(Level 5) I think I'm doing it wrong


I just hit level 5 this morning! I am really liking wanikani so far but suddenly (well maybe not suddenly) around the last 30% of level 4 up until now i just feel…overwhelmed. My recall for levels 1-4.5 or so was relatively good, but now with the vocab amd multiple readings feels like I’m forgetting 2 things for every one i learn. I haven’t been able to get mnemonics to click for me, which i think is part of my problem. Maybe I’m spreading myself too thin?

My current japanese study is basically only srs.

KaniWani, WaniKani, anki Tango N5 (using only the furigana/audio bc i think learning additional kanji outside of wanikani will confuse my brain lol), and Bunpro. Everyday at 8:00AM, 12:00PM, and 8:00PM

What are some of the things that might help? Start copying example sentences? Review more often? Drop other apps?

Thank you all so much for all the advice. After reading what everyone said I think I’ve reached a new study plan. I will continue with Wanikani and Bunpro, spending a little more time on wanikanis lessons, and drop anki/kaniwani until later in exchange for reading materials.

Edit 2: I’ve discovered wkstats and learned I’m actually doing fine. I guess maybe its normal to feel like your doing awful, when from an outside perspective things are OK. Thank everyone again fornthe awesome support and advice!


Keep going.


I think it’s a bit early to say if you’re doing something wrong or not.

You are, of course, free to experiment however you want with your studies. If you worry that you’re spreading yourself too thin, then simply try slowing down on other stuff for a bit. Maybe that was the issue, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe trying to make sentences of your own with the vocabulary you learn will end up reinforcing it. Maybe you’ll get better at remembering kanji if you learn how to write it by hand.
There’s no way to know until you try, so just try out various things and see what works for you.

I think it’s pretty likely that you’re just having a rough patch, though, especially since you’re probably just now hitting a new SRS level for the first time. That’s pretty common, and it’s really not anything to worry about, unless you truly don’t feel like you remember anything at all.


One thing to consider – imo at least – it’s not really bad when you forget things on WK, and you inevitably will, especially the further you go. It’s just part of the memorization process. It’s good because it calls your attention to what you don’t know and gives you an opportunity to review/reinforce it. And I do also think there are ebbs and flos where sometimes you feel like you’re crushing it and other times when you spell 今日 like いまにち or something and feel like a dum dum.


The number of times I get something wrong and see that red box and immediately know what the answer actually is before clicking the ‘Item Info’ button. :melting_face:


Maybe KaniWani can be dropped for now, and focus on remembering WaniKani / basic vocab / grammar, for now. The heck, even WaniKani might be dropped, because it’s not always so basic at this stage (it has mixed difficulties).

I have just reached level 4 (so might not [yet] be as stressful as you are) - However, from reading of a bunch of Study Log; I noticed that I tend to speed things up when it comes to “level-up” which apparently not a good way.
There is one saying (recently read it at Bunpro) “Japanese Grammar is a marathon not a sprint” – which I believe that it apply here while learning Kanji (Wanikani).
At first, I was so eager to catch-up …and punching myself so it will be worthed when I subscribe. In the end, I realise that levelling myself-up with scars here and there won’t give much reward other than the “blue circle with number” on my profile avatar --which mean nothing if I can’t even put my effort into practice.
So … (From my point of view) reading/learning from other’s journey (through their Study Log will give such an insight of their successful journey ( at least that works for me)
Keep learning …


3 dedicated sessions a day should be more than enough for studying.

I’d say perhaps drop some other stuff for now and really get a strong habit going with whatever you feel is most important.

SRS burnout is real, be careful.

I’ve only just recently started using Anki, and I downloaded the Tango N5 deck maybe a week ago. I’ve found it to be much easier with a little more kanji under my belt than it might have been a few levels ago, but even then, I’m finding it to have a lot of kanji that I haven’t yet seen in WK but will show up in the next ten or so levels, so I’m considering suspending that for now just to get more 言葉 under my belt, but would appreciate others’ opinions.

