Never EVER skip lessons

I’m writing about my experience with skipping lessons in order for it to be a bad example and to prevent people in the same situation from getting to the miserable situation I am at right now.

Every time you pass a level, there’s a lot of new lessons. In my experience, it’s always around 50~60 because of all the new vocab from the Kanji you just passed, all the new Kanji from the next level and additional radicals.

For me, doing the lessons always takes very long. I’d sometimes sit in front of my computer reading new mnemonics for about 1h 30m straight, and it feels very tiring.
Whenever I tried to take a break for a few minutes, the entire lesson process would take those few minutes longer and be even more tiring, so I won’t take breaks anymore.

So what did I think was the best solution to this problem? Just skip the vocabulary lessons with use of userscripts for now and do them later; I’ll just finish them sometime before the level up.
This however came with the great risk of enjoying not having to go through the long lesson process for vocab too much and neglecting the lessons which were initially put aside.

I ended up forgetting about them until the next level up and another batch of lessons came in. “Wow, how’d I get 80 lessons all of a sudden?!” - Well I knew the reason was because I couldn’t finish the vocab lessons from before.
It would be way too tiring to do all 80 lessons at once, so again, I split them up, did the Kanji and radicals and left the vocab lessons untouched.
My highest priority was to level up. I thought “I’ll be able to do the other lessons later”.

And again I failed to finish my lessons, wondering about how long ago it was that I last had the wonderful experience of having 0 lessons and 0 reviews.

After some time, I had piled up 500+ vocab lessons and stopped learning new Kanji and radicals in order to focus on vocab. I really wanted to get this heavy weight which would stress me out every time I thought about Japanese off of my mind.
During my longest level ever at 29d 16h with the constant thought of working off all those lessons, I was sometimes still unable to get myself to do the lessons. During all those days, I was only able to work off around 80 vocab lessons even though I’d usually finish way more lessons (Kanji, vocab and radicals combined) in a month.

My level-of-shame, level 16:

Now I’m here with having ~430 vocab lessons and never being able to finish them. I can’t stay on level 16 forever, I want to keep learning new Kanji as well. So I just finished the level which took me around 1 month to complete and hope to be able to work off more vocab lessons than what I get from a level up to slowly build down that heavy pile of lessons.

This is my experience with using userscripts to skip lessons, my experience with how cheating for my own good put a big barrier in my path of learning Japanese.

For anyone who finds lessons just as time-consuming and tiring as I do:
Don’t EVER skip lessons, they can pile up way quicker than you think.

Also any advice would be greatly appreciated. Is there any way to make lessons less repetative and more interesting?


I’d like to invite you to join Script Abusers Anonymous

The only advice I have is mostly written over there, but suffice to say I had a similar experience and was at nearly 700 lessons, from using re-order scripts to level up without completing vocab yet.

Now, I make sure to get 0/0 before level and I feel much less pressure over all. Just take your average time it takes you to guru your radicals, divide the number of lessons by that and do that many every day.


I don’t understand the flack behind lessons. I think the problem is people take too long on their lessons, so it feels more like a chore than it really is. You’re not supposed to memorise the pneumonic, the only essential part is that you read it, and understand it (in regards to the radicals and the story). The kanji lessons are the difficult part, it’s worth spending 2-3 minutes really soaking in and visualising the story for each kanji, but the vocab lessons can be finished at a brisk pace. After all, the most memorisation happens during reviews, not the initial lesson.


Thanks, I’ll try out that method!

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You don’t have to do 60 lessons every time! You can get to 0 lessons even if you do only 20 lessons a day. Especially if you do the vocab before the radicals on the new level. 頑張ってください!


I’ve actually tried to do 20 lessons a day, but it just created more opportunities for me to neglect the lessons. I’d have to motivate myself every day, which I found I was somewhat unable to do.

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The kanji lessons are the difficult part, it’s worth spending 2-3 minutes really soaking in and visualising the story for each kanji, but the vocab lessons can be finished at a brisk pace. After all, the most memorisation happens during reviews, not the initial lesson.

I agree, don’t try too hard to initially memorize everything in lessons to get perfect scores on future WaniKani reviews, or you end up using them as a test instead of SRS that they are designed to be. If you don’t remember an item, you’ll get it wrong, look it up and learn it after a few repetitions.


Realistically speaking, this is one of the fundamental parts of a SRS system, so it’s probably worth investing some mental energy into finding a way to make it part of your day, whether it be something you do on your commute, on your lunch break, just before bed, etc.


