Overwhelming frequency of lessons starting from level 40 + solution


I would like to tackle a point that everyone lvl 40+ has obviously noticed and I am here to raised that in clear terms, also to know if it disturbs people other than me. Finally I suggest a solution.

As we all know we need 90% Guru of one level to pass it, which automatically unlocks new kanji and some vocabulary associated to the kanji just learnt. Before lvl 40 this threshold is perfect in a sense that the first kanji of a level that we are unlocking are about 85% of the total kanji of that level. The 15 other % contain radicals not yet learnt and that we are supposed to get Guru at the same time of the first kanji.

That means obviously, when we get that 85%, we unlock the 15 other % kanji plus the vocabulary associated to the Guru-ed kanji just learnt (still following? lol). What I am trying to say is that passing a level below 40 contains two steps which is pretty pleasant as a user and quite manageable.

Now, after lvl 40, radicals become rarer, to the point that sometimes a level contains one radical. That changes everything in terms of number of lessons unlocking in once. For example, with one radical, we get all at once about 97% of the kanji to be learnt.

[Below Details : you are not required to read through and comprehend]

*Let’s suppose we are lvl 52, and you just Guru-ed enough to get to the next level, and that it was about 95% of the kanji of lvl 52. The next lesson package we will get are :

  1. The vocabulary associated to these 95% Guru-ed kanji, roughly about 32*4 = 128 voc
  2. The 5 % kanji left from lvl 52, let’s say 3 kanji
  3. As previously said the higher levels contains less than 5 new radicals so you will learnt about 95% of the kanji of lvl 53, so with approximation about 32 kanji

Total of new lessons in once : 163
Time management is extremely important when it comes to WaniKani and I am sure many of you feel that overwhelming feeling when we know 140 reviews and 150 lessons are waiting you to finish your day. For WaniKani TryHards and globally users having lots of free time it is extremely beneficial since you can pass a lvl in 4 days but for a normal person it is mentally exhaustive.

I see some coming up with “Say what, you can let some lessons aside, get going, and find your own rythme” Okay, and that’s what I am doing right now. BUT I am here to suggest improvements, not only saying “this probably is worth rethinking”.

[For those reading so far, thank you]

I am suggesting for those lvl with few radicals, that the vocabulary should be taken in consideration in the 90% Guru threshold, and not only the kanji. Let’s start with a level before when everything is normal (next level, new radicals are like 3 or 4). Then when we pass to that level, we get to learn :

  1. 95% of the new kanji (same situation as before) and the few radical(s) of the current level
  2. Vocabulary associated to the remaining 15% (remember, before, the threshold was good enough to have more than 10% and avoid passing the level all at once)

Next iteration : that means when we get these 95% of the kanji Guru-ed, we unlock :

  1. All the vocabulary associated to these 95%
  2. The remaining 5% kanji associated to the radicals Guru-ed

=> And the rule suggested enters in action here, where we need this vocabulary to be Guru-ed (as a matter of fact, these 5% kanji will eventually be completed at the same time but it is not the primary condition)

That way, for the next level, we will only get :

  1. New vocabulary of the 5% Guru-ed kanji of previous level
  2. 95% of the new kanji of the current level and the few radicals of that level.

And life goes on.

What is your opinion ?


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Say what, you can let some lessons aside, get going, and find your own rythm


TLDR version: You want to get rid of short levels?


I don’t understand. If you’re overwhelmed by the pace, just do fewer lessons. Problem solved.


I’m of the probably minority opinion that vocabulary should be necessary for leveling up period (as in some percentage of vocabulary from the previous level), not as a solution to reorder abuse, but simply to promote a higher focus on vocabulary in general.

But I understand the complaint.

I don’t think it’s this simple. The primary complaint seems to be the psychological effect of short levels, i.e. having 160 reviews unlocked at once decreasing your motivation. It seems to me to disrupt the pace in an awkward way. Yes, the obvious solution is to just take your extra days and put it towards the vocab of the previous level, but if that’s what one should do, then why have the short level in the first place? If it’s to allow some dedicated people to go faster, then all levels should be short levels. But of course that doesn’t seem to appealing because it would double the theoretical fastest pace, and who knows what effects that would produce.

It seems the argument is boiled down to the dichotomy that is the root of half of the “WaniKani should do X” discussions, which is how much freedom the user should be given in dictating the various mechanics. The staff seem pretty set in that argument currently as most of the common complains are mended with scripts that are up to the user.


Because you will get these topics no matter what pace you set the site to. If you make some happy, you’ll make others unhappy.

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Well, yeah. But I think there can be a point where user freedom vs overall effectiveness are balanced not just to minimize complaints, but far more importantly, to make a better overall product.

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And some feel this achieves that. You get to the end of the site whereby you’ve proven a certain level commitment to studying and should be able to take on a more aggressive pace if you desire. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Making all levels short would likely increase early burnout from people who haven’t found their most comfortable pace yet.


