Okay, here I go - WaniKani take two

Just wanted to post a quick “hello again” in here as I embark on my mission to learn Kanji, this time with renewed focus. I first started WaniKani towards the end of last year but didn’t keep up with it and ended up getting buried with reviews that I couldn’t remember. I knew I was in too deep when I took a few weeks off and logged back in to find over 200 reviews…as I went through I realized I didn’t remember any of them, it was painful and a bit demotivating.

Then I decided, I need to do this right, I have to keep up with my lessons and reviews and make that a daily “must” not a “nice to have.” So I decided to push the reset button and start over. Now I’m back and it’s actually fun to have reviews that I know and lessons ahead that I know I’ll also have some familiarity with.

I’m also doing Pimsleur and I’ve also restarted there. The big lesson for me, I need to stick with it and spend at least an hour a day if I want to do this. So here we go, take two!

One question for the community - if I do my lessons and reviews every day and one lesson on Pimsleur a day is that a good pace to try to keep or should I also be doing something in a Genki book or similar? Thanks in advance, I’ve always been so impressed with the community on here!

26 Likes

Oof! I feel that Level 1 may have been a bit much for resetting, but welcome back!

Personally, whatever pace you are going to be able to keep every day, no matter how you feel, just because that is routine and what you do, is the pace you should make a habit.

4 Likes

Hi, and welcome back! I have also recently returned after a long break. The first time, I made it to level 10, but wasn’t finding it that useful because I was still learning beginner Japanese grammer and vocab. Honestly, I was overwhelmed and unfocussed.

After about 1 year break and some Pimsleur and textbook study, I returned to Wani Kani and am finding it much more rewarding and useful. I didn’t reset back any levels, but I independently reviewed the radicals and kanji characters I had already seen. I then prodded through the 500+ reviews with no new lessons. It was painful, but I’m back up to speed.

Regarding pace, for me, it is important to go at a pace that I can sustain. I think of that old adage, “this is a marathon, not a sprint”.

Also, I’m trying to focus on quality of learning, for example, reading the example sentences, applying the kanji to every day life and trying to enjoy it, instead of just forcing through the exercises out of obligation. Of course, that will slow me down, but I feel more focussed and am enjoying it more.

Best of luck to you!

5 Likes

The best pace is one you find both sustainable and motivating. Since you’re just starting again, see if your proposed schedule works for you for a couple of weeks. If you can keep it up after your initial motivation boost from restarting, then you’re definitely on the right track. And if you find yourself wanting to do a little more per day, then that’s great too - so go ahead! If you find yourself getting snowed under in reviews, don’t worry about adding new lessons until you’ve got your active reviews under control again.

Some good rules of thumb from both the community here and my experience so far:

  1. try to prevent your ‘apprentice’ pile from getting too high (I find ~100 a good upper limit) - space out lessons to avoid getting hit by bumper review piles
  2. aim for at least 80% success rate on review sessions (though dropping below this every so often isn’t an issue) - if you find yourself consistently getting less, hold off on the new lessons for a bit
  3. remember that kanji isn’t everything for learning Japanese, so if you’re time limited by other life responsibilities (as most of us are!) don’t do overdo wanikani at the expense of native language exposure / grammar / vocab study.

There’s no getting away from the fact that there will be days of 100+ reviews as you level up, but always keep in mind that your own motivation and pleasure are the best drivers of progress. A little and often is key.

Welcome back and good luck!

5 Likes

Welcome to the community, and the Painful levels!

What’re your general impressions of Pimsleur??

I don’t see too many people talk about it, but i’ve been doing it for the last 3 months or so (only just finished the 2nd unit so not quite the 1 per day they recommend) - but I actually find it pretty good speaking practice.

Granted as a stand alone it wouldn’t be too useful, but as a supplement to my pre-exisitng grammar and vocab it’s good passive reinforcement.

I knew I was in too deep when I took a few weeks off and logged back in to find over 200 reviews

If you’re a real slacker like me you’ll forget about your reviews for a day and come back to 450+ reviews. Don’t be like me.
On a more serious note though, you probably want to be prepared to do 100+ reviews every day, at least from my experience. Some advice; if you can’t keep up with your reviews be sure to take it slow and not do any lessons until you think you can handle more.

