How do your lessons pile up?

For a disclaimer, this post isn’t meant to judge I’m just very curious.

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts of people with hundreds of lessons in their pile. When I first saw these posts I assumed they must be a much higher level than me. Now I’m seeing people with much lower levels with lessons piled up. I can’t ever remember 100 or more lessons in my own personal to do pile so I’m genuinely curious to how this can happen.

My only assumption would be that people aren’t doing the vocab lessons and moving on to the next levels kanji/radicals.


and you are exactly right. Sometimes I lack the motivation to do the vocab so I start the next level’s kanji immediately with a script (rushing through the fast levels rn). Yesterday I had about 200 lessons, some from 2 levels ago. It’s kind of annoying but it doesn’t really matter that much in the long run (at least for me) unless you get burned out or something.

edit: I mean you have joeybertschler (or whatever his name was) wannabes who just want to ‘learn the kanji’ but I’m assuming you’re not referring to those

I guess that makes sense, thank you for confirming that.

I suppose it seems so odd to me since I do the opposite; I use a script to do the vocab lessons first and don’t touch kanji or radicals until the vocab lessons are finished.


I currently have 126 lessons, all vocabs.

I slowly do my vocab on WK because:

  1. Building vocab on WK was ineffective because it has no context.
    I worked best with sentence cards and audio for vocab acquisition.
  2. Slow. For me, it was like 7x slower for vocab acquisition.
    I found this when doing parallel WK and iKnow side by side, comparing the burn ratio.
  3. Leeches problem, no solution so far from WK team
    The SRS interval on Master and Enligthened was too far apart, which I kept creating leeches, so I mess with the SRS interval and trained with self-study before they were due to solving this issue. It worked great to avoid the items getting bounced around.

I do this mostly to focus on my vocab building outside WK (mainly iKnow and Clozemaster) and reduce the time needed to review WK. I learn the vocabs by phonetics first, then use mnemonics from WK to reinforce the kanji recognition. This way, I rarely needed mnemonics for vocabs since I would instantly know the reading.

I do not use any scripts to skip stuff, I simply would just not do any lessons, because I thought I couldn’t handle them. I had an apprentice pile of 25-ish.

I recently sped up and I have a bit over 100 in apprentice, few days ago I had like 170.

Turns out I can handle it. As of now I have 21 lessons, will do them all in the morning, when I wake up though, because I’m pretty sure I will guru all my radicals sometime tomorrow so I want to prepare to get some new kanji in to my apprentice, I don’t like leaving my kanji and radicals in lessons, but I will do my vocab a bit slower, but before i level up of course

I don’t really let my lessons pile up anymore. I try to do 10-15 daily so as I progress with items, the pile usually decreases in size. At lower levels I would go through all kanji in one go so ended up Guruing all of them at the same time which led to lesson spikes. Can’t do it at this level anymore :stuck_out_tongue: .

I wake up lately do 40±60ish piles. So I guess sleep, other than that, work.

I stick to 6 items a day and love the slow pace that it gives me as that always allows me to do my reviews even on really busy days.

The downside of course is taking 4+ years with WK but I am in no rush.

Yeah, that makes sense for some people, because the default WK lesson ordering doesn’t always work well. Personally since I’m trying to speed through the program on an annual subscription I really need to be able to prioritize kanji and radicals, otherwise my leveling times suffer.

I’m probably repeating myself, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run, as long as you eventually do your lessons. I have nearly 400 apprentice items right now and about 70 lessons in queue, but I’m not particularly worried because this has happened many times already and I know eventually I’ll muster up the motivation to do them all. Besides, I’m nearing L60, so it’ll be over soon.

It really boils down to your time commitment and consistency, in my opinion. Best case scenario (for speeding through) is doing at least 3 sessions per day, ideally spaced out, with a total of between 1 and 1.5 hours per day. I’m pretty sure jprspereira’s already said that, though.

