How much time do you spend per lesson?

Many topics focus on how many lessons to do per day (or how many apprentice items to keep), but I want to know how long you spend per lesson. With the understanding that everyone learns differently, I want to hear your perspectives on how you use WaniKani.

  1. How much time do you spend per lesson?
  2. What do you do to learn each lesson?
  3. How do you balance time spent and accuracy?

How much time do you spend per lesson?

I find that I’m spending about 2-3 minutes per lesson in order to get high (>99%) accuracy.

How do you approach lessons?

  • Kanji: I make note of the meaning and reading, trying to find a single mnemonic that ties the two together with the radicals. I occasionally look up related vocabulary.
  • Vocabulary: I focus on the meaning mnemonic (if necessary) and reading (augmenting my mnemonics if it is not jukugo). I also do my best to read through the example sentences.
  • Radicals: The process is shorter since there’s only a “meaning”.

Because of this careful study, I have little trouble reaching Guru for each item, but I worry that I am being too meticulous. One might argue that I could go faster and rely on the SRS system more to cover for any mistakes. There might also be a faster or more efficient way to go through lessons, that I don’t know of.

How do you balance time spent and accuracy?

While I could trade off my accuracy in order to spend less time per lesson, I have a feeling that I can’t do that. An increase in mistakes/leeches will probably discourage me more than the time saved. :blush:

For that reason, I am seeking advice on how to be more efficient when learning each lesson.

I’m willing to spend about 1 hour learning and however long on reviews (~30 minutes, usually), so I’m able to complete about 20-25 lessons per day when there are lessons. Overall, my pace is about 8-9 day level ups, where 6 or 7 of those days have lessons. I plan to scale back to 9 days per level as WaniKani gets harder and as I include more grammar/listening study.

I would really like to maintain my pace and avoid burnout. Are there more efficient ways to approach each lesson?

I look forward to hearing your advice and your perspectives!

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It is the same for me but I suppose it would be more difficult as I keep studying through the new levels.

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I don’t know exactly how long I spend on each lesson, but I guess 2 minutes sounds about right. For kanji lessons, I have the script which shows the stroke order on the lesson, so I always write each kanji by hand when I learn them. I don’t usually write down the meaning and reading, for that I just read the mnemonics and take some time to get familiar with the item.

For vocab lessons, I don’t write anything down. I just look at the meaning and reading mnemonics and try my best to read the example sentence. I don’t look up any unknown words, because it would be such a pain, and also because this isn’t where I do my reading practice, so I don’t find it to be all that necessary. The time taken on a vocab lesson varies greatly depending on the difficulty of the meaning/reading, but I guess I wouldn’t take much more than 2 minutes for each.

In general, I don’t mind taking my time during lessons, since that’s the time to pay careful attention to the items and introduce them to your brain. Sometimes, though, I still can’t recall an item during the first review session 4 hours later, but that’s usually resolved by the next review. I rarely forget an item after that first SRS interval, so my accuracy is pretty high (probably wouldn’t be if I rushed through lessons).

Just take your time. Trying to rush lessons has the potential to overwhelm you, since you could end up learning a lot more items in less time, while not appropriately learning each item, which could snowball pretty badly later.


For vocab, I usually spend 30 seconds to a minute for each lesson. For Kanji, it’s probably about a minute, longer for the more abstract kanji.

I’m very much in the camp of letting the SRS system do it’s magic. It takes me about 12-14 days to level up,because of this but also because I only do 5-10 lessons a day, and try to keep my apprentice items to about 50-75. It’s a pace I’m happy with.

My accuracy is 92% according to wanikani stats.

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Thanks for the responses. It doesn’t sound like I’m going outlandishly slowly for my targeted accuracy.

@Pkdragon: 30 seconds is quite fast for vocab, and 92% accuracy is still quite good. One of these days I’ll experiment with quickened vocab lessons to see how it feels.

I spend about a minute per item, just taking in the info they give us here. I read it twice and try to really visualize the mnemonic in my mind. But honestly, if you are able to do what you do in just 2-3 minutes, keep doing that. That extra minute for faster recollection and high accuracy is worth more than the minute saved.

As for how many per day, I do 10 items per sitting, and max three times a day (30 items)
And i do try to do 30 each day when items are available. I maintain 7 day level (level up Sunday morning each time, having it all on a perfect balance that fits my week)

30 seconds is really only for vocab that flows together perfectly- when the word more or less makes sense, and uses standard readings. For vocab that aren’t more or less freebies, it’s closer to a minute.

As for kanji (and tougher vocab), the reason I specifically emphasize lessons less and reviews more, is because I want to give mnemonics time to stew. I either get the mnemonics wanikani provides more or less immediately, one of my own comes to mind immediately… or they don’t. The former two cases are easy. For the latter case, if a mnemonic doesn’t come right to my mind, I don’t want to force it. I want my mnemonics to be natural. Often, after a couple of a reviews, I’ve got them figured out, and they feel right. And during lessons, I look at the radicals and it’s just a collection of radicals. It’s only when I’m reviewing under pressure that my brain starts tying those radicals together into a story. The pressure of doing reviews is a very useful thing to take advantage of, I’ve found.

I’m elaborating just so that no one tries to rush through lessons for the wrong reason. It really isn’t worth doing it for speed alone, as I probably take longer in the long run- I simply have very specific reasons I rush my lessons a bit, that have to do with how I learn.

(I also admittedly am lazy on using the example sentences, because when I started I didn’t know enough grammar to make sense of them. They’re making more sense now but they aren’t part of my routine at all)

I usually do all the mnemonics rather quickly, then let it sit for a few minutes before coming back and doing the quizzes.

Not long, half a minute maybe. Some just stick without trouble. I focus more on exposure, try to find sentences where that kanji/vocab is used with that meaning and reading. I know there will come a point where I learn new Japanese the same way I learn new English, through induction by content. So exposure from as many sources as possible to increase parallel learning, e.g. bunpro, Duolingo, some Android vocab apps, nhkweb easy, and so on.

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