HELP struggling on low levels

Hello, wonderful people.

So I’m looking around in the community. I’m checking some YT videos and just realised how bad I am at learning here. I don’t consider myself to be lazy. I’ve been doing my reviews every day since I started Wanikani, with a few exceptions. I see people can level up once a week until they reach level 20. Look at mine:

Honestly, I have no idea how you people can do that.
I am 29 years old. I do work 50–60 hours a week. I tried my very best to spend as much time studying as possible. Seems like that’s not even close enough. I wasn’t even able to start grammar because I feel like I don’t have the extra time for that.
When I have over a hundred reviews a day, it can take more than an hour to get everything done, and then I do not feel like I have enough brain power left to study new things.
From now on, I will do 10 new kanji a day at least. The thing I am afraid of is that the review will kick off to 200 or even more a day, which is a lot.

I do tap on the lessons and I study whatever is coming up. I mean, I do the radicals, then kanji, then vocab. While I’m studying the vocabs, I guru the kanjis so I level up, but I don’t start the new radicals until I finish all the vocabs.

It is possible that I am not dedicated enough and this is why I don’t progress. I know I will be fluent one day. I won’t give up for sure!

Does anybody have or have had a similar problem? How did you overcome it? Is there any advice?

Please help me if you can. Any advice or criticism is welcome.
Thank you for reading this.

Please ejoy your day


Working 50-60 hours a week on top of life, is enough to be exhausted. Your passion for learning Japanese really shines through. As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Try to lower the amount of lessons you do at one time. Your retention rate will increase and you won’t suffer from burnout when you reach the higher levels. If you can do reviews 3 times a day, that would be best so as to not do them all at once.

Don’t compare yourself with others…easier said than done, but it’s true. Some people do not work at all and can dedicate more time to Japanese. I do 20 new things a day on average, but I now use the reordering script so I can always knock out the radicals first. If I have a new level I will do all of the radicals and kanji that unlock until the next batch unlocks. Then (the next day) I will do 20 of whatever is left, which is usually vocab unless new kanji unlocks before then, so then it would be a mix between the two. It is a good system for me.

Keep it up! You aren’t doing as bad as you think you are. You are determined to succeed and you will find the way that works best for you.

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”
-Chinese Proverb


Take it easy on yourself @AnnaNishimiya.

I’ve been using WaniKani on and off now for about 3/4 years. And I’m only now going through level 9…

Do what you can do. Pace yourself and just plod through the reviews as you can. It will slowly tick up…

Good luck! :slight_smile:


The key is to catch the three first review intervals. Once a day will not cut it with new items, might work if you have everything gurued.

The timers are 4h, 8h, 24h. For new items. Crucial to hit these in order to remember them.


Number 1 rule: stop obsessing over comparing your progress with other people’s. People here come from different background and have different learning style; many of them even started WK after they studied Japanese somewhere else to some degree (so not entirely from scratch).

What I always remind myself, which hopefully can be beneficial to you too: Be kind to yourself but be disciplined. Being “kind” in the sense of don’t beat yourself up on why you’re not progressing as fast as others, etc. However, be “disciplined” in the sense of make sure that you’re consistent with your study effort.

Pacing your study is also important. Mistakes in a review will result in added items for the next review sessions. So, it’s ok to take your time when learning something new.


:sob: Awww, thank you so much for the encouragement. I very much appreciate you taking the time to write.
I will try to tackle the next level with all the radicals and kanjis in one sitting.

Thank you so much once again :purple_heart:


Thank you so much for your kindness. I will do my very best. :purple_heart:

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Ahhaaa, this is new to me. I will keep this pattern in my mind a do my best to do the reviews on time. Much appreciate your help. :purple_heart:

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Only hitting the correct timings when the reviews pops up will get your accuracy up to 90%-range if going at a somewhat slow pace. You probably have the feeling that you’re treading water, that is why.

