Schedule for getting to level 30 in a year?

Hi all,

I’ve gotten through levels 1 and 2 in about a week and am pushing through to level 3 presently. I’ve kinda just been checking in a few times a day (finally something productive to replace my social media scrolling, whoo!) and getting everything zeroed before calling it a night (not too hard at this stage). The reviews are starting to pile up and tomorrow’s forecast is hovering around 100. I think, for me, 50-100 daily reviews is sustainable but I’m only a week in so what do I know.

A little background on me: I spent most of this year going through Japanese 1 of LingoDeer (each level completed 3 times). My hiragana’s pretty good, my katakana and kanji are context-specific. I’m comfortable with basic grammar and learning new forms doesn’t intimidate me too much (right now…).

So far, WK has helped cement the kanji I’ve already encountered and learning radicals has been helpful for deconstructing the visual aspect of kanji. What tends to trip me up is the on’yomi and kun’yomi readings; vocab is mostly fine.

My current goal is to up my kanji/vocab skills to a point where I have enough vocab to start reading without it being a total train wreck – though I get that there will be a learning curve to reading as well. I’m thinking level 30 or 40 will get me there as long as I continue to review grammar. I don’t really want to spend more than a year on WK (the studying bit anyway; I’m really looking forward to the book clubs) and would start reading right now if my kanji/vocab weren’t so poor.

In addition to all this, I think I’m a likely candidate for burnout, especially if the positive reinforcement cycle of WK is not kept in check. At the same time, I think that zeroing the reviews is the best way to keep me at it but I can’t really do that when I’m staring down the barrel of 200+ reviews.

So, keeping in mind my current level of Japanese and my preference for zeroing reviews, how do I go about keeping the reviews around 50? Around 100? Is it simply a matter of getting the apprentice/guru ratio correct or should I be more specific about the number of lessons I do in a day? Should I just speed through all the “easy” levels until my Japanese head start runs out? Is level 30 or so achievable in a year at 50ish reviews a day?

I should also mention that I work full time, have a music project, cook a lot, have a moderate social life and try to go bike riding a few times a week. I love languages but this is more of a second side project than anything. Although, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Japan and I have friends and family who have decent Japanese language abilities. Basically, I’m in it to win it but not at the expense of breaking myself.

Thank you in advance for your patience and guidance; Praise Be to the All Mighty Crabigator!

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You can have a look at @jprspereira’s wonderful My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK :open_book: ). You’ll find a lot of tips on how to manage your pace, there!

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I can only speak for myself, but I’m averaging 9 days per level by doing 20 new items maximum per day and an item clear rate of about 90% (sometimes slowed down by not having enough new items to keep going, funnily enough). In just shy under 200 days, I’m advancing to level 23 this evening with about 150 review daily (though right now it’s probably more given the low density of reviews at the start, sometimes it goes as high as 200).

I’d say getting to level 30 in a year with a more leisurely pace might be cutting it close, but it shouldn’t be impossible. Doing 15 new items every day instead of 20 should work well enough if you can stick to a daily schedule.

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You’ll benefit the most from WK if you are able to find 3 time slots (x1 lessons, x2 reviews) for it in your daily schedule. Not necessarily long, 10-15 mins schould be enough but it pays off to do it consistently every single day.

You’ll save so much time by finishing the first few Apprentice intervals as soon as possible.

Based on the amount of time you can allocate to WK vary the number of lessons. You can even skip lessons on some busy days.

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In all honesty, WK vocab does not help extremely much with reading :worried: Of course there are quite a few vocab that you will encounter in books, but the vast majority of book vocab does not appear on WK in my experience. Especially since there is quite a number of words without kanji…
If you want to start reading, I’d suggest joining a book club or using an existing book club thread. The beginner clubs usually set up a vocab spreadsheet, so you can use that to learn the vocab in advance which appears in your book of choice. Also, of course the threads help you along with the already existing answers, plus you can always ask new questions even for old books.
Lastly, your reading ability is rather tied to your grammar skills than to your WK skills, so you might be better off setting a goal according to that. I think N4 / Genki II should be plenty to start with the Absolute Beginner or Beginner book clubs, and if you want to start earlier than that, there are also Graded Readers that contain text matching your skill level.

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Started January 2, hit level 30 on November 2, so I guess that’s a bit faster than you’re aiming. Still, it was just a matter of keeping at it (I regret missing three days in the summer, what was I thinking?!) and not letting things build up. I tend to be bad about not binging on all the lessons as soon as I get 'em, and then just checking as often as I can through the day for any reviews to do. (Flaming Durtles on my phone makes it easy to take it with me.) I’ve got 204 reviews to look forward to today, which would be a pain, but they’re spread across the day so it will only suck if I wait until evening to tackle them. Killing leeches is another good way to keep reviews down, but I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. :stuck_out_tongue:

In other words, the key is to keep at it! 頑張れ! (Which is a word you’ll find in Level 27. Or, y’know, roughly half of all anime.)

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A rule of thumb that I use is keep apprentice items at roughly half of your desired number of daily reviews.

So in your case, I’d recommend no new lessons until Apprentice count is less than 30. That will feel a little light to start with but by the time your first burns come in you should average around 50 reviews a day. The danger of going fast at the beginning is that when the work piles up later on it’s too late to slow down, those fast early levels will be coming back to hit you for months. That happened to me around level 20 and took months to straighten out.

