How to Finish WaniKani on a Busy Schedule?!

Hi there fellow WaniKani learners! Hope you’re doing well. Thank you for stopping by to read! Too long, didn’t read/summary is at the bottom.^3^

Life got in the way again, and by the time I was ready to come back to studying kanji, I was buried under hundreds of reviews as well as forgetting and not retaining info as efficiently as before. I decided to start over from scratch!

I just recently reset back to level one and am a little nervous about keeping up this time as well as worried about how long it will take me to properly learn all of the kanji. ^^; It’s been quite a while for me. It’s been so long that I’ve noticed the mnemonics have changed (for the better IMO) which is no biggie because I forgot some of them anyhow, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed!

I generally plan out my months/weeks/days ahead and organize the day using timeblocks based on my schedule that day. My schedule is PACKED between this and bunch of other things, so I’d really desperately love some advice on planning for WaniKani! :pray: I don’t want to give up on my goals.

I may likely only be able to do reviews in the morning and the night, so I’m not sure of how many lessons I should do per week to keep the review sessions at 30 minutes or less. I also want to know if there is way to figure out how long it will take me to level up if I only do 5 to 10 lessons per week while clearing my reviews daily. Are there calculators for this or examples of others doing this?

(To supplement my Japanese, I’ll be doing at least a 1 hour convo practice lesson per month for listening/speaking/homework as well as set aside some time for grammar/vocab/writing/reading. This contributes to why I have less time for WaniKani ><.)

Thank you again for the help!

TL;DR/Summary:

  • If I can only do review sessions twice a day (morning & night), how many lessons per week do I have to limit myself to in order to keep review sessions to 30 mins or less?
  • At a pace of 5 to 10 lessons per week with my reviews cleared out every night, what level would I reach by the end of this year?
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Keep apprentice under 100 and you will be fine. If you need more do more lessons, if you need less, do less lessons. Also get an app and run wanikani on your phone, always some time to kill here and there. You can get through quite a bit while taking a dump.

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In one year, at 5 lessons per week, you won’t even finish Level 3. There’s 81 lessons in Level 1, 150 in Level 2, 120 in Level 3 = 351 (5x52=260)

In one year, at 10 lesson per week, you’ll get near the end of level 4 (Level 4 = 182 lessons). (total of 533 lessons)

I think you’ll find that even at 10 lessons per week, you’ll start to have no reviews at some points.
Consider doing 5 lessons per day if you need to keep it light.

Even if there was only 2000 Kanji (and no radicals and vocab) at ten lessons a week, it would take you 4 years. So you can probably triple or quadruple that once you include the vocab and radicals.

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I had a bad memory, and I’m doing it three times a day and still struggle with keeping it under 30 minutes or less. I use the 100 apprentice limit, but I don’t do WK alone and overlearning it on iKnow and reading. So I think you would need to limit your apprentice to 80 or lower for more convenience. Just test yourself and see if you can get them within 30 minutes. But that would mean you will take a longer level up. Of course, it depends on how good your memory is, but I would not count on that. Learning Japanese takes so much time, so I guess you need to sacrifice some of your time to get more.

You can install FlamingDurtle on your phone (if you’re on android) to get your frequency up.

I’m not sure if this will help, but honestly there’s no magic about it. If you do your reviews every day and make sure to keep on top of them, sruff will end up less than 30 minutes. Every level is either 70 to 100/150 topics long and if you keep on it that’s easily under 30 minutes. I’m on a pretty busy schedule too and learning Japanese is something I prioritize so I make sure to keep on top of it so review sessions aren’t that long and I’m pretty protective of my wanikani/bunpro/genki time during the week. Also if you keep on top of it, lessons can end up under 30 minutes as well.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to pressure you to go balls to the walls like me, but it’s the only advice I can give regarding making wanikani manageable for a tight schedule

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Hi jinglymoo,

Here’s one thought that might help: You don’t have to finish all of your reviews every time you sit down with Wanikani.

If you only have 30 minutes, just do reviews for those 30 minutes.

If you finish all your reviews in those 30 minutes, do lessons until the 30 minutes are up.

It’s really that simple. Just because you can do reviews doesn’t mean you must. So, my advice on how to pace yourself is to pace yourself. I know it can feel a bit demoralizing to have reviews left, but you only have so much time. And if you are able to increase the amount of time later on, then you can always do that.

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Honestly, I have a lot of trouble keeping a lot of information in my head and I’m not in any kind of race. I tried going a little harder and burned out and stepped away from the site for a really long time. I came back because I knew I wanted to learn the stuff, and so my thing right now is to keep my apprentice around 10. It’s only a few minutes a day, but I’m actually learning stuff, it’s not an overwhelming amount, and my reading has improved over the last year. In addition to WK, I also do KW, plus Bunpro, which I have a similar kind of system for. If I want to spend extra time studying, I watch Japanese Netflix using Language Learning with Netflix or I watch YouTube videos like Cure Dolly. I do other things here and there to practice too, just depending on how I’m feeling. I have been off and on learning Japanese for 20 years and this is the most confident I have felt since I was taking actual college classes.

I totally get why people want to cram and go fast and that’s great if it works for them, but for me, I am realizing slow and steady is the only thing this crappy old brain can handle.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience and methods with me! I am similar, I studied in uni and overall have been studying on and off for years. I realistically cannot be super fast like so many others. >< I do hope I find a reasonable pace though.

I’m glad you came back! I really wish you luck. How are you liking Bunpro? Does it do a good job teaching the grammar?

LOOL. You’re absolutely right, I often get things done on my phone during toilet time, so why not incorporate WaniKani? Those are good ideas, thank you! I’ll keep this in mind. I did just recently get an app and it’s definitely super helpful for studying on the go, though I prefer the PC version. Hopefully I can get through more material faster than I think I can!

