Sad Lesson Crabigator 😔

Still new around here! I’ve been takin’ my sweet time learning (level 4 after just shy of 3 months) and I’d like to speed it up :nerd_face:

Howeeeeever I struggle with getting large quantities of lessons done, maybe only 5-10 a day depending on how similar things are to one another (like 止まる and 止める). I feel like I struggle to remember more than 10 if I try to cram more than that into my head.

Does anyone have any strategies that might help with this? ^^ Or, if I want to try and speed up my pace, should I just try to blow through my lessons and fail the early apprentice reviews till my brain catches up?



Hey! I sometimes have that problem too, especially when the words are similar.

Have you tried doing your lessons in small chunks at different times of the day e.g. 10 in the morning and 10 in the evening? Sometimes, I find that breaking large amounts of info. into smaller parts and having a break between them works.


seem pretty normal to me to do 5 - 10 a day unless you’ve plan to speed run
if that’s comfortable for you, keep it at that
you’ll still soon have over 100 reviews a day even with 10 lessons a day
don’t forget the workload keeps increasing


Hi there, one thing you could try is trusting your memory more and advancing through your lessons relatively quickly once you’ve built that trust. If your mnemonic is vivid enough, it’ll stick, even if it feels like it won’t. You don’t have to use the one WaniKani suggests, although usually theirs is the best. Anything which provokes an emotional response is good. I’m not stopping very long once I’ve got a good image, dwelling on it or choosing another one doesn’t help (at least for me).

Also I’m finding I do better if I build on any existing mnemonics - sometimes WK does this but sometimes the reading/meaning images are a bit unrelated and I’ll tie them together so remembering one is enough to remember the others.

Using this strategy I’ve been doing all lessons as soon as they’re available and yes, messing up a small portion of the first round of apprentice tests, but not really many failures after that.


Everybody has a different capacity to memorize stuff. It is OK to look at what others are doing but you should be prepared that some of the ticks suggested by people might not suit you when you try them out. You will need some trial and error to find a routine that suits you.

Personally I have no problem doing from 30 to 45 lessons in one go. There is no special trick, I just do it and it works fine for me. You are clearly different and there is nothing wrong with this.

There is no obligation to go fast. If you need to be slow to increase your retention then by all means go at the pace you can sustain.

There is a downside in doing a large number of lessons. The review workload increases because every lesson taken becomes reviews afterwards. Most people find important to keep the number of lessons down to avoid review overload. Personally I keep my lessons around 20 even if I can do more for this reason,


I know I remember 生’s vocabulary pronunciation just because eggs were briefly mentioned in one of it’s examples iirc :sweat_smile: I do generally find the WK mnemonics more than satisfactory though. As long as I can remember them, which sometimes I can’t, but oh well.

Thanks for the quick responses y’all :smile: I suppose I’ll just try to be as consistent as possible with 10 lessons a day, and maybe try to work up to 15 or 20 eventually!

This actually works, and I’ve done it unintentionally. Before the pandemic, I used to take like a van to school and did WaniKani on my way there. If there were too many reviews or lessons, I’d then like walk to my class or wherever then continue. If I ever got exhausted or there were too many, I’d just do it later whenever I was free. Sometimes I even did it during class. :joy:

A good strategy is to take little mental breaks, make sure that you actually learned stuff from the Lessons, and if you feel somewhat uncomfortable, don’t worry; the reviews of those of those lessons will be a refresher and before you know it, you (usually) will be able to learn them with ease.
I’ve been on a little hiatus with my lessons, but from what I remember, I really pushed myself to do all of them when I had the chance, even at absurd times which somewhat burnt me out when I hit Level 21 and resulted in me needing to go back to Level 17 to get a breather around a year later.
The best thing you could do is be comfortable and feel like you’re doing the best thing.

As for the similar items, find a key aspect of it that makes you differentiate as easily as possible. Usually, whenever there is that あ sound, that means it is happening on its own and there is not really a specific object. Whenever there is that え sound, that means somebody (like for example, you) is doing it. There are these patterns that your brain can just pick up without you even realizing too."
You have to find a balance between comfort and how quickly you want to learn. WaniKani should feel like a fun hobby to do, and not you just getting mentally tortured. The more you use WaniKani, the more you’ll know what pace works for you.

