'Speed Demon' or 'Slow and Steady'?

I go really slowly. If I can’t recall a kanji or vocabulary, I take the time to write it out so that I at least practice writing the radicals. My recall is noticeably better since I do that. I also try to force myself to recall multiple meanings, not just one of several. My goal is to learn, not to reach level numbers. Still, the level ups keep me motivated.

I thought I was going fast. I review as much as possible (usually several times a day) and I do all of my lessons immediately. I got to level 6 four days ago, but my retention hasn’t been great. I just got my first group of guru radicals/kanji this morning. I think it will be longer than three days until I hit level 7. Do the people that can do a level a week have eidetic memories?

I’ll be honest, I “cheat” on the current level’s kanji & radicals just to keep up the pace.

In spite of that, by the time I unlock a new level, I usually retain about ~75% of the kanji (instead of the 90% goal that WK looks for). Then, the newly unlocked vocab quickly solidifies anything I was flaky with, especially since that vocab also starts appearing in Kaniwani reviews as well. If something still isn’t sticking for some reason, it’s not crucial to my progression anymore, meaning I can safely “miss” it and let it bounce around in frequent reviews until I can finally hammer it out. Kaniwani has been so beneficial that this rarely ever happens though.

The downside is that I have to stay on top of WK and KW reviews, but the payoff has absolutely been worth it. The pace is easy to sustain and even now, at level 25, I can comfortably read a lot of dialogue in Pokémon Sun without looking up very many words.

I prefer to go slow with the lessons, then blast through reviews. If I get a string of reviews wrong, I’ll slow down, reminding myself it is good to think if I don’t know something.

Now I’m wondering if the topic was originally supposed to be about the level-up time or about how fast you answer in your reviews.
My slowest level was level 4 with 8 days and 0 hours, so I guess I can count myself to the faster WaniKani users. During the reviews, on the other hand, I’m sometimes taking up to two minutes to ponder over an answer (sometimes not even because I don’t recognize the meaning, but because I don’t remember the English word for it). But mostly just for apprentice items. For guru onwards, I would prefer to recognize them within seconds.
However, primarily it depends on my mood during the review if I take my time or go fast and error-prone.

Speed demon for sure. Usually, a review falls into one of three categories:
1- The mnemonic for it was well written and/or it’s a high level (master and above) item and so I immediately remember the reading/meaning.
2- It’s an item in progress (mostly apprentice, but sometimes guru if it’s got exceptional reading) so I take 5-10 seconds to remember it.
3- It’s an item from a really long time ago with a poorly written mnemonic that’s still haunting me today, which I never get right, and so I just either “ignore” or type incorrect and move on, depending on how I feel.

So really, I don’t personally see a point in “being accurate” … You either know an item, or you don’t. There’s no “let me take my time remembering it, so my accuracy is high.” If I don’t know an item, I’ll re-enforce by re-reading the mnemonic. That’s imho, but everyone’s different. I’m probably wrong, since trying to actively remember the mnemonic would re-enforce better than just getting it incorrect then reading, but ain’t nobody got time for dat.

1 Like

My objective is not burning out so I try to go slow and steady. I think I’m not that slow but I average between 10 to 15 day. Usually take 2 day breaks after completing a level. I don’t use any external tools or scripts so I guess my progress is alright

1 Like

Speed demon!!!

I slow down from time to time but generally, it’s foot to the floor. What I’ve just realized is that if you really make sure you’ve got the kanji (the pink ones) meaning and readings down (brain tattooed), the rest just takes care of itself. I’m using the core 2000 flashcards on Anki and doing grammar on bunpro. I find that things that were weak on wanikani like random kun’yomi vocab get reinforced by the other two.

It all comes down to how much time you have really. I sometimes get 200 reviews in one day. It helps that I work night shift and basically get paid to study Japanese :joy: If I had more responsibilities I think I’d have to go slower.

