Level up in less than a week?

Yeah, I see. The point is, even by waking up early in the morning and studying as soon as got back from the office, some “noise” and some “overhead” adds up :\

6 days, 20 hours

4 hours of margin in an entire week doesn’t feel really significant :\

Although I’m happy that this area was already addressed in the past switching from 7 days and 20 hours to the current state.

Well, every time your reviews appear you get an hour to review them without “losing” that hour. The clock always rolls back to the beginning of the hour on a completed review. So it’s a little more than 4 hours leeway, just… in specific spots in the week.

I’m not sure what the rationale was for changing the old timings, but I can tell you that it meant changing the Kanji items’ SRS interval; they used to require an additional day, which is the reason why it changed 24 hours to share the same SRS schedule as the radicals.

If you time it correctly it should be possible to achieve a good schedule, but the margin is quite small, and you have to be able to reserve certain time slots on certain days. The intervals are 4h, 8h, 1d, 2d, …, so you will have a time shift by half a day in the middle.

For example, Sunday 8:00, 12:00, 20:00, Monday 20:00, Wednesday 20:00 (unlocks), midnight reviews!, Thursday 8:00, Friday 8:00, Sunday 8:00 again.


Why? 7 days exactly is perfect. You end up leveling up always at the same time of the week. Ex: 10am Saturday + 7 days = 10am Saturday.

The 2nd half of Kanji are the only lessons you’ll have to do at the end of the day (Ex: Saturday morning + 3d12h = Tuesday at end of the day).

Here’s a post I wrote a few days ago about using WK effectively. Not sure if it helps :slight_smile:

Scripts that I use (and recommend):

  • WaniKani Ultimate Timeline this one shows you a graph of when you have reviews. Knowing when you have reviews at the beginning of the day vs 1h before is much more organized, saves you time and avoids unecessary worries. This means more energy to focus on important stuff :slight_smile:
  • Wanikani Override: This one allows you ignore wrong answers. Use it exclusively for when you make typos or for when WK lacks your synonym. Getting a Kanji wrong because of a typo and postponing your leveling up because of it can be quite annoying. This script solves it.
  • WaniKani Pitch Info: This one shows you a small graph about the pronunciation of every vocab on WK. Not sure what your native language is, but the further your native language pronunciation is from Japanese, the more you’ll need this. Getting used to Japanese tones is important in my opinion and it definitely helps with memorization :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Real Numbers: This one shows you the actual number of lessons/reviews that you have (and not just the 42+). Instead of having to check the actual number, you’ll have it right there. This helps you organize your work because you can better make the distribution of your reviews inside your head instead of just worrying about contantly checking the real numbers. WK should be a stress-free tool.
  • Wanikani Reorder Ultimate 2: This allows you to reorder what you see first on your lessons and reviews. I mostly use this for my lessons. Why? If you think about WK and its leveling’s system, you’ll quickly understand that radicals and kanji have priority over vocabulary, since the later doesn’t influence how fast you level up. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to do the vocabulary lessons in time. However, instead of having to deal with tons of vocab before getting the radicals, you can choose to get them right away :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Show Specific SRS Level: This one is very simple. Instead of getting “Apprentice”/“Guru” every time you get an item right during reviews, you get the specific level that it leveled up. For example, “Guru 2” and “Apprentice 3”.
  • WaniKani SRS Level Progress: This allows you to have access to the number of items in each subdivision of both the Apprentice and the Guru categories. For example, you’ll get “10/0/37/63” instead of just “110” items on Apprentice. [Explanation: 10 in App 1, 0 in App 2, 37 in App 3 and 63 in App 4]
  • WaniKani Dashboard Progress Plus: This one allows you to see the progress of your current level’s items. Are they Apprentice 2 or are they 3 already? You’ll know in 1 sec.
  • Wanikani Self-Study Quiz Edition: I find Kanji to be the hardest to learn. If I get to a point where I feel the need to review my current level’s kanji, I’ll use this script. The better to learn the Kanji, the easiest the vocab will be.

In terms of learning how to use WaniKani:

First, you need to define how many days you want to spend in each level. How do I do it? I make sure to know how long it will take me to do all the vocab of that specific level. I don’t care about leveling up faster, just so that I’ll end up leaving vocabulary unlocked from the previous level to do. If you want to level up every 8 days, you need to make sure you can do not only the lessons of radicals and kanji but also those of vocabulary successfully. WK has on average around 120 vocab per level (higher levels have less). This means that if you want to level up every 8 days: 120/8=15 vocab lessons that must be done every day. Leveling up every 10 days means you do 12 lessons of vocab every single day. 7 days/level and you’ll do 17 vocab lessons. Choose a number that works for you. Doing WK the fastest way is about learning efficiency, not about how fast your level increases :slight_smile:

If you intend to level up as fast and as effectively as you possibly can, there’s 4 things to worry about related to items:

  • Doing the radicals as soon as you level up. The sooner you guru the radicals, the sooner the 2nd half of Kanji will appear.
  • Doing the 1st half of Kanji in the days between the unlock of radicals and the unlock of the 2nd half of Kanji. This establishes that most if not all of your 1st half of Kanji will be already Guru before you leveling up.
  • Doing the 2nd half of Kanji as soon as you guru the radicals.
  • Doing the vocabulary available during the time you spend on that level (use the “total vocab/number of days” formula to know how many words you should learn per day to achieve this).

