How do you "do" your lessons?

I searched around and I found a lot of topics asking about how quickly people do their lessons. I was wondering how people actually do their lessons. Do you write everything down? Do you just skim it and wait on the reviews? Do you make up your own mnemonics? Do you write them onto your forehead and bang your head into the mirror?


Being semi-retired, I can do most reviews as they come up. I do new lessons when I don’t have a lot of reviews to do, usually about 10-20 on the slower review days. I write down all the Kanji in a notebook with their meanings and readings so I can study them later. I do not rush through lessons as that means I make more mistakes. I’d rather go slower and learn the lessons well. I started out going fast and ended up resetting at Level 10, which has really been good for me and I am doing better now in remembering. So it is now slow and steady for me. You will have to decide what works best for you, though. Everyone learns differently. Good learning.


While the mirror method would probably make them memorable, it’s debatable as to whether that would help your recall (or your brain) in the long run, so maybe avoid that. You’d also probably have to write them as a mirror image, which would be difficult.

But in all seriousness, I tend to read lessons through mnemonic and all, then stare at the word and repeat it and the meaning out loud four or five times. A bit weird, but it works. Something about the mnemonic along with the physical verbal aspect of it helps me to remember it as I’ve found I’m more of a kinesthetic learner. When I really don’t get a kanji/word after the first review I’ll look up stroke order and write it out on kanji square paper (not the right name, but I can’t remember it right now) a bunch of times while repeating the reading and meaning in my head or out loud if I’m by myself. It would really be better for me to do this for everything, but that would be intensely time-consuming, so I save it for the frustrating ones.

Try out a few different methods and see what works best for you! I have a friend who will sing things she’s trying to remember and that works for her, so no matter how you learn there’s a method out there to fit it.


I try and do my lessons before I do my reviews in the morning. As by the time I have done my 100ish reviews I am burnt out…
I remember the memonic and the kanji. Look at it for about 30 seconds each, in the lesson of about 5 kanji. Then in the review of the lesson say the whole memonic out loud for both the reading and meaning. (so two times for each).
… But them sometimes you can remember one word of the memonic that has nothing to do with the meaning or reading haha… And I find my self asking, what did the car do? when it has nothing to do with a car at all! 廃
As for making my own, only if they kind of suck, or are a really weird reference, or I can think of a simpler one.
Also, the Koichi ones I always have to remake… (no offense to him, but I can never remember him) haha.


I read the meaning through and the reading. I decide if I need to make up my own mnemonic. If it’s kanji, I look up the kanjidamage listing to see if there’s anything useful there, if it’s vocab I do a quick jisho search for synonyms and sentence context. Once I’ve decided anything I need to save in the WaniKani notes (new mnemonics, usage notes, etc), I try to hold it in my mind for 30-60 seconds. If it’s a kanji, I read the mnemonic to myself while looking at the kanji itself, focusing on each radical one by one as I reach the associated words in the mnemonic. If it’s vocab, I do the same but for kanji. For kanji, I usually alternate between looking at the radicals and trying to form a mental image to associate with the mnemonic.

I tend to spend maybe 3-5 minutes per kanji and 1-2 minutes per vocab. If I feel like my brain needs a break, I give it one; I don’t insist on doing all 5 lessons with no break. As long as I remember it by the first quiz, it’s fine.

For very “obvious” vocab I tend to skip some of this and go faster.

To note: the reason I look up the reading first is that I don’t want to guess a reading and be wrong, because that means I’ll have started embedding a wrong answer into my memory that I can later confuse myself with.


I skipped to the quiz then waited for reviews


I started spending much more time on lessons, maybe up-to 5 minutes per lesson, working harder on mnemonics (given or my own). Also

  • for kanji - find few vocab entries on WK with given reading and listen to them, check semantic-phonetic composition (there is a great script for that), check stroke order (another script). Sometimes I remember kanji reading as part of vocal that I know (like ば for 馬 horse because of ばか 馬鹿 idiot)
  • for vocab - try to read and translate at least some parts, again with scripts “WaniKani Hide Context Sentence” (blur English translation) and “Advanced Context Sentence” (allows to listen to sentence with google translate and highlights kanji with meanings/readings.) Already noticed few cases when Google read kanji wrong (kun’ vs on’).

As you go further down, kanji become more complex, vocab meanings are less obvious, many repetitions and synonyms. So just breezing thru lessons does not work.

And I limit myself to 8-12 lessons per day (with exception of radicals), using batches of 4 - you can change default batch size of 5 in App Settings.


Any elaboration on your reasoning or why you did this? Or is it just what worked best for you?

They’re just pulling your leg (or maybe genius or both).

I go through all Radical and Kanji lessons first then Vocab lessons on the next day or two if the Kanjis were a lot to take in.