I wish you the best of luck KayleeG1998! You can do this! You’ve only just begun.


I move at about a lesson per 12 days, which is slower than I would like. Then again, I’m pretty lazy and can skip doing lessons for several days. I’d suggest keeping track of your accuracy when doing reviews and possibly slowing down if it drops too low. I’m happy with anything above 80%. Wk says it’s 95.5 overall, which is averageish. Most of those mistakes come from the first reviews I do after doing my lessons in big chunks and then being too lazy to do the review in 3 hours as I should. And then being too lazy to do the items I failed after 3 hours again. And it still works fine. I would recommend trusting the system to manage your material as it sees right. After all that’s what you’re paying for. Only advice I’d give to someone who gets overwhelmed with reviews it to take a break from doing lessons until the load decreases.

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As far as I understand it, the vocabulary are mostly to reinforce the meanings of the kanji as well as introduce other readings. Looking at your example, 止める vs 止まる, both are allowed to use the meaning “to stop” while only 止める can be “to stop something”. Grouping words together as the same meaning can allow you to move forward rather than getting stuck in a rut (as I was, for months with these words and some others with the same issues). The technicalities can be ironed out later in native content. I now tend to look through the various alternate meanings, find one I find easiest to remember, and stick with it, comparing the ones with the most similarities and making memory tricks for the differences or grouping them together if possible.

As for how many lessons to do a day, that is totally up to how much time you have. You can certainly learn more faster by pounding them. You may even see more of those patterns when tossed together like that. But you’re going to need more review, spend more time learning each one so they don’t become one big blob in your head, and you’re going to be hit with the Reviews mallet afterwards. You’ll fail more up front and have to see them more times. But you will learn them, and likely do so in less calendar time than a smaller number of lessons per day. If you’re spending most of your study time on grammar, textbooks, native content, podcasts, even other flashcards, then going slow through Wanikani isn’t going to hurt you. If you’re putting off other things because you want more Kanji under your belt, then you might want to turn up the speed a bit.


As for similar items I wouldn’t worry too much. They do become more and more similar the futher you move, but your head kind of gets used to seing the differences you would otherwise pay no attention to. Sometimes I can’t even tell what the difference is and have to look at 2 items at the same time, and it helps most of the time.

Just a thought - I’ve been using KaniWani, Kaylee, which is a kind of backwards version of WK where you have to produce the Japanese out of your head when you’re shown the English. I kind of find it helps as it cements things in a different way in my head. It’s more time! But I don’t care if I get any (or all) of them wrong. I don’t worry about getting them wrong.
(I’m starting to think I should use my limited time on something else - but I’m not sure).
It’s free and you connect it to your WK account with a code. There are other similar things too.

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I’ve been using KaniWani since the start! :smiley:
I think it’s proved pretty helpful. At the moment though, I’m irritated with it because 母 and お母さん are both just labeled as “mother” with the hint being “noun” for both of them :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Not really KaniWani’s fault, but prior to answering the prompts are indistinguishable as far as I can tell which has led to many failed reviews.


I have been putting off grammar studying primarily due to vocabulary struggles.
I proactively went ahead and picked up the Genki textbooks and workbooks since I saw them on sale for quite a steal. I would like to start progressing through them; but even with the slow lessons, SRS has proven to be very effective for memorization and trying to learn more vocabulary the old fashioned way for the Genki chapters feels very bleh.

Since I’m only lvl 8 myself, this is a bit of “the blind leading the blind”, but here goes…

I think the best thing to do is to just find a compromise between

I feel like I struggle to remember more than 10 if I try to cram more than that into my head.

and this:

Or, if I want to try and speed up my pace, should I just try to blow through my lessons and fail the early apprentice reviews till my brain catches up?

If you want to speed things up, clearly there is no way around doing more lessens a day.

I think you (and almost everybody) are almost certainly able to remember much more a day.
Increase your daily lessons bit by bit and don’t be afraid on failing some of your reviews (after all, that’s how SRS works).
Once you get to a point where you notice your accuracy in reviews is starting to drop noticeably you should scale back on lessons a bit and hopefully you will have found a good lesson load for you.

