Is my progress too slow?

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”).


I highly, highly recommend using the new “Self-study” feature to get more reviews in for newly introduced or often missed items. Even better, in my opinion, is to use the Ganbarometer to launch the Self-Study userscript for items still in stages 1 and 2.

I’d seriously stop doing lessons altogether and do lots of self-study before and after your “real” reviews until you only have around 100 apprentice items. Then you can find your optimal pace that keeps the workload and difficulty fairly constant.


That is A LOT of apprentice items. I would say wait until you are around like 75-150 apprentice items to continue lessons. It is very hard to progress with that many apprentice items

Not really, I’ve had 300 apprentice items before, sure it was alot of reviews but it wasn’t really unmanageable. Sure wouldn’t want it long term since it would be inefficient, but short term it really doesn’t matter.

your pace is pretty normal. at level 40 you can already read alot when it comes to kanji, which is good for just 2 years.

I agree with the others that 275 Apprentice items is a lot. Apprentice items are the big driver of workload because they come back so often. I’d also agree that stopping lessons, focusing on your leeches, and whittling away at the Apprentice stack is the way to go.

That said, if 3 weeks were slow, I might as well have given up by now.

I aggressively throttle my lessons to keep my Apprentice plus Guru count manageable. If it gets up over 450 combined I tend to start suffering. Currently it’s sitting at 65 + 363. My Apprentice count is right where I want it, my Guru count is a bit higher than I like.

But I say this a lot, “The only pace that’s too slow is quitting. All other paces are just fine.”


I was at a few hundred apprentice some weeks ago, had no time for WK so the stack grew very high, and I essentially could not progress since I just made too many mistakes and they came so frequently. So adding new material would be of zero help to me unless I was doing extra self-study. Which I was not. The same items would just keep coming up like every single day since retention was poor from the sheer amount of new material I was trying to process

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I just wanted to say that everyone’s feedback helped a lot, and using the new feature that lets you practice recent mistakes has been a lifesaver. I managed to reduce my Apprentice items from 275 to 50, and i feel like i’m back on track. Thanks everyone!


Most common mistake is that people aren’t doing their reviews often enough. Good that it worked out.