Skip vocab to ensure fast leveling?

My aim is to speed through levels until I reach level 30-ish, where the ration of new kanji to familiar ones gets tougher for me. For this I aim to speed through levels as fast as possible, so level a week.

Until now I have done all my vocab lessons and reviews as soon as they pop up, but as far as I understand, leveling is tied to radicals and kanji only(?). Couple of next weeks will be busy for me, so I’m thinking of skipping vocab lessons and do only radical/kanji. Would this work? I am also using the script to reorder reviews, so I can prioritize radicals/kanji at the first apprentice stages and leave vocab for evenings and do them at a slower pace when I have the time.

Any other tricks to ensure leveling on time are appreciated as well.

Disclaimer: I am doing this because I don’t really encounter any new kanji/vocab yet. I would not recommend skipping anything, if you are a beginner.


Other people have done this, based on their complaints of 2000 outstanding lessons.
You can level at the same speed whether or not you do the vocab. There are extensive instructions around for faster leveling. The most important thing is to catch those 4 and 8 hour reviews of apprentice items.


I’ve leveled in one week intervals until recently and never skipped any vocab. Even now, when I’m leveling every 3 and a half days I don’t skip vocab.

It’s important to do the vocab associated with the kanji or else it’s going to be difficult for them to stick in the long run. My advice is don’t do it.


Don’t skip the vocab, for starters if you only do the kanji you will only get one reading for each kanji. The vocal teaches the alternative readings for the kanjis and most Kaji have at least two and some have many more.

Plus the vocab is there to reinforce the kanji. I would know fewer kanji than I did when I started if I didn’t do the vocab.

The game is to learn as effectively as possible, not as fast as possible. When life gets busy, slow down.


I think OP understands how it works and is saying that they only want to do this because the kanji they are encountering are things they already know. Even says they wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner. Consider that there are many ways to use WK and doing all the vocab reviews can be a waste of time if you truly already know the kanji from the early levels.

Ultimately OP needs to decide what they want to get out of WK, and if they are okay with skipping some vocab that’s their call.

I would however suggest taking a look at this guide first: My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 ) by @jprspereira

particularly look at sections 4 - 6 which are about setting a schedule and finding the right pace for your goals. You may find that you don’t need to skip any vocab while going full speed (in fact this is 100% possible and realistic). I don’t know your background in Japanese so it’s difficult to say whether or not doing all the vocab is valuable for you, but by not skipping it’s possible that you could learn some vocab you didn’t already know.

Hope that helps some, that guide has been an amazing tool for a ton of people in the community. Best of luck on your Journey through Japanese!

EDIT: Grammar and Spelling


It’s gonna get harder at level 30 if vocabulary starts to pile up without you doing anything about it. I think the @jprspereira method of doing all radicals first as soon as they become available, then spacing out all first batch kanji and radicals for the duration of the radicals learning time, should help you to ensure fast one week levelling without burning out. Even if you know that level’s kanji and vocabulary, it’s still helpful to re-learn them.


Thank you for the replies everyone. Maybe I should have mentioned in my starting post, but I have a background of achieving N1 in 2013. I’m doing WK purely to refresh my memory and because I passed N1 with around 1000-1200 kanji in memory so I have gaps here and there as well as I have forgotten a bunch of the readings. For this purpose, I’d need to reach level 30 as soon as possible to reach more than 1-2 new kanji per level as well as new vocab.

I also should have mentioned that I don’t intend to skip all vocab forever. Just every now and then to ensure leveling as fast as possible, but working on the vocab at a slower pace than kanji and radicals. (I am a gamer at heart and have a completionism syndrome, so I will need to see the 0/0 mark every once in a while at least :smiley: )

Currently my accuracy is over 99%. Although I appreciate the reviewing process, it will take some time until reviews will get challenging. For now it is just more of a typing game for me, since I know already every word :'D

Until now I have done everything as soon as it pops up (which sometimes means 60+ lessons at once). I’ve tried to get to complete all radicals and kanji as soon as they get available again, until I have gotten them to guru. However, the 4 hour point is harder because I do not have many breaks in my dayjob and I do the reviews on my phone without the script to rearrange reviews. This would mean that until my current work ends (in a month), I have been thinking about skipping the vocab to ensure that I will not have any vocab reviews during those radical and kanji reviews that occur during my working hours. Hopefully this would allow me to do reviews at work only on two days each week.

I’ve thought about doing all vocab in bulk on saturday and doing the 4 and 8 hour marks for vocab during weekend. That way I could time my vocab reviews for evening only, so that they would not clash with radical and kanji reviews.

I read this post! It was immensely helpful in getting the timings to work with my working hours!


I’d advise you to read this :relaxed: The author also passed N1 before trying Wanikani.

Hey, glad you enjoyed it :v:


Since @jprspereira mentioned my thread, I thought I’d just jump in :stuck_out_tongue:

I was in a similar situation as you, in that I got the N1 before actually starting WK. (I technically registered all the way back in 2012 but never finished the first level at the time). For comparison (I don’t know if I mentioned it in the link thread), I knew ~1500 kanji before starting WK.