That being said, make sure that

blow through my lessons

means do a lot of them at once, and does not meant just quickly jump over them.

  • Be focused on your lessons and nothing else (I always do all lessons at once, and the few times that I can’t bring myself to focus well I always see a significant drop in my review accuracy)
  • Take your time with each lesson until you feel like you’ll likely remember it (this can be everything from 2 seconds with a Vocab that has no new readings to 2 minute with a new Kanji that has a reading that I can’t get in my head)
  • Figure out a way that helps you personally to get the mnemonics to stick (for me this is reading them aloud. Sure can’t do that in public, but hey: We’re stuck in a pandemic, so I’m at home anyways.)

Aha! yeah I know what you mean, it is infuriating. I think you can put in synonyms in the way you can put in alternate answers in WK. And I did think about that. But actually I’ve ended up not caring because if I’ve put in a ‘right’ answer (albeit not their right answer!) it’s still been practice recalling the word. And it’s made me care less about getting everything right (who needs that added pressure put upon themselves). So perhaps that’s made me feel more relaxed when I come back to WK.
Anyway - good luck. I think, just don’t overdo it. This isn’t a race, you’re not racing against anyone else, you’re doing this for yourself. So I say do it at your own pace and absorb it in your own time. The forum is full of clever people who’ve succeeded despite going fast - they make themselves visible (and good for them, well done, that’s excellent). But the forum isn’t representative of everyone who’s done WK - the people who raced and dropped out because they were exhausted / not remembering things, they’re not here. There might be a lot of those people, but we don’t see them. So it gives a skewed view :slight_smile:


If you spent the last 3 months running for 10 minutes a day, what makes you think you could magically start running for 50 minutes a day tomorrow?

A more moderate approach would be to spend the next month doing 15 lessons per day, an extra 5 lessons. The first week or so is going to be tougher, but you may find that by the end of it, 15 lessons starts to feel normal.

However, I would advise the following habits to start now as they will help you in the long run:

  1. Keep apprentice items at a manageable level, say 100
  2. If you’ve got 90 apprentice items, cap that day’s lessons at 10 to stick to that example number (feel free to pick your own)

Apprentice items is a pretty good indicator for your daily review workload. Once get the long tail of Master and Burn items coming up, an apprentice cap of 100 should keep your daily reviews at around 150-200. Adjust that number up or down depending on how many reviews you’re actually able to get in on a consistent basis.

Good luck! :slight_smile:


Thanks for the tips!

In the beginning, I was very chaotic with the number of lessons learned. Sometimes it was 50 and sometimes 10 or zero. One day I looked at my statistics and realized that first I’m overwhelmed with reviews and second there are months when I learn zero new items because of 400/500 items stuck in my review pile.

I’m on my third year with wanikani and I decided to shift to sustainability. Which means to keep my review pile at 0 and to learn 10 new items every day. Even if I feel I can learn more, I stop myself and close the app. Why? Because even if I have this energy today to learn more, it doesn’t mean I will have the same energy for these extra reviews some days later when they appear in my revision pile.

Also, wanikani is just one part of my study pie, so I can dedicate my extra energy to grammar exercises or reading or listening or whatever.

Good luck with finding your own way of doing it! :muscle:


When I get into a situation like this, it’s often a sign that I’m missing some fundamental insight and I need to go looking for it. In this particular case, it’s the recurring pattern of transitive/intransitive verb pairings. (The forum search shows there’s an entire Tofugu article on this particular topic.)

Once I know about the underlying pattern, it doesn’t mean that I’ve immediately mastered all those vocabs using it, but at least the next lessons are a lot more plausible and reviews are less guesswork than before.


Level 27 here. I do about 10-20 lessons a day. The trick for me is I use a script to design my lesson plan.

Usually it’s:

  • 10 vocabulary (easy to digest because it’s based off kanji I know or am learning)
  • 5 radicals
  • 5 kanji

If there’s no radicals available, I will do more kanji or more vocab, depending on how I’m feeling.

You can easily scale this down to do 10 lessons a day, and break it up. This will ensure progression within the level (5 kanji a day will more or less get all your kanji into reviews within a week since there’s usually 30-35 kanji per level) as well as chipping away at your backlog of vocab from the previous level.

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