However, 50 reviews a day is probably not going to get you to level 30 in a year. It’s taken me over a year to get to level 28 and that’s averaging 150-200 reviews a day (although my accuracy did take a nosedive after level 20 and I don’t believe reorder/ignore scripts are useful, so YMMV).

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+1 on this.

Some guesswork and crude calculations on my part for level 30 in a year:

  • keep apprentice around 55-60, guru around 300-350
  • this will average to around 14 lessons a day
  • you won’t make it with 50 reviews per day. This schedule gets you around 110-120 reviews per day, assuming an accuracy of ~90%

While it’s fine to set a goal and go for it, I highly recommend regularly checking in with yourself whether or not you find the pace and workload comfortable. That, more than anything else, will determine if you make it. And at the end of a year the difference between level 28 and 32 isn’t that big, and neither is whether it took you 11 or 13 months.

And of course, welcome to the forums and this kanji learning journey!

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Hmmm… and here I thought I would be gaining kanji related vocab…

I’m fairly comfortable learning grammar concepts and vocab that is hiragana/katakana.

I guess my question for you is: what exactly does WK teach you if the majority of the vocab isn’t super useful? Is it just a crash course in kanji to help familiarize readings and meanings? What do you personally get out of it?

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My leveling up schedual is messed up aka not consistent at all almost. I already pass 1 year mark 3 levels to go.
My average apprentice count i would guess was around 70~ 100 item.
I took a lot of days without lessons so.

Wanikani is kanji teaching sites and it does exactly that. Vocabulary isn’t that bad but it main purpose is to reinforce the kanji readings. Other than that it only 6000 vocabs so you probably be missing kana only vocab

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@Artrat @rwesterhof

Thank you for your responses! I will see how this next week goes with level 3 and determine my pace (and continue to re-evaluate) from there. These are good ballpark figures to work from, I appreciate it :slight_smile:

i just levelled up to 30 yesterday and i started march 23rd so a bit quicker than you aim
i missed only one day
i defo have more than 50 - 100 reviews a day

i had to slow down around level 20. no idea if it’s the same for everyone but my guess is that if you want to keep your daily input the same, you might want to consider levels will start taking longer around 20 as well. That’s when the burns come and add reviews to your normal load, and then more when you miss them!

if it took you a week per fast level and it takes you 2 weeks for levels 2 and 3 and you keep that pace, a year will be hard. Either you keep the same rhythm but work more as the workload increase or you slowly increase time per level starting from 8 - 10 days for now and you should finish level 30 in about one year.

Okay; I think I just need more data on myself and what I’m personally up for but a 10 day level seems a good pace to me.

@Stay_coolXD
Overall, would you say WK has been helpful with reading or would it be better to dive sraight into a book club/graded reader? Is the effort of WK worth the dividends you achieve in reading?

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you could have a look at this thread where people look at ways to plot the workload in WK

scroll down for different takes and some debate. it’s fun!

@saibaneko
lol, I will say, one of my favorite things about this community is it’s proclivity towards charts and data :crazy_face:

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Yes, you do, but that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the most common words that are being taught. Nor does it mean that books use the most common words :wink:

Yes, WaniKani’s goal is to teach you kanji, and it does that pretty well imho. The vocab is useful for learning a variety of readings, of course. And I’m not saying that the vocab is not useful at all. But the words are not chosen to give you a solid base of vocabulary, they are chosen to teach the readings. That means, they are pretty unbalanced in level, style, everyday usefulness etc.

It teaches me how to read kanji. That’s all. :woman_shrugging:

That totally depends on the type of books you want to read. If you only read graded readers or books with furigana, then technically you don’t need WaniKani at all. That’s why I said above that the grammar level and amount of vocab you know is much more important at the beginning of the reading journey. But once you dive into books for adults, there won’t be that many furigana any more, and so each kanji you know saves you a ton of time in looking them up. Of course the kanji lookup is even more tedious if you read a paper book compared to a digital book with an underlying dictionary, but even using the dictionary still takes time.
Bottom line: If you want to set out reading, give it a try! Your WaniKani level should be the last thing to hold you back.

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Yeah. It sure has helped especially with books that doesn’t have much furigana (i didn’t join book club) i am mainly reading manga.

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I’m not at level 30 yet, but I wanted to share my experience so far! I started reading on my own around level 4-5 or so, mainly because I was impatient to get into some real material! I find that kind of thing motivating. My pace was incredibly slow because my vocabulary was so small. Even now, I can’t claim that I can read comfortably at all. Not even close. However, there is a huge different between my reading pace now and my reading pace at level 4. Knowing the kanji ahead of time makes it much easier to parse new words! I’ll give a recent example that came up last week for me.

岩塩 - rock salt (halite). This is not taught by Wanikani, and it’s not even a common word.

Kanji:
岩 - boulder (level 15 in Wanikani)
塩 - salt (level 17 in Wanikani)

Since I know the kanji, the meaning is pretty clear! This doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is pretty satisfying. So as for the effort of Wanikani being worth it, I would certainly say so! I have much more difficulty with kana-only words than words with kanji I already know, even obscure ones.

That said, I still have to look up a LOT of words (though that is mostly due to my choice of reading material). The vocabulary lists in the book clubs are really helpful for this, though! I agree with the previous sentiments that you don’t need to wait until being a certain level to read, if that’s what motivates you. It depends on your tolerance for looking things up/consulting lists.

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