Is WK enough to get to a N2 level (kanji & vocab) in a year and a half time?

Hi, I am first using this site though I signed up years ago. So this is like a year’s resolution. I have read a lot of good things about this site and i personally like the way it is constructed, i.e. i like the mnemonics and spaced repetition focus. What i’ve heard that I don’t like at all is that this site is not friendly to people studying for the JLPT test.

Last year I applied for a master scholarship in Japan, and failed miserably since my Japanese level is at elementary at best. My english is also not that great since is not my native language… Anyway, I really want to try this site but I’m concerned if it would be the right choice to prepare to have a decent level of japanese… in my country you can only present the test on December, so I’d like to take this year to prepare myself to pass the N3 test and be able to have a N2 level by June 2019 when I’ll try to fight again for a place in a japanese university.

What I’ve seen (and I don’t like) is that the site is kinda in full control of your progress… I already knew the first radicals introduced to me and I have to wait to even be able to test them again and continue to things I don’t know which for me, seems to be begin at level 4. Moreover, in the welcome tour they say that it takes literally months to get a single item into the Burn state, so I cannot help but have this feeling that this site is somehow built to have you take years to complete, and my concern is then, before move on and invest on it I’d like to ask vets here about your experience… To know if this site along with grammar books can make doable my resolution.

Thank you in advance.


For kanji? Yeah, easy. For speaking? no. For vocabulary? no.

Speaking and Vocab will need to be supplemented (along with grammar of course). I am almost at n2 level after ~10 months of work on this site. Xyz, who I see commenting right now, is even further in a shorter amount of time. In terms of Kanji knowledge, this site has served us well and going at max speed can have you at over 2000 kanji by your deadline.

Just make sure you are learning other useful vocab on the side (wk doesnt necessarily cover the core 6k), and get actual speaking practice with natives. I would recommend HouHou or Anki for the vocab and HelloTalk for the speaking.


Level 48 is around the time you learn 95% of the N2. Max speed here is about 7 days, but if you do 10 days you can make it there in a year and a half.

That being said, if you are studying for N2 you need other things. Grammar is the biggest. For this I would recommend textbooks like Genki, some Tae Kim, and Bunpro. Next up is vocab. N2 has about 6000 words you need to know. By level 48 you should have about 5000. However, lot of these are kana only (especially the onomatopoeia words). That means you have to pick them up elsewhere.

Also, keep in mind HouHou exists, which uses a similar system to WaniKani, can be customizable, and is free to use. I used that a lot when wanting to learn more words not on WaniKani.


I could have sworn the JLPT doesn’t have a speaking portion. If the poster is studying exclusively for JLPT for a job application for example, he doesn’t need to focus on that.

Edit: For clarity’s sake I would like to mention that speaking is an important part of language learning. But assuming one needs the JLPT for some jobs and even colleges, it is better to leave that for after they get the required N2 or N1 JLPT level.

I’m pretty sure he meant “speaking” as in “kanji and vocabulary wise” or “from the perspective of kanji and vocabulary.”

But yeah, this will not cut it for N2 vocab. Not just in lacking words, but because it doesn’t teach you how to use anything you learn.

Is it okay if you elaborate on that, I’m not sure what you may be referring to.

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He had speaking in the title so I assumed this meant able to use n2 level knowledge in a conversation.

This as well.

So to answer your question: No. BUT…the entire site can be completed in your timeframe. If you have that much time, WK will be worth it for you imo. The kanji and vocab knowledge you will leave with after 1.5 years will be time well spent. Just dont expect 1 source to be the end all be all for vocab and kanji. Even if you could memorize the core 6k and all joyo kanji in an instant, you would still have no idea how its used, as leebo said.

EDIT: Ohhhhh. I see now. The “speaking” in the title is meant as “wise”. Like “vocab and kanji wise”. Im dumb.

Yeah for some reason leebos comment didnt click for me either instantly, but I think I get it now. He didnt mean speaking as in the noun form of “to speak” but speaking as in “in reference to”.


Ahhh, I see.

So in short, this site alone won’t be sufficient for vocabulary, especially for how many non-kanji vocab you need to know for the JLPT.

However, in terms of Kanji it will definitely prepare you. By level 48 you will know more than 500 more Kanji than what will be on the N2. N1 will be a little further away, and for that you will need to study more kanji than WaniKani offers. But for everything up to N2 including some other useful Kanji, WaniKani would be quite efficient.

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This is definitely true, but I think that what I mentioned, the usage, goes far beyond in terms of how WK is insufficient. You can’t trust that just because you learned how to read a word here that you’ll know how to answer a question about it on the vocab section of N2. Once you get to N2, things get much more fine-grained, and knowing one-word English translations isn’t enough.


Im starting to feel that pain right now reading VNs. So many words that have like 5-10 different definitions and the one I learned on WK isn’t the one being used in the sentence I’m reading.


Vanilla, and others, where did you pick up your vocab then? Are you just using Anki or is there any other big source that you can recommend?

Core 10k/6k and reading native content. The reading is what I’m doing primarily, where I just look at a word, forget parts of it, then see it again and remember it a bit more. For beginners though I would recommend textbooks and the core decks. This is because reading to pick up words is pretty difficult without knowing a certain amount in the material you are reading. Furthermore, textbooks like Genki and Tobira have a lot of the vocab you will see in everyday occurrences, useful for reading just about anything.

The most reliable way to build your vocab is to encounter it in the wild (reading material intended for natives), then looking it up in a monolingual dictionary (and other things as well, like a thesaurus), finding more example sentences, and then adding it to whatever SRS system you prefer.

Just getting a pre-built list of words and drilling on that without the part where you find them yourself is a way to learn a lot of superficial content quickly, but it probably still won’t get you to the deeper understanding you need.



Speaking of which, I just learned how to tell someone to kneel…which segues into my answer! I learned it by playing a japanese game. Exposing yourself to native materials and then adding words you don’t know into an SRS system of your choice (I use HouHou atm) is a surefire way to acquire new vocab. The problem with this is that its not always the most efficient the earlier on in your studies you are. At first, its more worth it to learn words by just memorizing from a list (Imo), but as time goes on it becomes better to focus more on native text.

If you are at that beginner level, I would recommend using a core 10k/6k deck and sorting by frequency. Personally I use this:

I don’t know what point you are at in your studies, but if you don’t know many kanji I wouldn’t recommend diving into vocab too much. Focus on grammar and maybe some words that use hira/kata. Once you hit level 10, you can knock out that first spreadsheet, but I wouldn’t recommend using this method for words over core 6k. Once you know your core 6k, you should be comfortable with using native texts to learn new vocab.


I shall humbly kneel before you but feel the need to point out that ‘segway’ is actually spelt segue.


What are people’s thoughts about the HELLO ワニカニ拡張パック Memrise course? I’m doing it alongside WaniKani and, I mean it does have 4700 words in it.

Actually, I’m riding around on a Segway as I type this.


First of all, i want to thank Vanilla, xyzbuster and Leebo for their answers and insight on the matter. Im somehow familiar with the Core decks, since im using anki and memrise alongside to learn a bit of vocabulary. I did not know that HouHou existed, though. I believed was the free, customizable version of wanikani. Im so glad of your answer.

I’m sorry that my use of the word “speak” was not clear enough, pretty sure this is an issue related to my still deficient english.

I see that wanikani is great enough kanjiwise. But there would be a lot of gaps to be filled, out of the scope of WK… so, i’m understanding that WK only provides for each kanji or word a single translation, is that right? I guess that be the caveat of the site. Anyway, i hope to dive in and be as good as you guys.

Happy new year