How fast should I be progressing?

Listening to Tofugu podcasts, WaniKani ads always mention that you can get to level 10 or something in 3 months. Does everyone progress this quickly?

I’ve been concentrating on quality reviews, getting as much into Burned as possible. I would usually avoid having more than 60 items in Apprentice and currently go through 100 new items a month. Is my approach wrong? Should I be learning more things every month and not worry about keeping my Apprentice bucket manageable?

My current distribution after 7 months:


To answer your first question, no. Most people do not progress at max speed.
Secondly, the wanikani guide explains technically how fast you can go.
My opinion is, go at whatever pace works for you. This isn’t a race, this is a learning tool you’re paying for, so use it however you’d like. While your approach seems different than most, that doesn’t mean its wrong.


There’s no “wrong” approach, but try to set a goal of 2 weeks per level and see if it feels sustainable. I’m all for people taking as long as they need, but you may find that you don’t actually need the precise amount of time you’re taking. If you try it and it sucks, then just slow back down to whatever you’re comfortable at.

In the end, the goal is to get as far as possible. Rushing and burning out at level 15 is a whole lot worse than taking your time and making it to 60 (or even 45 or whatever). On the flipside, going slow may make it easier, but it may also become frustrating if you look back on a year or two of study and feel like you should have learned a lot more than you did. Hence why I say at least try out a faster pace - but don’t feel like you have to commit to it.

(At max speed you only need around a week a level, roughly. I don’t necessarily recommend that if speed isn’t a high-priority goal, but it gives you an idea of what’s theoretically possible within the system.)


Honestly, I don’t think you should focus on the quality on your reviews. Yes, quality does matter, but I think it would be more efficient to get through your items fast and just let some reviews fail. SRS makes sure you learn the items well before you burn them either way, so I would recommend focusing on quantity rather than quality. How many reviews you have time and energy for is another matter.


How fast you should be progressing is however fast you are comfortable with. Set yourself goals to do with your lifestyle and run with that.

My own personal goal is level 60 in three years, that feels about right to me. If I were to go quicker than it would be at the detriment of other areas of study. Wanikani is great but you cannot learn Japanese exclusively from it, so take that into account when you are planning your goals.

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It’s taken almost exactly 3 months for me to reach level 10, but that’s pretty much just working through the lessons and reviews as they come in. However, level 10 itself seemed to last a while and I feel like things have suddenly got much tougher.

I’m slightly confused though how you’ve been getting some things burned at level 7, I’m at level 11 and although a lot of kanji and vocab have been a walkover I’ve yet to see a single burn. Hmm…should I be concerned? (I bet it’s that Mrs Chou…messing with my head)

Nothing to worry about, you will get your first at some stage, after which they will just keep coming. I get lots of burns every other day, When the flood gates open they just don’t stop.


If you get an item always right from Apprentice I to Burned, it will take you around 6 months (<= fastest way possible). Burning items is a matter of time. It has nothing to do with your level :slight_smile:


As I’ve said I do more reviews that learn new items and I’ve been doing it for 7 months. There was even a month or two when I only did reviews and only recently started doing a set number of new items per month.

Wow, a week per level… I felt doing 150 new items per month a bit too much and 100 felt more comfortable. And yeah, my main reason for going slowly is to make a sure number of reviews don’t overwhelm me. I’ve studied with Kohii and there were periods when I had so much to review, I literally stopped before I had the courage to go through like 200 kanji at once… So past wounds I guess. But perhaps I should accelerate after all and not worry too much about keeping 0 reviews to do regularly

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I would suggest you to dedicate 10 minutes of your time every day to learn 5 to 10 new items. See how it goes :slight_smile:


I actually use wanikani every day, multiple times per day, basically reviewing everytime new items come up. But avoided learning with this frequency to not have an extreme amount of things to review. 70 new items per week definitely goes over what I felt comfortable with, but perhaps its worth a try

That’s why I mentioned 5 to 10 items/day. 5 items/day will make you level up once every month. With 10 new items/day, you’ll level up every 15 days. Give a try to the 5 items a day and then try to do 10 items when you feel more fresh during the mornings. You’ll be surprised by how much you’re able to learn :slight_smile:


There are only two mistakes one can make on the path to level 60: not going all the way, and not starting.



This is totally real 295787090669469698

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Look at it this way: 100 items a month when WK has over 8000 items (2k kanji, 6k vocab, and then some radicals) would take you roughly seven years to complete. My guess is you’d like to go faster than that, especially since you’ll want to add in at least grammar study at some point as well.

So yeah see if speeding up works for you, and only slow down when you feel overwhelmed. The easiest way to control the pace is to not do new lessons until you’re comfortable with your review load. So once you hit a new level and 0 lessons jumps to 100 or whatever, maybe just ignore the lessons for a couple days until you’ve Guru’d most of your existing reviews. That way you won’t have too much at once.

Don’t get me wrong, “too much” is subjective and it’s still going to keep you quite busy. According to the WK Stats Site I’ve answered 45,994 review questions in 187 days, which is 245 per day. Although cut that in half since it’s separating meaning + reading, but even then it’s still about 123 radicals/kanji/vocab coming back for review per day on average.

But if you go closer to two weeks per level, you should maybe see closer to 80 items reviewed per day. Granted, this depends in part on your accuracy. More errors = more items stuck on lower levels = more frequent reviews than the numbers I’ve cited here.


This really put it in perspective… 7 years. But to be fair, if we are talking about language learning, this might actually not be too bad. But still I want to be fluent earlier. Thanks. I am going to start with 5 items/day as suggested by @jprspereira and then gradually increase till 10 and over


Let me remind you that Wanikani’s goal is to teach Kanji, not Kanji AND all vocabulary. Wanikani vocab is good enough for beginners in the language but there’s a lot more vocabulary to learn out there. That means that WaniKani itself doesn’t guarantee you to learn the language. You also have grammar to pay attention to :slight_smile:

Don’t worry too much about overdoing. Try to go from what you’re doing right now to 10 words/day until next week and let us know how it goes :slight_smile:


Remember that WK also allows you to control your lesson batch size; the default is 5, but you can choose any number between 3 and 10. You’re currently going at a 3.333 pace; you could switch your batch to 4 for a couple of weeks, do a session a day, and then increase your lessons if feel you can. When you get to 6, you can do two 3 lesson batches a day at different times (morning/afternoon) - some people find that helps them retain lessons. There’s really no need to jump straight to 5 when you’re used to less than 4, and then straight to 10. There’s a lot of numbers in between that will still allow you a faster pace. :slight_smile:


I second changing the batch size. I personally use a batch size of 4.

If you’re going to continue at a slow pace, you should consider getting lifetime. As it is, you’re going to spend a ton of money doing monthly or annual.