:durtle_hello: Let's Durtle the Scenic Route 🐢


I want to check in to say this has been a really helpful tip. I had been wary of reordering, but actually having tried shuffle by level i don’t think I will go back. My problem is that I find radicals both easy and boring. I tended to rattle through them quicker, but that distorted my reviews - leading in part to my making more mistakes (because I try to go too quick through a massive batch of radicals. Shuffling them in makes my lessons much more interesting.


I’ve never actually tried Ascending level then shuffled. I’ve always left it at the default (Ascending level then subject), so I may not fully understand the difference. After re-reading the knowledge base entry however, I’m less sure that changing the default lesson ordering is really wise.

My (possibly incorrect) understanding:

Immediately after leveling up (guruing a sufficient number of kanji), WK unlocks more lessons. The Lesson ordering setting affects the order in which those items are presented in the lessons queue and has no direct effect whatsoever on the review queue. Lessons only indirectly affect your review queue: items are moved to the Apprentice1 stage in the order you do your lessons.

Once you start doing lessons from the new (ascending) level, either setting will put items from prior levels at the front of your lesson queue, ahead of any newly unlocked items from the new level. If you still have unlocked vocabulary (or even kanji/radical) items from your prior level still in the lessons pile, they will be presented first.

The difference between subject and shuffled ordering is in how the newly unlocked items are appended to your lesson queue. Subject appends them in the order of radicals, then kanji, then vocabulary. Shuffled appends them in randomly shuffled order.

To my mind, the latter seems non-optimal. The default “subject” ordering for lessons just makes sense: kanji are built from radicals and vocabulary from kanji. It seems sensible to see lessons for radicals first, then kanji that use those radicals, then vocabulary that use those kanji.

Seeing a vocabulary lesson before I’ve seen the kanji within the vocabulary would seem very odd to me, for example.

Am I misunderstanding something?

Regardless, I’m pretty sure “the scenic route” is pretty much entirely gated by how quickly you do your lessons. As long as you do your reviews daily, learned items will progress to later stages automagically. If you introduce new items to the Apprentice1 stage slowly by doing your lessons slowly, you’re taking the scenic route.

[Edit: I think the word “ascending” is unnecessarily confusing. I think they mean the level you’ve just exited, not the one you’re newly entering. If my understanding is correct, the settings would be better named:

  • Prior level items, then new level items in r/k/v order (default)
  • Prior and new level items in random order
  • Prior level items, then new level items in random order.

But I can’t understand why anyone would choose either of the latter two options, which makes me suspect I’m misunderstanding something.]

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Yes, you are misunderstanding this very part.
It only talks of the items already in your lesson queue.
If you have not yet Gurued all kanji for that vocabulary, then it is still in locked items, not in lessons.
So no matter what order you use, be it one in settings or by script, you can never get a vocabulary that you haven’t already learned the kanji.

As for level, it is also highly improbable (though possible) to still have radicals and kanji left in lesson at level up. You must Guru all but a few to level, so it is unprobable to manage guru 1 on the last needed kanji without even starting the last 3 or so kanji. It is possible, but acing every review on those kanji yet not starting the last few is unlikely, So assume it is only vocabulary.

Personally I will stick to using script for control of my preferences, so I can get all vocabulary out before starting the other items. So when I do guru a kanji I am ready to take on those vocabs as soon after kanji guru as possible =)
I need more control than the two options give.

Forth option, use script to:
*Prior level vocabulary, then new level vocabulary, kanji, radicals .
If a kanji guru, the newly unlocked vocabulary will again be prioritized before kanji and radical =)

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Thank you for clarifying my understanding: WK won’t unlock vocab items within the new level until the underlying kanji also in that level is guru’d.

But are you talking about a script to reorder the lesson queue? Or to reorder the review queue?

The thing I like least is long unbroken blocks of nothing but new kanji in my lessons queue. I like it when new vocabulary for kanji I’ve already learned previously is interspersed (which I think is why you’re suggesting to use reordering scripts).