I feel you. At first, that wasn’t too bad, since the interface was new and shiny, but it did get old around level 30 something. On the other hand, I started getting swamped by stuff I didn’t know around level 50 and my accuracy suddenly went down the drain (well, according to the distribution of my remaining items, level 49 specifically).
That was extremely frustrating. I had to spend a ton of time on the slow levels (those that take 7 days) learning mostly stuff I knew already, just to get to a point where I don’t know things, but only have half the time to learn them. (Plus, I had never used a single mnemonic up to that point, so I really wasn’t used to the WK system). I wish WK could have been customized to be the other way around.
(For those who would like to point out that I didn’t have to keep going full speed, well, by the time I got there, honestly, I just wanted to be done with WK).

So, that all sound very negative, but I want to add that I still recommend using WK and that, despite its shortcomings, it is still the best ressource I know for learning kanji (and I have tried many over the years). It really forced me to acknowledge which kanji I thought I knew, but actually didn’t (no more “oh, yeah, I totally knew that” excuses that you can get with anki). Plus, the community here is awesome, which creates a virtuous cycle of coming back to the forum, which helps you then go do your reviews then come back to the forum, etc.

Finally, to end on a positive note, the ordering on WK is very different from the “standard” way kanji are taught, so you end up seeing a few unknown kanji and vocab at every level. It’s not much, but it’s still nice.


Thank you so much for your answer!
It was actually your post that inspired me to actually get the subsrciption to WK after the first 3 levels, since it gave me the confidence that there will be merit towards the end!

Luckily, I don’t really mind slowing down once I get to “the good part”. Though I also know that the completionism in me will demand perfection and 0/0 as much as possible… I’ll need to re-evaluate things once it starts to get harder, it seems.

I have also skipped WK mnemonics entirely for now. I have some of my own from doing RTK, so I might just use those for meanings once I get to the harder kanji. How did you memorize the new kanji? Did you do it by brute force memorization or did you start using mnemonics?

My history with kanji is weird, since I have learned some via the “textbook way” i.e. repetition and exercises on paper, some by memorization via flashcard/multichoice apps and loads with just encountering them in the wild during my high school exchange to Japan (2006-2007). For example I learnt quite early on that 距離 means distance and it is read きょり, since it was written in every math problem and the teacher repeated the word over and over. I learned loads of words related to different school subjects this way, since in many exercises I had to write certain words over and over again. It is still quite funny to think about it, but I learned words like 二酸化炭素 well before I learned things like how to differentiate between 寒い and 涼しい. :smiley: Of course, back then I did not really know each kanji individually, but afterwards it is easy to figure out readings, since I have seen most of them in some compund word that I know already.

This is a problem with every self-evaluation learning system. I have done this so many times as well. Although with Anki it helps, if the “again” button is not set to be as harsh as it is by default. (It feels horrible to have an item at 1 month interval and reduce it back to 10mins) WK is in a sense gentler since it just drops the srs level by one. Of course, anki can be customized to perform similarily.

Funnily enough, 又 is one of the first kanjis on WK and I didn’t know it :'D It’s been the only one thus far. There have been some random vocabulary as well, like 土星 and 水星 (though, I don’t think those particular vocab are that relevant, it is refreshing to see something new)

ps. oh yeah, I need to add that there is actually sometimes a challenge in remembering the english equivalent for some vocab, since I have learned most of my Japanese not with dictionary but by association. Like, I know that 休学 means that someone is temporarily away from a school, but as I am not native English speaker, I would never figure out that the correct translations includes the word “absence”. Thus I have made some of my own synonym with “simpler english” every now and then. Same with radicals, if the given mnemonic does not match with etymology.


I’m glad you liked it :smiley: I hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

(tl;dr: be a better person than I was and do slow down when things get rough)

I thought I would also be able to slow down when I need too… but at the same time I was always part of the fast “elite” of WK (emphasis on the quotation marks). My hubris kept pushing me forward. Well, that and the fact I wanted to be done as soon as possible, as I mentioned. It doesn’t matter that I knew most of the material, I still had to answer a crazy amount of reviews per day. I was getting pretty close to burning out and my only safe way out of it was to reach level 60 before it happened. (Going fast also means that you get a crazy build up of reviews if you miss even a single day).

Exactly. I actually didn’t know about the anki customization until last year; it might have changed a lot of things in my language learning I had known that before :sweat_smile: But anyway, I don’t have any regrets.

I know, right? There are also a bunch of crazy words that people sometimes complain about (“why do we have to learn things no one uses?”) but I just love them. And you never know when they will actually come in handy.

I feel you. I also learned a lot through J-J dictionaries or looking things up directly in Japanese.
Giving an English meaning to stuff I learned through osmosis makes me sweat bullets.
Like 頑張る? I mean, how much more basic can it gets?
Me: Err “To do one’s best”!
WK: :x:
Me: WHAT??
WK: To persevere!
Me: :fearful::fearful::fearful::rage::anger:


Oh god what? :smiley: Whyyyyy?
I think I’ll cheat with that and just put “ganbaru” as synonym :joy::joy:
For 仕方がない i used “no can do”,. since other definitions were something I’d certainly forget in a hurry :sweat_smile:


I did that! And for some other vocab as well (just don’t remember which ones).

I started WK only about a month after I started studying Japanese, so not in the same situation at all, but: Hang in there! Also, maybe hang out in the Grammar thread/language section? Answer some questions, ask some questions, I love reading those!

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