Is it okay to take it slow on the lessons?

Hello! I’ve just started wanikani last week and I’m on level 2! One thing that was apparent to me is the sheer amount of new lessons, specially because I’ve taken my time to get most radicals and kanji up to Guru level. Since I work a full time job I don’t think I’ll have the time to do all these lessons (80+) any time soon.

Is there any penalty to taking it slow? Will I lose my level or something like that? And how slow/fast should I go with each lesson batch?

Everything is a bit daunting right now, so any good advice helps!

You can go at whatever speed you feel comfortable with, there is no penalty for taking it slow. A lot of people like to level up quickly and it is tempting to try to speed through. I am averaging about two weeks per level but I’ve fallen behind on my lessons due to work and need to catch up now I’m on my holiday. Please don’t feel any pressure, I took 36 days on level 7 because of my job.

Good Luck!


Same as what JacquelineM said, do whatever is right for you. If you go too fast for what is right for you, it will just make it harder later when the items come back. There is absolutely no penalty for going slow.


Good question!

When I started WK, I really rushed it, did all my reviews, then all (!!) lessons kinda at once when I leveled up, just to get to a higher level… then, around lvl 11, I started forgetting the older stuff because I rushed it so much, did not take the time to let everything seep in…I paused for a week or so…came back to 1100 reviews and gave up WK for months (that is the penalty when you do all the lessons at once and have a huge number of apprentice items!)…

So, lesson learned (no pun intended)… don’t rush it, take your time. Maybe even limit your apprentice items to like 30/40/50 at max… (thats what I do)

I work full-time, too and I like to get home to like 30 reviews instead of 400. :smiley:


The only penalty fo going slow is that it will take a longer time for you to learn kanji. If you are fine with that, there is no problem.

Two questions to ask yourself:
Do I have a motivation/reason to learn kanji?
Is this motivation benefitted by going faster or is it a long term goal with no imminent deadline?

Depending on the answers, you might find that you want to keep a certain pace, or you might find that a really slow pace is no big deal. Any pace is better than no pace if you wish to learn.

Take care and welcome to Wanikani!


There’s definitely nothing wrong with taking it slow! I think it’s best to set a pace that you think will be sustainable for you, a pace that you will be able to stick with for the long term. If you only have time to do 5 lessons a day plus reviews, then do those 5 lessons a day plus reviews. If you need to stop doing lessons for a few days and only do reviews, then let those lessons sit there and make sure you get your reviews done.

I’ve found that I’ve had to slow my pace down quite a bit as I’ve gotten into the higher levels - when I started out, I did all my lessons as soon as they came up, but when I got to about level 11, I started splitting those sessions in half. When I got to about level 20-ish, the sheer number of reviews coming up got to be too much, so I started doing my lessons in even smaller chunks. Lately, I’ve been doing 5-15 lessons per day (depending on how much time I have and how many apprentice items I have) and still leveling at a decent pace.

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The best way to avoid burning out and to maintain your motivation is to keep in mind from the beginning that learning Japanese is a long term thing (as in years, not months).

It’s better to keep a higher accuracy in your reviews (meaning you actually remember what you’ve learned), than to power through and then just forget everything.


If you want/need to take the lessons slowly, do so! Just make sure you keep on top of your reviews so you let the SRS do the work of cementing the items you do learn in your memory.

Edit: This is exactly why I subscribed for life when they had the winter $100-off deal. My motivation and time comes in waves, so I need to be able to space stuff out without stressing that I’m wasting money month by month.

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Thanks for the insight! I didn’t really realized that there could be so many review items at once but it makes total sense ahahah. I think I’ll take it slow so I can have about 20-30 reviews per day. :smiley:

Thanks, I will be taking my time, although I feel an itch to hurry cuz everything is so interesting. ahahaha

My biggest fear is burning out and become overwhelmed by having too much to assimilate!


I do have a lot of desire to speed up, but I also want to study grammar structure and listening/speaking in parallel so I don’t want to get burned. I’ll find my pace and try not slack on! (I want to be doing at least a little bit per day)

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So the reviews really pile up the more progress you do?

Since the beginning was somewhat slow, I kinda just did everything and reviewed everything right away until they reached guru. But reading all these replies really put things into perspective! :smiley:

Hopefully I’ll be able to read and learn at a good pace so I won’t lose motivation and won’t burn myself up.

I’m definitely in for the long haul, so I don’t really want to burn myself up.

