How fast should I be progressing?

Going slow is fine, especially if you already have a set goal in mind about how much you want to deal with at once. I personally have been (im)patiently awaiting the day I can have over 200 apprentice items, but so far that’s not working out for me. I’m averaging about 10 days a level and currently have 75 items in Apprentice IV while waiting on the last four Kanji I need to level up. For me personally, I’d prefer having over 200 apprentice items consistently, as my pace is only 10 days a level because I don’t do WaniKani on weekends and refuse to disrupt my sleep cycle for reviews.

As long as your slow pace is because you’re actively limiting your radical/kanji/vocab pool by gradually doing lessons, there’s no problem. If you’re intentionally waiting to do reviews, however, you’re deliberately going against WaniKani’s intended SRS system, so I’d advise against that. Seeing as 66% of your terms are Enlightened or Burned, your review rate seems quite healthy. I have 2403 terms currently (as opposed to your 879) only a little under 6 months in, but only 62% of my terms are Enlightened or Burned. So while I’m going much faster than you by total leveling, you are actually faster than me by review quality/ratio of burned to available.

I think that if you feel comfortable with your current pace, keep it. If you think you can push a little harder, speed up a little. I would definitely say don’t speed up just because you feel you might be “slow.” Every learns at a different rate, and, especially with WaniKani, everyone’s life situations, motivations for learning, and environmental assistance to learning is drastically different. :grin:

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I’m also taking my time on Wanikani. My lessons batch size is the standard 5 items (I didn’t know you can change that! :smile:) and I do 5 to 10 new lessons every day. Depends on how I feel, how I remember the items and how good my concentration is on that day. I do my reviews at least two times a day - in the morning and in the evening. If I have more time, I’ll do them more often throughout the day.

Of course, this pace will take me quite some time to get to level 60, but I’m comfortable with that. I tried doing more lessons a day and found that I can’t remember most things correctly if I do more. I’m feeling overwhelmed when I have to do 150+ reviews on one day. So, long term I would lose motivation. At the moment I do see improvement with my Kanji studies and that’s all that matters to me. Besides Wanikani there are so many things to learn, so why not slow down a bit :wink:

I also do Kaniwani by the way. Just a few days ago I reset my level there because I had accumulated too many items to review every day. (I didn’t work on them as consistently as I do on Wanikani.) But now I do my reviews there two times a day after/before doing Wanikani and it really helps me with the vocabulary :slight_smile:

Well, I’d say just do as you feel comfortable, take the time you need and don’t lose your motivation! If you want to go faster, try it but don’t burn yourself out.

I rattle through all new lessons at once and do 2/3reviews per day of 60 or words(estimate) Don’t worry about master, enlighten and burn etc.

Is the inherent logic of the kanji starting to make sense? Do you see a word like 大切(たいせつ) or any other two kanji vocab word and you knew its reading in a flash because you knew the individual kanji readings well? Does the meaning “important” make sense in terms of “big” and “cut”. Aim for a sense of understanding.

Go as fast as you can and only slow down if you feel frustration. Then speed up again when you’ve consolidated a little. Also, whenever you get one wrong don’t just skip to the next review. Spend time with it. If the wanikani mnemonic isn’t working (some of them are shit, sorry guys) write your own that connects the reading and the meaning and write in both the reading and the meaning note box.


Yeah, I am very consistent with my reviews, doing it every day, maybe 5 times a day. I just always want to have that Review count on 0. And I think me being used to that, makes me uncomfortable not being to review everything. So I think I just need to get comfortable with having some reviews pending and just do a set amount everytime. If I hit 0 - great, if not -> fine.

I honestly doubt that you’ll have problems with 5 to 10 new lessons per day, since you review 5 times every day.

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fast enough to breakdown the strongest marriage and lose a job.

haven’t done any lessons since August. Started last Oct. been pretty lazy.

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Well, I’ve been stuck on level 5 for about 50 days now, but nearly 30 of those days have been in actual Japan, and the days before that were spent preparing for this month-long trip…I don’t like my review queue getting too full (while here, I was hoping to keep up, but it got up to over 200 and I didn’t have time to knock it back down to zero and progress with new ones).

