Question on Lessons

Guruing all vocab before you even start working on radicals will make your minimum level up time like twice as long. If that’s cool with you, then do what works.


I believe I already answered this, but let me try again. Do your lessons without waiting arbitrarily. If you get overwhelmed and want to slow down, fine. But don’t wait just to wait.


Okay sorry if I missed that. Thank you that is what I was looking for.

So would that mean taking up all the vocab at once? Or doing a certain amount of lessons a day, because I’m still trying to figure out the whole “do lessons/days you want to get finished”. The reason why I still don’t understand that is because it only lets me take my lessons in a certain order which doesn’t line up with going into the radicals immediately unless I go through all the vocab lessons first.

Hello! :slight_smile:

The reason why I separate the vocab from the radicals/kanji is because vocabulary don’t interfere with leveling up. Only radicals and kanji do. You could literally not do any vocab lessons and just do radicals and kanji and still level up up to level 60. Mind you, this is far from productive and it would hurt your learning of kanji. The vocab reinforces the kanji tremendously. I was just giving an example so you understand that vocab has no interference :slight_smile:

In practical terms, only kanji matter to level up - you need to Guru at least 90% of the kanji from your current level at least once. Some kanji get unlocked the moment you level up. This is because you’ve already been taught all the radicals that they are made of in previous levels. Others are only unlocked once you guru the radicals of that new level (I called these kanji “2nd batch” on my Guide).

In order to take a kanji from lessons to Guru I, you need at least 3 days and 10 hours (4h, 8h, 23h, 1d23h). Taking this into consideration, it means that the moment you do the lessons from the 2nd batch of kanji, you’ll probably be leveling up in about 4 days or so (depends on the speed, how often you come to Wanikani, etc) because you’ll probably reach the threshold of having guru’d 90% of the kanji from your current level.

The thing is, it’s probably not best to focus too much on the radicals and kanji and level up too soon, leaving a pile of incomplete vocabulary lessons left to do.

That’s why I recommend calculating vocab separately. If you know that your pace for leveling up is 10 days (you’ll learn what your pace is as you gain more experience, don’t worry) and you have around 100 vocab lessons on your current level unlocked/yet to unlocked, then you know that in order to keep up with lessons, you should do 10 vocab lessons a day. This way, you don’t level up and have to face an overwhelming pile of lessons, you won’t get behind in your studies.

Now after this overwhelming explanation :sweat_smile: let me try and simplify things for you:

In order to level up, you need 90% of the kanji from your current level guru’d once, correct? In normal levels, there’s between 30 to 40 kanji in each. This creates a rule of thumb: if you leave 4 kanji lessons left to do, you won’t level up (because it’s +10%).

What you can do is just do all your lessons freely as you wish, knowing that the moment you’ll do your last 4 kanji lessons, you’ll level up 4 days later +/-.

I advise you to do the radicals the moment you level up, and then proceed to do kanji and vocabulary lessons as you see fit. Make sure to do those 4 last kanji reviews around 4 days before you wish to level up. If you wish you level up every 10 days, do those 4 kanji reviews on Day 6.

PS: You could simply not care about this and just do lessons as you see fit. My guide was written as an attempt to simplify things for users, so that they can control their WK routine a little bit better (instead of not knowing why and how things happen). The most important factor to succeed on Wanikani/Kanji learning/Japanese learning is consistency. Show up every day to learn a bit more and with patience you’ll reach your goals :slight_smile:

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You need a script to modify Wanikani this way. I mentioned it on my guide.

Here’s a good one (that I actually recommend more now than the one I linked on the guide):

Let me know if there’s still something causing you confusion :slight_smile:

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I mentioned a few times how that’s the default and how to change it if you want…

Thank you so much, that helps me out a ton.

So just to clarify and summarize what you’re saying so I can make sure I got all of it down, basically do this:

Say if I wanted to level up every 7 days what I would do is I would do my radical lessons and then do kanji lessons (so say there were 40 kanji I would do 35 of them on the day I guru my radicals) and then I would do the last 5 kanji the next day. This would then give me vocab without leveling me up even if I guru my 35 kanji, and I can start those lessons on vocab that day. Then I guru my kanji on the 7th day and I can start my radical lessons that day and do those lessons with continuing vocab lessons from the previous level.

