How many lessons should I be doing?

So at the moment I have been following the guide that has been put up on Tofugu, but I feel like I am getting though it really slowly. I am currently on level 4 and it’s taken me just over three months to get there.
I really want to start being able to read sentences or form some on my own with the introduction of grammar, but I know that it’s recommended I wait until I reach level 10. I am just concerned it’s gonna take me ages to get there.

I also can’t just smash out the lessons either - because then I feel like I’m slower and not making progress by forgetting them all quicker than if I were to only do 5 lessons a day.
What is the likelihood that at this pace I can reach level 10 in the next few months? And how many lessons a day should I be doing to maintain a steady pace?

Thanks in advance!!

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Could you elaborate on why you’re not doing all the lessons available? If you feel that the speed is too slow, that sounds like the obvious solution! I see no reason not to go full speed if you have enough time for it in your day. Later, around level 6, you’ll be slowed down anyway unless you’re able to do 100-200 reviews a day. But as long as you have just a few dozen reviews a day, why not go full speed? With full speed you can pass each level in about a week.

As for waiting with grammar until level 10, personally I think this is really bad advice. I started studying grammar even before I started Wanikani, I’m already half way through the first book, and you won’t believe how much more fun it is to read the example sentences provided with the vocabulary in Wanikani and actually understand them! If you haven’t studied grammar, then the example sentences are entirely useless. This is just to show that even the Wanikani product assumes that you know grammar, otherwise they wouldn’t have provided the examples.

See also this thread for similar advice:

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I tend to level up every 7-10 days when I can really focus on WK (currently way behind due to the holidays).

I try to work through my lessons as they become available, but may spread them out over a few days if necessary. I think my real learning kicks in during the review process so I don’t spend too much time on the lessons themselves.

As you’re finding, spreading out lessons too much can really slow your SRS progress down. I guess my strategy is to unlock the lessons early and sort out any problems during the review process, versus spending an intensive amount of time on the lessons themselves. You can’t go fast if you don’t unlock lessons for review.

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This is bad advice. Please do not follow it. If anything, it’s better to start grammar before starting WK. You don’t need a plethora of vocabulary to learn things like これ それ あれ, XはYです, or past form conjugations.

As for how many lessons to do, most people do anywhere from 5-20 per day, but take a look at this guide for more details.

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I think for the moment I am worried that I will create too much scatter in my brain by doing too many at once, especially with the reviews and getting myself confused with on’yomi and kun’yomi readings - I feel like i confuse myself too much if I try and do too many at once if it makes any sense.
I’m currently sitting at doing anywhere between 50-80 reviews a day, which is fine for now, but I will be starting my final year of studies in a month, and I worry that if I miss a day I could be piling up reviews.

But then again I could be overthinking the process too haha.
Thanks for the advice btw I appreciate it! :slight_smile:

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Thanks so much - I’ll definitely take a look at the guide!

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I try not to stress over onyomi vs kunyomi. I never bothered understanding which reading is onyomi and which is kunyomi until about level 5, when by seeing so many examples of words that use onyomi vs kunyomi, things started to fall into place on their own. I still won’t be able to answer questions like “is て the onyomi or kunyomi of 手? Is き the onyomi or kunyomi of 気?” and I don’t believe it’s that important. If you use the wrong one in Wanikani, that’s just a warning anyway.

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Yeah that makes sense to just smash out lessons and then tackle reviews when I get to them. Thank you!

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I agree at 1000%.
I don’t know why they keep this advice in their guide, by the way. When I leveled up to level 10, they sent me a mail saying : “now it would be good beginning learning grammar.”, and I thought : “Dude, If I had waited learning grammar for so long, I would be enjoying nothing of japanese in my readings now…”

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Level 40 and I still couldn’t care less what’s on or kun

I’m sure there are level 60s that say the same

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The example sentences that Wanikani themselves give also assume a much higher familiarity with grammar than their guidance suggests. Like if you followed the wanikani advice for when to start tackling grammar, native material, etc., you’d be level 30 before the example sentences are remotely approachable.

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I… never even realized that :exploding_head: It’s kinda hypocritical, isn’t it?

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There are some very complex example sentences which seem like they’d be mostly useless to the typical new learner, but to their credit they seem to be updating these with more accessible examples.

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I think Wanikani is kind of stuck here between two demographics of users, with two different ideas of what learning Japanese means.

One group is the group they’re trying to attract from Duolingo. They’re really after an app to spend a few minutes on in the toilet or whatever, and after a couple of years be able to pick out a few words from the audio when watching their native language subtitled anime, or introduce themselves to a Japanese coworker, or ask where the bathroom is at the airport. I think that’s really the demographic the emails (and advice about when to start grammar etc.) is really targeted at. If this first group reads the example sentences at all, I suspect it’s just the English translation so they know e.g. “this word means boundary, is it just a physical boundary or a metaphorical one too?”.

The other demographic is those who want to e.g. handle raw native material, converse flexibly with Japanese speakers or achieve a high level of fluency in a shorter time frame. That’s the kind of people who would be better suited by using Wanikani “as part of a balanced diet” with some native material and textbooks and other material. Also the group that’s way more likely to attempt to read the Japanese version of the example sentence.

I think if you are engaged enough to be posting on this forum about learning Japanese, you’re disproportionately likely to fall into the second group, compared to the userbase at large.

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Im doing 5 - 10 a day and Im levelling up every 18 - 20 days. Is this slow? I dont think so! Not for me at least.

If youre 100% concentrating on WaniKani then maybe it is slow, however I am also doing Genki 1 so I am learning the vocab and grammar points from that as well as doing iTalki lessons every 2 weeks and doing the vocab and grammar from that.

Dont rush it though! Concentrate on getting your accuracy higher over anything else, take your time and you will notice that over time your memory gets better and used to taking on more information and you can build up the number as your accuracy increases.

Everyone works differently though and thats how it works well for me.

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I had the same problem as you and now I do about 15 lessons a day while trying to keep the number of Apprentice items around 100. Do less if you still feel that it is too much. For me, it’s manageable during commuting time. I also use the Wanikani Reorder Omega script so that when I level up, I can learn the radicals and new kanjis first. Then, during my level up (which takes about 9-10 days), I can do the remaining lessons by small batches.
While doing Wanikani, you should definitely get familiar with beginner vocabulary (e.g. Renshuu app or an Anki deck) and beginner grammar (e.g. Genki textbook, Cure Dolly’s videos, Human Japanese app, Bunpro app). Don’t wait for Level 10, you can start now.

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