How to pace my lessons?

Is there a way to freeze my lessons from coming in? I just passed level 4 and I have an overwhelming 150 lessons to go through. I’ve been trying to do 10-15 lessons a day, but is that enough? I’m worried that if I don’t go faster, more reviews will pile on me as I reach guru on the kanji. But if I go faster, I’m less likely to remember the kanji/vocab. What should I do?

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Hi, leveling tends to do that to your lessons pile. Don’t be discouraged and keep going.

You just unlocked:

  • a bunch of vocab for the kanji you learned in your previous level
  • a ton of vocab from your new level
  • all the radicals in your new level
  • some kanji in your new level

Don’t be discouraged by the huge number. It will go down while doing your lessons.
And next level ik will make a jump again.

Even if you decide to go at a slower rate, your lesson pile should still be going down

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Don’t worry about the lesson pile number. Pick a set number to do each day since doing it all at once is gonna burn you out. I recommend starting with around 5-10 lessons a day, and if you can do more, try 15. I won’t recommend doing 20 unless you were above level 15 or so.

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I haven’t not had a lesson pile up in… 6 levels now? I rarely reach zero due to a combo of not finding the brain capacity for lessons and there just being too many and just progressing the items I do learn enough to unlock linked vocab.

It seems the pile does have an order preference for previous level stuff before giving new level stuff. So sometimes I’m stuck working through what feels like 50 vocab items before getting to radicals. (Barring any scripts)

So nah, no worries, its normal that your lesson are pile up/backed up.

Pacing yourself is much more important, this is a looong looong marathon

Edit: too add to the mess, I’m also looking ahead for big review days (80+ new reviews in one day) so I will delay new lessons for that. Keep that potential in mind when you are starting to get to the point of getting burns

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What do you mean reviews will pile on you if you don’t do enough lessons? That doesn’t make sense. Less lessons = less reviews. Just do what works for you.

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It’s actually the opposite. The more lessons you do per day, the more reviews will pile on. If you do less lessons, then you’ll get less daily reviews in the long run. So if you don’t want to get overwhelmed by reviews, 10-15 lessons is perfectly fine.

Remember, the main goal is to remember the kanji and vocab. That’s what the lessons are for, and that’s also what the reviews are for.

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Let lessons pile up if it gets overwhelming and focus on the reviews. Reviews are always the most important part of the system. Once your reviews are back under control, do more lessons.

Do not do too many lessons at once to avoid big spikes in reviews later. I personally tend to do 5 lessons at once, spaced by at least one hour.

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No

Plenty

I’m assuming you mean more lessons. Yes, more lessons will unlock as you guru kanji. Reviews, aka workload, increases directly with how quickly you plow through the lessons. Lessons sitting in the unlocked pile don’t create any workload, and can stay there as long as you want.

Shift of perspective. There is little that is more frustrating than wanting to do lessons and not having any available. Having a lot of lessons available is the ideal situation - but the natural response we have to a large number on screen is to feel pressure that they all need to be done now. They don’t. Reviews, on the other hand, keep those at 0.

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doing lessons is your accelerator. do more lessons, get more reviews.

you don’t have a break: if you stop doing lessons, you coast on the pending reviews for a while.

so to avoid getting too many reviews, manage your lessons: either a strict number of lessons per day (e.g. 10 lessons per day). or don’t do lessons if your apprentice number goes over a certain value (e…g. don’t do lessons if you have more than 100 apprentice items).

how many lessons is “enough” depends on your preference. with 10-15 lessons per day, you’ll reach level 60 in about 2 years.

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I’d rather do all 10-15 lessons all at once at a set time (morning or evening) than put a rather pointless hour between them. That way you can do do WK three times a day and hit the apprentice intervals for all. You don’t have to do reviews every hour, so the hourly spikes are insignificant.

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Yeah I guess I should have said that the lesson interval should roughly match your review interval. So if you do one batch of reviews daily, don’t do 50 lessons one day and then nothing for several days after that.

Personally I tend to do many small batches of reviews throughout the day, so a one hour spacing actually works out most of the time.

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I also think this way. If you want measurements for “under control”, they are Apprentice count and Guru count.

Rather than a fixed number of Lessons per day, it’s perfectly fine to do quite a lot of lessons for a month, then do very few lessons for another month.

The number of Lessons to be too many at a time is actually a different question. The matter is whether it would come back, then easily be cleared or not, or becoming leeches.

Similarly, the tiresome of going through hundreds of reviews. That is also irrelevant.

Reviews being too many or too difficult or not would reflect your actual ability.

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Yeah the number of Apprentice items is definitely a good indicator. The projected number of reviews over the next week is also useful for that, it lets you anticipate the load and decide whether you want to add on top of it with new lessons.

Also I used to use third party tools to monitor my ongoing review load and decide if it’s sustainable or if I should slow down, but unfortunately those have been broken by the removal of the review API…

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No, but you can control which order the Lessons are given when you study new ones (i.e. click the Lessons button). [There are scripts which also allow re-ordering, but I’m talking about just the plain-old WK app, without any scripts.]

