How to use and setup WK for longterm success as a beginner

Hey everyone,

I am on lvl 1 and a beginner of Japenese with only a couple of words and phrases and very slow hiragana/katakana skills at hand. I would like to ask you, how to use WK best for long-term success. Knowing myself to well I easily become frustrated, if I am overwhelmed by too much to do or by things which don’t seem to be useful or necessary.

So there’s the question of how many new lessons to do, how to balance radicals, kanji and vocabulary (some reviews say there are a lot of uncommon and rather “harmful” vocabularies on WK for real life usage). Some people in the community also highly recommended using scripts for lesson and review reorder.

I appreciate the input :slight_smile:


I feel like I’m in no shape to answer this question, but I just wanted to tell you one thing, do it daily. You said you can get easily frustrated, and let me tell you one thing, if you don’t do it daily, they pile up SO FAST, especially as you move along. But if you do it daily, it’s like nothing at all and your retention is higher since you are optimally going along with the algorithm. That’s all I’m going to say as a fellow beginner who had a review hell because I left a gap in my studying, since that’s the extent of my knowledge. Have fun with your new journey!


Honestly… Your job as a level 1 who basically just stepped foot into this whole Japanese thing is just trying wanikani first in my opinion. Try using it and learning some stuff, and maybe get to level 3 at least. It’s kinda weird to give advice for longterm WK success to someone who doesn’t even know if they want to use it longterm in the first place.


If you haven’t yet, give the Ultimate Guide a read. It has general recommendations for most things, that are important.

At level one, I really don’t recommend using reorder scripts. Firstly, because you really don’t need it until much later, and secondly, because it’s good to see how you fare even before changing the mechanics behind the srs. If you do your reviews daily, you won’t have huge amounts of reviews piling up and lesson reordering is only “important” if you want to go fast, which isn’t a good thing if you get frustrated easily. Choose yourself a steady pace and you’ll be through it faster, than someone who burns out in the middle and has to start over.

What I do, is that I make sure that wk isn’t something that needs to be done, rather I try to use it as a distraction when I have some time to kill. For example, I regularly do my reviews while travelling to work. That time would normally be useless to me, so I make it useful by doing my japanese studies during it. Besides that there are many many time bits, that are perfect for doing a couple of reviews, but otherwise would just be wasted. Standing in line, taking a small break at work, etc etc. These are the intervals I target, and by cementing the idea, that wk is perfect for spending these few minutes you automatically train your brain to seek them out.

For this method, you will need to do reviews on your phone, for which I recommend Flaming Durtles, it’s basically the de-facto (unofficial) app on android. I also recommend getting into the habit of using a Japanese keyboard, out of which, the swipe input is the most accurate, and probably easiest to handle.

The point of gamification is to make forming a habit easier. So the best thing you can do is to lean into that aspect. There are scripts, such as Heatmap, that show you which days you’ve done reviews on. Try to create a streak using it. Of course, if you lose it, it’s no big deal, but it helps a ton with convincing your brain, that this is in fact fun.


If you can’t do it consistently I recommend doing Anki and learning to make studying a habit first. The most effective way to acquiring any skill is making a habit of practicing regularly.


at lvl 1 it is still early, you have to find your own pace. For me it was after lvl 5.

After that I started spreading reviews in 4 batches a day and doing self study quiz script since I didnt have many kanji/vocab back then.

After lvl 10, I started reading nhk easy news and decreased my reviews to 3 batches a day. And so on,

Just dont overwhelm yoursef like some uses here in forum say that they study 12h a day and breathe japanese content everywhere. :joy:


My advice for newcomers is to see if you even like Wanikani first before trying to make any long term strategies. Some people find they just don’t really get along with it and move on to try other resources, and that’s okay. I’d say just try to get through the first few levels and get a feel for WK’s format.

If you decide that you do like it, the most basic advice I can give is to get into the habit of doing it regularly and find a pace that works well enough that you can keep it up in the long run. Doing more lessons a day will cause you to have more reviews per day, so keep that in mind. Make sure you regularly tackle reviews (if not outright clearing all your reviews each day), because the review pile can easily grow out of control, especially as you get past the first few levels.


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