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Slow durtle here due to being booked and busy. I keep my Apprentice under 50 and generally do 2 lessons a day (meaning I learn 10 new things a day). Only variation is when I get to a new level and get radicals, I usually bust through those to get to the Kanji.

I think pacing yourself is just super important. I got busy earlier in the summer and kept up with reviews but not lessons. As a result, I think it slowed down my learning progress because I wasn’t seeing the kanji being used in new ways. So I definitely would say it’s better to pick away at it little by little then binge and let lessons go for a few days.

Welcome to the forums, Mogumogusan! Thank you so much for your advice, I really appreciate seeing an example of someone else who is making it work. I realize from reading some other replies I may be underestimating how much material I can go through in a week especially with the help of a phone app to study on the go, so I’m feeling a little more confident after reading your reply.

I really like Bunpro, but I would probably not love it if it was the only thing I was using to learn grammar. It is awesome to re-learn concepts I’ve forgotten or to help review concepts I’ve learned along the way. My partner and I also spend about an hour on Sunday mornings very, very slowly going through Genki together, so it’s been useful to help that stuff stick in my brain more. I really just love the repetition method of all of these sites because my brain is horrible at retention. Doing something 50 million times is the only way to get it to stick at all. (I also REALLY highly recommend Language Learning with Netflix + Netlfix Japan using a VPN…I’m watching old seasons of PreCure and I am really happy with how much I can actually understand!! Immersion is a fun way to get Japanese in your brain.)

I just tracked the amount of time I spend on WK daily, and I don’t know how helpful my experience is for you (since everyone is different), but I do spend only a little more than 30 minutes (total) a day on WK alone, and I am progressing through it at a rate of about one level every 14-16 days, so I think it’s definitely doable!

When I tried tracking my time a few days ago, I found that I spent a total of 22 minutes on 116 reviews, across four sessions (only three were what I’d consider essential, but I did a batch of reviews early because they were available and I had the time). In addition to that, I spent 9 minutes doing 13 lessons that day.

However, I also spent 5 minutes drilling myself on the new items with the self study quiz script immediately after my lessons (which helps my retention a lot, therefore reducing the overall review workload), and 2 minutes drilling myself with the leech training script.

Grand total: 38 minutes a day strictly on WaniKani, with a rate that should roughly let me reach 25ish levels in one year. I haven’t quite reached my full workload yet where burns are coming in regularly (the first three and a half levels were slow for me), so the amount of time I’m spending daily will be going up a little bit, but I don’t think an additional 10-13 reviews a day will add much more than a few minutes.

Of course, all of this depends on how fast you are at doing reviews, and how good your accuracy is! Less accuracy = more reviews coming back. If you’re better at Japanese than I am, you might be able to do more reviews in less time.

For what it's worth, these are my stats:

wk stats 1

Another important caveat: I am also doing Kaniwani at the same time, so that strengthens my memory of the WK items, and I am also learning to write kanji, as well as using the textbook Minna no Nihongo to learn grammar.

So, on top of those 38 minutes on WK, I also spent 22 minutes doing 129 reviews on Kaniwani, then 13 minutes writing kanji, 6 minutes doing Anki reviews (for MNN vocab), then finally 1 hour and 12 minutes on MNN itself.

All in all, it added up to 2 hours, 31 minutes of Japanese studying that day. That’s a little on the heavier side for me, at least with the amount of textbook study, but I think I regularly spend one and a half to two hours studying Japanese each day, plus a fair amount of passive immersion. Some of what I do is perhaps “optional” (many people don’t learn to write kanji, for example, and other people only practice recognition and don’t bother with recall, and some folks don’t need the self study quiz or the leech trainer), but it does all tie into my WK progress because regularly using the kanji and seeing them in other contexts helps me remember them.

If your time/energy is very limited, I think it would be fairly doable to go at about half of my WK pace, and do maybe 6-8 lessons a day (I do 10-13). Personally, I like to spread out the kanji throughout the level (I do 3 kanji alongside vocab 10 lessons every day until I run out of kanji lessons, then just 10 vocab lessons each day until I guru the last of the kanji and level up). I keep my daily workload aggressively consistent so that the time I spend on WK/KW doesn’t vary a lot day to day, and so far, doing a set amount of lessons each day and never wavering from that is a great way to keep it consistent.

I think 100 or even 80 is way too high of an apprentice count to aim for, though. Mine is currently at 64, and that’s enough for me! I would also not recommend leaving reviews hanging if you’re unable to complete all of them each day. If you find yourself running out of time to do them all, it’s better to decrease the amount of lessons you’re doing to reduce the workload instead.

And of course, you should try to make sure that you leave enough room in your schedule for grammar study and (at some point) immersion. My recommendation would be to build your WK schedule so that WK takes up less than half of the time you have available to study Japanese. The WK workload will steadily increase until you get to a point where your burn reviews are coming in, so you’ll want to start off spending less time on it than you technically are able to. If you get a very consistent schedule established, it should be easy to keep up the habit of doing it every day (and also add in blocks of grammar study/immersion) because you’ll be able to plan around it and know how much time you’ll expect to spend every day.

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My current schedule looks like this:

Day 1 : Radicals (all of them)

Day 2-13: 3 kanji a day

Day 14-28: 8-10 vocab a day.

That’s 4 weeks per level give or take (each level has different amounts of kanji and vocab of course). I was doing 2 weeks per level before but I burnt out and couldn’t keep up. Plus I was only able to focus on WaniKani and was ignoring grammar and other aspects of language learning. It’s a lot more manageable now and honestly, if I wanted I could probably slow down even more.

Hi jinglymoo! Join Team Snails :blush: