Progressing too slowly?

I’ve heard the whole level 1 WaniKani meme that it’s too slow but actually I’m at level 5 and I’m worried that it’s me not wanikani that’s too slow.

I see people who have an average level up time of a week or 2, whereas it can take me just under a month to level up.

I do feel like I’m making progress but sometimes a Kanji will appear and I’ll get it wrong, read the reading mnemonic in the review, then when it appears again I’ve already forgot.

Anyone else feel like they’re in a similar boat? is this normal?

I do all reviews per day and do 5 to 15 lessons a day and try to keep my apprentice items at least 60. Perhaps I’m just not doing enough lessons but since I get around 75% to 80% correct on my reviews I don’t wanna put too many new ones in there at the same time.

Just curious what people’s thoughts are?


check wkstats and see how is your accuracy

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Don’t you worry. Just go at your own pace and don’t worry about people who’ve got masses of time and brain space (and presumably some unusual ability to remember everything really quickly). The important thing is tenacity and going at a speed you won’t burn out at. There’s always people better than you, whatever activity you’re doing! But you’re doing this for you. Not to show how quick you are. Learning a language is a long term project. We must remember to enjoy the journey! I never thought I could learn vocabulary or any sort of thing like this. But I’ve found out my brain is more adaptable than I thought. And as I go on I’m definitely learning how to learn this stuff.

You’re making progress. And when you get one wrong, it’s the repetition that makes it stick (eventually). I was only reading today about the research behind this sort of thing. Repetition is key. So don’t get hung up about it. Some words are easier to remember than others, and who knows why. (I just cannot get ‘past’ and ‘previous’ in my head at all… they go up to guru and fall down all the time!)

Don’t be worried. Just keep at it. And when you see kanji in the wild (on a packet, or in a programme or whatever) or recognise a word you hear - it’s just so motivating. Stick with it Nikolai!

(Having more at apprentice will help you level up faster if you want to try it btw. 100 is the WK recommendation it seems. It’s only a few of those that will keep coming back to haunt you, so it’s not as bad as it sounds to add a few more, perhaps.

Oh and another thing I read is that connections in your brain are important - more connections the better. so if you can make mnemonics that mean something just to you, that is also a good way to remember things)


You’ll get faster.

As I progress in my education, I realise that the real challenge in any given subject is to learn how to learn it. This is usually the process that takes time. Luckily, these are transferable skills in my experience. So, if you ever want to memorise symbols, learn how to learn symbols (basically what you’re doing with WaniKani). This extends to languages in general: you learn how to learn them and hence you can learn more quickly!

Don’t worry, if still struggling to speed up in a few month’s time, then I would recommend trying different methods, e.g. writing your own mnemonics perhaps.

It’s a process. Just chill out and enjoy the ride!


I tell a lot of folks this, but learning a language is not a race. I’m going slowly too lol, I started WaniKani in early 2018 and I’m still only level 36! But hey, I’ve been studying at a pace which works for me, and I’m still studying daily, having fun, and never have I once burned out. All in due time friend, don’t worry about other people!


Thank you all for your encouraging replies.


1 month is pretty slow.

My ideal pace is 9 days per level. That’s assuming about 1.5 hours of lessons/reviews every day (split into 3 sessions).

You go fast by sacrificing other parts of your life. Are you ready to schedule your whole life around WK for the next 1.5 years?

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Some people are using scripts to maintain a weekly level up, don’t worry about it, and go at your own pace.

I’ve had issues with the mnemonics, I personally don’t use them much, instead I tend to use bishbashonce to just brute force new lessons to guru, for me at least, it’s been a very useful resource, it might work well for you, people learn differently and all.


Reading Japanese content also helps me maintain learnt kanji/vocab, it can be slow and frustrating at times, while it works well for me, you might find it a bit daunting at level 5, so just keep it in mind if so.


I’m not much further along than you at level 9 but hopefully it comforts you to know we move at about the same pace. As I’ve leveled up I am noticing there are more recognizable and legible kanji in the lessons to the point where I can do more than my normal 5 per day but I do try to do at least those 5 new ones. I feel like the pace is fine for me and I don’t want to get bogged down with too many reviews to handle to the point where I can’t keep up and/or feel like I shouldn’t do my new lessons for the day.

The pace can feel disheartening when you start to think about how long it’ll take to finish but I try to remember that ultimately it’s just about progress and I do see that I’m making progress. Also, I’ve seen some of these posts saying they completed the course in some ridiculous amount of time and that’s just unrealistic for anyone with a average amount of free time.


If you notice yourself instantly forgetting something, take a minute (literally 60 seconds+) and think about the word. Say it outloud, make sure you can stop thinking about it and then recall it again, allow it to echo in your mind. Make sure you’re able to visualize the scene in the mnemonic, and if something else comes to mind, center on that instead; this is about you and your experience. Even if you do visualize it, make sure that visual means the meaning, and that you don’t (later) remember the scene but have no idea what it’s supposed to convey. It has to be personal enough to mean something to you in your own frame of reference.

