For reference, I finished level 2 about 8.5 days after starting. However, I wouldn’t worry too much about comparing your pace to others. As long as you can keep up with reviews every day, your pace is likely to settle in to something that’s right for you. It is definitely possible to go a little faster, and many do, but that’s dependent on a number of things: how much time you have for lessons, how much previous experience you have with Japanese, etc.
I try to come up with a new mnemonic of my own that works better for me, and add it to the custom notes section. Either that or just trust the repetition to eventually work its magic I often use the leech trainer and self-study scripts to give me extra practice on leeches too.
I might as well mention I’ve personally found my accuracy went up as I got familiar with the language in general (not the specific vocab). I was about 80% at first but it later went to 90-95 much of the time. So as you just get used to Japanese the general accuracy sometimes improves.
The pace I’m broadly shooting for would be to reach level 60 around the stated time, just over a year, maybe with some change. I am probably not optimizing when I do reviews and lessons very well yet. I also think my specific inaccuracies led to me narrowly missing lesson unlocks a few times, which delayed things further. For reference I’m a 0/0 right now, and have only gone to bed a couple times without that being the case since starting.
Actual free time is not the issue for me, I can and would like to devote more time to study, but WaniKani seems to incentivize about two sessions per day 12 hours apart, whereas my free time is in one big chunk, which has to include sleep. I might be able to do 10AM/10PM, but I’d have to take a break from work each day to do it, and it might be difficult depending on the stack size for that day.
From what you’re saying it seems like scheduling things is the biggest gap I have right now, it might also be affecting my ability to retain the items.
Then you’re going to have to significantly increase your pace if you want to do that. And maintaining that throughout all the levels is not gonna be easy to do. That ‘just over a year’ basically requires near perfection in pacing to reach.
Yeah, scheduling your lessons for optimal review times is what gets tricky. Especially since you’ll literally have to do reviews in the wee hours of the morning at times to keep the fastest pace possible.
If you want to optmize your speed, some days you will have to do three sessions on a day: first, you do at least the radical/kanji lessons of your current level; second, you do the first review of those items; and third, you do the second review. The third and fourth reviews will be on other days at roughly the same time you did the second review. And pay special attention to not getting the radical/kanji of the current level wrong on the reviews, or you’ll hurt your level up speed. That’s the general idea.
Edit: forgot to mention, but the first and second review will be 4h apart and the second and third will be 8h apart.
Getting to 60 took about two years for me, and that was with some pretty long stretches where I did lots of very fast (7 day) levels. I didn’t know any kanji going in and only self-taught. My accuracy was typically in that 80-90% range and I did a ton of reviews a day.
The one year goal is probably only suitable if you are willing to spend a huge amount of time each day (probably at least 3 times a day) doing all reviews as they come up. Even then, at ~80% accuracy, you’ll have far far more reviews than others (with higher accuracy) going for the 1 year level 60.
Hitting 60 in a year shouldn’t be considered a passing grade… it’s getting an A+ in the class.
It depends. Are you completely new to Japanese? Since level 2 is a ‘fast’ level, it can be done in 3-4 days (ish), but if you are starting from zero, it’s not as bad. Are you still learning kana?
Everyone finds their own pace. I’d not worry about it until you’ve got a few more levels down, around 5-6 maybe. Then you’ll start to have a feel for what you can reasonably handle.
Much advice I’ve seen on SRS discussions aim for 90%-ish, but I would say 80-85% accuracy is decent.
So, around level 8, I started using my own mnemonics. You can read about that here. Basically, I created a library of mnemonics for each mora and build a new mnemonic from those if the WK one won’t stick. It seems to be working quite well so far, for me, but I need a few more levels to really get a feel for it, so no promises.
Other things you can do:
Use the Self Study Quiz to practice your leeches. I run through my leaches every couple of days. SRS is ‘efficient’. IMO, doing more outside to get something to stick is fine as long as you only do it for stuff that doesn’t stick naturally.
If you’re mixing up similar kanji, use the Jitai script. It will totally make you make more mistakes at first, but will make you much more aware of what’s important in each kanji and you will improve over time.