Is that basically what you are saying?

Also - I installed the script but I can’t find this gui:


I’m assuming that gui is for how you set up the mix of radical lessons with vocab lessons.

Thank you!

My recommendation for levelling up every ~7 days (if you wish to) is:

  1. Do all the radicals first (with that script).
  2. It will take you 3.5 days to guru the radicals. In that time, do at at least ~1/3 of the level’s available kanji each day (this will be more later on; early levels don’t have as many kanji available at the start). Once you guru the radicals, do all of the newly available kanji relatively soon after, if possible.
  3. Do ~15-25 vocab each day, trying to avoid letting too many accumulate. This number is fungible, but keep an eye on the varying difficulty of vocab. Some are dead simple and effectively don’t count because there’s nothing to remember (like a suru-verb form of a previously known word), while others are harder (new kun’yomi readings, unintuitive meanings, and words with similar or synonym meanings). Be wary of taking on too many new difficult vocabulary per day.
  4. It’s okay to start the radicals for level N+1 while you still have some vocab left using level N’s kanji.
    But if you guru those radicals and get to the kanji that use them – and still have unlearned previous-level vocab – you’re now behind and need to slow down to catch up. Getting vocab too far behind is bad juju (because the vocab help you remember the kanji long-term, so you should be trying to learn them within a few days of guru-ing the kanji).
  5. Don’t get too obsessed with doing every level at max speed; even if you are dedicated, there will be times (whether due to your RL schedule, getting behind, or difficult levels) that you will need to slow down. Getting lost in a backlog will make you far more likely to quit when things get more difficult, and at level 3, you do not have the ability to judge how well you’ll handle later levels at max speed (by level 20 you will have around ~200 reviews per day, for example). This doesn’t mean don’t try – but be prepared to give yourself a breather if and when you need to.
  6. Try to avoid getting significantly over ~100 apprentice items at any one time. This won’t show up much at your level, but later on, you will forget items that you learned a while ago, causing them to drop back down. If you keep getting them wrong, they will drop back to apprentice. Having a large number of apprentice items is a sign that you’re going too fast – either through picking up too many lessons at once, or through too many old items tumbling down and getting mixed in with new lessons. As the number of apprentice items increases, your ability to learn those items will tend to decrease due to sheer saturation. This effect also tends to discourage people and is responsible for a lot of people quitting.

Thank you, this helps a lot.

I have set aside at least 4 hours a day to studying Japanese, so I’ll have a decent amount of time on my hands to study. That’s not saying that I am confident doing levels in 7 days because I’m already feeling a little overwhelmed trying to figure out how to manage my lessons and reviews.

It kind of sucks because I’m at a low level so I can’t actually understand too much the 15-20 vocab a day thing because I’m getting all my vocab for the previous level at the beginning of my new level so I don’t really know where to go from there.

But basically what you’re saying is that at higher levels you are able to do vocabulary from the previous lesson at the same time you are going through the next level, correct? So hypothetically let’s say that I’m level 5 and I have no lessons for vocab - I have a clean slate and everything is caught up. I go through level 5, and I guru all my Kanji. Now I have all the vocab to learn for level 5, and I’m in level 6 with radical lessons available. What you’re saying to do is do my radical lessons on day one and some kanji lessons (1/3rd kanji) and then 15-20 vocab lessons? Then the next day do 15-20 vocab lessons and 1/3 kanji, and then 3rd day do the last of the kanji and continuing the 15-20 vocab lessons for the rest of the week. That would then come out to me finishing all the vocab (up to 140) by the time I finish level 6… which then I would do the cycle over again.

That makes sense to me, but I want to make sure that is what you’re getting at and I’m not leaving anything out. I feel like basing routine off of someone else’s and then modifying after I get started on it is going to really help me out, then just going straight in with my own methods since other people here have much more experience.

Thank you.

It shows up during lessons.

The most important thing when using a script like this is to not get behind on vocab. Don’t get so caught up in leveling up that you forget to learn all the material. (I’m not saying you would do this, but sometimes this happens so it’s a general warning.)

