Should you do all lessons at once?

Hi bushedcroc, welcome to wanikani!
It’s fine to do them all at once, at your level it shouldn’t be a problem to handle it. When I level up, I usually finish the new 120ish lessons in about 2-3 days, because I have to concentrate to do the lessons, so I make the most of it by doing many lessons in one sitting. Some people do lessons everyday (like in batches of 10 or 20), but I personally can’t get myself to do it, because lessons=/= reviews, lessons require more effort and it’s hard to find a space everyday to fully focus on this task.
So it’s up to you and like others said, your goals.

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It depends on how quickly you want to level up. I try to focus on the radicals and the second batch of kanji (the ones unlocked by the radicals) because they determine the level up time. So, I know that if I don’t do my lessons fast enough, my level up time will be delayed. I prefer to spread the lessons through the days (20 lessons a day is a good pace for me), but I try to do the radicals and the second batch of kanji as soon as they appear.

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Exactly, doing the first batch of Kanji asap isn’t necessary. However it does give you a bit more breathing room with the first batch if you do them quickly, as in you have more chances to mess up without messing up your leveling-up speed.

I do the first batch of Kanji over 2-3 days usually, so that the vocabulary unlocked is also gradual.

20 lessons a day is a good general idea, just be sure to do your radicals as soon as possible if you care about speed.

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If my math isn’t wrong, it will take you approximately 11,5 years to learn all the 6000 wanikani’s vocab words if you decide to do them in batches of five and wait until you guru each batch. If that the pace you want, then why not 🤷 Personally, I like learning new radicals/kanji lessons on the day they appear and then dividing however many vocab lessons I have into three batches and learning them over the next three days until I guru the radicals/kanji and get new lessons :smile:

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I would not do all new kanji at once, but I would recommend doing related vocab asap after guru-ing kanji. Personally, I find it cements them far better than doing the kanji of a level slowly, then having to recall something you may have sort-of-learned two weeks ago.
Again, Personally, I do five kanji a day, and vocab as it is unlocked.

This is sort of an advanced strategy, as it requires a reorder script so that you always get vocab first.

Be very careful as you don’t have to look hard at the forums to find people who have used the script the other way to neglect vocab, and have eventually needed to reset their accounts to lower levels.

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The first question to ask yourself is how much time do you have to dedicate to reviews, and when? That’ll help you determine a schedule that you can sustain every day, and to some extent how many lessons you should plan to do (and when). Keep in mind that the workload will only increase as you go.

For what its worth, I did all of the lessons as soon as they were available (or close to it) for the first 7 or so levels, and have a habit of doing all of my reviews every hour. As long as you’re able to do the reviews daily (or better yet at least 2x every day), it’s definitely possible. The vocab is immensely helpful in reinforcing the kanji, so it can be very effective, if you have the time to put in, to do everything at once like that.

As you get further along, you may find, like I did, that this becomes too difficult to keep up (so many new lessons when I leveled up :scream:). A more common strategy for the longer term seems to be to do a few lessons every day (I do 20-25/day, many people do less). Rather than waiting for all newly learned items to hit guru, I have a target number of apprentice items (typically ~100-125) that I try to keep. If I have >150 items at apprentice, I’ll consider doing fewer lessons for a while to get a better grasp of the things I have already learned. If my apprentice count drops below 100, I might do a few extra lessons that day. As you progress, you should get a better feel for how many reviews you can manage to keep up with, and how to space out lessons. I also use the reorder script to get a mix of new kanji and old vocab in my lessons, but yeah—be careful with those…

Obligatory link with some useful tips that might help you to think about how best to fit WK into your schedule, if you haven’t seen it yet:

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Do them all at once.

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Don’t do them all at once. :grin:

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The people telling you to pace yourself are under the illusion that either:

a) Knowledge is static and you live forever, so you can take as long as you want to learn things.
b) You can learn japanese casually.

If you are learning japanese because it’s a fun hobby, sort of like doing crossword puzzles, that’s fine, do as many or as few as you want. If you are learning japanese because you want to know japanese, don’t lie to yourself about what it takes.

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You can pace yourself in WK and still finish it within a very healthy timeframe of 1.5-2 years. I wouldn’t call that (or even 3+ years) unreasonable for realistic Japanese learning by any means. Plus when you say it like that, you’re implying that people who don’t have as much free time in their day shouldn’t bother trying to seriously learn, which is 100% wrong.

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https://community.wanikani.com/t/so-many-lessons/39832

20 is fine to do all at once, but when the lessons start coming in by the hundreds I don’t think it’s even possible to do them all at the same time.

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Or (hear me out…), people who are suggesting that OP pace themselves have come to recognize (sometimes through painful personal experience) that:

(1) most people have other commitments that prevent them from being on WK 24/7/365, whether that’s family obligations, classes, a full-time job, etc.

(2) the number of lessons and reviews increases substantially as you get further along and things start to come back for enlightened and burn reviews. What works at levels 1-5 could become very painful at level 15, or 30…

(3) people just learn differently, and for some slowing down and digesting a few lessons at a time can be more efficient in the long run than cramming everything and failing the reviews repeatedly.

(4) it’s entirely possible to try to do much, get burned out, and have to either reset to a lower level or just give up entirely.

(5) it is also entirely possible to level up quickly while still keeping a more balanced review/lesson load (though it may require the help of some user scripts for maximum efficiency later on). Even so, learning a new language is not a sprint, and you don’t have to go as fast as possible, as long as you make a little progress every day.

