Lesson ordering by category (Vocabulary, Radical, Kanji)

Hello Everybody!

What are your guys’ thoughts about a lesson ordering by category, prioritising Vocabulary → Kanji → Radical (i. e. the opposite of the option currently available in WaniKani natively)?

I would find it beneficial to do vocabulary lessons with the highest priority within a level, since they build up on previous material (the radical and kanji), which I want to finish before starting something new. Additionally, the current sorting prioritises unlocking more lessons as fast as possible, which is good for people who are advancing fast. Unfortunately, I can only manage about 5-10 new items a day at best which is slower than the unlocks, and so my lessons pile up higher and higher, which makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong and am falling behind. To me, levelling up is actually discouraging at the moment and I find myself struggling to keep up my reviews after each level up because of this.

Please let me know if any of you share this opinion. Are there any scripts out there to implement this sorting that are still working?


I just don’t look at the lessons number. It’s a meaningless number. For what it’s worth to me, it might as well say “5028 lessons ready for you”, it wouldn’t entice me to do any more or less lessons. The only real catastrophe would be if it said 0 lessons available at a time where I really wanted to do lessons. Incidentally, doing vocab before kanji and radicals might actually leave me with 0 lessons at a point where I’d like to have lessons available.

…Yeah, that’s not happening anytime soon.

Aim for a number of reviews per day that you’re comfortable with. The easiest way is to keep your apprentice count at a certain number. Keep reviews at 0 at the end of most days. Do lessons if you need more reviews don’t do lessons if you don’t need more reviews.

I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson filtering script floating around somewhere but I really don’t suggest you use it.

Oh and welcome to the forums!


Lesson ordering (native in Settings) by Level then Type already puts previous levels’ vocabularies before Radical and Kanji of the new level.

On a single level, I think Radical => Vocabularies (guessing Kanji meaning unofficially) => Kanji (official SRS), might be a good idea, but that’s not the way of WaniKani :crabigator:


Thanks for sharing your lesson count, that is actually comforting :sweat_smile:

I guess I have to level up my mental fortitude. The reason I say I struggle with keeping up the reviews is not because I end up doing to many lessons, it is purely motivation based due to my unhappiness about the ordering of the new lessons. Yes, am yearning so much for that sorting, my brain likes order.

Why do you highly discourage using a script? I have never used one before, do you see problems on the technical side or in the actual change I would be putting to my experience?

1 Like

It’s not the technical side, I don’t think, it’s just seeing people on here with 500+ lessons in the queue. All they’ve done is learn the radicals and kanji and did no vocab lessons and wonder why they’re struggling so hard.

The ordering you suggest obviously eliminates that problem, but it can get a little stagnant too. (well in my personal opinion)

I started using a script a few levels ago and I’m enjoying the experience much more. But you need to mindful you don’t mess the settings up, of course.


With your suggested sorting the problems would be minimal and limited to the occasional not being able to do a lesson when you ought to. Both technically and practically it’d probably be fine if ever so slightly less efficient than always having a lesson ready. The reordering scripts have a tendency to cause people to skip vocab and just blast off into kanji 5 levels ahead of where they are. This leads to burnout. It’s not your stated use case so it might not happen to you. But you know how they say the first hit is free.

The default sorting works fine, so I don’t see much of a reason to reorder. There can be an empirical good cause to reorder your reviews, if you have a huge stack, but not really lessons, imo.

Do we walk around worrying that there are tens of thousands of kanji out there in our irl. “lesson queue”?


1 Like

Indeed, some people (e.g. I believe @sudgy is one) use reordering scripts to achieve just this ordering.

I second the feature request. It would (well, should) be trivial to implement, and would eliminate the need for some folks to use third-party scripts for this particular purpose.

1 Like

I see your point, that is a valid caveat.

However, I can assure you that my goal is not to unlock new lessons as fast as possible or advance to a new level as fast as possible. My goal is to maintain a stream of lessons and reviews that are manageable to me and stop what is currently happening, which is I don’t do my reviews after a level up because I lose motivation. I always do reviews first, then new lessons in a sesh. Funnily enough, knowing that I can finish off vocabulary lessons next would mentally help me do my reviews!

That’s great for you, I fully acknowledge that this is a personal preference. It does not work fine for me :slight_smile: . Hence the request for an option in the settings that you absolutely don’t have to take.

I am actually not worried at all about getting to a stagnant point. 1) With my very reliable slow pace, that is not going to happen and 2), even if it did, I would see it coming by the diminishing lesson pile and could always switch back to the old ordering which prioritises unlocking new items.

Thanks to everyone else too who weighed in, the opinions are much appreciated!


I didn’t even realize what sub-board I was on. Sure. If it tickles you the right way it tickles you the right way, I guess. I wouldn’t expect much in the way of features from the WK team anytime soon. Reorder script is here.

1 Like

Two points here. The standard ordering system doesn’t prioritise unlocking new items, it prioritises earlier level stuff first so when you level up. It unlocks a few current level radicals, some current level kanji, and then a load of previous level vocab. If you do default ordering lessons, it will try to clear those vocab first. Which leads into my second point:

what I meant about me feeling stagnant was because in the default ordering, you’d get maybe 7-8 kanji in the same review session to guru at the same time (and level up), your lesson queue would have like 70+ vocab and then the radicals and kanji for the next level.

My workflow is to do 10 lessons every morning so after levelling up, there was often a week of just doing vocab lessons before I started learning new kanji. Since I’m primarily here to learn kanji, a found it a bit of a chore that I’d have this massively flurry of kanji learning (3 days to learn the ~30 kanji each level) then the other 11 days of the level up just doing vocab. This is what started to make me feel like stagnation.

