Maximum Learning Efficiency

Ive gotten to the point where I know I needed to slow down lessons. Early in my Japanese learning career I was just pumping out 100s of lessons in an attempt to level up in like a week. Now I’ve literally stopped doing new lessons for the month of October and focused on my current stack and trying to incorporate grammar with the vocabulary Ive learned

Has anyone else done this? My question is basically what is better for learning efficiency, learning as much vocabulary to comprehend as possible or using what you know to this point to build sentences? I feel like either vocab retention suffers or grammar suffers when I focus primarily on either one of them. Does anyone have a balanced system they use for maximum learning efficiency?

Peace, Love and Positivity,



Efficiency is a hard thing to pin down, but I’ve found one thing that gets overlooked quite often: your lifestyle is also a factor of efficiency. While there may exist a theoretical maximum to efficiency, whatever method that you can stick with long term is the most efficient for you.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Keep Apprentice count around 100
  2. No more than 20 lessons per day
  3. Go through the entire N5 stack of just to get an idea of the grammar points that exist. Takes maybe a week or two.
  4. Read (currently One Punch Man Manga and Harry Potter in Japanese)
  5. Watch Japanese media: anime, dramas, TV, news, etc.
  6. Go back to #3 and do the N4 stack. Still working through this but at a slower pace.
  7. Read some more.

I average about 11 days per level and I spend my free time working on other parts of Japanese learning as noted in #3 to #7. It’s enjoyable to me so it’s not too much of an ordeal.

However, I will drop everything but WK if I have a lot of reviews or I don’t have the energy. The other stuff I can pick up easily, but getting through WK is going to have long term benefits so this is the one I prioritize first.

ymmv :wink:


I think this depends on your goals, how much time you have, and how “easy” you feel it is to learn kanji.

There is nothing that says you must stop doing new lessons while you learn grammar. You just need to find what is comfortable for you and your learning style.

At level 17, you probably have enough to start toe dipping into Genki I or similar.

If you want to practce the Kanji you have learned, I would recommend the KKLC graded readers. At level 17 you have enough knowledge to get through the first book easily. Will you understand the sentences? Maybe not but it would keep Kanji fresher.

I would also recommend Japanese the Manga Way assuming you are interested in Manga. Either way though, this is a grammar teaching resource first and foremost, using Manga as examples to illustrate the grammar rules. You definitely have enough kanji under your belt to get through this, though it also has romanized text with the Japanese.

My process, having been trying to learn Japanese (poorly) for 20 years is to stick to WK while working through other resources. I go like this:

  1. Level Up
  2. Using the reorder script, learn the radicals the SAME DAY they drop or not long after
  3. Over the course of the next 4 days, while waiting to Guru the radicals, use the reorder script to flush out all the vocabulary before the radicals guru and all the kanji for the level open up.
  4. As soon as all the kanji are open, learn them all over the next 2 days beginning the 4 day SRS level up process.
  5. When I level up, return to step 2

I spend roughly 90-120 minutes a day on WK. Get review count to zero between 7 AM and 9 AM. Noon - 2 PM, zero out again. 6-8 PM, zero out again and go to bed with zero reviews waiting.

When I am on lunch and done WK, and assuming I have time, I will crack open the KKLC Graded Reader or Japanese the Manga Way.

Before bed I will read KKLC Graded Reader or Japanese the Manga Way.

When I am finished JMW, I will crack open another book; in this case A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.

At some point I will build Genki I into my schedule and actually work through that. I just have difficulty getting into it because I have to write sentences/come up with sentences, then try to fix my own grammar mistakes since I am not in a classroom setting so motivation is low.

Anyway, hope that helps. Find what works for you and stick to it as best you are able and realize everyone here is happy to help!

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I think consistency is more important than efficiency. Even if “ideal learning method” existed. Not making a progress everyday isn’t going to help anyway. What is important is to enjoy what your doing (most of the time) not forcing your way through it.


My last level lasted 80 days, but I did my reviews every single day. I found that doing this made me enjoy WK more, since I had way to many leeches that made my accuracy fall to about 60% and I felt that I previously could not focus on my reviews while keeping a fast pace.

This gave me more time to watch series on japanese and read manga so I feel like I learned things I had encountered in WK much better since I finally saw the vocabulary and kanji in the wild.
Is that the fastest way to level 60, no. Could a have learned faster and more kanji by doing more reviews, absolutely. But this feels more good and natural for me, and is the sort of things that won’t make me stop either WK or learning Japanese :dolls:


Same here, I’ve been on my current level for 112 days now and I’m getting around 30-60 reviews a day. I stopped WK lessons around the same time last year because it’s a busy time for me at work, plus I was taking the JLPT5 in December, and so I wanted to focus on grammar. Have a little break from lessons stopped me getting overwhelmed and meant I got to coast along on a wave of positivity for a while! This year I’m not able to take the JLPT4 as I’d hoped, but I’m still using the same approach. It’s really nice to watch the number of Master and Enlightened items falling so quickly!

Instead of the time I would be spending on WK, I’m doing a bit of Nihongo Sou Matome every day, watching lots of japanese YouTube and reading some manga, and posting on HelloTalk.

Rather than having a negative effect on my vocabulary, as @skelleyahs worries, it’s the opposite - for example one of my major leeches is 登山 which I’ve inputted as とうざん and とさん more times than I would care to remember. So I’m watching a japanese mountain climbing youtuber who literally says it 20 times in each video and I’m going to burn that ***** if it kills me.

For me the most efficient way to learn is to have periods of studying and then periods of reinforcement, particularly fitting in with how busy things are at work.


Grammar, vocab, kanji, listening, writing etc, etc. They all use different parts of your brain. If you’re looking for an effective way to learn and cement the new neural pathways you’re building, you should be doing a little of everything. It’s more likely to cause connections between different parts of your Japanese brain neurons and form them into a network.

It can be really easy to focus in on say kanji alone, and because “that’s what I’m good at”, it becomes a positive reinforcement loop to spend even more time on it. But you’re just going to create a little island of neurons in your brain that isn’t connected to anything else.

You’re doing the right thing slowing down on new lessons to broaden your learning. Just don’t let those reviews pile up too much while you find the right balance of WK and the other stuff :wink:


I should give bunpro more time. I’ve mostly been reading tae kim for grammar. I also should be reading more than I am. I can say thats probably what is holding me back now that I think of it.

Thank you for the insight.

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I spent October burning a lot of words instead of piling up the apprentice tier. At this point I know I think Ill be a lot slower than a lot of the lvl 60s who finish in a little over a year. Im with you though, I feel its more natural to master a certain level than to just try to finish as fast as you can just to get to the next lesson.

Thank you for your insight!

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Great points. I feel like we share similar learning experiences. I need more reenforcement it seems connecting the grammar with the kanji I’ve learn. I said in a previous reply I think I need to read more. I think thats what has been holding me back. I have all of these kanji burned and I have the basics of grammar. Its just putting it together that I need.

Thank you!

This thread SPEAKS to me–thank you! I’m working on Level 17 right now and your earlier impressions and current impressions are the same for me. I’m going to follow the replies closely on this one! Keep moving forward regardless of speed!

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