Is my progress too slow?

I get that its not a race, and that everyone learns at their own pace. But i’ve been doing WaniKani for just over a year now and i’m still level 18. That’s like a level every 3 weeks. I did miss some days, but i’m confident that i’ve cleared my reviews for over 90% of the days. Is my accuracy just bad? I feel like i’ve not been progressing effectively.

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Is Wanikani the only thing you are doing? If you are immersing yourself and learning grammar, kana only words, or doing some kind of speaking practice on the side I wouldn’t worry too much about your pace.

If Wanikani is the only thing you are doing and this is the result I think you are doing it wrong indeed^^.

If that is the case what do instead then depends on your goals.


Check your accuracy at wkstats, it can easily be that your accuracy is just low, which can then depend on a lot of things, like how many review sessions a day you are doing, or how many items a day you have.
Another question would be the amount of items you take every day. If it’s like 10, you will spend a lot of times just getting through the lessons.

But, if you are alright with 3 weeks, that’s fine. You will complete wk in about 3 years or so, and if in that time you can study enough grammar as well, you will be set.

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Given that the threshold for “slow learners” and “fast learners” seems to be between 2 and 3 weeks, depending on who you ask, I’d say that’s actually a decent clip, personally. And, it is definitely a good pace, if you’re studying other resources, like @downtimes said.

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My average accuracy is of 84%, which is higher than i would have guessed. Maybe i’m just not doing enough reviews per day. And yeah, i’m only doing wanikani and watching anime with japanese subtitles. It really doesn’t feel like enough, i think i need to browse more learning resources, its just that i’m very bad at self-discipline and when i stray away from things like WaniKani, which are very rigidly structured in their progression i start getting kinda confused and demotivated.

That accuracy is mostly alright, how many review sessions do you have and have many items do you take a day?

I tend to do 150 items a day. How do i check how many sessions i have? Also i just saw on WKstats that i’ve apparently been stuck on level 18 for 96 days which is obviously very alarming. Don’t really know what went wrong.

Chances are that you are not going too slow since you need to keep up with grammar and immersion aswell. The faster you go on WK, the more you need to immerse and learn grammar on the side, also pound vocab. WK is about 15% of the time I spend in the language daily, the vast majority is immersion.

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Hmmm, can you show a screenshot of your lvl 18 items?


That does sound like you are missing a big part of learing the language. A goal to work towards. Depending on the goal you have we can than give tips how to optimize for reaching it. A goal can be something pretty big in the first place. But then you need to break it down into small achievable subgoals to work towards and keep motivated.

If you don’t have something you want to do with Japanese it will always be just a language on the side. Nothing inherently wrong with that. But since you mentioned feeling like you are not learning efficently it indicates to me that you do have some kind of subconcious goal at least for urself?


My guess is that you have some difficulties with the items there, am I right? The fact that one of them is still on 1 notches is suspicious. Maybe there’s some issue with that?

I understand this is not a very helpful reply, but yeah i don’t really have a goal for learning Japanese other than just learning Japanese for the sake of it i guess. I like learning languages, English isn’t my native language for example. I don’t actively look at untranslated Japanese media an go like “man i wish i could read that” or anything like that. Maybe that lack of a goal is proving to be a hinderance since like you said i don’t have concrete milestones to work towards. It does feel really cool when i’m able to read stuff though.


You can be going as slow or as fast as you want. Since you asked for opinions, I think it’s too slow. To level up you need to complete lessons, if you have 90% accuracy then that is plenty high enough. But it sounds like you don’t do enough lessons or the 10% you get wrong are kanji+radical related

Edit: You can install the ganbar-o-meter userscript to see how quick or how slow your retention/progress currently is. If the meter is full, that means you have a lot to learn in your review piles, if the meter is low/empty, that means you do not have many items left to absorb in your current progress. The meter is basically doing some calculations based on your apprentice->enlightened rate of items then spits out a meter at you (which you can adjust to taste). It really does work and is a great gauge of how much new material you are trying to conquer at once

I’m about to suggest you try something different in wanikani to see how you like it- if you don’t want to or hate the idea then no pressure!

