Kind of getting stumped after level 20

Hello everyone!

Is it normal to start having serious problems from level 20 onwards?

I started back in May and have been practicing every day, without ever missing one, after reaching level 20 I started feeling a little burnt out, so I just took a week off, only doing reviews and no new lessons.

Since I came back from my break I managed to get to level 23 but I am having serious problems: my % of correct answers per session dropped from below 10% to 20 or even 30/40% in some cases, I am also having trouble remembering new kanji and end up forgetting lots of the old ones as well.

Does any of you have any suggestion to help me get back on track?


I found level 20 to be okay but level 21 is awful.

Persevere and keep going at your own pace. Slow down if you need to and you’ll get through it.


i think it is, because of the burn reviews…


I don’t know how you do your reviews but maybe try doing them multiple times a day instead of tackling them in one sitting, if you don’t already.

Also don’t worry too much about not remembering new kanji. You need to encounter the new ones several times before you get used to them. I normally do all my lessons in one go and the first review set that I attempt after learning new kanji always has something like 50-55% accuracy. But it slowly improves over the next week or so.

If you’re forgetting old kanji, you need to read more. You need to see those kanji and vocab frequently if you don’t want to forget them.


I’m about to cross the threshold to the Death levels so I’mma check it myself.


I started to really seriously struggle after level 20, which was why I chose to reset last year. Probably one of the best decisions I made as, like yourself, my retention was awful, I was getting less than 25% each review and still trying to push forward!

How is your grammar comprehension? In the year since I reset, I really poured myself into Bunpro, and I’m probably now at n4/3 level, and I find that this has really helped with my vocab retention because now I’m able to remember the kanji and vocab in a context that makes sense to me, I feel like I’m actually learning rather than simply trying to memorise a bunch of abstract words and symbols that really didn’t make much sense as to why I was trying to learn them at the time :sweat_smile: maybe exploring some reading and seeing the kanji you know used in the wild will help some!


Yeah, it really gets harder. They’re not kidding, calling it “death.”

I’ve already reset twice (both times were such good decisions), and one of them was from around level 25 where I was just like, not ever doing lessons cos my reviews were always SO high. It’s a lot better this time around because a lot of it is re-learning since I reset, and I am reading now as well as actually putting time into my grammar books (so I second Joshikii’s recommendation). WK works way better as a supplement rather than practically the only Japanese thing you do… I learned that the hard way.

I found the vocab starts to get very abstract, and a lot of the mnemonics are preeeetty light, so reading really comes into play at this time so you can see the words being used out in the wild.

My other piece of advice is to just slow it down around these levels because you’ll probably find quite a few leeches, and like HotWeather mentioned, lots of burns around this time too. I’ve been keeping my Apprentice pile around 50, and aiming to review 3 times a day so I have short review sessions, and so far that’s keeping the despair away lol. I also find that my retention is actually way higher when I’m doing lessons, so I just do like 5 a day to keep it small and manageable while continuing to put new stuff in my brain. My brain seems to like that. Yours may or may not.

If you are REALLY struggling with your retention, take a look at your kanji and vocab pages and see what levels your big problems are at. Don’t be afraid to reset down to the level where your weaknesses really start to re-learn the kanji. I know it feels like a loss of progress, but if you feel like you’re hitting your head against a wall, you’re not progressing anyway, right?


I usually do reviews whenever they pop up, so every hour basically; I usually get a concentration of them in the morning hours(around 40 to 60 per hour) and then bewteen 5 to 15 per hour in the rest of the day, so that shouldn’t be the problem.

As far as remembering goes, I was actually having a very easy time before level 20, I could remember everything on my first time, after 20 though… Sometimes it event akes 3 or 4 tries to even get close.

Last point: I actually do read, I am reading a book called スイッチを押すとき, having a bit of a hard time due to all the new kanji, but aside from that it’s been quite manageable.

Thanks for the reply!

My grammar comprehension is pretty decent(I’d say around N4), although it could be better; I am currently reading a book and most of my troubles are coming from missing kanji rather than grammar, so that should not be the problem.

I’ll keep the idea of resetting in mind, if I ever notice that I can’t keep up anymore!

