How to catch up with vocabulary lessons?

Okay, so I’m not entirely sure how to proceed with things. I’ve been using WK for a few months, but I’ve been neglecting my vocab (I’ve been using the reorder script) so that I can level up, meaning I do radicals + kanji first on leveling up, then do vocab after. This has led to me being very behind on vocab - I just hit level 10 a couple of days ago and it seems like I’ve only done a little bit of level 9 vocab - I’m sitting at 15 radicals, 20 kanji, and 257 vocab points. My concern is, even if i catch up, the amount of vocab lessons is just going to continue to be really high anyways and I’ll fall behind again anyways.

How would I best proceed here? Do I just take the lessons as they come and not worry about levels so much (the leveling up aspect is one thing I really like about WK and it helps me feel like I’m making progress), or do I keep doing what I’m doing and plug away at it slowly? Thus far I’ve been trying to regularly have about 100 apprentice items, and on a good day I’ll do 15-20 new lessons.

Thanks for any help - it’d be very useful, and apologies for the silly question.

Do you feel like you have the kanji down even without the vocab?

Imo, 257 lessons is not too much to go through. You could do them in batches of 50 and see how you feel? Like you said, the amount will just keep getting bigger and bigger.

I agree that the leveling system in WK is great but a lot of users get too hung up on it and start neglecting their actual learning in order to level up faster. I assume your main goal is to learn kanji and Japanese and not to just level up? :slight_smile:

In the end, it’s up to you. Personally, I love studying vocab and it’s always fun for me so I don’t really have any backlog. I don’t know what your goals with Japanese are but, hypothetically, you will have to learn the vocab at some point and I think it’s just really good to study them together with the associated kanji.


I would either stop leveling until the vocab is dealt with to start fresh or just do large batches of vocab lessons and continue leveling. You could also reset a few levels back but I wouldn’t.

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I would suggest just go through the vocabulary. They constitute a good chunk of what you get with WaniKani. You’re learning a language, remember? The kanji by themselves are not of any particular use. I’ve recently “beat” the final level of WaniKani myself, and I often see words and think “Ah! I learned that from WaniKani.”


I think you and I are in a similar spot, even though we’ve taken different paths to get here. I also keep apprentice below 100, and on an average day do 5-10 new lessons. It’s a nice pace! I thought about using a reorder script, but I decided against it. My reasoning is twofold:

  1. There’s little point in knowing a kanji if I don’t know (some) words associated with it. I’m here to learn both.
  2. Kanji is hard. And there are just so many. Having vocab items in my review queue means I’m seeing the kanji I’ve learned more frequently, and will learn them more successfully.

Even without the reorder script, I get pummeled with vocabulary every level. When I’m finishing my kanji for a level, I’m usually leveling up before I make much of a dent in the vocab. Add the starting vocab of the next level into my lesson queue, and my numbers aren’t that far off from yours. I don’t mind though, because for me, vocabulary is a huge benefit of wanikani.

I rather level slowly, but be able to use the knowledge of my level as a great foundation, rather than level quickly and feel shaky with my vocab and use of kanji. Maybe that’s not true for you and your learning style, but maybe that’s a question to ask yourself.


You can keep up with vocab and kanji while maintaining maximum level up speed if you do about 22 - 24 lessons a day while maintaining maximum level-up speed. If you don’t want to increase your lesson load, your best course of action depends on what you want to get out of this site.

  • If your only goal is to read in Japanese as quickly as possible, you can, for the most part, proceed as you have been. You’ll be able to get the gist of most things if you know your grammar. You’ll learn vocab as you go along if you’re dedicated enough to slog through and look things up as you need.
  • If you want to be able to listen and possibly produce Japanese, you’d be greatly benefited by taking the time to do your vocab. Vocab hammers in the alternate readings that you’ll hear/use on the regular as well as give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the less literal vocab. It also aids with reading because you’ll be able to more quickly recognize which kanji go together as a single unit. You could learn these things via immersion methods, but that’s going to be quite challenging and probably very frustrating (at least, more frustrating than the alternatives). To put a bit of my own opinion in here, the curated vocab list (along with learning all the readings) is one of the main reasons to pay for this site; you can learn just the kanji more quickly using other options.

Edit: As for your lesson backlog, you’ll just have to get through that at some point, either by doing big chunks at once, or upping your lesson count to 30ish a day and chipping away at it.

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Stop doing new radical and kanji lessons until you have your vocab batch of lessons under control. This isn’t a race :slight_smile: Some extra days won’t matter much in 2 to 3 years, will they? :slight_smile: But not being patient enough can lead you to burn out and dropping. It has happened with a lot of people in here.

Take a deep breath. Take your time to get things under control again :wink: You’re here to learn vocabulary too, not just to see your level rising even though it feels good, I know…


Thanks a lot everyone for the replies - they’re really helpful :). I think I’m just going to stck with it and slow down for this level (and future ones). Admittedly, it is kind of hard to let go of the fast levelling, as well as the gratification that that provides, but in the end I would like to be able to understand things rather than have to piece them together, and like has been said a few days slower won’t be a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s just been a bit worrying as the pile has been getting more and more intimidating.

I’ll need to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint, so one step at a time still means progress.


If you still want to keep the quick pace and feel like you can Guru most of the vocab quickly, you might consider relaxing your apprentice item count requirement, allowing it to be slightly higher when you’re learning a new level’s radicals with the understanding that by the time most of the new Kanji unlock, you’ll have Guru’d most of the previous vocab and your Apprentice count will be more manageable by then.

That said, my accuracy on vocab (96.5%) tends to be a bit lower than on radicals (98%) and kanji (98.5%) so guruing them in one shot is not guaranteed. Vocab is important, and no sense in rushing forward if old items are piling up. There’s nuance to the readings on the vocab which makes it harder compared to learning radicals and kanji. That’s my 2円.

I think, may people see vocab as a “huge pile of things to learn”.

Well for me vocab lessons work like this: I cover the meaning of the vocab and first try to guess the meaning and reading from the kanji. Many times (70%) I can guess both of them (or get really close). Jukugo FTW!
If I can guess meaning and reading, than I just skip the vocab! I mean, I guessed it one time right, why not a second, third (…) time?!
From the rest (30%) I can almost everytime guess one of both. So from this “Huge Pile” I just have to learn 15% of the infomations. And the process of learning is really fun!

I hope, that you will also get to love vocabs! Than they will amost make them by themselves :blush:

~ :lion:

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