in this thread I want to share with you my WaniKani-routine and how I schedule my lessons in order to keep doing the same amount of lessons everyday, but reduce my time spent on a level. Basically I want to level up more efficiently. This post is directed more towards the beginners of WaniKani, since most of the users that have been around a bit have probably figured out their schedule a long time ago. But I‘m sure it can be very useful for someone on the first few levels, since it took me five myself, to plan mine. If you come up with questions while reading, finish the guide. Everything should be explained at the bottom.
What is the problem?
Now, obviously you can do WaniKani at full speed, but that would be way too many lessons for me and not before too long waaay too many reviews as well. That‘s why I settled for 10 lessons a day, an amount with which I‘m comfortable. When I try to do, say, twenty lessons, I‘m bound to forget at least 1 – 3 items on the apprentice 2 or 3 stadium and that feels very frustrating to me, since I get the feeling of wasting my energy. I‘d like to work properly and efficiently. But with only ten lessons a day, one level takes ultimately up to 19 days, since you‘re unlocking the radicals and kanji for the new level on day 10, but spending the last 9 days finishing your vocabulary lessons for that level. And don‘t get me wrong, moving at your pace and not stockpiling your vocabulary lessons are all the right values I stand for, too, but there are still ways to improve this schedule and save time while doing the same amount of lessons.
The number of days it takes to pass a level by doing ten lessons a day is simply the total number of items in a level divided by ten (level 5 being the longest with 194 items or 19 days).
In the following concept I‘ve spaced out radical, kanji and vocabulary lessons using the Reorder Script to reduce that time. Please note, that this is my rythm and if you want to reduce or increase the amount of lessons per day, that is no problem at all.
As soon as I level up, the next time I do lessons I do all the radicals at once, since radicals are quite easy to rember due to the mnemonics and them not having a japanese reading (also from level 6 on, they‘re never more than 20). After that I do 10 vocabulary lessons, which I will be doing every day. This is the first day of a level and the only one with that many lessons, but I still think it‘s very doable because of radicals.
The following days after that I will be doing 5 kanji each day (until I‘ve learned all kanji for that level) and, of course, 10 vocabulary lessons. Vocabulary lessons will get easier, since most of the time you already know kanji meanings and readings very well from previous levels, so an overall of 15 lessons a day really doesn‘t seem that intimidating.
With this concept you will never have the sweet 0/0 (no old vocabulary before the start of a new level), but you‘ll be always just half a level behind with vocabulary and therefore able to constantly have 10 lessons available.
If we take level 5 again, we will see that the number of days has been reduced from 19 to 12! And all that without really increasing the number of lessons. The only thing that will go up are your daily reviews (around 130 a day). I think that‘s pretty neat, since I don‘t feel like I‘m moving at a snail‘s pace anymore, but I‘m am still doing a comfortable amount of lessons and reviews and I don‘t feel suffocated.
Important notes and how to customize the schedule
For anyone who isn‘t too familiar with the WaniKani system yet (SRS, the three times a day you should do WaniKani, what the hell is a script?!), couldn‘t fully understand what I‘ve been talking about or is simply interested at completing WK at full speed – I highly recommend the Jprspereira’s ultimate guide for WK. Any questions following this guide should be answered by reading it. Another useful link then might be the list of api (an extensive list of scripts).
Now, there is one problem to look out for. If the difference between the amount of kanji of a level and the amount of vocabulary is too great, you will fall behind on vocabulary. In that case you have to slow down with kanji or just wait a bit longer before starting a new level. In order to spot those levels you have too look out for the following: A level‘s lenght can be calculated by the number of kanji (of that level) times 0.9 (you need 90% to pass a level). Then divide by five and add 4 days (one day is the radical day and the last three days are the ones you need to guru the last kanji for 90%). If we take a look at level 8, we see that we need 10 days to pass that level, but it has 134 vocabulary items. That would result in a backlog of 34 vocabulary items. Just beware of that.
Now, as previously mentioned, this schedule is completely customizable. You simply have to understand, that with more kanji lessons per day, you have to increase your vocabulary lessons, too. If you decrease kanji you don‘t really have to do same with vocabulary, but you may have days where you don‘t have any vocabulary lessons left. And that‘s not really efficient. If you want to do less radicals, just break them up into two days or more. It‘s quite simple.
Now, a very important factor (the only one next to available time) determining the amount of daily lessons one feels comfortable in doing is accuracy. Obviously there are the standard methods of engraining a mnemonic into your mind by writing it down, drawing it, acting it out, telling it to yourself out loud or even coming up with a story of your own. But, as highly effective as these methods are, they aren’t the most practical. It takes a lot of time and effort to practice these methods and after all, we’re all here because we want WK to do these things more or less for us.
But I have come across one very easy and very effective tip in the forums. And even though this tip has already been shared a lot in the forums, in my opinion this thread needed an accuracy section, so here goes: After every lesson session you do, look at all the freshly learned items and try to recall meaning and reading. If you don’t know them anymore, look them up and that’s that. I found this to have an astonishing effect. I went from 15 daily lessons where I forgot around two items to 20 daily lessons where I forget one at most! If you want to know where to look at all your freshly learned items (in case you’re not doing everything in one continous session and therefore can’t use the lesson summary page) I use the heatmap script. If you click on lessons and then your current day, you will find everything there.
Final disclaimer: I did not mention this yet, as I think most people do this anyway, but whenever I’m reviewing an item (lesson quiz, post lesson review, actual review) I’m saying both meaning and reading out loud. And I think that helps a lot, too.
As you may have noticed, there are still days in which I only learn vocabulary lessons. There‘s the problem with the kanji pause → catching up on vocabulary and also does this guide become less efficient the higher your level is (radicals just become so few, you can do a batch of kanji on the first day, as well). It‘s really not perfect nor the most efficient. But I think it‘s a great starting point for anyone who just wants to make the first step towards smart leveling and shave off a bunch of days. Please feel free to share your schedule and sumbit improvements in order to make this concept even more efficient. I‘ve been testing this schedule only for a few days myself and I‘m sure there still are a lot of tweaks to be made. I will update this thread as we go along.
Thank you for reading