Under your Account > Settings > App, there’s a setting called “Lesson ordering”, which by default is set to “Ascending level then subject”. This default setting is okay, particularly if you’re trying to “go as fast as possible”, but not everyone prefers to go as fast as possible! Some of us are not in a rush and prefer to go at a more sustainable pace – after all, learning Japanese is not a sprint, but more like a marathon. Here are what the three different settings do:

  • Ascending level then subject: The default. Orders lessons by Radical, then Kanji, then Vocab, but will always show lessons for earlier levels first. So, level 1’s Radicals, then Kanjis, then Vocabs, and then on to level 2’s Radicals, etc. etc.
    • One of my main complaints with this mode is that you always end up with a huge pile of Vocab lessons at the end of the level, and you have to finish all those off before you’ll get any of the Radical lessons from the next level. There is a great temptation to somehow ‘skip’ these vocabs, to get on to the next level as soon as possible (and this would be a big mistake), and this is one of the reasons some folks go with re-ordering scripts. But there are other options too…
  • Shuffled: This treats your Lessons like a deck of cards, and shuffles them all together. At least you’ll get Vocabs mixed in with Kanji and Radicals, for some variety and pacing, but you’ll also get your next level’s lessons mixed in with your previous level’s lessons, whenever you advance a level. Personally, I find this annoying. I’d rather learn all of one level, then advance to the next. So, then there’s …
  • Ascending level then shuffled: This is like shuffled, but it will always show your previous level’s lessons before showing your next level’s lessons. For me, this is the best setting for vanilla WK. You can achieve a slightly better ordering with a re-order script, but I personally don’t want to install any scripts (nothing wrong with them! Just don’t want to manage extra stuff), so I prefer this setting for WK.

With “Ascending level then shuffled” your lessons will be more spread-out, with some vocabs mixed in with your radicals and kanjis. This way, you don’t end up with such a huge pile of vocabs all at the end of the level, and before the next level. This makes for a more steady pacing of lessons.

If you want a sustainable pacing of your WK review-load, then the correct pacing of lessons is: Whatever pacing is sustainable for you. In the first several levels, 10-15 per day is doable. Later on, as more and more reviews keep coming back, you may need to slow down. It all depends on how much time you’re willing and able to spend on learning Japanese per day, and on how fast you want to go. Going fast isn’t always good, because life sometimes gets in the way, and if you’ve been sprinting and sprinting, any interruption of your daily routine will lead to mountains of reviews piling up, which can be a very daunting challenge to face when you get back to studying. Many people have burnt-out from such mountains. Try to pace yourself based on what you can do on an average day – or even on a bad day – rather than what you can do on a good day.

If you do go faster, then reviews will pile on you. My impression is that you should slow down. Reviews are going to pile up no matter what, since you are still in the early levels. Find a comfortable pace first, and then you can decide if you want to speed up later on.

Think of Lessons as like the accelerator pedal of a car. The more you do, the ‘faster’ the car will start going. If you are going too fast, make sure you take your foot off the accelerator: Do fewer lessons – maybe even pause doing lessons altogether – until your pacing slows down to a sustainable level again.


Oh, and the most important thing I can say is: No matter what, try to do at least some reviews every single day, even if it’s only a couple, even if you’re feeling tired. Even just a couple of reviews is better than zero reviews, and by doing it every day, you’ll build a habit of doing something every day. And that little something, done every day, will eventually be able to conquer any mountain of reviews you might end up facing. And once you’ve found a sustainable pace, you’ll be able to prevent your reviews from ever becoming a giant mountain in the first place.

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Changing the setting worked! Thank you so much for the advice.

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I finally figured out that I can handle around 100 items in at the apprentice level and about 300 at the guru level. If I have more than that it’s just too many reviews for me to be able to do them all. Doing lessons adds to your apprentice pile, so if it’s getting below 100 I do lessons to get above that number.

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10-15 a day is a great number. I did 15 a day and finished in 2 years, but things really started to pile up in the second half, so even “just” 10 a day is great. It might not sound like much, but it really gives you time to learn them.

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Don’t be bothered about the number of lessons pending. What is important is to choose a number of lessons per day you can comfortably do. Some people have the motivation and time to do all the lessons and reviews as they unlock. As for myself, I started with 20 lessons a day but now I do a respectable 10 lessons a day.

Just think that the number a lessons a day you do will influence the number of reviews you will have to do. There are 8 levels in the SRS system, so you will have to review each lesson 8 times before burning it. That means you can at worst have 8 times the number of lessons you do a day of reviews. If you do 10 lessons, you can have 80 reviews a day.

With that in mind and taking into account your priority should be doing all your reviews every day (to avoid them piling up and keep unlocking new lessons), think how much time you can do reviews a day and pace your lessons.

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