Keep your mind relaxed and unhurried, in a natural and accepting frame. Really, 60 seconds is a very short time to learn something. Take pleasure in each word, each individual part of your knowledge. If you think that it doesn’t matter, then it won’t.


Here’s a speed breakdown

you will hear people talk about “fast” levels and “slow” levels. Remember that you have to get n-3 kanji to guru status to complete each level, where n is the total number of kanji taught in the level.

If a level is “fast” that means that n-3 kanji are taught immediately upon reaching that level. You don’t have to complete any any radicals in order to finish the level

If a level is “slow” it means you start the level without enough kanji unlocked and you have to get enough radicals to guru status in order to have access to enough kanji to level. Slow levels take generally twice as long as fast levels because you have to guru radicals and then guru the unlocked kanji.

Vocabulary is not counted toward level completion, so it has no bearing on speed. In the simplest terms, count how many locked kanji there are when you start a level. Are there 3 or less? Great! it’s a fast level, and you can finish it in roughly half a week if you get it right every time .

Are there 4 or more? No problem! It’s a slow level and will take closer to a full week to complete.

Perfect fast level (no misses)
3+7+24+48 = 3 days and 10 hours

Perfect Slow level (no misses, two waves to guru)
6 days and 20 hours

And of course, remember that missing sets you back on point, so a miss right before guru hurts MUCH more than a miss right out of the gate.

This is more valuable then all the math I threw at you. The gamification of this site is supposed to make the site fun and engaging to help you learn, not to create a sense of races and leaderboards. We are not in competition. Your only opponent is yourself.

Just try to be better than you were yesterday, and keep doing that until better loses meaning


Maybe write down everything you learn from WaniKani into a book? It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me. It’s like taking notes in class. Try to make your book as colourful as possible as your brain is more attracted to neat and colourful things.

I also try to recall some kanji and vocabulary when I’m not doing reviews. It’s not a lot, but thinking of a word or two that you struggle at can help.

Most of all, try your best! I’m rooting for you!


Team Snails is always open


I’ve been doing Wanikani for a year and I’m up to level 17. Similar number of lessons per day as you, and similar percentage correct (around 80%). It feels slow, but the system overall is working for me and I’ll eventually get to 60 even if it takes 3-4 years. My suggestion is to get to a level where you’re able to start reading/watching/listening to Japanese content then let that either reinforce what you’ve already seen, or learn new kanji before Wanikani presents them.


Thanks everyone for the wonderful replies, hopefully if anyone else has similar concerns they can read your replies and feel better as well.

2 Likes helps keep me motivated.
I started out with 10 days on averege to a level up. I thought that was a good pace and got slower at level 10-16 - then I started using wkstats and realized that if I keep up that slower pace, I’d finish like a year later than I thought I would, due to the cumulative effect - if you lose one day each level, that’s like 2 months over the course of 60 levels - that was a wake up call for me.
Overall right now I’m sitting at an average of 10 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes to a level up. I’m trying to bring that time down, but sometimes a level is just being annoying or life happens, or both.
My personal takeaway from this realization was to go harder, to get it over with faster - so I can reach the point quicker when I actaully can use the knowledge and reap the rewards of my work - to keep me motivated and to keep me from forgetting old burned Kanji and vocabs.

You know best what pace is sustainable for you. But personally I try not to get lulled into a lazy mode by all the encouragement some people give around here, telling others that it’s OK to go slow. :wink:
I know they do it with the best of intentions, but personally I always remember my English teacher back in school - whenever we complained about too much homework, difficult tests etc. she’d just tell us “you’ll manage” - and somehow we always did. I think that’s a better mindset. Sometimes you just need to go hard for a while, and you will manage.
Insert “Just do it” and “don’t give up” memes here. :wink:


I have an average level up time of roughly two weeks, and I do 10-13 lessons a day (generally 10 vocab and 3 kanji). If you want to go a bit faster, doing at least 10 lessons every day would probably allow you to increase your level up pace. That said, I think going slow is fine! It’s better to go slower and be able to keep up with the work than risk going too fast and burning out and quitting.


I don’t think there is a measure here. It’s YOUR journey. The person who said ‘tenacity is the key’ is right. Any progress is progress. Some people have more time at a computer to be able to do these reviews as they come in. Some people are gifted with eidetic memory. Some people have kids and responsibilities that slow them down (or cats laying on their computer). You would have to know all the variables to truly guage whether you are “slow”, “fast” or “choudoii”. This is a wonderful site with amazing people. I say keep going slow but keep going!


TRUTH! Why would you have a word that means behind mean after!?? I can’t get those either. Past previous before after…


I wouldn’t worry about speed at all to be honest. But, it is all goal-dependent with that being said.
So if you don’t need to rush, just take it at your own pace. Using myself as an example, I started out around your sort of pace, 5-10 lessons a day, but then I started to push my boundaries and see how much I could handle which upped my leveling pace a bit.
Did I need to rush to level up? Not at all, BUT I also started consuming native materials and that pushed me to improve NOW. With all this said, I say you’re doing just fine.

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