Yeah, I seriously burned out in the 20’s, and eventually ended up with 2000 reviews piled up!
After getting back on track, I guess I learned that the key was consistency – even at a slow pace, as long as it’s consistent, you’ll hit 0/0 eventually


Level 20-30 is almost universally the point where people start struggling when going full speed.

If you’re not already doing this, limit your lessons. A good rule of thumb is keeping the apprentice count at a fixed value, like 100.
If it’s lower than that, do lessons. If it’s higher, stop doing lessons.
From what I’ve heard, it only adds maybe 1 or 2 days per level, but makes it so that everything is spread out much more evenly


Can confirm, really helped me keep a steady pace, and getting 0/0 consistently hasn’t been an issue either.


Thanks for the reply!

First of all: I didn’t know you could reset to a specific level, I might actually consider doing that if I ever get completely stuck!

This is currently my situation: at lower levels having such a high apprentice items was fine, but at the current one it seems to be too much for me(keep in mind that most of these actually come from level 19-22 and were dragged on 'cause I end up forgetting them).

I’ll maybe try to study new words a bit less, but I’m not sure how much that would help, because even without new words I still end up getting lots of review, but hey, at least they are for words that I can remember better!

As far as grammar goes, I have taken a course on youtube and am pretty confident in it(at least up to N4), so I am taking a bit of a break and reading to consolidate what I’ve learnt.

Last thing: how do I check which levels the kanji and vocabs are from without opening every single item one by one? I’d like to check which are the ones I have the most trouble with.

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I think I was around lv 20ish when there were a bunch of kanji that started getting mixed up in my head. One of my greatest tools to help me was a plugin for visually similar kanji. There were a lot of times I mixed up kanji like 湯、場、and 揚 for example. Having all the similar kanji lined up to compare helped me differentiate, and if I was mixing it up with a kanji that wasn’t showing up then I could add it myself! There’s also a plugin called confusionguesser that guesses what you might have been thinking of when you get a problem wrong, and I found that really useful for helping me tell apart similar vocabulary (I’m not sure if you’ve gotten to it yet, but 栄光 and 光栄 constantly find their way back into my leech pile)

Hope those help!


Hey, thanks for the reply!

Unfortunately I mostly study/review on my phone so I don’t really have access to plugins… I’ll still keep them in mind if I ever decide to switch over to pc, though :smiley:

(and yeah, there are a few vocabs that get stuck in my pile for a while, but I can eventually find a way to differentiate them: being bilingual helps me come up with some crazier mnemonics sometimes)

If you download fennec droid as a browser on your phone, you can install scripts using violentmonkey! Youu used too be able to use them on firefox, but a recent update killed that :c

I just exclusively use this browser for WK and forget about it by making a shortcut on my homepage to WK. It makes using wk on my phone so much more bearable!

Another tip I use is to use lesson re-order. When I do lessons, I break them down to a more manageable ratio, so I do maybe 10-15 vocab lessons and 3-5 kanji lessons ^^ I find vocab lessons easier to retain than Kanji, so breaking them up this way keeps things manageable, and I can slowly whittle away at the vocab backlog when they start to build up!

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Thanks for the tip, I didn’t know you could do that! I’ll try looking into Fennec browser and see how it goes compared to what I’m currently using(Flaming Durtles).

I also agree that Vocab(and radicals, to an extent) are way easier to retain, so I’ll try to rearrange the lessons that way instead of doing all the kanji and then all the vocab.

I have my own vague mnemonic for 栄光 and 光栄. Eikou sounds a bit like “ego” so I associate that with glory, not honour.


Level 21 here.

It’s absolutely the burn reviews, they add to the pile and they drag the accuracy down. I’m fighting an uphill battle against the reviews. If I miss one of two huge sessions of the day, the next day is absolutely awful. Today I did already over 200 reviews and will still do another 150. Either I get myself together or I will need to slow it down for real.


I think “Light of Honor”, so 光栄 is honor, that leaves 栄光 to be glory. If it’s the wrong way around now you can laugh at me.

Btw if anybody is having problem with 論理 and 理論… Often the last Kanji is the more important one. 論 means theory, so 理論 is theory too.

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