I’d be willing to bet the reason is simply that they ran out of radicals and didn’t want to add in additional arbitrary blockers.

You can’t hold back people that are going the current max speed (or even just “relatively” fast) just because some people get overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed if I do more than one level every two weeks, but restricting everyone to my pace wouldn’t be fair. At a certain point, people just need to get over the psychological effect of seeing a large number of lessons.


I know why there aren’t short levels. In my hypothetical assumption, I argued that people going at max speed shouldn’t be held back. The reason why it’s hypothetical and isn’t actual is because of the unknown impact that it would have on the max speed people’s effectiveness. Would the program still work if you were learning 10 kanji and 30 words everyday? It may, but the fear is that it’s beyond the capacities of even the people currently going at max speed.

There also could be an argument made that more people go at a pace that’s closer to 10-15 days per level than 7 days per level (which is almost certainly true, but I don’t know the analytics), so the program should benefit them… but I don’t like that idea either.

You’re spot on for the reason though. I mean, if non-arbitrary radicals were removed, radicals would all but disappear. Past level 20ish, the real purpose of radicals is just to portion out the levels. Do you really need an entire item to teach you a radical that is a kanji you already know? Of course not, but learning radicals with SRS is a critical portion of the earlier levels, so it’s held over to maintain consistency and pace.

I feel that for some users, the so called short levels could be a way to prove your commitment for the third and last part of WaniKani, i.e. for lvl 40 to 60 and that they appreciate WaniKani that way. I can understand that.

As others pointed out, I did want to emphasize the idea of psychological effect of short levels that is likely to decrease your motivation and the pace you got used to for the past 40 levels. It completely disrupts your habits and it is unpleasant, again, for a normal person not available on WaniKani 24/7.

Nobody likes at work when your boss suddenly tells you : it’s ok that way but from now on it would be better to double your efforts within the same time, okay ? Comparison could be controversial but this is how it can be perceived.

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But nothing is telling anyone to even level up in 7 days, let alone 3.5…

If anything, I think this indicates a problem with an individual’s process/routine. If you build a steady routine (e.g. do 15 lessons per day every day), then WaniKani giving more lessons is irrelevant because you just continue to follow your routine. (That’s a large reason I built [Userscript] WaniKani Lesson Filter by the way.)


But it still does interrupt habits, because you have to knowingly abstain from doing the kanji at your normal pace during that level, if your normal pace is doing them whenever they’re available (which is what mine is). And you can say that this is a bad habit, but when it works for all levels except for these short ones, then short levels would be the reason for it being a bad habit.

I don’t really care too much if short levels stay or go, but having issue with them is valid. It’s a consistency problem ultimately, and saying it’s up to the user to be consistent when there’s little reason for the inconsistency in the first place just seems strange. But if you get to the levels where the frequency of short levels ramp up, you’re already in it for the long haul so there’s little incentive to change anything.

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I do think doing lessons in fits and starts is a bad habit, but if it works for you it works for you. :man_shrugging:

There is a reason for the so-called inconsistency: The alternative (short of completely changing the leveling up process) would be to add enough pointless, arbitrary radicals to remove all short levels. We already have plenty of pointless radicals, so I’d rather not have more of them.

Oh yeah I 100% agree, the arbitrary radicals are garbage. I want them ALL removed actually and just have the radicals be taught when you learn the kanji. My idea for removing short levels was to make it so some proportion of the previous level’s vocab is necessary to level up, but I think that has benefits much greater than fixing this small problem.

Yeah, I know. Unfortunately that kind of change risks pissing off as many people as it helps, especially since it could increase the minimum time to finish WaniKani by several months. :sweat_smile:

I don’t think the theoretical time would increase too much. Because you only need the previous level’s items at guru by the time you guru the new level’s second batch of kanji, and that perfectly feasible since you should have already had plenty of time to do the lessons for them. It would make going at max pace more difficult, but it’s an enforcement of what they should be doing in the first place in a world without lesson reordering.

But the real purpose of the change would be to just make vocab matter more. My accurate on vocab is like 3 or 4% less just because I know it doesn’t really matter if I just go with my gut instead of thinking of the mnemonics

Change pissing people off won’t change however (in any context) so I’ve long accepted that this idea won’t be realized lol


Oh, I misunderstood what you meant when you said previous. If you’re saying that to get to level N+1 you’d have to guru 90% of level N kanji and X% of level N-1 vocab, I’m in favor of that. As you said, people should be doing that already anyway, and I suspect most people (even fast levelers) are.


except for my dumbass who’s spent this weekend clearing 190 lessons ;_; I will admit I was not ready for the power of the reorder but this is my first and last mistake in that regard


I admit, I just space out lessons to avoid this.

I do like the idea of N-1 guruing on vocab, though. That is pretty solid.