I’d personally recommend learning all the radicals on day one, and then doing something like 5 kanji and 15 vocab a day (when available), or whatever ratio works for you. The more you do, the faster you’ll level up. Doing 2-3 times as much vocab as kanji per day ensures that you won’t get too behind on vocab lessons for long.

Would you mind looking over that and compare it to what you’re thinking? I just want to see if I understand what you guys are talking about so I’m not thinking of something else and end up going about it all wrong. Thank you.

Yeah, that’s basically the same thing. I think you’ve got a good enough idea at this point to try it. Come visit us again in a few levels if it’s not working out the way you want. And don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy if you need to. :slight_smile:

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Thank you, I think it was just a little bit confusing because I’m not at a high enough level to get what truly goes on yet. I’ll definitely be surfing the forums a lot so hopefully you guys don’t get tired of me haha. Hopefully soon I can start helping people out too.

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The huge number of vocab words that you got when you leveled up were not from reaching level 3, but from guru’ing a bunch of level 2 kanji that the words use.

So it’s possible to space out vocab lessons better by guru’ing more of the current level’s kanji sooner (before you level up) and unlocking their words. Since each level’s kanji are effectively divided into two sections – those immediately available and those available after you learn the new radicals – you can aim to guru all the immediately-available kanji sooner, and then take care of their vocab while you work on the radical-unlocked kanji.

Okay, so there’s critical clarification necessary here. Firstly, all vocab on level N will show up (in the default lesson order) after the kanji/radicals at that level. Secondly… that vocab generally falls into two categories:

  1. Words that get unlocked when you guru a kanji, no matter what level you’re on. So for example, if you guru a kanji on level 5, it will unlock level 5 vocab using that kanji. There are usually at least 2-3 of these per kanji on any given level. This is easy to confuse at first because you will often get to level 6 at the same time as you guru many of the level 5 kanji! But they’re still level 5 vocab, and you can tell because (if you use the default lesson order) they’ll show up before any new radicals/kanji.

As you get to higher levels, you’ll notice more of these unlock before you actually level up.

  1. There are some vocabulary that are still level N vocabulary, but don’t actually use any kanji from level N. Most commonly they’re extra vocab that use kanji from level N-1 or N-2, but there’s no strict rule here. There are fewer of these than category 1), generally.

As an example, I’ll give a typical experience around my current level:

  1. I guru 10 or so kanji on level 20, then level up. This unlocks about (note: these numbers are made up) 40 vocab on level 20, 10 radicals on level 21, 20 kanji on level 21, and 20 vocab on level 21.
  2. I do the radicals immediately, a few of the kanji, and start working on the 40 vocab from level 20.
  3. By the time I guru the radicals, I have most of the kanji learned, all the level 20 vocab learned, and I’m beginning to unlock some level 21 vocab from guruing kanji that were available at the start of the level.
  4. Eventually I guru 90% of the kanji and advance to the next level. The process repeats.
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So basically you are able to finish the vocab from level 20 before you finish level 21? When you get higher up in level does you basically are still doing (20) vocab a day and that can roll over into the next level?

Just what you’re saying is do vocab every day no matter what because you will get behind. Since vocab doesn’t matter (in terms of level), they can and should be done every day. So basically I’ll never have a day off of lessons in vocab, but days off of radicals and kanji?

Am I understanding it now? Or was did that come out confusing, I was just typing as I was thinking.

I swear some of those japanese only threads are easier to understand than this thread…


im dead lmao

It’s like I said, I make things way more complicated than they should be.

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That’s fair, I tend to be the same way (still remember once in school when I was stuck with a math problem that I thought I needed to get einstein to do it himself, only to see it was as easy as 2+2 after like 30 minutes, I was just looking at it though every harder route)

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That’s about right; you’ll end up with days off of radicals and kanji (at least if you really want to make 7-day levels). But vocab (since it isn’t required to level) can be spread out as you want, and personally I find it easier to spread it out as much as I can to avoid overloading myself.

And yes, I try to finish vocab from level N before I get to the start of level N+2 – if I fail to do that, I need to stop learning new kanji and catch up.