My lesson ordering is, with 10 lessons each day:

radicals as soon as they appear
3 kanji max
7-10 vocabs per day

I’ve found this spreading the unlocks steadily through the level (and not just a big lump at level up), so I’m learning new kanji nearly everyday, but I’m not getting inundated with a massive queue of vocab lessons and feeling buried by them :slight_smile:


Thanks pembo! That is a really good suggestion actually. I’ll have to see what feels right for me, but if the scripts work for me, I’ll definitely give your method a try.

Thanks finnra for the link to the script, much appreciated.


I have the same feeling of unhappiness with the ordering; but in my case my brain isn’t yearning for a particular order, it’s yearning for variety, in other words no particular order. The problem I find is that all the different types, Radicals, Kanjis, Vocabs, each come in their own ‘clumps’, but I’d much prefer them to be mixed up. Variety is the spice of life, as they say! :sweat_smile:

For that reason, I use the built-in setting for Lesson Ordering called “Ascending level then shuffled”. For me it’s the best of both worlds between the default “Ascending level then subject” and pure “Shuffled” (which also mixes items of different levels together), without requiring installing any scripts. (Of course, with scripts, you can achieve exactly the ordering in your OP, but even then you would still get ‘clumps’ I imagine – although much better clump-ordering…)

With Ascending-then-shuffled, it treats your new lessons (from the new level) like a deck of cards, with all Radicals, Kanji, and Vocab shuffled in together. It just deals you cards randomly from this deck. So, you’re just as likely to get a Vocab card as a Radical card during a Lessons session. You won’t end up with a huge clump of Vocabs at the end of the level – but at the same time, you won’t end up with a huge clump of Vocabs at the beginning of the level either!

(Well the only thing is that you will get all previous-level cards before current-level; but that just makes sense (to me, at least) anyway!)


I think I am missing a key point (I often do…). As you mention, vocab builds on kanji, which build on radicals. So shouldn’t you learn the radicals first (to facilitate learning the kanji) and then the kanji (to facilitate learning the vocab) and then the vocab last. i.e. build the basement, then first floor, then the second floor, not starting with building the second floor?

Perhaps you are referring only to left over vocabulary lessons from the previous level once you level up to a new level? For me that is how it is working already. When I level up, first in my lesson queue is the remaining vocab from the previous level. I only see radicals, then kanji, once I have completed lessons for all vocab which is previous to the current level. From my understanding of your question, that is what you are looking to achieve?

1 Like

I think a lesson reordering of vocab > kanji > radicals means you get the vocab lessons immediately for kanji you have just guru’d instead of waiting for them.

Similarly, once you guru a radical, it’s going to queue up those kanji using it pretty quick.


Thanks for the response, mgrice. I’m happy to clarify.

Yes, I agree with you that obviously, for any specific item you have to learn them in the order radical → kanji → vocabulary, it would not make sense to learn a vocabulary word before you know the corresponding kanji. Note that WaniKani actually generally guarantees that you won’t encounter a vocabulary word before you have done the kanji, because kanji and vocabulary items need to be unlocked first.

However, I am not talking about the very sensible unlocking hierarchy, I am talking about lesson ordering for items you have already unlocked.

There is a couple of different situations where applying the same unlocking logic (radical → kanji → vocabulary) to lesson ordering bothers me:

  1. A key point is that I do new items slowly. Imagine a pace of 5 a day. A level typically has 20-40 kanji overall and it takes maybe 3 days to advance a kanji to Guru (ballpark numbers, I might be a bit off). By day 4, I still have not done all the Kanji at my disposal, but the new vocabulary unlocks are already coming in. I would prefer to do the vocabulary before the last kanji, because it helps my brain to do related items together, it avoids piling my lesson box higher and higher (which lowers my motivation), and I am not tempted to do too many lessons at once because I just want to get through.

  2. As you mention, upon level up. Yes, when you level up, vocabulary of level N is prioritised over the radicals and kanji of level N+1. But have you ever looked at the level overview for your new level before doing any lessons? Immediately upon reaching a new level N+1, there is vocabulary unlocked in that level that is largely based on kanji from lower levels (primarily N). I want to do the N+1 vocabulary next because to me, it belongs to ‘old’ things that I have already started on, not the N+1 radical and kanji first.

  3. Level ups would be more rewarding (to me personally, I know others will see that differently!). As you say, when you level up, you have to do all the ‘old’ vocabulary first anyway. I don’t like that, I reach what should be celebratory milestone, levelling up, and my reward is usually 40+ lessons of unfinished vocabulary tasks that do not feel like I am in the next level and a dashboard full of new radicals and kanji that will taunt me for the next 2+ weeks because I am not going to be ready to do them. I would rather delay levelling up and have it mean something, that I am ready for more and advanced new items.

Edit: Now that I wrote it out, I realise that points 2 and 3 sort of go against each other. They still stand for me though: I want to do most of the 60+ vocabulary that are actually available in level N even before ‘reaching’ level N+1 before the level up happens, and then I want to do the more manageable amount of level N+1 vocabulary based on level N kanji, even though the kanji and radicals are unlocked. Maybe in an ideal scenario, I’d personally put the level up at the point where I have nothing but radical and kanji lessons left, but that is a much more substantial change to how WaniKani works. I’d already be happy as pie to choose which type of new item I’ll be tackling next!

Sorry for the long answer, hope that makes sense!