I write down the definition, reading (katakana for on’, hiragana for kun’), and own mnemonics for the definition if I feel like this kanji/vocab is going to be hard to remember. I also find it easier to remember when I come up with my own mnemonics.

I typically use example vocab to remember the kanji’s reading (as a opposed to mnemonics). If I can’t get through the first 1-2 reviews with this then i come up with my own mnemonics.

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For the kanji I look if the mnemonics look useful and also check if there is some component similar to some other kanji. I use the phonetic-semantic script to see if there is some trick to the reading. If the mnenomic is too convoluted I sometimes create my own but mostly disregard it. Rarely do I spend more than a few minutes for one kanji.

For vocab I mostly skim through, maybe look at the example sentence if the meaning is unclear.

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Worked well enough for me and it was just faster. Not much to elaborate on. If I didn’t already know the kanji I was usually familiar with a word that used it, so I could rely on that to help remember. Also when I didn’t know the answer in the quiz I could just answer incorrectly and have a look at the info.

Not at all. I even made a script to skip right to the quiz from the dashboard.


For radicals I just try to go by what they look by since that’s normally all you have.

For kanji, I try to really memorize the mnemonic. Sometimes if the mnemonic doesn’t make sense I will modify it to fit something I’ll more easily remember. I spend a minute or so fully reading the lesson/mnemonic for these each. Then during reviews, I recall the full mnemonic, even if I know the meaning/reading already. Doing this really makes the kanji stick, I find.

I spend less time with vocab since normally they make “sense” as a combination of the Kanji, but if they have an unusual reading or meaning I spend a bit more time reading the mnemonic given for them.

I do 5 lessons an hour once they’re unlocked. On level-up it takes me 1 or 2 days to clear the lesson queue. I also use a reorder script to do all the radical lessons right away, to keep level up times short.

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I do 10 lessons daily and I used to just skim through them and memorize the visual for the upcoming review. Now I make sure to read the info and learn the mnemonic because I have found my previous method not so effective in the long run since quite a few kanji look very similar and also memorizing the visual only does not help jog your memory after not seeing the item for a few months.

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At first I used to keep my apprentice items at a certain number (40), then I tried a different approach and went x amount of items per day. Now I blast through radicals and kanji as soon as they’re available and practice them properly using the self study script for a while. After that the srs and vocabulary are enough for me to retain most of what I learn. I used to take around 20 days to complete a level but with my new method I’m getting levels done in 7-14 days.

I read the mnemonics for radicals and kanji once but if I come up with a mnemonic on the spot I use it instead. Normally my personal mnemonics involve kanji with the same readings as the one I’m currently learning so that I’m utilising old kanji to help me learn new ones.

For the times where I mix up kanji I open both of their pages, look at the differences, read the mnemonics and all that. For radicals I’ll learn them properly at first but if I forget their names later on when I dont think they’re important anymore I cheat them with the double check script.

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Yes. But without the writing, I just bang my head.


I read then through, read the mnemonic twice and really try to imagine it. Then I leave it up to the srs. If I find I fail it enough times I try to read the mnemonic again, sometimes tweak it a bit.

Most important for me though is to do small batches. I do radicals right away. Then I do kanji the next day. I try to do all the vocabs before the Radicals guru, divide them on the days left =)
When radikals guru and unlock more kanji I do those right away. When the first batch of kanji Guru I unlock more vocabs that I make sure to do before level up, again dividing the load on the reminding days =)

This way each lesson batch is a manageable size.
I also adjusted batch sizes to 3. I find repeating the item helps solidify it. 5 was a bit hard, 3 was a good sweet spot =)


I’ve started to struggle with a ton of similar looking kanji afterv lvl 30. And thus I’m trying to break each new kanji down into radicals and write it a few times.

Readings are usually pretty easy for me. In many cases I already know some vocab that uses that kanji, so I just associate them. Or I rely on the phonetic radicals.

When both methods don’t apply I try to use the mnemonics but reading mnemonics often don’t work for me because they target American pronunciation.


Starting from when I first get lessons I tend to do them in pretty big batches, often at least 40 per session. I like to get new radicals and kanji out of the way as soon as I can, so I tend to have to get through like 10-20 vocab before I can get those done, leaving me with pretty big batches. I’m trying to stick to a 10 day per level schedule rn so it’s super important to get all the kanji in a level unlocked as soon as I can. I almost always come up with my own mnemonic for the kanji, because even if I already know the radical I’ve noticed poorly learning a kanji will cascade down into poorly learning every vocab that stems from it. Vocab I’ll skip a lot more mnemonics and add my own later if I’m having trouble with a word. Most important thing for me is to listen to lofi hip hop while doing it because if I have anything actually substantive on in the background I’ll get distracted and it’ll take 5 hours lol. Only time I’ve broken out pen and paper for WK was trying to remember the difference between 見返る and 見返す because the WK definitions just wouldn’t stick in my head.


Oh, well that’s easy; I don’t!