Edit: since I don’t want to bombard this thread with replies. @Gorbit99, could you elaborate a bit on how reordering’s fundamentally flawed? I hope you don’t mind this ping :slight_smile:

I never reorder lessons, I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea, but that’s just my opinion and people do whatever they want.
I certainly have the goal of being able to consume Japanese, but the whole point of the vocab lessons is practicing the kanji, as the more you see something the more likely you will remember it, if the mnemonic doesn’t work long term, no issue, you have your rote memorization to lean on.
As a nice side effect, you can learn thousands of words to maybe help you when reading.

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Of course, I mainly talk about the extreme cases of doing only kanji, and (almost) no vocab. Reordering to get for example radicals out of the way is fine.
The idea is that you need to use something to remember it at all. If you learn a kanji at level x and burn it when you’re level y, and then you never ever use it, you might feel like it was easier to do, because of the lower number of items altogether, but that just won’t stick without any practice.
This of course doesn’t take studying vocab outside of wk into account, but personally I’ve paid for the whole speedometer so I’m gonna use the whole speedometer :slightly_smiling_face:

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This has been my thoughts also, and, like you, I never used reordering. I just tried to spread out reviews for when I might guru kanji so as to also spread out the second batch vocab lessons a bit. This also ensured I had few remaining vocab to hit me as soon as I leveled. Worked really well for me. ^^

I relied a lot on the vocab lessons bringing those kanji home.


Also don’t japanese people, for example when explaining how their name is written, say like it is written with the Kanji X from the word Y, so people know which Kanji they are talking about since so many have the same pronunciation etc.
I guess if you just skip the vocab a conversation about how to write a specific name or even word might be difficult.


Gotta lie about this or you might just get a heart attack.

My rationale for doing reordering lessons to do vocab first is that all the vocab lessons available will be based on kanji you’ve already learned. Thus its reinforcing old information rather than piling on something almost completely new. Plus, many kanji lessons don’t teach both the common kun’yomi and on’yomi. Also, as a lifetime subscriber I suppose I have the privilege of being super slow (Not because I don’t do WK often, but because my memory is crap :sweat_smile:).

what do you mean? :thinking:

Death note reference


ohh :sweat_smile:
now i get it. :laughing:

Great question.

Skipping vocabulary and just leveling up kanji & radicals seems weird to me because, personally, vocabulary is the whole point! (I learn radicals to help memorize kanji so I can read Japanese vocabulary.)

Focusing almost exclusively on kanji/radicals seems so painful and difficult to me! I find the latter days on a level so much more pleasant expressly because the lessons become mostly vocabulary and not kanji. I kinda dread seeing several days of the dreaded pink immediately after leveling up.

To each their own, but to me vocabulary is the fun bit and kanji is a necessary chore. Fun or not, vocabulary items hammer home the readings and meanings of characters I’ve already learned.

On a related note: I recently discovered torii. It really made my day: I’m looking forward to learning lots of additional vocabulary after finishing “only” a few thousand here on WK.


They only really pile up if you neglect the vocabulary. You should be getting total 150-160 new things to learn(Radical + Kanji + Vocab) per level. So if someone is 200+ lessons behind, then they are quite behind on vocab.

I do have a game plan of rushing the final 11 levels by just learning the Kanji and ignoring vocab. I want to do this for 2 reasons:

  1. Vocab at the those levels are said to be much rarer, so I’d rather spend the time learning via immersion. But that’s not to say I’m going to ignore them because…
  2. I want to reach 60 and buy the lifetime subscription for the discounted price. Afterwards, I’ll go back and learn all the vocab I missed(I’m guessing it would be around 1.1k words?). It’ll be a few months to get through, but I’ll be sticking around anyways since this community is awesome!

That being said, I agree that learning vocabulary is incredibly important towards the earlier levels because you’ll encounter the words very often in native material. Your vocabulary needs to be supplemented from things outside of WK at some point too.

Then again, people have done RTK or Heisig before learning vocab and it’s worked for them. Do what works for you!

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