What I will say is that although I had hoped to be further along before I got here, WK is money well spent and I was soooo grateful for the kanji/vocab that I did learn through this!! I got in a lot of practice on the train, trying to pick out the kanji I knew and figure out what the ads said, and today I realized I knew enough (not just from WK, I also have been studying through a couple of books) to read a quiz in a Sanrio magazine about what type of Sanrio character bread product I am :wink: It’s aimed at probably older elementary-middle school aged children, but whatever, I read it! :smiley: For those of you who want to know, I’m a Cinnamaroll Bagel that enjoys cream cheese, cinnamon chai, and writing letters to my friends :wink:


This isn’t a good idea for everybody, and is more likely to cause burnout than anything else. Slowing down doesn’t immediately affect how many reviews you have a day, and you’ll end up haunted by previous items coming back to you according to your speed 6 months ago.

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After doing the first two levels I read a number of these discussions about how best to pace yourself and read the ‘5 - 10 lessons a day’ numerous times: for me, 5 was too few and 10 too many, so I settled on 7; I grant that I’m a few levels behind you at the moment, but I started 5 weeks ago (I may need to update this when I get to level 7 to report if I’m still coping :wink:)

Thirded. I use a size of 3 and do 3, 6, or 9 lessons per hour in the morning depending on how much I feel I can retain at the time and how sure I am that I can do reviews every hour throughout the day so they don’t all clump together. It’s also easy to sneak in a three-lesson set while walking to a meeting or a classroom or whatever your environment involves (brushing your teeth, waiting for toast…).


My advice is to go at your own pace. I did the mistake of rushing at first and that screwed up in the last few levels, because I didn’t learn the material properly. I was overwhelmed with lessons and reviews and screwed up very often. I took about 50 days to not do any lessons to “calibrate” my review queue and things are going better now. Ideally I try to tackle 10 lessons a day, but usually end up 5.

Don’t rush things. It might look like you are going too slow, and feel free to try a faster pace. Just don’t go to the point you are overwhelmed with reviews and you find yourself failing them very often.

Let’s see. It took for me 2.5 month to get to lvl 10. And still, I think it’s pretty slow… I even study items one level ahead, as well as trying to read as much as possible, although the WaniKani guide suggests to start it only on lvl 20… Not sure, it’s pretty manageable I think to start reading at that lvl, it’s very slooooow (remembering takes a while :sweat_smile:) of course and pretty painful (苦, I don’t suggest anyone to take that path). Grammar is still an issue; such a relief that it’s that easy (not like English :roll_eyes:). Still need more practise, though.
It depends on your motivation, I think. What you want from language. My goal is to start reading sousou (早々) possible. Yours might be different. Hence, do it as you like, SRS system at WaniKani is pretty solid, which helps a lot. And don’t worry about scores, they’re… well, just focus on real life impact, how you would end up in real conversation. Much more valuable, in my mind. Good luck!

Doing 5 per day has been working out pretty well, reviews are not overwhelming and I have around 50 items in apprentence at any given time on average. I think I’ll actually try 10 per day starting next month.


Really glad to hear that! :smiley: If you want to have more of a gradual increase in the number of lessons per day, go to your account settings and change the number of items that you get per batch in your lessons. You can change it to 3 or 4 per batch :slight_smile:

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Well somehow I come back here to monitor my own progress :joy: Trying 8 per day currently and its working out ok. Get a bit uncomfortable as my Apprentice pile is coming up to a 100, which I am still not used to. But on the other hand 12 days in and I completed more items than I did last month in total! So that definitely motivates me a lot.

P.S. Do we get Tofugu email on level 10? I got last one at level 5 I think and want another one :joy:

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Oh gosh, I feel like I’m going waaay slower than the majority on here. According to my emails, I signed up in mid July, and I only got on to level 5 last week.

In my defence until quite recently I lived with intermittent electricity and a bad nightly weed habit liquefying my brain…

Still. I need to up my lessons. I get a bit scared of adding to my workload so I’ve been holding back.

Don’t worry man. Keep it steady and slow and that is better than sporadically fast.

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@rumade @doutatsu I wrote a few months ago a mini “manual” of how to use WaniKani intelligently (learn faster with less time). It’s not perfect, because I gained more experience since then, but it might help you guys out :slight_smile: There are also some new released scripts that are very useful and aren’t on this list.

