Memorization speed

Hey guys,
I’m curious, how long does it take you on average to know a new word?
How many failed review repetitions until it sticks?



Many, far too many.


It really depends on a word. If the kanji that make it up make sense to me, I will likely not get it wrong. It’s different in case of abstract and illogical words like 勝手 (as one pleases) or 作業 (work, operation, manufacturing). Sometimes I have to review such words more than 10 times :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve got 失う wrong 22 times. So far.


Varies a lot based on how much it makes sense like ylienna said and more importantly whether I’ve heard/seen it before. Also depends on how similar it is to other words.

If it is very unique then I’ll probably remember. If it is in line with other words but different enough that I can clearly distinguish it then that’s fine too. If it’s too similar…

I can’t tell you how many times I got 光栄 and 栄光 wrong. One is honor the other is glory. Also there are a lot of verbs that are pronounced the same but have different kanji for slightly different meanings; I didn’t realize this with 収める and 納める because they weren’t in the same level so I’ve been getting those wrong for a while now.


It really depends of how much the word sticks on you. For example, when i saw 金玉, i said: " haha the gold balls are actually my testicles ", so thats why i’m sure that i’ll never forget the meaning of that word.

But with other words i have:



It usually takes me one or two review failures to get a word done. When it first comes up after the lesson, I’ll usually only remember the meaning or reading, so I’ll use that failure to reinforce the one I was missing.

Abstract concepts are usually much harder to really remember than concrete things like nouns.

I think I’ve failed enlightenment on both of these a handful of times already lol. 勝手 for the unusual reading and 作業 because I keep mixing it up with 作用


I feel like it really depends on the word.

If the mnemonic sticks, I usually will remember or only mess it up once. But if its a word that I overthink or seems similar to another word, I will get it wrong CONSTANTLY.

Currently, the bane of my existence is 大した、大いに、大きく.

Keep forgetting which one is which.


i generally find that the worst thing i can do is get mental wires crossed on a word, because if i learn it wrong, it’s even harder to learn it “right” than before since i also have to unlearn my own mental error.

so the moment i start getting something repeatedly wrong (or confuse two words, etc), i cram extra on that word to make sure i get it right, because i don’t want to spend any more time reinforcing the wrong mental wires.

or in simpler terms: i find that “repeatedly getting something wrong” is a very bad way to actually learn the right answer. i should be learning in the lessons, not the reviews.

1 Like

If any one of you are not using KaniWani or Kamesame to reinforce them, then I suggest you do. It’s a few more minutes of extra work every day, but it’s worth every second of it.


Depends on how new it is. Certain vocab builds well on previous kanji or vocab. So even just seeing it appear once during lesson before reviewing is enough to know.

But obviously that doesn’t hold for everything. I say 2-3 times normally. The ones I struggle with I keep struggling with more than 5 times.

For an example I had plenty of trouble remembering 毒 when I started with level 15. I got it almost constantly wrong for a whole week while I was working on cutting back my reviews. Eventually it managed to stick and when did vocab involving that kanji, I recognized it instantly like an old friend.

Anyway it happens. Try to stay on top of it when you notice it keeps happening.

this will get easier the more grammar you learn, as you can more easily recognize the part of speech by the okurigana (though not always, like in 違い)

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.