Learning the kanji is one thing but to learn the language, gotta have that vocab knowledge. I’m slow anyway. Most of my time is spent taking care of a three year old and 9 month old twins. Just over a year on wk and only level 10. Not trying to go fast. Learning another language is certainly not a race.
Good luck in your future studies. Good on you for not giving up.


Exactly this, you’re not sprinting to a finish line, you’re climbing a mountain to see the view. I’ve been on just over two years and only level 24, so I feel ya in that regard.


For me, I kinda have a finish line. My goal, my initial motivation to learn Japanese in the first place was to be able to go to Japan sometime next year.
I’ll still try not to take it too serious though.

Any reason why you must go next year? If it’s not for a job or to study, I don’t believe being able to read kanji should be a huge problem. You’re already at level 20+ so you know a lot of frequent kanji and readings anyway. I’d say the most important part is the grammar and vocabulary, so you can communicate as well as possible. Whether you’re going as a tourist or going to live, learning to read Japanese can also continue while you’re there.

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I actually do skip lessons. I do kanji lessons first to finish the level faster. The temptation to let them sit is, of course, still there, and I let them sit a lot. I think I definitely could have fallen into the same trap you did, with the 500 old vocab lessons sitting around, if not for The 0/0 Challenge which, while it gave me a whole other thing to stress about every level, it made it impossible to let lessons pile up (even if you reorder). The challenge is to post a screenshot of your queue with 0 reviews and 0 lessons once per level. I finished WK with a 42 level streak. Towards the beginning of it, it’s not too big a deal to miss one. Once it builds up though, I would do anything to preserve the streak. So you can’t let them build up. Mess up and your streak dies.

Also, no need to take that long on the lessons. Especially vocab ones. You’re gonna learn them with the SRS much more than the act of staring at it. You’ll get some of them wrong a few times, but eventually it’ll sink in. Take longer on kanji lessons to reduce time on level, but no shame in powering through vocab ones after a quick skim of the meaning.

I kinda never really get to learning grammar. I have 2 books to go through, but whenever I think “Today, I’ll progress through the book and learn some grammar.”, I end up trying to build down lessons anyway…
But you’re right, I’m almost at 700 kanji now, which is of course not going to be enough in the long run, but it’s quite a bit and definitely enough to begin broadening my japanese knowledge beyond just kanji and a few vocab.

I don’t get the concept of skipping lessons either but then again I’m not trying to speedrun WK. I do 20 lessons a day but they’re not all kanji – I usually do 5 kanji a day and 15 vocab. It works really well. I try not to worry about my apprentice pile getting bigger because due to the SRS as I’m getting new Apprentice cards I’m also clearing older ones and getting them up to Guru, especially when a review session is over 100 cards in the morning.

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How many lessons do you need to do a day in order not to fall behind if you’re always keeping your reviews down? It has been fine for me doing 10 a day for where I’m at now (about to hit level 6 tomorrow or the next day) and I have felt very comfortable but I am worried about the pace picking up too much more

That is quite the mistake. By default, the lowest level material is put at the front of the queue so you shouldn’t ever get a 500 vocabulary lesson pile up.

Whatever rate feels comfortable for you. If you can get all your reviews done in a day and you don’t feel stressed about them, you know you’re fine. If you find yourself looking at a session that’ll take an hour and don’t want to do it, then look at how many apprentice level items you currently have and remember to not do any more lessons when you have that many.

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What I do when I level up is use the filter userscript to get something along the lines of 2 new kanji/radicals and 3 new vocabulary (or like 3:7, if using batches of 10). In this way it still feels like i’m progressing throught the new levels while it helps me to keep up with the backlog from the previous level.

Just to illustrate, by doing this in a level with say, 10 new rads and 20 new kanji (when the level opens), you would have finished 45 to 70 new (old?) vocab lessons by the time you finish your kanji lessons

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There’s anyway to hold my level until I finish everything from the level I currently am?

Not by going vanilla. With the reorder script you can reorder the items in a way to keep a few (3~4) kanji on hold and work on the other items first.

But when you go with the default implementation of WK you’ll need to guru the kanji first before you unlock the related vocab items and therefore will automatically level up once you meet the requirements.

On the other hand, by going with the default settings WK will always serve items from the previous level first. So even if you’re already at level six but have open lessons from level five WK will serve you those items first.

And you can additionally slow down unlocking new material by not touching the new radicals before you’ve learned all lessons from a previous level.