I’m actually in the midst of one of those stretches right now, actually. :slight_smile:

With the defaults, no reordering, and a comfortable pace of doing lessons, my experience has been:

Toward the end of a level, my lesson queue has nothing but vocabulary items within it. I drain that lesson queue slowly, keeping my Apprentice stage items at a comfortable level.

Eventually, (darn it!) I guru all the kanji in the current level and level up, unlocking more items (radicals and kanji).

I keep draining my lesson queue slowly, still seeing nice comfortable vocab items for a few more days. My happy purple zone.

Eventually, sigh, I start to see some blue radicals in my lessons queue. The blue harbinger of incoming pain. <laugh>

Next, I start to see pink kanji. Kanji are twice as hard to memorize as radicals because they have both meaning and (one) reading. They are harder than vocabulary because they are completely unfamiliar.

I personally do either 5 or zero lessons per day during this period of pink pain. From experience, I find it most comfortable to keep no more than 5-10 kanji in stages 1 & 2 (ignoring radicals and kanji). I also try to allow no more than ~100 items (r, k, or v) in any apprentice stage. I only do reviews once per day.

Eventually, I’ll guru a few of the kanji within the level, unlocking more vocabulary items that are appended to my lesson queue.

I think THIS is the point where your Prior level vocabulary, then new level vocabulary, kanji, radicals reordering might be most attractive (assuming we are discussing the lesson queue).

One thing that still confuses me is that I’ve noticed some levels seem to only unlock only a portion of the kanji immediately after leveling up. Others appear to unlock them all.

My current level seems to have unlocked and placed all 34 of the kanji at once into my lesson queue, even after only guru’ing three or four. In other words, I’ve definitely experienced interspersed vocabulary before, but not on this level for reasons I don’t understand.


As @DurtleHeaven points out below, my “pink pain” block on this level is particularly pronounced because I didn’t miss a single review for any of my radicals. I guru’d all the radicals quite quickly, which unlocked all the kanji that were gated behind them. This had the effect of presenting a long, nearly unbroken string of 34 kanji in a row to me. I need to ponder this (I might want to intentionally miss some radical reviews on occasion!).

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Yes, in lessons. I like to focus my energy on few items at the time, thus once I Guru a kanji I want to focus on the vocabs from it right away (or next morning)
If few I also do some kanji, but only do 5-10 new lessons a day most of the time. (and reviews as often as they come in if I can)
I don’t dislike the pre-sets, but prefer a different take so have to use script to get it. But I don’t think the others are bad, and understand how others might prefer them for various reasons. We are all different =)

When I do it this way, doing a few kanji most days, then the vocab they unlock, I usually get a got mix of the newly unlocked vocab + new kanji, so in practice I too get away from big blocks of same kind at my approach. And at level up I don’t get too many vocabulary, since I only just gurued the last few kanji needed (+ the “ready at level up vocabulary” that are not locked behind kanji, just spread cause they want you to learn them in a set order)

At that point you are unlikely to have prior level left, so it’s more about mix or not mix at that point =)
The items you unlocked are all current level, so are the kanji and radicals 99.9% of the time. So when you start Guru kanji, if you didn’t level up, then level ordering has little effect as all are your current level.
That option is only in effect at the start of the level.

Not sure what you mean by last part.
At level up about half of the kanji should be available, the rest is locked behind radicals. Any given kanji will go to lesson queue once all radicals it uses has been gurued (they completely ignore what kanji or vocab has been gurued)
There are exceptions, levels with so few or even none radicals, so all kanji are there at start. I thought they were mostly at 40-60, but could be a level or two before that also.

Sheesh! That’s so obvious now that you point it out! <laugh>

The difference on this level for me was that all but one of the radicals were from kanji I already knew quite well, so I guru’d all the radicals right away. I didn’t even notice that it was the radicals that were gating the release of the remaining kanji in prior levels.

Thanks for that!