I think you should, for the rest of level 18, pretend you are a speed runner. By your screenshot, you are probably about 3.5 days from levelling up- your job is to work out exactly when you can level up at maximum speed, and exactly hit the review intervals needed to do this, while getting all essential reviews correct. Treat it like a maths equation. As usual, jprsperia has you covered on how to do this, his guide is essential reading for everyone: My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )

I’m proposing this approach for two reasons. First, you’re doing heaps of work (congrats! 150 reviews per day is a great commitment!) and your overall accuracy is solid enough to progress heaps faster than you are, so I think a mini speed run will call attention to how you can optimise the timing of your sessions to go faster with minimal additional effort.

Second, the reason you’re stuck on this level for so long is a hyper- specific accuracy problem- you need to get 5 reviews right. Only five!! I think by learning to see how important a small number of items are to your progress, you’ll realise the benefit of a bit of extra practice to review those items.

The teen levels are hard in wanikani because they challenge you to do specific focusing on items you repeatedly get wrong repeatedly, aka ‘leeches’. There are lots and lots of ways to work on leeches, from writing them out by hand to installing scripts. You’ll need to find ways that work for you, But the aim to focus and spend targeted time on items you get wrong so they don’t drag down your overall progress.

Good luck, you’re doing great to get as far as you have, hope you manage to find enjoyable ways of learning outside wanikani so you can apply all this newfound knowledge!


It’s okay to learn just for the fun of learning too. I spent the first two years or so just learning for the sake of learning and I kept at it because I found it to be fun in itself. Over time, my interest shifted to reading, which is still my primary driver. That said, having goals can be helpful. If your goals aren’t related to reading/watching/communicating/etc., it can be more learning-related goals too. For example, “do one chapter of Grammar Book XYZ per week” or something like that.

By the way, I would say this accuracy is a bit low. What do you do when you get an item wrong (either during the review session or right after)? Do you read through the item again to try to help yourself remember, or do you just move on and hope you remember it better next time? WaniKani did recently add an “Extra Study” feature, so maybe it’s worth trying that out.

Also, how many Apprentice items do you have right now? A large number could indicate a large number of leeches (especially given your pace), which is often related to low accuracy and many (unnecessary) daily reviews.

To your original question, there’s nothing inherently wrong with leveling up once every three weeks, but you do want to make sure that you’re leveling up efficiently regardless of the pace. So I do think you’re asking the right questions.


I have 275 apprentice items, so yeah lots of leeches. I really just resign myself to trying to do better next time when i get an item wrong, and like you said i probably should instead try to do some exercise to actually actively improve at remembering it rather than just trying to brute-force my way through like i have been doing so far.

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That’s a lot! I think it probably would be good for you to find a way to review items after you get them wrong. That should help reduce your apprentice pile and leeches, but it should help reduce mistakes for level-up-required kanji as well, theoretically allowing you to level up faster.


Yeah that’s way too many, I speak from experience. I’ve been fighting leeches for about a year now and have only progressed 1 level in like the last 8 months as a result. There are some great resources in the thread I made about it .

I think 2-3 weeks per level is perfectly normal, especially if, like me, you only do reviews once per day. 96 days on a level is definitely quite high, though. I think you may simply have too many unfamiliar items in your queue affecting accuracy and level-up times. Counterintuitively, you may want to slow down on lessons to speed up your level-up times (my Ganbarometer script linked below can help you manage your workload).

Here are my level-up times for comparison (note that things started getting harder for me around level 18 as well, though my worst was level 26 at 38 days):

The GanBarometer userscript will show all the details of how many reviews per session and sessions per day you’ve been doing for the past few days if you’re interested.

The Heatmap userscript will also show the total number of sessions (using a simpler algorithm to determine what’s a “session”).