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some people manage that. I personally remember better with SRS alongside context and seeing words in different contexts. So consider reading through a grammar book or getting some graded readers (or searching on here for a link to the tadoku ones that are legitimately free to see if it helps first).

Also, you didn’t say how fast you’re going, or how long you’re spending on lessons. Maybe take fewer lessons per day and review lessons better and that will sort you out.

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Congratulations! Please pat yourself on the back - the first levels are HARD - you made it this far! Everyone learns differently, and you seem to have a good system going - I usually couldn’t do any sessions through the day, so I’d end up with a 100+ reviews in one go in the evening, which was not doing me any favours. I sympathise, because I had so many (small) temper tantrums because I felt I wasn’t making any progress and couldn’t remember anything, it was so frustrating. Try and remember what it was like when you started - it was all gibberish, but now you do recognise words, even if you can spell it one day and totally not recognise it the next. You’ll find it does go in your brain - it’s there, it just gets lost sometimes. I do use some other apps to help learn, although at the moment WK is the main one - it was encouraging when I saw a word in a different app and recognised it, or saw it in WK and thought Ha! I know that one. I’m not sure what other apps you’re using, but there are a few that are quite fun - usually you can get them free for a few levels to see if you like them. They’re still srs but give your brain some variety and amusement, which helps. I got a huge thrill when I actually understood a sentence - I think it was ‘my name is Akane’. I know, feel free to laugh :). Not gonna lie, the next few levels are a bit tough, but when you suddenly realise you’re recognising more kanji, a bit more often, you’ll get such a boost. Good luck, you’ll get there

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When I get overwhelm. I just slow done my lessons. I only do 5 a day if I want to go really slow. I find that picking a set number of lessons a day keeps me calm and also moving forward.

I would say put wanikani aside and study some grammar on a good textbook (genki or what you prefer) and come back after you finish at least the first volume. No point in learning kanji readings in a vacuum. You’ll probably forget most of them before being able to use them if you don’t know any grammar.


Well in the big picture, what @Walter-it said, but just speaking of the SRS’s:

You’re supposed to fail some. That’s how it works. That’s part of the reason the first interval is so short - so you find out pretty quick which ones are not going to be “easy” ones. Some of them are going to be “look at once, remember forever”. No sense wasting a bunch of study time on that. Some are going to be stubborn ones and take a bunch of repetition. The nice thing about an SRS system is you don’t guess which is which. It tells you by failing a review. That’s normal.

I don’t really even study the mnemonics on the first look. I read/scan them quickly. If I start failing the item, then I read and try to visualize the mnemonic.

One thing I’d suggest is just to let “failing reviews” and the associated repetition do the work for you BUT consider slowing down or steadying out the lessons until your average pass rate is 80-90%. Just because you unlock 100+ lessons in one day doesn’t mean you have to do them all on the first day. Your accuracy will be higher if you get into a steady rhythm that’s manageable.


Thag sounds like good advice. I think I’ll drop Anki for now. The way im doing it is really only good for listening/speaking.

Doing between 5-20 a day and staying close to 100-120 apprentice items at a time. It just depends on the lessons. 花見 月見 見る and 見せる all showed up close to each other and all have easy reading for example so i did more that day.


I agree with just sticking to WK and Bunpro then slow down your pace. That should help a lot.

If you are looking for resources outside of those then Crystal Hunters, MaruMori.io, Game Gengo, and keep an eye out of the video games in development Nihongo Quest N5, Shujinkou, and Koe. :heart:

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learning isn’t a linear progression, so you’re going to have setbacks along the way. hell, I still have items from level 5 that I haven’t burned bc I’m liable to misremember. it’s real easy to think every session will be essential to your learning, but it’s the compounding of months of effort. being process-oriented will benefit your learning and enjoyment of learning more than a results-oriented approach


I would drop anki and kaniwani. One SRS is plenty to start with I wouldnt even consider another SRS until you have 1000 burns on WK. That way you’ll know what it takes to maintain the madness that is SRS.

Take lesson breaks as needed. I’ve gone a whole month without adding a single new lesson. Keep doing your reviews and good luck!

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