Now, let’s talk about reviews. I assume you already know the subdivisions of the Apprentice category, right?

Apprentice 1 => Guru 1 (3d10h, considering 4 correct answers in a row)

Apprentice 1 (lesson)
Apprentice 2 (+4h)
Apprentice 3 (+8h)
Apprentice 4 (+23h => consider this as 24h or 2x12h)
Guru 1 (+47h => consider this as 48h or 4x12h)

This helps you answer the question: How frequently should I do the reviews?

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that WK is divided by periods of 12h. Apprentice 1 (4h) + Apprentice 2 (8h) = 12h. This means that you need 12h after the lesson to put an item in the Apprentice 3. After that, it takes +2x12h for Apprentice 4 and +4x12h for Guru. Why should you care? It’s simple. This allows you to build your own schedule for WK.

For example, imagine that you do a lesson at 9am. This means that you’ll get the 1st review at 1pm (+4h) and the 2nd review at 9pm (+8h, considering you got it right both times). Did you notice the pattern? That’s right, 9 am and 9pm. It’s the WK’s pattern working. Now, think about the time it will take for the next Apprentice levels. That’s right, Apprentice 4 at 9pm of the following day and Guru 1 two days later also at 9pm. See the magic happening?

In order to use WK to its full potential, it’s better to do the Apprentice reviews using the intervals of WK. Why? If you read the FAQ/Guide, you’ll see that WK shows you an item right before you forget it. By being loyal to their intervals, you’ll be able to be more successful in your reviews. Does this give you extra work? Not at all. Just notice the pattern again.

For an item which lesson was done at 9am, you’ll need to:

  • review it at 1pm.
  • review it at 9pm.

You basically only need to use WK three times per day. Forget about trying to be here every single waking hour. You don’t need to. Waking up at the middle of the night is also completely nonsense. Your sleep is way more important than WK and the cool thing is that you can do both right.

Now, I believe you already noticed that choosing the time you do the lesson also determines your schedule for the rest of your day. I’ll tell you more, it determines your schedule for the rest of your WK usage. Use this to your advantage.

Imagine that you know that tomorrow you’ll be able to use WK at 8am and 8pm (12h interval). Then, 8am is the right time for the lessons. If you do the lessons at 2pm, it means that the 2nd review will only be available at 2am. Little bit late, don’t you think? By creating your own schedule for the day, you allow yourself to use WK in a healthy way. No need to wake up at the middle of night, no need for more guesses. You’re fully in control.


  • Define a number of days per level that doesn’t interfere with your learning of radicals, kanji and vocab.
  • Taking point 1 into consideration, think about the 4 rules related to items that I mentioned above.
  • Then, define a 12h schedule (0h, +4h, +8h) based on your routine that allows you to use WK.
  • Protect your learning: while doing the lessons, make sure to only focus on it. No TV, no people talking to you. Those 5 to 10 minutes should only be yours to use. The better your lessons go, the better your reviews will too.
  • Sleep well, eat healthy and exercise.

Enjoy your journey of learning Japanese :slight_smile:


Because it’s really difficult to be around at the exact moment a review pops out because of work (at least in my case) so you end adding some gaps between your reviews (in my case those gaps adds up to one day and a half, my current average is 8 days and a 10 hours).

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, I’m not excluding it, but so far I’ve been waking up earlier before going to the office, studying afterwards as soon as I’m home and during random downtimes while working. Still I didn’t achieve the 7 days cycle :frowning:

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There shouldn’t be much mystery. Only about 10 or 12 items determine how fast you level up on any given level, so it shouldn’t be hard to keep track of them.

Yea, to echo Leebo, more specifically, the first set of radicals and the subsequent kanji that get unlocked from them are the items you really want to time well. I worked full time and managed to stay at around a 7 day consistent level (recently wobbled around 7.5 going to Japan and it’s settling back down). I just took a couple well timed bathroom breaks. As was said, you need to be a little strict and mindful of the timings of items, but you can manageably get into the swing of things even on a full schedule (might be draining, though, if you have to squeeze what little free time you have into WK if you’re not enjoying it).

This is my graph which isn’t even the fastest that some people do it. But it’s about the fastest you can do without waking up early just for WK or something like that - I wasn’t quite that stringent. And as you can see, I wasn’t perfect, it took some time to get a nice schedule but then life ruffled it up a bit, but now getting back on track.

