How to build an efficient WaniKani schedule (level up as comfortable as possible): the guide

Sure no problem:
You’ve got it almost right.
Important to know: Do you want to do your first Kanji lessons on your first day (together with all the radicals) or on the second? Assuming on the second: You have to account for 3 days for guruing the Kanji and one day for “Radical day”. So in total it’s four days, as well, but the reason for them being is slightly different.

As Saida has said, 34 Kanji would be 89% of all Kanji, so you need 35.

You did a switcheroo at the end. It takes 11 days in total, so you need (on average) 12 Vocab a day. +5 Kanii, that’d be 17 lessons a day.
BUT, that’s not quite true:

Day 1: all Radicals
Day 2 - 8: 5 Kanji and 12 Vocab
Day 9: 3 Kanji and 14 Vocab
Day 10 - 11: 18 Vocab

As you can see here, there aren’t any Vocab lessons planned for day 1 - Radical day. So I recommend either taking one more day in total to reduce the daily vocab lessons or do some on day 1.
If you’re ok with 16 total daily lessons from day 2 on, then do all radicals and 10 vocab lessons on day 1.
If you got anymore questions, please don’t be afraid to ask. I’ll happily explain it again. Also, thanks for your feedback!

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Ah, yes that’s my fault. When I first level-up I do all radicals paired with at least 10 Vocab lessons (ones from the previous level), and then on the following day I’ll do my first set of 5 - 10 Kanji lessons with 10 - 20 Vocab lessons to help reduce my lesson count, so that by the time I have guru’d my first or second set of Kanji my Vocab lessons are close to 0.

So, just to double check. So long as I’m obtaining at least 12 Vocab, plus 5 Kanji lessons I should be able to complete level 11 within 11 days. Whilst, still having left over Vocab from my final set of 5 Kanji lessons to keep me busy whilst waiting for my Radicals (and first set of Kanji) to reach Guru in level 12 (I’ll also be using your list of immediately unlocked Vocab to help account for extra Vocab lessons, so shout out to you again for that). Thank you to both yourself and @Saida for all the help, best of luck on your Japanese learning journeys!

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Thank you! Yes, that sounds correct. 5 Kanji and 12 Vocab, and you’re fine. Level 11 is one of the bigger ones, so 11 days is already taking it fast imo, but I did it as well, so good luck!

I’m actually planning on rewriting the guide, 1. for better comprehension (it’s a bit text heavy) and 2. because I gained some new insight and I wanted to be able to reach 0/0, which is currently not possible.
I’m also planning a study log, where I share my lesson plans for each level, so that way you hardly have to calculate anything anymore.

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I look forward to it mate, honestly this here guide has helped me out a bunch already, and I agree reaching 0/0 would be nice, as it means you can spend more time getting your first batch of Kanji outta the way without the need to complete the previous levels vocab. Good luck to you also!

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I also found this incredibly helpful! Thanks a lot! :star2:

I’m still conflicted over going at full speed or just establishing a routine I can keep up with on the long run, but with that I’m just taking it on a level to level basis considering the amount of totally new material. (Basically if I already know some of the vocab or not)
At the moment I’m leveling up on fridays, doing all radicals and kanji available on the first day and dividing the remaining lessons into the days I have left. If the vocabulary words are new, then I take a bit more, always maintaining my apprentice items at no more than 120.

Again, I fear/ secretly excited about higher levels when I have to pace myself differently.

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Thank you!
I see, this sounds like a sensible approach for you. I’ve read your introduction post and therefore I wouldn’t worry that you’re in danger of burning out while you still already know most of the content. I think this post was already recommended to you, but in case it wasn’t:

And when you start hitting the wall, 15+ lessons still should be manageable for you. That’s what I’m averaging right now as well.

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Oops, are we the same person? I came to the exact same conclusion this morning a made a guide thinking I was the smartest person in the world. LOL.

Great guide. Totally agree. This is the way to do it.

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Lol, funny XD

I have gained some more insight since this guide and will soon rewrite it, adding the last tweaks. Another thing I was working on was jow to most efficiently reach 0/0 (because it’s never the most efficient solution, no matter how you look at it). So that will go in as well.

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I’ve concluded that WK is a great concept but will forever be a less user-friendly and optimized experience than it should/could be, even with user scripts. So much time is spent learning how to get the system to work optimally for you, and then trying not to go nuts with the fact that you’ve avalanched into having too many available lessons, which you could theoretically do right now, all of them, but you shouldn’t, because learning doesn’t work that way. The program doesn’t even give you suggestions of how many new items you should do per day to follow a certain pace, for example, or have an option to let it unroll X-amount of new lessons at you per day.

Studying often feels like you’re punished for your progress by seeing the numbers go up instead of down (as reviews unlock new lessons constantly), and the overwhelmed crabigator illustrations make this feel even worse. It’s a design choice I could just do without. There will always be a theoretical number of Japanese vocab you don’t know, including thousands that aren’t even in WK. Seeing that number is just intimidating. I’d rather things were more curated and forced in their proper time, rather than the system allowing you to grow a huge gap between learning new kanji and leaving untouched old vocab related to kanji you learned many levels ago. I get it. I need to stop learning the new kanji and take care of that massive avalanche of vocab before moving on. But I just wish the system hadn’t let me do that to begin with. It’s like… shaming me for wanting to advance toward level up dopamine hits instead of slog through the mire of forgotten vocab lessons. I mean duh. And instead, here I am having to sift through forum posts for advice on how to fix the conundrums the UI gets me into. That’s time I should/could be studying.

