Ouch. This is the first time I’ve gotten an F through the first series of reviews simply because of the sheer volume of new material. I had 91 items waiting in my queue after leveling up this morning and I’m assuming it is going to just get worse.
I’m going to be honest, my memory isn’t the best. I struggle with simple memory matching games that have more than 20 cards on the field. My brain got so scrambled that I couldn’t even stick the kanji meaning and reading in my head to answer it the next time it came up if I was mashing through the answers I’d already gotten wrong to get the items our of my review queue.
The only ways I’ve been able to struggle through Wani Kani so far has been:
A) It appeared in GENKI I or II which I studied in college
B) I’ve been able to make a solid mnemonic device for my stupid brain to trigger the memory
My question to y’all is, how do you pace yourselves when you see a giant list of new material at the initial level-up? Do you power through it all and hope for the best, only do half, or what? I know there’s no single answer for this, but getting some other methods might help me sort out my own mind. I genuinely gave myself a headache from the last review session debacle.
It’s perfectly okay to pace yourself with new lessons when you level up, and in fact if you don’t, you may end up with a very heavy workload as you continue leveling. Doing all the lessons at once would personally kill me, because that’s too much new information to take in during one sitting and would result in lower accuracy in the upcoming reviews. I tend to do anywhere from 5-20 lessons per day, though most often averaging around 10. You can still maintain a pretty good leveling pace with that number while still not drowning yourself in lessons and reviews (since that many lessons at once = that many reviews at once).
In a more serious tone, read my guide that was linked above. I think it won’t give you straightforward answers, but it will help you have a clearer idea of WK and also help you make better questions. I feel like you’re feeling a little bit lost, but there’s nothing to worry about <3
First I use the SRS Grid Script, which splits the apprentice items like 1/2/3/4.
So for all lesson I just learn new items (either 5 vocab, 5 radical or 3 kanji) if stage 1 has less items than stage 2. Max. 3 times a day.
If I enter a new level, before learning new radicals and kanjis, I start with the vocabs, since those are based on more or less solid ground (Guru Radicals and Kanji). If there aren’t any left I start with the kanji for this level and apply the rule above. Everytime there are enough vocabs “unlocked” I do those before continuing with the rest.
It may be the long road, but for me its the most solid road.
Edit: The lower the level the higher the priority. For both lessons and reviews.
It depends. For things which I’ve seen before or don’t seem that difficult I’ll just blast through them. Sometimes though I’ll go through stuff and be like, “That’s gonna be a bit tricky to remember… I’m going to pump the brakes a bit and think about that for a minute.” Might look back on it a few times and try to think of a mnemonic of my own.
But with that said, getting stuff wrong isn’t bad. That honestly is the biggest thing IMO - not to stress over it. Easier said than done, but relaxing is important. And, when you do miss something, not just blasting past it in frustration. Take a moment and look it over, think about it, make the most of it as a learning opportunity.
Early days I did no more than 10 new kanji a day and 15 vocabulary, and only powered through the radicals. Now I can do more but even so I might only do 15 kanji; know your limit. Anytime you do a bulk set of lessons, you’re setting yourself up for a massive spike in reviews. This works for some people, it definitely did not work for me. My average level up used to be around 20 days; now it takes about 10 which is fine for me, not fast enough for some people, but I’m not drowning in work and my accuracy is high because I can manage the load.
It all depends on what you’re comfortable with; if you’re uncomfortable with your current load then you already know what to do. It’s not a race and demotivation/burning out will slow you down way more than taking a bit longer to get through the content. 2c.
EDIT: getting stuff wrong is also not the end of the world, I agree. If you get something wrong go over the mnemonic; something isn’t sticking and needs to be reinforced. You could save time on this by being careful in the lesson phase, though I’ve read a lot of people like to blast through the lessons and do a sort of “trial by fire” in the first couple of sets of reviews. For me, getting a lot of stuff wrong is demotivating so I do the lessons painstakingly and write all the new items down which is probably a little crazy; but I have not gotten many items wrong, ever. But… the slow progress means it will be longer before I can read native material without a dictionary which makes me reticent to do so. There are a lot of arguments for and against, and ultimately it comes down to what you can do comfortably and consistently because the only thing that ensures you’ll stagnate is if you get jack of the work you’re doing, and quit.