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That’s way too many imo. I do 3 per day and right now I have 90 - 100 reviews per day


I completely agree with you. I shouldn’t have done that in the first place.
I noticed that if I rushed the reviews I got more wrong, so I had to do more. This is why I take my time and if it takes 2 hours, then it will take 2 hours to tackle them. I will try to do it in smaller batches in the future, though.
Thank you for your help :purple_heart:


Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. WaniKani is more like a marathon than a race, finishing it is what counts.
You can try to find times in your schedule, when you have some peace and are still able to concentrate. I commute to work by train, so I use that time to do WaniKani. The most important thing is to listen to yourself: If you start to feel like it’s too much, then it’s better to reduce your daily lessons before burning out.
My own pace is relatively slow too and yet I am close to level 60 now.


wanikani is not a sprint, it is a marathon as we usually say here.

So I believe before hell levels you should pay more attention not to lvl up time but accuracy.

If you keep consistent there, then you speedrun, which I also dont recommend, because your mail goal is not burning out, not getting overwhelmed and quitting.

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I completely understand what you mean by doing 100 reviews and not feeling like you want to do any lessons. Personally, I’m going down the speed route, so I end up doing 250 - 300 reviews in a day, at night I force myself to do 20 - 25 lessons on top of that, then end the night with a little bit of grammar studies, it’s not sustainable for someone that works full time like you do. Don’t compare yourself to me, I’m younger and don’t have the responsibilities you do.

What you can try is split up your reviews, from what it sounds like, are you doing all your reviews when you get home from work? I’m not sure what your day looks like, but is it possible for you to some reviews in the morning, or the evening so the amount you do when you get home is less? Maybe on break, or the train / bus, if you don’t drive to work. This can also help you catch your reviews in the correct intervals like already mentioned. And finally if you have less to do after work then you might be able to convince yourself to get some lessons in.

It might be best to have a consistent lesson amount per day, something manageable like 5? That can reduce the chance of you skipping a day. Though of course, if you need to skip the day, do it, never stress yourself out over learning

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Take it easy man. 50-60 hours a week sounds really difficult. You’re doing good things. Try listening to podcasts or something. If you do 10 a day, you’ll finish in less than 3 years. Keep going! You got this.

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Like everyone else has said, take it easy on yourself and don’t worry that others are faster. You want to take care of yourself which means understanding your limits. I may have averaged a week or so per level for a lot of my levels, but I couldn’t possibly imagine working that many hours, let alone doing that and WK.

The only way to maximize your speed is to maximize your ability to handle doing reviews, which ironically for most people, means going slower. 2 months per level is much faster than 1 week per level for 2 months, followed by a year of burnout.


Thank you so much to everyone who spared some of their valuable time to reply to this post. Much appreciated for the help!
You guys are absolute LEGENDS. :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart:

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I was having the same thoughts as you, frequenty checking and double-checking how long it was taking me to level up, and - to be honest - it made me feel kinda like I was dragging my feet too.

At some point I just accepted that progress was happening, and that’s what matters. If we know more today than we did yesterday, that’s success in itself.

Best of luck with your future studies, I’ll be taking the long way round as well :wink:


That’s the spirit. Thank you so much for your comment. :purple_heart:

I feel the big issue that is happening is you are comparing yourself to other people. You need to feel what works best for you. My advice is for the time being completely stop doing new lessons and just get through your reviews. Whenever you have 100 or 200 reviews to do doesn’t mean you have to do them all in one sitting. You can just do 10-20 in one sitting then use the extra study features such as recent mistakes so study the ones you missed. Then the next day just do another 10-20 from the review people. Repeat this until you slowly get it down to 0.

When you see new lessons just know you don’t have to do them all. You can just do 5 even if it says 30 or 70 new lessons just do 5 only and see how you feel with that. You could just do 5 new lessons and no new lessons the next day and simply just review only. It’s about becoming the observer and making adjustments when need be so you don’t get overwhelmed. You can see the forecasts so you can also look at that to gauge on how much or how little new material you want to study. Reviewing is the most important.

I’ve heard of people speedrunning to level 60 and then having to reset back to 1 or early levels, because they spend their time and energy just rushing through. It’s better to slow down and take your time. Think of this less of something to overcome and more as a teaching moment/lesson for you in regards to self care.

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