It’s still better than most of what is out there, and it’ll do for now, but sometimes I just feel stressed by the design and wish it was a bit more minimalist and on a more predetermined path (where you have to learn everything in order before moving on). I hate having to babysit the experience rather than just go along for it.

In any case, thanks for the helpful post.

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I agree and disagree with you. If WaniKani would force you even more into only doing so many lessons at a time, even more users would complain. Because there are those that would like to go even faster and those that feel overwhelmed and punished by getting even more lessons by having successful reviews. So it’s clear that Wanikani had to draw the line somewhere if they wanted a level based product. And I find it also fair that they aren’t as customizable as Anki, but rather have some very clear limits.
But I also don’t understand why they made the demotivating choice to only count Kanji as level relevant items. It’s just as you said; Vocab fills the majority of your time, but also gives the least gratification. It’s the Vocab that stresses your conscience by piling up while hindering you from leveling and therefore entices you to either do it all in one go or ignore it - both with unpleasant consequences.
Furthermore I agree that a bit more customization (instead of endless userscripts) and a bit more guidance really wouldn’t hurt. They tell you practically nothing about the mechanics of their website and how you should use them for your advantage and just a short article about recommended use and how certain rythms (many lessons, few lessons) work should be in the FAQ. They don’t even recommend you to try to get a new Lesson to App 3 in one day; those are all things where you have to make the connection for yourself.

So, while I disagree with some of your demands, just because they fall in the category of “there’ll always be someone who isn’t happy, you can’t serve a whole spectrum of demands”, you’ve talked about some things that properly irritate me as well and where I can’t comprehend the decisions of the staff.

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I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. As you’ve said, there’s very little handholding in wanikani, which they could do at the start for new users, and then take the trainer wheels off once you’re at level 4 and subscribed. It took me a whole week to try figure out the scheduling stuff, and even then I don’t know if I have it right, I need to level up a few levels still. This was time I could have spent on other things.

It’s all very good to have wanikani run of the optimal spacing of repetitions, but how many users are actually doing their reviews at these exact times on schedule? (To clarify, I understand how important the timings are and plan to stick to them as close as possible, hence why scheduling is so important).

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I just saw yours and we are the same! I also do 10 lessons a day and all radicals as soon as they open up. I do 4 kanji-6 vocab per day though, and then fill in with vocab the leftover kanji lessons (2 or 3 of 5), then 10 vocab while I guru the kanji. I level up roughly twice a month though, so a bit slower than your 12.

Like you, I found that with this pace, I am never blocked in kanji lessons while at the same time not being piled over by too many leftover vocab lessons waiting to be done.

All the best on your language journey fellow 10-lessons-a-day-WK-user!
:nerd_face::steam_locomotive:
keep chugging along!

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If you get vocab piling up. That’s on you. The system gives you lessions in the order of first level and after that type. Because you always unlock the last vocab on the previous level when you level up. The system except that you do them before you do the radicals. Only way to not follow that way is to use a script.

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I quite agree that, on lessons at least, there shouldn’t be an illustration implying you’re doing something wrong by not getting them down to zero immediately.

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I just wanna add that this “scheduling” thing people talk on the forums (doing WK at the same time every day, doing reviews 2/3x a day, not doing all lessons in one go, doing radicals/kanji first, etc) was not something that WK necessarily meant to develop. It was the community here that started trying to figure things out. When I joined in 2017, almost no one was talking about these things. This to say that I don’t blame Wanikani for not teaching them because it really wasn’t something they could predict to happen.

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I believe I have an old old old account somewhere with wanikani, if it hasn’t been deleted, because I’m almost certain I had a go at this many years back. But of course, if you don’t know about scheduling you either end up with all your reviews coming at once, or, what I think happened to me, having to check in once every hour, particularly without smartphones. For me this wasn’t a good fit with my life so I didn’t continue.

Anyway, long story short, I think they end up with customer churn if people don’t know about scheduling.

I guess I’m surprised wanikani didn’t consider it, because a big portion of wanikani is trying to optimize SRS timings, which you cant do well for months on end if reviews are coming in at 12, 1 and 2am.

Edit: anyway, I’m glad to be back now that there is a lot of community support around this, I’m finding it much more achievable.

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I do think they’ve considered it more recently, since they’ve implemented the Review Forecast. They also added the intervals of the 1-2 levels to the knowledge base. The idea of doing reviews 3 times/day only really got popular when I wrote my guide.

Tbh, the only thing WK really lacks related to new users is sort of a tour for beginners to explain things (it will work better than bumping it all in the knowledge base imo).

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agree :slight_smile:

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+1 for ~10 lessons per day.

Now that I’ve written up and shared my own schedule, it’s fascinating to see the other approaches people took to arrive at very similar solutions. Glad that the community is so open and supportive.

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What an honor to see you visit my thread! Just this morning I noticed your thread and had it open all day to read it in a quiet moment.

For me it is more important to have the exact same amount of lessons per day rather than days per level. The problem with that method though is that it requires an exact planning of the last 4 Kanji; meaning which ones they are going to be and when you’ll have to do them.

If you’re interested, here’s my level-up graph - in May I tried 10 lessons a day, after that I switched to a bit more than 15 in order to finish a level 1, 2 days earlier, once I got busier IRL (August) I settled for exactly 15 lessons every single day except for a few occasions where I miscalculated and didn’t have enough lessons or accidentaly did some too many the previous day:


Had I done 15 lessons every single day since the beginning, my level speed average would be at pretty much exactly 12 days.

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