Question about level efficiency

I am working to make my process with wanikani more efficient so I can level up faster - I keep noticing that a lot of level 60 posts show their level graph and they find this 6 or 7 day clip on levels and I want to match this pace! I had a suspicion that if I were to answer kanji questions correctly for the first 5 times every time that it may speed up my progression. Is this true? Would anyone offer other advice? I am currently reviewing two times a day every day as of the start of this level now that I am subscribed.

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I’m not fast at all, but I think doing 20-25 lessons a day could work, of course guruing your items without mistakes helps, but mistakes usually happen and cheating to avoid them will make you no good in the long run. So I would find a pace you are comfortable with and build your schedule. Take into account though that doing more lessons will mean more reviews and many users get burn out because of it.


Word of advice: don’t force yourself on this pace.

Read the @jprspereira guide and you’ll get what you need.


To level fast you need to focus on getting the radicals guru’d as that will unlock the second batch of kanji. It doesn’t really matter if you get the first batch of kanji right or not on the first try, since you’re still waiting for the second batch to be unlocked by the radicals. After that, it’s all about getting 90% of the kanji guru’d to level up.

As for speed. I don’t recommend looking at other users all that much.

It’s much better to focus on finding a pace that works for you, especially in the beginning since you’re still just getting the hang of WK and SRS. This is not a sprint but a marathon. People burn out for WK, so it’s important to have a good balance between your Japanese studies and everything else going on in your life.


As mentioned, the @jprspereira guide is really good since you need to have a grasp of how the SRS works to get close to that speed.

As also mentioned, there is discipline involved since you have to be pretty rigid with your schedule and the point is to actually finish WK.

The biggest speed boost is from splitting your sessions up into 3 per day in order to catch the first two apprentice reviews.


Personally, I’d recommend speedrunning up until level 18 or so, since that will cover all the most important kanji.

I remember for the first month or two of WK, I was bored and constantly waiting for the next level, while by the end, I was begging for mercy.


Ahh, I hadn’t thought to catch the first two apprentice reviews as the time split on them must be much shorter initially. Thanks a lot for this - I will also check out the guide and learn about how the SRS works. Best of luck on your remaining 2 levels! So close!


Thank you for linking this. I think I just need to understand ‘under the hood’ of how the progression works on wanikani and this guide will help me to optimize my studies and work a schedule into my daily life.


For general efficiency I’d echo that it’s good to pick regular study times coinciding with when reviews will come up. I found for myself that the first review or two make the most difference in memory retention.

But for long term “efficiency” you have to find a pace that fits you. It will likely include making adjustments.

For the first ~20 levels I clicked along at ~8 days per level consistently. Worked fine for me, and that was about the limit of what I could manage. Doable, but right at the limit. Then the burn reviews started coming in… and I was adding on other study of grammar and listening practice and language exchange… and it was too much and I burned out. Burned out of everything with Japanese study for 6 months.

Then I came back from several thousand pending reviews, started clicking right back at ~8 days a level, and did it again, burned myself out. For another 6 months.

Here I am back yet again and much more comfortable taking things at a relaxed pace.

So - by all means experiment with pace, see how fast you can go and what workload feels like. But just remember it’s going to get more difficult both in WaniKani by itself and whatever you stack on top of it. So it’s very possible you’ll need to remember to back off the gas pedal at some point.


I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. Pace is definitely an important topic that I will be monitoring as I continue to study. By the way congrats on 55, you’re so close!

I wouldn’t be able to do a speed run, I make mistakes, a lot, I forget.
but, I also have the time to do a lot of sessions, I can do reviews almost every hour in the afternoon, so one wrong kanji, doesn’t mess up too much.
I’m averaging 13 days a level, but it seems this level (7) might be a bit faster.
Find your own pace, and be aware that at some point, they all come back, first to enlighten them, than to burn them.


To be honest, some people go faster, some slower. I don’t think it’s a race and one doesn’t need to feel like everyone should do 1 level per 7 days :slight_smile: .

The other thing is - what is the ultimate goal in your case? Do you want to master Japanese in other to become the 100th foreign samurai like me? :wink:
Jokes aside, keeping that in mind is definitely useful. While you’re waiting for reviews to come, you can brush up on vocab, grammar, etc.

PS The path of a foreign samurai is a thorny one :stuck_out_tongue:


I definitely feel at this point that the biggest benefit to my Japanese learning would be recognizing most commonly used kanji, so getting through early levels faster is a priority to me at this point. That way I can chat with people on HelloTalk easier and could read Twitter and things like this!

I’m also studying grammar and have a weekly tutor online. I’m at chapter 9 in the genki book and would like to do the N4 at some point (I’ll probably skip past N5)

My initial goals are to be conversational and to be able to read a good amount of kanji so that the next time I go to Japan that I can get around easier and be open to opportunities I wouldn’t have access to without knowing the language.

Long term goal is to pass n2 for the sake of being employable by a Japanese video game company. I make music for games and it’s always been a dream to work for Nintendo- particularly to work on Animal Crossing music, which has been a love of mine since I was young when I first got AC for gamecube back in the day.


One thing to note is that going full speed on Wanikani will leave less time for things like grammar and listening/speaking practice. You’ll notice that very few of the people who went at that pace actually did much outside of WK during that time.

So for your personal goals it may be better to stick to something like a 10-12 day level up speed to give yourself more time for other aspects of Japanese.

Or go hard out and only do WK for a year and then pick up the other parts later.

WK is great, but it only addresses the reading part of the equation. Understanding is something you still have to bring to the table. :wink:


I wonder if these people who blaze through the levels actually retain the information. Maybe one of you can load up kamesame and test your ability to recall (not just recognition).

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Wanikani does not train users on recall, so obviously, a lot of people would struggle. That wouldn’t mean that they didn’t retain the information Wanikani teaches them (recognition).


I use kamesame strictly for recall on burned items and find that I can recall almost everything, even months later. IMHO, if you get a wanikani item to “burned”, you should be able to recall the reading, at least with some thought. Otherwise, aren’t you are just learning the meanings of written Japanese without knowing how to read it?

Wouldn’t that signify that you are not actually learning the material? It’s like “studying” for a test the night before, when you are really only putting it in short-term memory and completely forget the material a week later.

I believe @jprspereira is using recall here to mean: being given an English word, you know an equivalent Japanese word. So, what’s the word for chair? It’s 椅子 :chair:. What’s the word for train? It’s 電車 :steam_locomotive:. You can already recognise these words—both meaning and reading, but are you able to recall them from memory when you see or want to speak about them?

So you could think of recognition as the reading and listening parts of learning a language, and recall as the speaking and writing parts, and they both reinforce the other. Maybe I misunderstood your response.


Remember that the purpose of Wanikani is to teach you kanji. Having recall incorporated in its system would just delay the goal of learning kanji.

But that’s why there are other tools available to work on recall. If people wish to do it so, they can do it there.

Well, are you learning the nuances and the differences between similar vocabulary? Recall is not the final goal of vocabulary mastery either, if there’s even such thing as a final goal.

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