Bruh that’s kind of the point of WaniKani lol. When I’m learning new kanji it’s not at all uncommon for me to spend a few minutes per kanji creating a mnemonic that is memorable and unique. Honestly more often than not I either modify the provided mnemonic or toss it out completely and create my own based on the radicals I’ve learned. I’d much rather spend a little time making a mnemonic and cementing the kanji in my brain than drilling it over and over again through rote memorization. That’s exactly what WaniKani was created to avoid having to do. Shock your brain with your stories. Make yourself cry or laugh. Use creative language. Whatever works to burn the kanji into your brain.
i do all radicals on day 1, then a bunch of kanji, some vocab to make me happy.
lvl 7 might still have lots of radicals, lvl 28 only has 5, so i did those plus 5 kanji, 10 items.
woke up, did my first review, went to work.
lunch break. no reviews ready yet, but kanji during the day are a bad idea, so i learned 20 vocab.
reviews will come up at 5pm (it’s 2pm now), i’ll do those 5 rads/kanji on the toilet. ninja review.
6pm is when the vocab is ready, but i work till 7 - it’s fine, can do those 18 words (i learned 20 tho, 2 went MIA) an hour late, that’s fine (that’s never fine for kanji!).
gonna do 10 more kanji in the train home, then that review before bed, thee again when i get up.
that’s what a day looks like for me.
when the radicals are done, i hope to have all first-wave kanji done, because i’ll then do all remaining kanji in one go and finish whatever vocab might come up a day later.
Keep going and get used to the pain. You will have better levels. You will also have worse ones. Don’t mind the mistakes and take them as learning opportunities. Pace you lessons if your reviews get out of control. I was busy over the weekend so I didn’t do any WK and came back to 450 reviews. Oops.
If you feel it’s to much, do a couple days just reviews to get your Items to a higher level and as such less per day.
I also learn only around 10-15 new Items a day, so that my reviews don’t just up to quickly. Don’t worry about not getting all lessons to zero in one day, especially when just jumping up a level or you just Guru’d a bunch of Radicals.
Lastly, learning Japanese and especially Kanji is not about who can do it the fastest, but finding your own pace. If you rush to much but it doesn’t stick, you get frustrated to fast and just feel like quitting. So take it slow at the pace that you still feel challenged but not to fast just to be fast
I prioritise reviews and do them asap every day (usually works out about three times a day).
There’s no way I would be able to do all of the lessons at level up, I simply wouldn’t be able to retain that amount of information at once. I just chip away at them each day, maybe doing between 10 - 20 lessons if I can. It will depend on how my reviews are going and how easy the lessons are (i.e. if I am learning any items that I am already familiar with that I’ve learned elsewhere).
The learning how to handle lots of new lessons on level up is something I have been trying to work out the last few level ups. Recently I’ve been trying to stagger the previous levels vocab learning throughout the level so I’m not hit with a massive amount to learn before I can learn the radicals of the new level. However, I still try to blast through those, and blast through the radicals, and then take the kanji slowly. I try to just learn things when I feel like it but also try to keep my apprentice count around 100. If it’s above that I stop lessons for a bit, and if it’s below, it’s a sign that I should get a move on and stop being lazy and do some of the lessons.
Memory is a skill that you practice. The more you practice it, the more attention your brain will pay to it. The more you learn, the easier learning becomes. Even though, neurologically speaking, the brain isn’t as fluid for us adults as it is for toddlers/young children, adult brains still have a remarkable capacity for learning and skill acquisition.
There’s been days when I’ve gotten 50% on reviews I only did four hours before, and boy did that make me feel stupid. In the end, WK isn’t a game of memory, but as @jprspereira says again and again (broken record by this point eh bud? XD), it’s a game of routine, pacing, and consistency. Most of the people who are level 60 or even 45+ aren’t geniuses, they’re just consistent in their studies for the most part.
Although JP’s guide may seem like it’s geared toward speed demons on the first read, the underlying techniques are solid for any speed. Because it’s not the speed that matters, it’s about making a routine that works for you, at a pace you can handle - one where you can show up every day to do the work.
Even trying something as simple as 5 lessons a day and no more can have a positive effect if you find that pace works for you. It makes it a lot easier to disregard +110 lessons if you know that you’re only showing up to do 5 or 10 lessons and all of your reviews for that day.