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Yeah, I think a lot of us here use the lesson filter script for reordering our lessons, and many of us use it for this exact reason.

I also was against reordering lessons when I started out, but then I realized that I could use the script to spread out the kanji reviews so that they were less difficult for me. So I started using the lesson filter script so that I could learn 3-4 kanji a day alongside 9-10 vocab lessons. This means I only have to learn a few kanji a day, and I can give each of them a little more focus than if I was trying to learn them in huge clumps of 10. This also gives me time to practice learning how to write each kanji I learn by hand.

The other benefit is it means I don’t have to chew through a huge backlog of vocab lessons once I level up (which was a problem when I was doing just 10 lessons a day, following WK’s ordering), because instead of having a whole bunch of kanji reach guru around the same time, usually I just have 3-4 reach guru each day and bring in a small amount of new vocab lessons instead of dozens and dozens. I can get around to doing a smaller batch of lessons in a much more timely manner than if I was trying to wade through a batch of 70!

This allows me to do the associated vocab lessons a lot sooner after I guru the kanji, which is helpful for retention. I’m not quite as precise about that timing as @DurtleHeaven is, but it’s an improvement over what I was doing when I first started WK for sure.

I think if you are dreading your kanji lessons this much, it might benefit you to try spacing them out a little with this script? The problems with lesson reordering come from people using scripts to skip vocab lessons and level up artificially soon, not using them to deliberately delay the kanji lessons, haha, so you should be completely fine in that regard, if you’re worried about accidentally creating a lesson backlog.

The trick to keeping things even is to aim for roughly 1:3 ratio of kanji to vocab (since there are a little over 2,000 kanji and currently about 6,400 vocab), though of course you’ll run out of kanji at the end of the level and just have vocab for a few days until you guru the last kanji necessary for leveling up. I treat those days as a nice reward for getting through the level :blush:

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My objections to reordering scripts were almost entirely due to a major misunderstanding on my part. I thought people were re-ordering items in their daily review queue (review items that were due) not in their lesson queue (recently unlocked but still unseen items).

I’ve far less concern about reordering items in the lessons queue, but I still don’t feel the need myself.

I may have overstated how much I dislike seeing pink. :slight_smile:

Anything worthwhile usually takes at least a little effort, and the week or so of somewhat more intense reviews immediately after leveling up is an example of that for me. I definitely prefer the end of a level where it’s almost entirely vocabulary, but I kind of like the cycle of early-level “vegetables” followed by later-level “dessert” (where the week or three on a level is the “meal”).

Lessons are my throttle. While I generally try to keep around 100 items in my Apprentice bucket, I do many more lessons each day when I’m seeing mostly vocabulary late in a level.

When I’m early in a level and seeing mostly kanji, I’ll do 5 lessons/day at most and often none at all. Sometimes I’ll let the total number of apprentice items drop down to even 60 or so when I’m seeing nothing but kanji. Not fun, but it’s not too stressful. (I push the veggies around on my plate for a bit. :slight_smile: )

Later in a level when it’s all vocabulary, I might do twenty or thirty lessons on a given day depending on how easy I found my reviews+lessons for the day (I always do my reviews first).

This has proven to be a very comfortable and regular pace for me, with a fairly constant workload:

Going at 2-3 weeks/level like this is my comfort zone. Perhaps not quite as scenic a route as some are taking, but it’s definitely not any sort of speed-running.


This is the spot for me! I’m on level six, taking about 10 days for each level. Thrilled to get my first enlightened levels the other day. ::happy dance::


My average is 15 days a level, so I’m going about the same pace, but I have a little fewer reviews daily, and have a more even workload. At least, it started to even out after level 4, which is when I actually got serious about using WK and making it a daily habit.

Graphs for context:


My apprentice count is typically in the 50’s-70’s range, so I don’t even get as high as 100, haha. I value consistency pretty highly, so I’m very unwavering about the amount of lessons I do each day, no matter what kind of items they are.

