There are times when you have a bunch of free time you might want to spend on learning more new items, but are held back by the system. While the way to slow down unlocking new items is pretty intuitive, the way to accelerate, not as much. As such here’s the guide to let you understand how the item unlocking works, so you might use it, or not, whenever you find it might be useful. (Disclaimar: The pace of unlocking new items is designed to best let you learn them by following the schedule of planned reviews. Use at your own risk)
As you progress through the site, you’ll notice the items are split into three types: Radicals (blue background), Kanji (pink background) and Vocabulary items (violet background) (Radicals are shapes commonly used in Kanji, while Kanji are signs borrowed from the Chinese language, each one with an associated meaning, used in Japanese Vocabulary items). Each item progresses through 7 states: Locked, Unlocked (putting an item into lessons), learned states (Apprentice, Guru, Master and Enlightened, the higher you get each item, the less often you’ll see it in reviews) and finally Burned.
Unlocking items works as follows. When you look at your dashboard, under the progress bar for your level, you’ll find lists of Radicals, Kanji and Verbs associated with that level. Under each Radical and each Kanji you’ll find and empty bar, 1 to 4 dots, or a full bar, representing your current progress with that specific item on a scale from got it right 0 to 5 times (it goes down when you get it wrong). Once you get an item to 5 times pushing it to Guru status it unlocks another item. Radicals unlock Kanji, and Kanji unlock Vocabulary items (which don’t unlock anything, but are great for learning the actual uses of each Kanji) and more importantly Radicals for the next level. (You also need to learn 90% of the Radicals for that level to proceed to Kanji and 90% of Kanji to proceed to the next level’s Radicals)
As such the fastest way to progress through the levels is to look up the correct answer on your first 5 tries for each item. This way you unlock stuff as fast as possible, while not really missing much, since the first 5 times will only get you as far as Guru level, and you still need to learn those items during revisions to push them all all the way up to burned. Do try to get the answers right on your own though, since skipping ahead does mess with the SRS method somewhat.
This way you can increase the speed of unlocking new things whenever you have more time and want to progress faster, and just stop when you find you’re falling behind. Keep in mind however that all the unlocked items are added to your review queue and there is no way to skip them.