1 Like

I’m a slow and steady tortoise who occasionally sprints. I took a three month break and then took about three months to get back on top of things. I was going a reasonable speed for the first year (I’ve been doing Wanikani a little over two years now - or a year and a half if I deduct my break+recovery). Recovering from a break in WK gave me the impression that, previously known kanji can kind of evaporate without maintaining consistency … and so I decided that if I can’t type a reading / meaning within a couple of seconds, then I type あ/a and hit return … look at what the reading / meaning should be to prevent the SRS from levelling up by my own strict two second rule. I have a lifetime membership, so my plan is to get to level 60 … leave it for a few months … and then reset myself back to say level 10 or 20. WK feels like a spoonful of sugar to help the kanji go down … in the most delightful way … and with kanji study kind of being part of what I do everyday … I wouldn’t know what to do with myself once I’ve completed it - although of course there are still many more kanji to learn, other than using Anki or Memrise SRS, I’ll miss the gentle little journey of WK.

I was a speed demon. Then I took a 2 week vacation. That became a 3-month vacation from Wanikani. It’s taking time to get the flow back completely.

My logic is that the more lessons i do the higher the chance of getting words and vocabs that stick in my head immediately, instead of waiting til the hard ones stick.


Well it’s not a black-or-white choice, of course. 99% of people are somewhere in the middle between speed demon and slow demon.

1 Like

Yeah which is also why some of my review accuracy rates drop below 50%.

By the way, why have I never heard anyone else say “slow demon” before? Are all demons really that fast?


I think some people have a pretty loose idea of what slow and steady is. 21 day average level ups, 99% review accuracy average on wkstats and I never do more than 20 lessons a day (usually 10 if kanji, 15 for vocab and I try to do all the radicals in one hit). Doing grammar stuff using kanji helps solidify it and I’ve been reading a VN at a snail’s pace.

I guess it depends on if you prefer seeing a high accuracy or more regular level ups, although to those of you who have very high accuracy and level up quickly, damn it must be nice being a robot haha

Some people have more time on their hands for learning but I don’t have any specific goal or milestones to reach and couldn’t really do more around work.

this isn’t slow at all in my opinion i’m at 13 days per level and i feel that it’s horribly fast, hell i’d want nothing more than spend 30 days per level but the lessons and reviews just keep coming so… i do them, i mean I have to do them anyway right?

I do wish vocabulary counted for leveling because kanjis and their oniomi reading are NOT the problem for most people I think, and I feel that I’m just accumulating massive vocabulary debts by leveling as fast as wanikani tells me to.

But as i said before, If i don’t move forward i’ll just keep playing with leeches instead of moving on to more easy to learn things. But the consequence is this ridiculous ~1000 items in my enlightened/guru that i know i’ll never recall properly the next time they come up.

1 Like

I’ve started setting alarms for when my important reviews come up if I’m not awake already lately. I stumble out of bed, into the office, do just those reviews, then stumble back into bed.

I’ll report later whether or not this has a positive or negative effect on my WK experience.

It feels fast to me, I honestly don’t know how people doing 7 days a level retain anything. I was more referring to the person above who said they’d slowed up to 9 days a level that made my eyebrows go up.

I went slower in the earlier levels but now with other materials involved in my learning I’m still running into a lot of words I already know (probably half or so of the new material, which is why the kanji is harder for me than the vocab); when I get to a point where I don’t know that many words I daresay my pace will get quite a bit slower. That said I still get words I do know wrong because the association isn’t very good; e.g. I know すすむ is to advance, and I know 進 is the kanji for advance, but I still had a brain fart on the reading today and got it wrong because I couldn’t link one to the other. Reinforce mnemonic, try again tomorrow, rinse repeat.

1 Like

Was racing through at 8-day pace, but Master level items from a couple levels ago stopped sticking all of a sudden (probably because items from these levels seem to have been hand-picked to be very similar to one another . . .). I’ve decided to take a breather and haven’t done any new lessons since hitting level 21 a few days ago. I’ll keep doing reviews just so I don’t fall completely out of practice, but I’m enjoying getting my grammar (and, unrelatedly, my music theory) up to snuff and am happy to put WK on a soft pause for awhile until I can do reviews without wanting to scream.

The way I see it, words stick best when you encounter them in multiple places.

Words covered solely by WK are only half-remembered, in a way. Once I see them again in a book, or a game, or anywhere out in the wild, they get cemented in memory. The best way to force this to happen as much as possible was to shotgun everything here as fast as I could :slight_smile:

1 Like