I recommend getting the Stroke Order Font for Jitai, or review stroke orders elsewhere (lots of sources). Actually practice writing the kanji, especially the ones that give you trouble. Remembering the Kanji does this, and it really helps lock them into your brain. Penmanship and perfect form isn’t important. Just doing it on the back of your hand will help develop that shape memory. Repeating the readings while doing this also builds memory.
Is the self-study quiz a userscript only feature? Also no, other than occasionally mixing up the slide brothers from Katakana I learned kana years ago through Anki, and retained that well. But I didn’t really have anything past kana when I started WaniKani.
I find I’m probably getting tripped up a lot on on vs kun reading too, again mostly in vocab: I don’t seem to be really learning the rules or building pattern recognition so much as rote memorizing the whole item as presented(and then being unable to make the connection when a similar but different item shows up).
It may have to do with the high number of exception readings in the early vocab, where kun is used when on would normally be used, vice versa, or some totally different reading is how it is for this word. Basically I’m not recalling the rules because I rarely see them followed.
Yes. You can find it here. You’ll also need this one to select leeches. I use it mainly for leeches, but sometimes I’ll review current level kanji if I’m having a lot of trouble sticking.
So, I did Remembering the Kanji years ago and have forgotten most of it. It only drills the meanings, though. I’ve also had a bit of Japanese elsewhere. So the early levels of WK for me were really easy.
Without that background, those first few levels have a lot of gotchas. Numbers have so many exceptions and when to use each reading for 人, for example. You probably need to brute force/make up additional mnemonics for those. There have been a few threads on rules for 人, 日 and 月 that can help. They’re not really random, and knowing the rules will help. My trick was to pick a specific mnemonic for each reading that I incorporated into the vocab mnemonic to help. For me, にん is ninja, じん is djinni for 人, for example. Create ones for contractions, long/short vowels and rendaku as well. That can really help.
I recommend reviewing the readings when you hit the kanji lesson, but only focus on the primary one. Learn the others only in context. That keeps the brain melting to a minimum.
I found a lot of the issues that seemed super annoying in the first levels just… go away as you get further in. You will build a sense for when contraction will occur, for example. And when different readings are going to occur. But if you’re like me, that won’t really kick in for a few more levels. And then you’ll find new things to gripe about, trust me. No spoilers, though.
A few last things:
Persevere and these problems will pass.
This is brain exercise. Your brain is right now a couch potato when it comes to Japanese. It’s ok that it’s a little hard at the moment. Give your brain some time to build up mental muscle.
Learning the kanji is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself so you don’t burnout. You can’t know your pace right now, since you haven’t built up enough review backlog. But you’ll get a sense for it over the next several levels.
Once you feel you’ve hit a comfortable pace, stick at it. Only increase speed/intensity slowly. Doing a bunch of lessons quickly leads to a tsunami of reviews later. You’ll drown.
On the other side, slow up if you feel like you might get overwhelmed. Finishing slowly is hugely better than not finishing at all.
I’m going generally “as fast as possible” and it’s not that uncommon for me to have review sessions on the 80% range. I don’t think that accuracy itself is too much of an issue.
The bigger issue is the number of reviews you eventually have to do. I never have less than 200 reviews a day. I think it’s critical that you complete your reviews as soon as you can, and clear them out before you go to bed if possible. Lower accuracy means you’ll end up doing more reviews, and that eats into your time to add new lessons.
The Apprentice level reviews are the most important to do on time for maximum retention, so it can be beneficial to schedule your lesson time to either in the morning or the evening. If it’s in the morning, you can do 8AM -> 12PM -> 8PM review for new lessons, then try to hit the next two reviews as soon as they arrive to unlock more lessons. Or, do 6PM -> 10PM -> whenever you wake up. If you’re trying to go as fast as possible, you’ll end up needing to do both in order to hit the review timers. Going that fast usually requires some script abuse, and probably isn’t the best for your comprehension.
These early lessons are the best time to drill a schedule into yourself. The crabigator is cruel and requires feeding at least daily. Don’t add lessons if you can’t clear your reviews.