You have to:

  • Find around 10 minutes/day in the mornings to do the lessons, preferably before work.
  • Find around 10 minutes/day for reviews, 4h after your lessons.
  • Find around 10 minutes/day for reviews, 12h after your lessons (you already left work here I guess).

Where’s the part you’re having problems with? :slightly_smiling_face:

Honestly? Don’t know. The only thing that comes to my mind is my working hours are not necessarily “fixed” in stone and goes back and fort pretty often, especially when I end on call (the sad life of a developer…)

I’ll try following your guys’ advice and suggestions, and let you know :slight_smile:

The schedule doesn’t need to be the same every single day. For example, you might want to start with the lessons at 10am today, but tommorrow you know it’ll be better to start with them at 8am instead. Both work. You just need to add 12h to it and see if you’ll also be available for the 2nd reviews.

Lessons at 10am => 2nd reviews at 10pm
Lessons at 2pm => 2nd reviews at 2am.

In case you’re curious about my leveling up, I started doing most of the things previously mentioned around lvl 8.

You can minimize the pain of level-up, making it easier to level up on any day of the week:

From a previous post:

[Edited to account for SRS interval changes]

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When using the lesson reordering script, first do only as many lessons you need to release all the radicals. Then wait at least an hour (or however many hours margin you need). Then do all the kanji lessons (do only as many vocabs as you have to… i have my lesson batch size set to 5, so I have to do upto 4 vocabs). The reason for this is to make sure that the radicals comes in a separate review chunk before all the kanji. It’s the time it take to guru the radicals and the second wave of kanji that determines the level up speed.

So do all the reviews in the morning before work, pray that there will be no earlier level vocabs sceduled after work begins. Take a strategic toilet break at 10 or whenever the radicals are due for review.

Recently I’ve been trying to hold off on doing any other reviews until after lunch or when I get home. The reason for that is that if I fail a burn at 9, it is going to come back to haunt me at the same time a week later (or whatever the delay is) and i don’t want to have current level radicals or kanji scheduled for review at 10 (because then the failed burns will get packed into the same review batch)

If you got access to review reordering, then forget I said anything. Also, I’m probably repeating what a lot of other people have already said. Sorry about that.

Because the last 2 apprentice intervals are actually 23 and 47 hours, rather than 24 and 48, you can have an interval of up to 10 hours each day where you never have to do reviews.

For example if you’re allergic to midnight

sun 0800: radical unlocks
sun 1200: radical reviews
sun 2000: radical reviews
mon 1900: radical reviews
wed 1800: radical guru and kanji unlocks
wed 2200: kanji reviews
thu 0600 (can do as late as 1000): kanji reviews
fri 0500 (can do as late as 0900): kanji reviews
sun 0800: level up

No review necessary between 2200 and 0800. (I’m a grad student so my schedule is shifted up by 4 hours, having no reviews between 0200 and 1200.)

Or if you’re willing to do that wednesday review at midnight, you can let any previous review slip by up to 2 hours (really, 2h59m), or any 2 previous reviews slip by 1 hour (+59m) and still not fall behind.

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Everyone else said everything about levelling up every week, but I do want to make a couple of points in another direction, taking into account that you’re still level 5:

  1. You don’t need to do all your lessons as they become available. A lot of people do X lessons a day, others divide that level’s items across several days. The higher level you get, the less likely you are to do all your lessons when they become available.
  2. The higher level you are and up to a certain point (around the mid-10s to mid-20s for many), your daily workload will only increase with every lesson you do, what with master, enlightened and burn items coming back to haunt you. In order to maintain a 7-day schedule, are you really willing to commit to 200+ daily reviews a day for a year+? The red line in the graph below is my own workload - just add 50 a day for those items that you review several times a day, and I haven’t even started burning anything yet:

Depending on your time, priorities, and mental availability, you’ll have to find a pace that works for you. It might be that you’ll want to do 5-10 lessons a day Monday-Friday (or Sun-Thurs), and 20-30 Sat-Sun or (Fri-Sat), which means most of your apprentice reviews will end of on the weekend.

Don’t be mistaken by levels 1-5 - WaniKani is a huge time- and energy-suck if you go full speed ahead, and we often get messages on the forums asking how to handle burnout from people who didn’t set their pace realistically.


If you can level up in 7 days, then should you? This is worth considering. I have no problem with the workload and I have no problem getting though “this week’s kanji” but I feel like the pace doesn’t allow much time to digest the knowledge. I frequently encounter kanji I could swear I have never seen in my life. The reviews/day is always 200+ or close to nothing (except for the leaches that keeps bouncing between apprentice and guru).

There’s pros and cons with everything, I suppose.

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I’m a little confused as to how leveling up works. How do you level up? Do you need all the radicals and kanji for your level on guru or do u also need all the vocabulary on your level at guru?

You need 90% of the levels kanji to reached guru, that’s it. Vocab is not factored in. Radicals are not factored in themselves, but you usually will not get 90% of the kanji without them.

For most levels, this means you’ll level up when all but three kanji have reached guru.

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