Is it a good idea to slow down for a while?

The WaniKani speed demons have my utmost respect. I can’t even begin to understand how they handle 1 level a week. I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m not fast, and that’s ok since I’m learning anyway.

Lately I’ve been feeling saturated, a bit burnt out due to how fast stuff gets after level 14. I really want to get all of these kanjis down, and it’s getting harder and harder to memorize new stuff, it feels like I’m forcing lessons?

What I plan to do is a full week of not doing any new lessons, and just focusing on leeches and reviews. Or should I just pop vacation mode for a while and return full powered?


I’d say just focus on reviews and leeches if you have the time to study. If you feel like you have to force lessons (which is completely normal. I also don’t understand how the speed demons manage, lol.) you can atleast go over what you already have until they stick and you feel like you can tackle new stuff again.
Vacation mode freezes everything so I’d really only use that when I know I’m incapable of doing reviews (extremely sick, or actually on a vacation, both occasions where I have used it) to avoid getting swamped with reviews.

In the end, it’s about what makes it stick, and not how fast you finish, but I think you know that. So take a break from lessons, and if it still doesn’t work, then take a break from wanikani altogether and come back even stronger!


I’m lower level than you but something that I learned from running is that I needed to learn how to slow down rather than just stop. At the moment when I’m feeling tired or I have other stuff on I only do 5 reviews each day or each other day.

You’ll find that after a few weeks of doing this your apprentice queue will only be about 30-40 items, and it means that you won’t be swamped with reviews.


I’m in the middle of a break. I sped up to level 22 and for the last month or so I’ve been doing very few lessons but completing my reviews every day. Very relaxing to drop from 250 daily reviews to 50-75.

I’ve been using the time to do BunPro, listening practice on Jpod101, and other misc practice. My kanji knowledge was too far ahead of the rest of my knowledge and I needed everything else to begin to catch up.


When I started, I tried to do all the lessons as soon as they were available and I realized that even at the early levels I couldn’t keep up the pace. Now even if I have 100 lessons available I only do 10-20 a day depending on how I feel. Some days I don’t even do any lessons and I just do reviews.

Learning Japanese is a marathon not a race, and I won’t feel bad if I don’t cross the finish line as quickly as other people do. Work at your own pace and if you feel like you need to slow down then do so! It takes me around 13 days to finish a level and that’s fine by me :slight_smile:


I definitely force myself through these lessons. On new levels, I would certainly say most of my incorrect answers come from Kanji rather than vocabulary. So essentially what I’ve been doing is just going through the kanji the best I can because when they teach us the vocabulary words to go with it after you Guru the kanji, it REALLY does a great job of helping me remember Kanji pronunciations. I often find that my retention of Kanji is exponentially better after I unlock a few vocabulary words that use it.

I’d go as far to say that sometimes I don’t recognize a kanji from many levels ago, but when I see it in a vocab word (god forbid its a single kanji) I instantly make a connection.

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While I was never a speed demon, I was doing 10 days per level, which felt fast to me xD…until level 18 where I crashed. I realized I couldn’t keep up with so much new information, along with whatever else I wanted to get done in life, so I had to slow down. Motivation was hard to keep up too, and after a couple levels at around 20-30 days per level, I started to feel so much more relaxed, motivation stopped dwindling, and I was able to find a balance between WK and life. I’ve ended up getting myself back to a point where I feel willing and able to go a touch faster too. That “break” made all the difference. I may not get to level 60 in 1.5 years like other people, but as things are going right now, I’ll make it to level 60, and that’s what matters to me. :slight_smile:

As for your question directly, I found the one time I used vacation mode to be a mistake. It might work for you, it might not, but what helped me most was to chop down new lessons, if any, and just go through reviews. Best of luck! And don’t be afraid to be a slow turtle like me :wink:


I did it.

I took a one-week lesson break, solely focusing on nailing reviews and obliterating leeches.
Thought I’d let you guys know. Here’s what happened:

I feel less burnt out! Being able to get close and personal with those icky leeches was a huge help. There were tons of leeches I dreaded and thought were insanely hard (looking at you, Level 14) but really all I needed to do was to look closer. None of this could have been done without the trusty Leech Trainer Script.

If I’m honest, I slacked the first 2 days. I didn’t even touch WaniKani. To be honest, it was sort of refreshing!

My accuracy also went down during the process. Although I don’t see this as a bad thing, by taking a break and focusing on mastering what I already knew I felt more confident and made mistakes or “dares” that otherwise I wouldn’t have, and on the long road that let me nail down some slippery reviews.

I’m feeling willing to do more Lessons. If I had to make an analogy, I’d say my “mental RAM” freed up a lot of space. It felt way smoother to do Lessons in a more relaxed, confident and rested manner.

Do I plan to do this again in the future? Hell yes. It really helped me to easen up, let go some pressure, and get ready for whats to come. I feel it’s healthier for my overall WaniKani road to take these pit stops. Perhaps I’ll do it when I’m level 40?

Thanks for the support guys, all of you rock. :heart:


I’ve been on a lesson break for about a month and a half. I still do reviews multiple times per day. Doing so has reduced my guru/master count from 600/700 down to 200/200. I’ve been hammering BunPro in the mean time to help with grammar. It has been very satisfying.


I’m really glad it worked for you! I didn’t comment originally, but I took a week’s break from lessons when I went on holiday (around level 10 / 11 I think) and it was awesome just to focus on reviews and really bash some leeches. I want to do it again at level 25 or something, but it’s hard to resist the urge to maintain your progress :sweat_smile:


Happy to see this thread as I’m doing a similar thing at the moment. Had a week where I didn’t do any lessons, then a week on vacation mode as I was away visiting family. Could I have done Japanese study while I was away? Yes, and I took some of my materials in case I wanted to. But I feel so good for having that break, and today, after a long day of gardening, I sat down and told myself I’d do at least 50 reviews out of a pile of 270. I faced them feeling calm and happy and even though my accuracy was much lower than usual I surprised myself with what I knew.

The plan now is to keep avoiding lessons until my guru pile is under 300.

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That’s good thinking. In the end, you want to be able to speak, write and read Japanese, so in a grand scheme I feel like breaks or shifting focus to other things helps a bunch.

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The right time to take a break is whenever you feel you need a break, so long as you’re progressing overall. This is doubly true if you have a Japanese-study routine beyond Wanikani.

I’m coming off about a week’s break myself. I had travel right after leveling up and let WK sit for a few days (though I did other Japanese study during that time). I had a huge pile when I came back, and a busy week, so I decided to plug away at the reviews and just do a few lessons a day.

There’s less than zero need to guilt yourself over this. Unless you have some sort of deadline for Japanese literacy a year from now, it’s a long-term project. Only you know if it feels like you’re actually just in a slow period/break or if you’ve given up.

It’s fun to play the “game” of WaniKani, but as long as you’re steadily increasing your vocabulary and reading ability, you’re already winning.


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