Good luck out there and welcome (once more, lol)

5 Likes

It’s great that you’ve resolved to make it a daily “must”. I’ve done the same thing, as from the beginning of this year I reset back to the start and resolved to keep things moving on a daily basis.

I’ve found the best pace is one where I’ll do as much as I have time for on any given day. Even if I only have 20-30 mins I can at least knock out a few reviews and keep things moving forward. This way I have time for everything else and I can look forward to any chance I get to settle down for longer study sessions.

Hope things go well and がんばって!

Hey I just did the same thing last month. I made it up to level 11 and then had to stop for about a month to do a crash study course on a different subject. By the time I came back I had 1032 reviews to do. Ugh… I know it probably seemed like overkill, but I opted to start all over. I’m back up to Level 5 now and I have no regrets about the full reset. Here’s to no more distractions this year!

This, plus not overwhelming yourself with too many lessons (leading to too many reviews), is pretty much the whole thing! It definitely gets to be challenging, but continuing to review on days when you don’t feel like it or don’t have as much time is probably the biggest contributor to momentum there is.

(I think doing some grammar early so that you can start reading practice is good. If Pimsleur gives you that, great! Otherwise, doing a little less on WK in order to add in some Genki/BunPro/Tae Kim/other grammar resource will probably be worth the extra time it takes to “finish.”)

1 Like

Thanks, that’s good advice. I think in my first run on WaniKani I would do lessons the moment they became available, even if I was get 40% or 50% on reviews. I’m going to wait until I’m 90% or higher on my reviews before doing more lessons going forward.

2 Likes

I find Pimsleur to be super helpful. I don’t have a lot of access to speaking practice, so it’s a great way to recall and repeat words. It’s hard to use a word conversationally until you’ve said it conversationally 10+ times, and Pimsleur provides a way to do that without being rote. The lessons also pack a lot of practice into a small amount of time.

2 Likes

I’m addicted to wanikani.
everyday i get anxious to do my reviews

always keeping my apprentice pile between 85 - 110.

i’m also doing kamesame and reading N5 tango book along with its anki deck (30 new cards a day).

1 Like

I knew I was in too deep when I took a few weeks off and logged back in to find over 200 reviews…as I went through I realized I didn’t remember any of them, it was painful and a bit demotivating.

200? Lucky you–I came back after two years off. I’ve whittled down the 3000+ reviews I had to 600 now (two months later). Sooooo much fun! (I’m being half sarcastic, half serious!)

At any rate, welcome back!

5 Likes

I don’t know if you know about it, but just in case I’ll recommend it. Read the beginner’s guide. My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )

4 Likes

For the past couple of months I keep going back and forth on getting on track and letting things go. It’s been hovering around 500-700. It always feels daunting and that keeps me away. I have to remember that other people come back from much higher review numbers. That you for the indirect encouragement.

3 Likes

Yeah, that’s what I was doing until level 25, then I got stuck, and life … you know how that goes. Up until 25 I cleared my review queue multiple times daily. Then I just drowned.

I wouldn’t worry about the percentage too much. Making sure your apprentice count hovers around 100 is enough.

This may be a good guiding principle for you, but it also may frustrate you and hold you back (especially if there are particular items that are tricky but easier items are just around the corner… or if you just make minor mistakes)… Personally, what I’ve found is that if I’m feeling overwhelmed and feel like I’m juggling too many items, I hold off of doing Lessons… but if I’m hungry to learn new items, I’ll do those Lessons… but you should do what works best for you (as many others have shared).

Also, you can change the settings… I’ve changed it so my new Lessons come in batches of three at a time, which is easier for me to handle.

3 Likes

That might be a high goal to set for yourself. In Is really 90+% the norm? about 2/3 said that they often have 75% correct on reviews, and if you look at their level, many of them are succeeding in getting a study habit on wanikani. I am in the 75-85 spectrum most days, but i can really feel that my japanese skills have gone up every time i pick up an new article or a manga.

4 Likes