I guess i´m in it for the long run

I got my first enlightend today!
I use Wanikani for roughly 2 and a half months now, and im not planning to stop. My only problem is, that i have exams coming up so the next couple of weeks will be pretty rough. Now i wanted to ask how you handle stressful private life while studying japanese, do you still do as much as you can, or do you only do your reviews?


In the past (when I was a higher level) I would only do reviews and skip lessons when life was too busy. Congrats on your first enlightened! I also only do about 10 lessons a day so that’s slows me down too.


Good question, I am kind of in the same situation as you. I‘ll have a big exam next year so I‘ also wonder whats the best way to go.

I‘ve read that there is a holiday mode if you want to stop everything from progressing but I don‘t know for certain if it is possible to use that mode for longer. But I guess for me that will be my solution since I won‘t have any time during the exam.

In my experience, apprentice and guru items make up the vast majority of your daily reviews. I speedran the fast levels, so my review count got to be quite high. Even so, a few days after I did the last lessons, my review count dropped significantly. If you stop doing lessons for a couple of weeks and focus on clearing apprentice and guru items, I think the same will probably happen for you, which should make the workload much easier to handle.

I would try and keep doing your reviews as much as you can - obviously put your exams first though. I never really used vacation mode for one reason, while it pauses your reviews it doesn’t pause your brain’s forgetfulness. That said, if you do have to drop everything, vacation mode could help, as it’s much better to do that and let the SRS sort itself out than to come back to a mountain of reviews, speaking from personal experience.


Having previously been at level 50 without missing a day over about two years, I’ve gone through a lot of periods where there was just too much going on in life to maintain the pace I tried to set in the earlier levels.

Even if you can’t get through every review, trying to do some every day to avoid breaking your studying routine is important. That button that looks like a small stop-watch will end your session after ten more items; don’t be afraid to use it.

I also found it helpful, at times, to drop the number of new lessons per day to 3-5, which you can do under “app settings”. I’d only recommend you go slow like that temporarily, but it is an option and, if you’re worried about stalling or having days when there might not be any reviews at all, thereby breaking your routine, it’s better than adding nothing to the SRS pipeline.


Cpa is right. Apprentice (1, 2, 3, 4) and guru (1, 2) make up all but two SRS levels (master, englightened) that generate reviews. Assuming you did an even number lessons each day pausing lessons for a week or so should be enough to push almost everything out of apprentice and cut your daily reviews by half. If it takes longer than that there’s another problem that should be dealt with (leeches, interference in learning, poor review scheduling, etc.) Even without exams if you find yourself a bit stressed, annoyed, or otherwise overwhelmed with reviews this is probably the first step you should take to ease things up a bit and start diagnosing the issues.

I don’t. A lot of the WK forums are structured around the idea of building good study habits. Admirable, but something I think they push a little too hard at times. My stance is that you should find your limit first (the as much as you can part) then schedule a workload that consumes about half of that.

This is also where I think ‘X every day’ or ‘streaks’ are a bit wrong. The crabigator says to do reviews every day, even on Christmas. However, I think that’s more about making good use of your time. Most people probably do have free time to do reviews on Christmas, but probably didn’t want to think about working on a holiday. It really doesn’t matter about missing a day in the grand scheme of things and most ‘daily’ routines are about building habits not necessarily maintaining them. Celebrating Christmas on a remote island with no wifi isn’t going to kill habits. Being lazy after getting back home will…

By scheduling at a fraction of your max pace it gives you more room to deal with random stuff happening. Missing a day doesn’t matter when you have a certain amount of wiggle room planned. If you only study 1 hour a day out of a potential 2 hours, but missing a week that actually means you can double down during the next. Similarly, cutting a session short won’t matter if you have a bit of time later that day or even that week to make up for it.

So now my question is what did you do that an exam period suddenly requires upending the rest of your life? I’m sure everyone that’s been through school has had at least one cram before the exams moment, but it’s not optimal. It’s too late to deal with this now, but the next time exams are on the table plan out your regular schedule so that you don’t have to put other parts of your life on hold. Doing a little less Japanese each day is better than randomly taking a week off for exams. Adjust and remember to leave wiggle room!


Congrats on getting your first enlightened! That’s an amazing accomplishment!

On to your questions: It depends on how well you can handle stress and how motivated you are. If balancing Wanikani with exams going on is going to be too much, I would advise prioritizing reviews and doing fewer (or no) lessons. Trying to do too much at once could lead to an abundance of stress with few learning returns on your exams or on Wanikani.

However, if Wanikani is a stress-reliever for you (as opposed to something that stresses you out), I would keep doing things as you have been! It’s all about individual experience, and you need to do what works best for you.

From my personal experience, I had some life events going on in November and December that made doing lessons seem horrible, and I definitely slowed my lesson level-up. That was frustrating, but I also avoided burnout or falling out of love with Japanese and Wanikani, so I think I made the right decision.

Good luck on your exams and on your Wanikani journey!

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In my eyes, if sparingly, missing a day or a two is no problem. But do having a sense of guilt when missing those days. For the sake of keeping up with Wanikani, it’s better to have some obstinacy.

As always, reviews don’t need to cleared; and lessons don’t need to done at all if you aren’t ready. If re-order at all, definitely focus on lower levels and vocabularies.

You can use it as long as you want, it stays on until you turn it off again!

A couple things to know:

  1. You can’t do any reviews while you’re “on vacation.” (I think you also can’t do lessons but I’m not sure.) So you can’t use it to stop new items while you work on a large review pile.
  2. It pauses EVERYTHING, even the long-term items. If you have burn reviews scheduled 6 months from now, when you un-pause they’ll still be 6 months in the future.

Congrats on your first Enlightened!

I’ve tried a few different things when life gets busy, including stuff people have already mentioned like Vacation mode. My experience:

  1. Vacation mode is good for when you know you’ll have absolutely no time, like exam week. However, the longer you have it turned on, the more you’ll forget.
  2. If you’ll have some time, just less than usual, try to keep doing reviews every day. Lessons are optional. If you do choose to add lessons, be aware they’ll make you busier with reviews for the next week-ish.

Also, if you haven’t found them already, I strongly recommend downloading one of the mobile apps like Tsurukame (iOS) or Flaming Durtles (Android). They have lots of helpful settings, and it makes it easier to keep up with WK on the go. I have mine set to give me 10 reviews at a time, so that I can quickly do a few while I’m on my lunch break, waiting in line at the store, etc.

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I will probably do the same. 10 lessons a day is pretty good isn’t it? As of right now i always do bulk lessons (30-50 at a time) once every few days, but i think i have to stop this after i read some horror storys here haha

I saw the vacation mode but i really dont want to do that especially since i paid for wanikani and i would feel like im wasting it. But its a good last measure solution i guess

Yeah thats probably the best solution, i will stop my lessons 1 or 2 weeks before my exams. Thanks for the advice!

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Luckily my exams begin next month so i still have time to adjust ^^ i just wanted to ask in advance, so i have some ideas of what im doing then. Thanks for your long answer as mentionend in an other reply i will stop my lessons 1 or 2 weeks before and hope that everything goes smoothly.

Thanks! I never really thought about it, but i guess Wanikani really is a stress reliever for me. But i think its still a good idea to slow down the lessons during my exams, because in my head im giving away brain capacity for japanese, which i need for math and other stuff haha

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