(6) finally, I’d add that learning Japanese is not just about doing WK. If you’re not making time to study grammar, read Japanese material, and/or listen to/speak with Japanese speakers, then you’re not fully learning Japanese. There are only so many hours in a day, even for the most dedicated…

Regardless of whether Japanese is just “a fun hobby” or not (btw, something being a hobby does not preclude a person from being dedicated and wanting to master it…), there are still plenty of things that will determine how you’re able to approach WK. None of us can really know what the OP wants to achieve, or what time they have available for study, which is why I think you’ll see a common thread in many of the replies:

Any of our more detailed suggestions are just that—suggestions—which OP is free to consider or ignore as they feel fits with their goals.

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Will you simply be using WaniKani to learn Kanji?

I recommend pacing according to a manageable schedule especially if you use other programs or a related program like KaniWani. Between KaniWani, WaniKani, and Kitsun–I have tons of reviews and lessons to take care of and i’m just at level 4. I also use other programs (paid and freemium) so im learning from multiple sources that have their own lessons and reviews.

It makes little sense for me to do more than 15 lessons (and this is pushing it for me) in a given day on WK. That’s easily 30 new lessons a day if I just do KW & WK alone. I have kitsun set up to do 5 lessons a day, so thats 35. That doesn’t include the games I play or how I normally draw vocab.

I don’t use reordering scripts, but I do use the Leech Trainer Script & Close but No Cigar which helps me get clear on similar kanji and vocab & to make sure i’m spelling things correctly. I don’t worry about making mistakes because I understand that the repetition simply helps me to integrate it faster overall.

I guess I’m asking if its more important to you in your language acquisition to be:

–> as accurate as possible while recalling kanji (therefore deliberately choosing to guru/master only a small set at a time)

–> to simply increase kanji retention and build motivation (therefore exposing yourself to lots of kanji and vocab, getting you excited by increasing the quantity of what you can learn and recognize even if you’re not quite sure what it means…but you have seen it)

–> or to integrate the language at a pace that you can comprehend what you’re reading and writing, as well as finding the time for media and language tools to keep you motivated while learning (therefore you do a mix of small batches while not worrying too much about high levels of accuracy).

Depending on which of these paths (and there are more im sure, like just rushing through it), there are different choices to be made.

Choose according to what works best for you. :slight_smile:

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When I joined Wanikani I prioritised radicals and vocab and got to level 25 in six months. (or close to it). However my vocab was way behind. This was a mistake because after a short break while traveling I couldn’t get back into it easily.

The vocab help reinforce the readings, (except for some vocab that I still get wrong most of the time. I’m looking at you 役人.).

Now I have restarted as they re-arranged a lot of things and I was finding the radicals all wrong after a 2 year break to do an MBA. I find that my optimum metric is “Apprentice” level items. I keep it under 150 as often as possible.

Having said that some days you’ll get 10 vocab readings that are all basically the same, so require no effort to memorise or recall, then you’ll get 2 that leave you stumped for days…

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Let’s just say that, any time you do a lesson, you are signing up to do four reviews over the next couple of days. So if you do 20 lessons all at once, you’ll be adding 80 new reviews to whatever you already have pending. Likewise, if you do 100 lessons all at once, that’s another 400 reviews you’ll have to make time for. Plan your workload accordingly.

(I’ve seen some people recommend throttling the number of lessons you do based on how many items you currently have in Apprentice, and try to keep the number of Apprentice items under some threshold. That’s probably as good a strategy as any.)

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I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more than a hundred lessons yet. I suppose it’s possible if you’re abusing the reorder script, but I think normally the level-up gates prevent that.

To the idea though, it is possible to sit there and do all hundred lessons in one sitting (depending on how much time you’ve got.) Now you might say, sure, but your retention would be terrible. It would, but even if you fail 80% of them at the 4-hour review, and even keep failing some of them over and over, you’re still ahead as long as you ultimately do learn them no slower than you would have doing 20 per day.

The main drawback of learning them in big batches is, your daily review load* is also going to come in big waves later. If you like a steady review stream, doing them evenly day-by-day makes more sense.

I do as many as I feel like doing. Sometimes that’s more, sometimes that’s less, sometimes it’s all of them. My only real rule is “no lessons if there are reviews waiting.” Reviews has to be zero before I do lessons.

*Not average review load, since your average lesson rate is still gated by your level-up speed. But the day-to-day deviation could be in the hundreds.

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The amount of time required to learn a language is far greater than the amount of time required to do all lessons asap and do all reviews at least once a day. Of course, life happens. And that is exactly why you should do all lessons asap and never use “vacation mode” or reset to a lower level. If you are too tired to do lessons, whatever, do them latter. If you can’t get to your reviews today, or this week, whatever, do them when you can. Life is already going to pace you. You don’t have to pace yourself.

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I don’t do all lessons at once. I don’t want to do enough just to level up, but to learn the vocabulary too. I pace myself so I can try to retain what I’m learning. If I do too much at once, things don’t go well.
All depends on what you want to get out of this resource.

If that works for you, fair enough. Different pacing strategies for different people and all that. :slight_smile: I’m sure it will help OP to hear both perspectives. I can say that I’ve done both at different points since I started, and while I now prefer pacing myself to maintain my sanity, I can understand the appeal of your approach. It did work great for me at lower levels. But I also know myself well enough to know that I will get incredibly anxious if I ever reach a point where I can’t keep my review pile at 0. The best way for me to do that right now is to pace my lessons, and plan ahead, especially since I’m trying to include more time for reading.

Also, if I came off as a little too defensive, I apologize for that. I felt like your previous post seemed, intended or not, overly dismissive of those of us who would prefer to pace ourselves and maintain a consistent routine over the long term. We’re all here to learn Japanese, and what works for one person may not for another. So agree to disagree on this particular point, but we can still be friends, right?

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