I’m glad you’ve found a system that works for you. Personally, I’ve been so much happier doing WK daily after I switched to reordering my lessons. It gives me a real tangible sense of progress to open the website every day and know that I’m about to learn three new kanji that day. I think small daily progress is more motivating to me than watching the level number go up.



That’s precisely why I wrote that script: that golden bar creeping slowly to the right is now the first thing that greets me when I start my daily review.


To be fair, some people do genuinely abuse reorder scripts and only do kanji until the very end, which I think might end in a learning disaster unless said people are using other resources for practicing readings.

I personally don’t use any scripts. When it comes to digital stuff I like things “vanilla” or very heavily modded and it so happens WaniKani is for me on the vanilla side ;).

However, I do try to spread my lessons in a way that I don’t get overwhelmed with new kanji and I think I already got a fairly good feel when that happens :slight_smile: .

Definitely amen to that! Doing vocab is an absolute pleasure!

Yup, I have a similar approach! I usually do 5-10 new kanji, unless my Apprentice count is too high (over 90) or it’s clear I can’t cope with more kanji for the time being. Sometimes I do 2 batches of 5 kanji lessons if 10 is too much in one go and around 1 hour after finishing the batch in WaniKani I review the kanji manually. Funny enough, neither of this affects leveling speed significantly.


Agreed. The only thing that affects leveling speed is how quickly you can answer items correctly four times in a row (with exponentially more time elapsing between answers). The SRS timings are such that items in Apprentice 1 or 2 don’t affect the overall leveling time much — you can review the items again quite quickly whether you answer them correctly or not.

That’s why I think it’s not cheating to review A1 and A2 items “out-of-band”. The whole idea is to get them into your head by hook or by crook so you can start the SRS process.


I’m also very consistent and steady with mu WK routine, doing 10 lessons a day, which some days of maybe 12 or 15 at most, usually when I do radicals.

I use the reorder script to do the unlocked vocab from the new level that is available on the level up and mix them with the radicals and kanji from that level, so when I finish my first batch of kanji lessons I can get 0/0 before unlocking the second set of radicals. So, when I schedule my lessons to achieve that, in my current level I’ve done a couple of days of new level vocab before starting radicals and kanji.

That path is very comfortable for me, as I usually have 40-60 apprentice items and I level up at around 16 days.


I reorganized the Durtle Squad list so that it’s in order of speed. That way people can see who else is going at a similar pace as each other. Hope that was ok. I imagine it like we’re walking down a path in a park in little clusters together.


Sure! That looks nice!

Also reminds me I should check my current avarage, I have adjusted my speed lately… :caught_durtling:

Since I varied so much in the first few levels, I only included the last 5 (Ok, so I WAS supposed to include level 5, but, 42, the best answer :durtle_love: With level 5 included it is 38, so close enough anyway :durtle_stabby: )


Hit level 17 after spending thirteen days on 16! This one looks like a pretty big one in terms of the amount of vocab I have to look forward to, so I think I’ll be here for a solid two weeks, haha!


Am I the only person who dreads the vocabulary and loves the kanji?

I rejoice when I get to a vocabulary word I already “know,”-- something I’ve encountered while reading. But the rest feels overwhelming. Especially synonyms, or vocabulary where the meaning is disconnected from the kanji.

New kanji is a joy! It makes re-reading easier because I no longer have to draw or look up radicals-- I can use the onyomi to guess the pronunciation, and look up words I see in context sooooo much easier.

I’m durtling extra slowly, it seems (how do y’all get those cool graphs?). I take at least one day off every week, on purpose, and generally have about one day per week where I simply get distracted by whatever I’m doing and miss my reviews. Also, I am not super consistent about how many lessons I do per day-- anywhere from 0 to 25.

But, I love Wani Kani. I read so much more Japanese now, after only about 2 years of using it, and I’ve tried many other times practicing kanji in other ways without success. So, I guess that’s just how I durtle.


Ooh, I’m going to try this. I so dread the giant pile of vocabulary at the end.

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