How do you keep track of your learned words?

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a great start to the year!

I was just watching a video of how Stevi/Stevijs3 used a tracking sheet of the words he learned. While this, unfortunately, doesn’t apply to how I study, I am curious whether or not you guys a) track your learned words, b) how you track your learned words, and c) do you think it is worth it to keep a log of the words you’ve learned over time.

I’d really like to optimize how I study but I wonder if getting into all the fuss of tracking is going to to derail be from actually studying. Thank you so much for your advice!

Also, I apologize if I posted under the wrong category.


In my opinion, that just sounds like a waste of time…
Words are constantly being forgotten and relearned, especially as the number of words you’ve ‘learned’ increases.

Rather than trying to ensure every word you’ve learned stays that way by creating a list and such, I think it’s better to just let reading and listening do that job for you


A lot of people study using SRS systems/decks that have a specific number of words, and many people are basing their study loosely around the JLPT, which has a set number of words per level.

At the beginning, at least. Once you start consuming native material, I think people try to keep track of new words they encounter, but ultimately you just have to rely on estimation after a certain point, I’d imagine (I’m still working off of lists/decks, so it’s very easy for me to track my known words).


So, I don’t, except to the extent that the tools I’m using anyway happen to auto-track them. It looks like the person who made that video uses Anki, which will give you stats on words learned through it, as will most SRS systems. More generally, there are just an awful lot of words, and you “learn” them to different levels of mastery, so any number is going to be at best a very rough approximation. “Numbers go up” can be motivating, but don’t give yourself a bookkeeping chore just to produce them :slight_smile:

I do think it’s nice to have some benchmarks of progress over time, but they should probably be less heavyweight to record. One I recommend is recording every book you read (which there are several websites to help with: bookmeter, booklog, natively).


I “track” the words that I’ve been learning through Anki. But, I think I’m still at a beginner enough level for my vocabulary that the stats are useful for measuring progress. Once I have ~1,000 or so in there, though, I’ll continue to add, but I’ll care less about the number going up. (This is especially true consider I leave out words that are extremely common, so I likely won’t even have that many at the end of my beginner textbook studies.)

I agree with a couple of the previous posts, though, that after a certain number, it’s not really worth it. And, along with the reasons already posted, keep this in mind, too: Even in their native language, people tend to have a much larger passive vocabulary (words [quickly] recognized during input) when compared to their active vocabulary (words [quickly] pulled for use during output).

So, depending on your goals, choosing decent benchmarks aside from “number of words” is a very good idea. :slight_smile:


I use as it’s my main source of vocab. It takes no time and it’s easy to find which words I know and which I don’t. I’m not sure if you can call it tracking in the traditional sense but it is recording every word that I learn, so good enough for me

1 Like

This makes a to of sense. A lot of the time, I find myself making cards for words that I previously learned and am “supposed” to know. Now I’m thinking it would be neat to have a way to realized that I’ve actually encountered the word X amount of times but keep forgetting. But as you said, reading and listening will eventually get me there.

Right, I forgot to add that I’m at a point where I already (slowly) read native material. Do you have any plans of tracking your learned words once you graduate from the JLPT lists?

Thank you so much! Sometimes I can get lost in other people’s processes that I fail to gauge whether or not they’re actually sustainable. Also, I’ve never heard of booklog before. I’ll definitely have a look.

That is very well said. Thank you.

I’ve heard of this but forgot all about it. Thank you so much for bringing it up. I’ll make an account right now!


I tried tracking “learned words” early on, but realized that would quickly become equivalent to creating my own dictionary. It’s fun to watch the number of items in WK etc. go up, but any tracking beyond that seems like a waste of time to me.


Once you know over 10k words, it gets really fuzzy. The most common words are easy to remember, the others that are fairly rare come and go constantly. You simply cannot keep track. What is the definition of knowing? Recalling or recognizing? It could be anything from 12-20k at this point (I look up all the words I don’t know during immersion, and do so atleast 5 hours per day, so I might even low balling it).


There are many words that I can translate and tell the reading when seeing the first time, particularly when reading and words with Kanji. Listening might be more difficult, but non-overlapping might be more appropriate here.

Simpler words might be trackable with jpdb (or Anki). I still miss many from time to time. Weird Kanji and rare isolated words might be trackable too.

Speaking and sounding smart and appropriate might be a different question, though. However, I don’t think jpdb tests on that either.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.