Scripts that I use (and recommend):

  • WaniKani Ultimate Timeline this one shows you a graph of when you have reviews. Knowing when you have reviews at the beginning of the day vs 1h before is much more organized, saves you time and avoids unecessary worries. This means more energy to focus on important stuff :slight_smile:
  • Wanikani Override: This one allows you ignore wrong answers. Use it exclusively for when you make typos or for when WK lacks your synonym. Getting a Kanji wrong because of a typo and postponing your leveling up because of it can be quite annoying. This script solves it.
  • WaniKani Pitch Info: This one shows you a small graph about the pronunciation of every vocab on WK. Not sure what your native language is, but the further your native language pronunciation is from Japanese, the more you’ll need this. Getting used to Japanese tones is important in my opinion and it definitely helps with memorization :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Real Numbers: This one shows you the actual number of lessons/reviews that you have (and not just the 42+). Instead of having to check the actual number, you’ll have it right there. This helps you organize your work because you can better make the distribution of your reviews inside your head instead of just worrying about contantly checking the real numbers. WK should be a stress-free tool.
  • Wanikani Reorder Ultimate 2: This allows you to reorder what you see first on your lessons and reviews. I mostly use this for my lessons. Why? If you think about WK and its leveling’s system, you’ll quickly understand that radicals and kanji have priority over vocabulary, since the later doesn’t influence how fast you level up. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to do the vocabulary lessons in time. However, instead of having to deal with tons of vocab before getting the radicals, you can choose to get them right away :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Show Specific SRS Level: This one is very simple. Instead of getting “Apprentice”/“Guru” every time you get an item right during reviews, you get the specific level that it leveled up. For example, “Guru 2” and “Apprentice 3”.
  • WaniKani SRS Level Progress: This allows you to have access to the number of items in each subdivision of both the Apprentice and the Guru categories. For example, you’ll get “10/0/37/63” instead of just “110” items on Apprentice. [Explanation: 10 in App 1, 0 in App 2, 37 in App 3 and 63 in App 4]
  • WaniKani Dashboard Progress Plus: This one allows you to see the progress of your current level’s items. Are they Apprentice 2 or are they 3 already? You’ll know in 1 sec.
  • Wanikani Self-Study Quiz Edition: I find Kanji to be the hardest to learn. If I get to a point where I feel the need to review my current level’s kanji, I’ll use this script. The better to learn the Kanji, the easiest the vocab will be.

In terms of learning how to use WaniKani:

First, you need to define how many days you want to spend in each level. How do I do it? I make sure to know how long it will take me to do all the vocab of that specific level. I don’t care about leveling up faster, just so that I’ll end up leaving vocabulary unlocked from the previous level to do. If you want to level up every 8 days, you need to make sure you can do not only the lessons of radicals and kanji but also those of vocabulary successfully. WK has on average around 120 vocab per level (higher levels have less). This means that if you want to level up every 8 days: 120/8=15 vocab lessons that must be done every day. Leveling up every 10 days means you do 12 lessons of vocab every single day. 7 days/level and you’ll do 17 vocab lessons. Choose a number that works for you. Doing WK the fastest way is about learning efficiency, not about how fast your level increases :slight_smile:

If you intend to level up as fast and as effectively as you possibly can, there’s 4 things to worry about related to items:

  • Doing the radicals as soon as you level up. The sooner you guru the radicals, the sooner the 2nd half of Kanji will appear.
  • Doing the 1st half of Kanji in the days between the unlock of radicals and the unlock of the 2nd half of Kanji. This establishes that most if not all of your 1st half of Kanji will be already Guru before you leveling up.
  • Doing the 2nd half of Kanji as soon as you guru the radicals.
  • Doing the vocabulary available during the time you spend on that level (use the “total vocab/number of days” formula to know how many words you should learn per day to achieve this).

Now, let’s talk about reviews. I assume you already know the subdivisions of the Apprentice category, right?

Apprentice 1 => Guru 1 (3d10h, considering 4 correct answers in a row)

Apprentice 1 (lesson)
Apprentice 2 (+4h)
Apprentice 3 (+8h)
Apprentice 4 (+23h => consider this as 24h or 2x12h)
Guru 1 (+47h => consider this as 48h or 4x12h)

This helps you answer the question: How frequently should I do the reviews?

