Kani and vocab study tips that don't involve flashcards

Hey all, I tried to find some similar topics/questions but couldn’t find anything recent - however please point me in the direction of anything I missed if so!

For a bit of context, I’m currently studying Japanese at uni. I came across WK because the mechanisms we were given for self study weren’t working for me (Quizlets if anyone is curious, very flashcard based). Essentially I’d slog my way through these quizlets and hate every second, then it’s immediately out of my head 5 minutes later.

I’m now in my second year and have a bunch of kanji, compounds, and vocab to learn each week. I thought given WK has given me a massive head start to a lot of this semester’s kanji I could just focus on the ones I was missing. Sure enough, none of them will sink in and these are set lists I have to learn.

I am at a point now where I feel like my time would be put to better use on a different study mechanism. Even if it’s just repeatedly writing them out over and over.

So I would love to hear any tips for learning, or understanding how you best learn so I can get some traction on actually memorizing these. I’d really appreciate your advice on what worked for you.
I know it’s not a once size fits all, but some ideas would give me a great place to start.


I guess the best way for me to learn some of this is to connect it to something you do know as opposed to looking at it like it is something you need to memorize. That being said, combining some of these methods will probably yield the best results.

What helps me the most with kanji is using them in my own sentences. Build sentences that are easy/fun for you to remember that use the kanji you need to learn for class; having them in context makes their meaning more clear, I think. (make sure to have someone check your sentences, though, I’ve made that mistake before XD)

Flashcards are usually recommended as a bit of a shortcut to learning the traditional way. Wanikani is really a preset flashcard SRS system, and the fact that it is easy to use makes it convenient to learn lots of stuff in a semi-short timeframe.

If you had unlimited time, learning through context from native content is the best way to learn everything, but most people don’t have the time to learn everything this way. This is the way we all learn as children, and it is really effective but extremely slow.

As others have said above, context is key to learning something effectively. Stories are actually really effective ways to learn new vocab. Usually I would recommend reading a lot of graded readers to learn more and more vocab, but since your classes require specific words, you may have to do as @vspree said and use those words to make your own sentences/stories. Anything that will make the words more meaningful to you will help it stick better.

I recommend trying to use something like this website,

You can type a kanji or word into the search and it’ll return dozens of examples of it being said. You could watch the whole video (or part of it) for a larger concept. This way, you can see examples of it in use and also hopefully it’ll be more memorable because you aren’t trying to learn it in isolation.

Additionally, you can get an idea of the pitch accent for the particular words as well.

Oh, here’s also a good place to do that

Sometimes more experienced people will read through and provide feedback

Not at uni, but I learned with Genki in a language school, at a fairly good pace, around one lesson per week, so I was also a bit nervous about the kanji appearing in Genki that I didn’t learn yet in WK…But very quickly it didn’t matter because WK was so much faster… (Genki : around 15 kanji per week. WK : 30 kanji per week)

So I wouldn’t stress it, maybe there will be some kanji you don’t know yet but if you maintain a good speed with WK you will soon learn them anyway.

Thanks however given I have a set list to learn each week and am tested on it almost daily with an exam for an hour each week, I do need to get on top of it rather than just wait til my WK catches me up

Thank you! This is really unconventional but I like that you can just keep cycling through - the trick would be not to get sucked into watching too much of a potentially irrelevant video because you get distracted lol but I’ll definitely give it a shot and see if it helps recall hearing it a lot

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