchtime, second reviews in the evening.
  • Evening lesson pattern: lessons in the early evening, first reviews at night before going to sleep, second reviews early in the next morning.

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