If you're having a hard time getting through WaniKani

I’ve been having trouble getting back from a 500+ queue, stuck on level 19, and lacking motivation. After talking to friends and family about it, good advice popped up. I want to share it, it might help you guys too.

  • Progress will happen as long as you keep going. Maybe you won’t be learning as quickly as you’d hope, but quitting will guarantee you learn nothing.
  • WaniKani was never a race. Everyone goes at their own pace so just walk a rhythm your feet know.
  • Remember why you started. Remember the decision you made all the way back from level one.
  • Enjoy the ride. Annoy your friends with unsolicited japanese lessons, lose your shit when you can read some author’s name or some instruction on that imported japanese candy you got.
  • Avoid burnout. No ammount of willpower can overcome a weak body. Rest, be kind to yourself.

See y’all at Level 60.


Thanks so much for this excellent advice! :heart:
I’ve been on a year long break before and I can confirm that taking things at a slower pace is just the thing that has helped me get back on track.

It’s so important not to be hard on yourself when you make mistakes. It’s a natural part of the learning process. The only ones that we want to burn are :turtle:!


All very valid points,
It really helps to keep perspective on why you started WK and what you hope to accomplish with it!

For me, having short and long term goals are a great way I have found to keep pushing through,
a short term goal might be looking into getting that sweet sweet 0/0 streak, or a big burn!
A long term goal might be something like being able to real a Japanese novel, or moving to Japan.

Keep in mind that while big goals work fine, you should also have some short term ones to since it’s the small steps that lead to the big ones, and feeling like you are taking a long time while not feeling you have moved far to your long termers is unfortunately a good way to burn yourself out!

Hang in there, and good luck everyone!


Thank you, I really needed this right now. After a very discouraging trip to the mall and other errands during which I still couldn’t read any of the signs or packaging and the only word I understood dealing with people working was “setto” at McDonalds and arriving home to 82 reviews I really needed to hear someone repeat the advice I’ve been giving to myself “just keep going and eventually you will make progress”


Such solid advice there!
I am in the same boat. The want and the reality just not aligning. I hit 17 and had a ton of lessons but never found the time to get to them because I was always reviewing… missed a couple of days and my reviews ballooned out to 400.

But I did some steady reviews over the weekend and now everything is on track and feeling positive again!

Its not always going to be easy going, but accepting that you are here for a journey and will reach the destination when you do is such a great way to approach this!


I like using the workout example as it applies on pretty much anything. If you go to the gym consistently, even if you aren’t doing the exercices that well you will still end up seeing some progress.

The same here, you don’t have to do everything perfectly, as long as you do something you will be fine.

Good luck Daru!


True. If you always force yourself to do reviews while exhausted, you’ll enjoy doing reviews less and less. Then your body kind of associates WK reviews with exhaustion, which will make you dread reviews. Also I notice that the heat wave in Germany right now is making my body and brain slower, so I don’t do as many reviews as usual.


What works great for me when having a big pile of reviews, is using the clock function right away. Instead of ordering it (fairly) randomly, you will get batches of 10 items per review.

  1. 500?
  2. Click the clock
  3. Becomes 490 5 minutes later
  4. Click the clock
  5. becomes 480 5 minutes later

Sometimes reviews are added while you are doing reviews, but you WILL feel progress. Nibble away!


I don’t know if people do it here or not, but sometimes if I am really really tired or just not in the mood to do the reviews and see from dashboard that I have a big pile coming the next day, I just put my account on vacation mode, albeit just for few hours (if I did this at night). It will put me a bit behind in the cycle, but when I wake up refreshed, atleast I still have those 30 reviews and not the 100, had I not paused for few hours.


If you ever struggle with kanji, remember this contestant who used a lifeline for this question:

Hint: it’s WK level 8 vocab, baka…


“Zebraforce” is just the best :joy:


Yeah, “Zebraforce” sounds like the next Super Sentai series

EDIT: it turns out that there was an American film called Zebra Force


I dunno if other people can do that. You seem motivated enough to make sure to come back to WaniKani the next morning even when it’s not required. I’d be more likely to postpone coming back after setting it on Vacation Mode, just for a few hours . . . and then a day . . . and then a week . . .


Well, I don’t really worry too much about the pace I am learning at. I faced burn out at the end of level 20 and 30 and realized that I spent too much time looking at wkstats, comparing my speed and JLPT chart to see where I would be. And when I would see something I don’t recognize in reviews, I’d get depressed.

Now, I just let SRS do my work. If I don’t recognize something, I’d spend at most 20 secs on it and move on, typing “no idea”. I’d rather do mistakes and set them back in queue so that I can remember someday. And I know I will, since there are vocab/kanji, I have mistaken over 5-10 times in reviews before I got the hang of them. And there are still many left like that.

As for coming next day, it is because I read a lot. So I really want to learn asap. I read somewhere else in WK forums that storing all this knowledge w/o using it pretty useless.and I agree. WK is a supplement to my hobby of reading. Sure, I am also using it to pass JLPT but I am also trying to have fun. Even just today, I discovered a vocab outside that I learnt this level. I also found a Kanji that was used for a person’s name in the story I was reading few months back in Level 34 vocab. These stuff keep me going.


Remembering that it’s not a race is very important. Just keep in mind that the whole program of 60 levels is supposed to be executed in about 2 years, but it’s ok if you need more time than this standard.

For me there are two keys: 1) discipline! Make your reviews everyday, at least 2 times a day, consistency is very, very important. 2) Take your time when leveling up, take lessons as soon as you fell confident with what you already learned (not 100% confident, but at least 80%).

And keep in mind that things that you think are tough today, in one week will probably be easy for you, so don’t let feelings like “wow, this is too hard for me, it’s impossible” get over you. I experienced it in many fields of study (piano/guitar/french/japanese/physics/mathematis/etc.) and it’s always the same story: things look scary when you first meet them but, if you have discipline to study everyday, they will eventually become easy and you will think “oh, it’s not that hard afterall”.


The trill of recognition is really nice. I try to play Animal Crossing in japanese on my 3DS, and it’s surprisingly exhausting hahaha, but when I understand a full conversation, it’s so satisfying!


I didn’t expect so many replies, I’m very glad my advice was able to help so many of you.
Let’s keep at it!!


One thing to remember is Japanese is considered a very hard language for English natives to learn so that is expected.
When a Japanese person learns English they only have to learn the abc’s but when we learn Japanese it’s oh here’s 2000+ kana you have to learn good luck.


The race thing is pointless when you find even for a good student it takes about 1,200 hours to reach a intermediate level. While another language like German can be a small fraction of that.
Japanese is difficult but not giving up and studying something everyday is the key like many others have said.


Good Advice!
I’ve been at this for over 2 years now, and sometimes feel like I should be further along.
I slowed down significantly after level 28ish, and I take about a month per level now. Its slow going, but the pace works well with my life and has stopped me from feeling burnt out.
Slow and Steady wins the race!