It’d be nice to be able to read some things in a few months even if it’s with the help of a dictionary though :stuck_out_tongue:

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its probably ok to go ahead, it all depends on your motivation for the language.

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I find the system great and really like the design of the website as whole.

The price thing is definitely a concern, but I am not really stressing over it at the moment. :slight_smile:

One thing that helps keep the number of reviews down for me is to pay attention to the SRS timing for new items and try to stick to the SRS schedule for those as much as possible. So if I learn 10 new items in the morning, I will check back in 4 hours to review those 10 again, and then check in 8 hours after that to review those 10 items for the final time that day. I end up reviewing 3 times per day, and this helps me actually remember the things I learned in the morning so I don’t end up getting them wrong and having to review them over and over again. :smile: This also gets a nice pace going so there aren’t really any big surprises on review counts.


They definitely do, because items from the first few levels start coming back for review on top of all the items that you just learned. If you get those older items wrong, they’ll drop down to guru or apprentice, and then your daily review load will get even larger. I think I underestimated just how many reviews those older items would add per day, even if your accuracy is 100% and nothing drops down to a lower SRS level.

I think you should be ok taking the first couple levels a little faster as long as you feel that you are really getting the material down. :slight_smile: But if I had to go back and do it again, I think I would do a few lessons, wait until those items had come up for review at least once or twice, and then do a few more lessons. It’s only marginally slower, but it helps keep each individual review session to a more manageable size (assuming you have the ability to do the reviews as they come). For me, reviewing 5 groups of 20 items always feels more doable/enjoyable than slogging through a stack of 100+ reviews.

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I recommend reading the “Using my WaniKani Knowledge” section in What is WaniKani? | WaniKani Knowledge and using it to help create your study-plan, expecting each level after 3 to take a week and a half to two weeks. (And read the rest of the page because it’s filled with answers to what really are frequently asked questions)

I came in with about a thousand vocab words alongside a working-but-limited understanding of basic grammar and was able to start reading Yotsuba without too much difficulty after completing Genki I and hitting level 8 in WK (with the English version, which I had not read before, handy as a reference). After WK level 11 and finishing the second volume, there have been very few words I’ve had to look up (3-4 per chapter) and my reading speed went from like four hours for the first chapter across three nights to about a minute per page (except for the movie-dialogue one). It’s very tough at first, but if you maintain a sustainable studying pace (even if it feels slow at times), within a few months, you’ll start to see real progress for sure.

If you’re coming in with a lot less prior knowledge than I had, don’t worry: I’m on the brink of hitting level 15 (after about four months) and have already encountered, in WK, over 90% of the vocab needed for Yotsuba and other easy-end-of-the-spectrum stuff I’ve tried reading, enough to make educated guesses about unknown words in context. Just don’t slack on grammar after you start studying it and you’ll find you really can understand a little bit more with each passing day. (Note: Yotsuba’s dialogue is very hiragana-heavy, rather than kanji; I find it helps with recall, in the “given this reading, what does it mean?” sense, and with reconstructing conjugated verbs, which has provided a noticeable boost to listening comprehension. The older characters speak with kanji that matches their expected education levels, and it’s now uncommon that I even need to read the furigana next to it, since the WK SRS is doing exactly what it’s supposed to)

As someone else in the full-time-job situation, I know the journey to fluency will take years, but the more I read, the more I want to continue, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same after you read your first page of text.

Note that I don’t specifically advocate using Genki. It’s what I started with and it teaches things really well, and WK goes out of its way to prepare you with kanji and vocab that are specifically covered in the textbooks, but I’ve since switched to Tae Kim because his style is more in-line with how I learn. Any reputable grammar resource will get you to the finish line; finding one that works well for you will just get you there faster.


Ditto on everything above. Just one word of caution: don’t wait for everything to feel totally, completely solid before moving on. There are periodically people in the forums who don’t do the next lessons because they’re waiting for everything they’ve done before to feel mastered to them. You actually want to keep moving to some extent because the vocab you learn using the kanji will also help cement the kanji, and having things in various states of newness and familiarity helps keep things fresh. And just personally, I find that I get a little burnt out if I’m going too slow as well as too fast. Everything just starts to feel a little hazy and far away, and it feels like I’m learning everything singly rather than letting everything reinforce everything else as a system. You’ll find a good pace for you as you go though, and there’s nothing wrong with the perfect pace for you being on the slower side. Good luck!