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that WK is divided by periods of 12h. Apprentice 1 (4h) + Apprentice 2 (8h) = 12h. This means that you need 12h after the lesson to put an item in the Apprentice 3. After that, it takes +2x12h for Apprentice 4 and +4x12h for Guru. Why should you care? It’s simple. This allows you to build your own schedule for WK.

For example, imagine that you do a lesson at 9am. This means that you’ll get the 1st review at 1pm (+4h) and the 2nd review at 9pm (+8h, considering you got it right both times). Did you notice the pattern? That’s right, 9 am and 9pm. It’s the WK’s pattern working. Now, think about the time it will take for the next Apprentice levels. That’s right, Apprentice 4 at 9pm of the following day and Guru 1 two days later also at 9pm. See the magic happening?

In order to use WK to its full potential, it’s better to do the Apprentice reviews using the intervals of WK. Why? If you read the FAQ/Guide, you’ll see that WK shows you an item right before you forget it. By being loyal to their intervals, you’ll be able to be more successful in your reviews. Does this give you extra work? Not at all. Just notice the pattern again.

For an item which lesson was done at 9am, you’ll need to:

  • review it at 1pm.
  • review it at 9pm.

You basically only need to use WK three times per day. Forget about trying to be here every single waking hour. You don’t need to. Waking up at the middle of the night is also completely nonsense. Your sleep is way more important than WK and the cool thing is that you can do both right.

Now, I believe you already noticed that choosing the time you do the lesson also determines your schedule for the rest of your day. I’ll tell you more, it determines your schedule for the rest of your WK usage. Use this to your advantage.

Imagine that you know that tomorrow you’ll be able to use WK at 8am and 8pm (12h interval). Then, 8am is the right time for the lessons. If you do the lessons at 2pm, it means that the 2nd review will only be available at 2am. Little bit late, don’t you think? By creating your own schedule for the day, you allow yourself to use WK in a healthy way. No need to wake up at the middle of night, no need for more guesses. You’re fully in control.


  • Define a number of days per level that doesn’t interfere with your learning of radicals, kanji and vocab.
  • Taking point 1 into consideration, think about the 4 rules related to items that I mentioned above.
  • Then, define a 12h schedule (0h, +4h, +8h) based on your routine that allows you to use WK.
  • Protect your learning: while doing the lessons, make sure to only focus on it. No TV, no people talking to you. Those 5 to 10 minutes should only be yours to use. The better your lessons go, the better your reviews will too.
  • Sleep well, eat healthy and exercise.


@doubatsu, if 8 per day is too much, divide it into 2 sessions of 4. Do 1 session in the mornings and the other 4h before the last reviews you do that day.


This is such a fantastic and thorough response :mage:

I’d definitely find at least some of those scripts useful, but how do you activate/apply them? [I’m a bit of an idiot with tech tbh]

It’s really good to see the timescale for things. At the moment my schedule is very dictated by work so goes like this:

  • wake up 10am
  • wanikani reviews/lessons before 12:30 if time
  • commute 1hr30 (now with JapanesePod101 podcasts!)
  • wanikani on breakroom computer if got lucky with buses and came early
  • wanikani at “lunch” time ~18:10
  • get home anywhere from 22:30-23:00
  • do quiet things until 2am to avoid waking parents, Japanese practice included if I’m not too tired.

And that’s my sorry little schedule until 23rd Dec, then I don’t have internet until 4th Jan because there’s no internet in my remote Christmas hideaway!

One danger of going too slow is that you start to forget material that was burned. It is good to go at one’s own pace, but going at a pace where it will take 7 years to go through the material is far too long. There has to be a middle ground, and to be successful it will require you to push yourself a bit.

The early level material is more important than the later level material, I think there is some benefit to going through the first 25 levels at a pretty decent pace (no more than 2 weeks/level), then slow it down. I completed 27 levels in my first year, but ultimately took 3.5 years to reach 60. The slow down was partially to keep a reasonable workload, but mostly due to leeches. Be mindful about keeping leeches under control - this crept up on me before I realized what was happening and ultimately I ended up powering my way through only to deal with a huge mess now.