Leeches are a thing I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with. I don’t really find WK itself does enough to squash them, you’ll need to go back and read the lesson descriptions or use a script to quiz yourself to get enough exposure to them.
Ultimately, the goal of WK is to read Japanese, so if you find you somehow have down time from WK, then go read something!
Don’t try to learn the rules. Just learn the words as they’re given for the first many levels. The “rules” will start to become apparent subconsciously, zen-like, and then you will achieve enlightenment.
No but seriously, there are many exceptions, but the more you do the more you start just automatically guessing right more often than not, and exceptions being exceptions, stick out in your mind more.
I think you’re going a bit slower than average, but the range is really large. You’re not the slowest. Slow is fine. I think the ‘finish in one year’ goal is unrealistic at that speed, though. Also, 80-85% accuracy isn’t that bad for apprentice items, but it’s going to be tough to sustain that through the whole process if it doesn’t pick up in the guru/master/enlightened levels. Maybe for the trickier ones, come up with mnemonics that work better for you?
If you desire to move at a faster pace, consider setting alarms for reviews and completing lessons & reviews outside of that large break you have set out for yourself. Figure out how to fit in WK before/after work, during commutes, when you go to the bathroom, waiting for food, in between errands, during commercials of your shows, etc.
The most helpful scripts for me have been Jitai, Self-Study & the Leech Trainer. I also use Kaniwani. I find that these really help me to focus on what I have difficulty with when it comes to accuracy. Though I tend to be at the 90% range on average, I just dont focus all of my language learning on WK and spread it across multiple programs.
There are a few different “reach lvl 60 by x date” threads & teams to help with figuring out an appropriate pace that works for you. Browse the forums and find a group that you’d like to join to motivate you.
You seem motivated now, but once you reach higher levels, reviews will pile on you everyday and it’s a complete grind to get through 100-150 reviews a day. I tend to do 10-15 lessons a day and try to get through all my lessons, I still end up spending at least an hour a day doing everything.
You wanting to finish in a year, you would have to 2x or 2.25x what I’m doing now. You’re looking at a lot of time everyday. Is that something you want?
Not trying to be a debbie downer, but it’s the reality of what I’m going through.
As for accuracy, it doesn’t really matter. It’s the SRS system at work. If you don’t know something, you don’t know it. Get it wrong and let the SRS system do it’s job.
Without knowing the details of your schedule, I wonder if it still could be possible to do 3 sessions per day. Fitting 8 hours of sleep in between the second and third sessions could look something like: 6 PM -> 10 PM -> 6 AM.
That schedule is within the realm of possibility.
As for others who asked, I’m not especially concerned about spending too much time on Japanese(WaniKani or otherwise), it’s just a bit rough right now because as I’m keeping the stacks at 0/0, doing lessons the moment they are made available, etc. it seems to me that I’m doing something wrong. I appreciate the suggestions further up in the thread as well, and will try to include some userscripts to optimize things a bit, I HAVE read the ultimate guide front to back, and am trying to implement what it does a bit at a time, while taking to heart that it says to just get a feel for it until at least level 10…
For more targeted observations: it feels like I need to review more often than WaniKani has me do so, especially for numbers vocab. All of the counting/day/date type words ruin me, I usually just go straight to guru on words that are not related to numbers. I can fail these twice in single session, and quite often I remember the mnemonic but not the actual content or how the mnemonic relates. I don’t think any counting or day related vocab has not ended up in critical condition at some point, and even the ones I get right I have to think really hard to recall them, which is frustrating because I can tell what they all actually mean at a glance.
So is it the readings of the numbers vocab that is giving you the most trouble? It’s pretty tricky with the two different number systems and the pronunciation exceptions. If you don’t have a grammar book you’re working through (if you do, you’ll get to them all eventually), you might want to check out some of the Tofugu articles on the subject.
My personal experience was learning most of these in a Japanese class, where we practiced counting 1-10 with each counter by rote. After a lot of practice, we would then be asked to shout out a specific number/counter combination. You could do something similar on your own by chanting them, then making mix and match number and counter flash cards to test on random combinations. And/or just try incorporating Japanese counting into your daily life. It will come with enough practice