Question about the number of apprentice items

Hi there!

I was wondering if anyone has any idea of how long would it take me to complete Wanikani with different learning paces. My plan for now is to stick with the 100-120 Apprentice items rule, but would it be too much of a difference if I choose to do 150, for example?

I have some experience learning kanji with Heisig (around 500 kanji), so I’m not exactly a newbie, but I wouldn’t say I have that much experience either.

For even more context: I’ve been studying this language for a long time with many pauses in between. I managed to pass the N3 years back, but I was literally carried by my listening score (~55/60 vs ~ 25/60 for reading and vocab, most vocab I just couldn’t read) and I’m aiming to pass N2 next year.

Any recommendation would be helpful!


You should get a feeling on how fast you can advance with 100-120 apprentice items pretty fast. For me, I rarely have over 120 apprentice items and am advancing every 7 days, so pretty close to the least time needed.
I do all Radicals in one batch, then go 5-7 already unlocked Kanji a day + 20 Vocab, when the 2nd batch of Kanji unlocks I do those in one batch + 20 Vocab.
This keeps me at around 120 apprentice items maximum, but I also rarely fail because I already know most items or have at least encountered them before. If you fail a lot, this won’t work anymore. :slight_smile:

1 Like

This is hard to calculate because if you limit your apprentice items, your speed will change depending on your accuracy. In my opinion, the most important thing is your motivation, rather than any set limits. I recommend starting with the rule you’re following now, and then adjust depending on how you feel. Keep in mind that the impact of changes you make now will come back several months from now, so consistency is key!

1 Like

Rather than solely limiting the number of apprentice items, I’d suggest instead to limit the number of lessons which in turn will limit the number of apprentice items and is much more predictable so long as you are consistent with them. That consistency is important because whatever you do now is going to have long lasting consequences much later when things start coming due to move to master, enlightened, and then burned.

The reason I’d suggest limiting lessons directly is that the number of apprentice items changes depending on your accuracy which means you can’t really calculate how long things will take with very good accuracy based solely on the number of apprentice items.

On the other hand, the number of lessons is known and given there are currently 9226 of them, you can expect that if you do e.g. 15 lessons per day, it will take ~616 days, or right about 1.6 years. That also amounts to about 11 days per level.

For some concrete numbers from my own personal stats, I have been doing 14 lessons a day and the number of reviews has stabilized to around the range of 80-100 depending on accuracy. My average level time is about 12 days per level. I chose that amount based on balancing what I know from previous experience with SRS is sustainable for me and finishing in about 2 years. My personal sustainability threshold is about 100 reviews per day as anything more than that eventually becomes super demotivating after doing it for several months and leads to me no longer enjoying it.


I’m trying to do the same, and it seems to me that as long as you always take the radical and kanji lessons the moment they appear (I use the lesson picker), this should not be a problem, because the bulk of the apprentice items are vocabulary and you can space them out evenly over the days while the kanji are waiting to be gurued.

1 Like

I can’t say I’ve seen people on here using the apprentice number as a way to decide how fast to go? :thinking: That sounds hard to calculate, since lots of leeches end up in apprentice (or guru) eventually.

Since you’re still just in the beginning, just do as many lessons as you feel like doing and see how you fare with the apprentice numbers that results in.

Then adjust the number of lessons you do daily accordingly and try to find a level that’s manageable for you with your other IRL commitments. It doesn’t matter if that means having 100 or 150 apprentice items short-term. You do you.

That way you should be able to find a stable pace that you can keep up with for the long run. I think that’s the most important bit really. :slight_smile:


After going through levels 5-9 I think I’ll take my previous statement back. There is so much vocabulary at each level that I don’t think it’s possible to pass a level in a week while keeping the number of apprentice items under 100. Eventually I stopped trying to beat the clock and took over 11 days for level 9. I’m at level 10 and I still have a backlog of about 100 vocabulary items from level 9, so if I always keep the number under 100, level 10 will take at least that time.

1 Like

For reference, I’m level 9 (about 3 days from level 10), and I believe we were both the same level when the thread was created.

I’ve been sticking to 14 lessons a day without messing with the order as I originally posted about a month ago in this thread and it’s continued to work well. The average time is still between 11-12 days per level as expected.

The average number of reviews per day is right about 100. Concretely, I’ve done 716 reviews in the last 7 days, which is ~102 reviews per day. Similarly, I’ve done 3231 reviews over the last 31 days which is ~104 reviews per day.

So, my original post that suggests focusing on a consistent number of lessons per day as opposed to trying to solely limit the number of apprentice items is still holding up.