Tactics for tackling new lessons?

Interested in what everyone finds the best way to tackle new items is

Do you go through them all at once as soon as you can?
Do you pick up a few a day to whittle down the pile?

This is prompted by unlocking level 6 and suddenly having a pile of 70 lessons to deal with. On one hand my first thought was to start working on them as soon as possible, on the other that would make my review list intimidating until I start getting the hang of the new items. I ended up going for a slightly more restrained approach and have been picking up about 20 each day, but having new ones sitting there and not doing them feels bad.


I’ve seen a lot of people suggest doing between 10 and 20 lessons a day. If 20 feels comfortable for you, don’t worry too much about the other reviews sitting there.

Personally, I like to clear out the lessons as soon as I can. The sooner I can get them in my review pile, the sooner I can get them out of Apprentice. Though, this method can make it difficult to retain some of the more difficult words, and possibly make you level up faster than you might want to.


Most people either do a consistent number of lessons each day, or keep their Apprentice count below a certain number (e.g 100). That way your daily review count will be consistent. There’s nothing wrong with leaving some lessons for later :slight_smile:


Working based on apprentice count sounds like a great method. Having the lessons there waiting will feel much better if I set a concrete “you can do them when you’ve got more things out of apprentice” target rather than it being time based.

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Depends on my motivation. If i have no motivation to learn new words. I do 0 lessons. A little, 5. Decent 10. A lot, 15 (max). I don’t do more because if I do 20 I will end up with 100+ reviews a day which I don’t want to be normal. (I hit that with 15, but if I get burned out it quickly thins out after a couple days of 5 or 10 new words.


Go through all of them as soon as you can!
Ignore the fact that I’ve been on level 29 for a few years. :nerd_face::disguised_face:


Yeah, I want to avoid having too many things in apprentice, because I don’t like getting too much wrong at once because it’s disheartening and I know I’m much worse at remembering the new stuff. (First review after I did the ~35 new lessons I got something like 25% correct :grimacing:).

Escalus suggested using how many items are in apprentice as the trigger for starting new lessons and I think I’ll give that a try. It sounds like a very me approach that doesn’t involve throwing myself into the deep end.


That’s basically what I’ve been doing but getting smacked with a review session with a 25% pass rate meant it was time to think of a new plan orz

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Sometimes it depends on the lessons. I can take 20 new lessons if they have nothing new, for example I know the kanji 台, then no big deal to add 一台, ~台, 二台, 五台 and so on. But if it introduces completely new readings, such as it’s common for verbs, then I definitely cannot take 20 new ones. So you could also limit yourself on the number of “new” items. It’s also an idea to do them all and let the SRS do its job as for helping you learning them. Mistakes are good, they reinforce the learning :slight_smile:

At the beginning of WK I was always doing all my lessons at once but I was using a lot of time on WK everyday, and several times a day so the SRS intervals would be activated and I would easily retain things.
Now, I choose to do only 10 new lessons per day, it’s a bit “slow”, makes me level up around every 14 days when full speed is 7 days, but after level 16 I started to care less about kanji, and want to use my time learning Japanese on the other aspects, vocab, listening, grammar, etc


Yeah, it depends on motivation; but the unit isn’t per day, but per session. There may be up to like 3 session per day. Or perhaps down to zero.

Per one session, my preference is like 15-25, but I can imagine people want to lower to 10 or 5, if they want to study more thoroughly.

Personally, I might be able to clear all lessons as well, but preserving and using energy discreetly, is the strategy. Also, I heard that 25 per day is already enough for max speed.

I would try to get Lessons into short-term memory, before relying on SRS in Reviews at all.

I just do five a day. It’s not a race, at least for me.


I do 20/day with current level radicals and Kanji pushed to the front of the queue. This allows for the fastest level up speed without having to do all the lessons as soon as they are made available.

This means your queue of 20 is:
radicals: all,
kanji: rest, if space available,
vocab: rest, if space available

An alternative tactic, which I will likely use in the second half of WK, is to set the maximum number of new Kanji in your queue to 6. This allows for a 10 day/level pace.

This means your queue of 20 is:
radicals: all,
kanji: 6, if space available,
vocab: rest, if space available

Regarding using the number of Apprentice items available:
I have seen two rules on these forums, both of which seem to be good guidelines which I use to adapt my pace (I either decide to do lessons on a day, do one more batch of lessons, or not do lessons at all):

  1. Keep Apprentice < 100.
  2. Keep Apprentice + Guru/10 < 150.

Adapt the right side of these to suit your workload goals, based on experience.

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All of them in one sitting. The result of having an abundance of free time and hating to blow money on this every month

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I’m a combination of a few things! I definitely don’t blow through everything at once, because for me personally that’s overwhelming and doesn’t feel like anything sticks past the first few batches. Instead, I’m a hybrid of the apprentice-control and daily-motivation methods. I try to keep my apprentice items at or below 100 (with a little bit of leeway; if I’m at 100 apprentices, but I’m feeling motivated and I only have 5 lessons left in my pile, then I’ll often still do those 5. But overall I don’t like to float too high above 100.)
Edit: I also have a tentative daily limit of 20-25 lesson, depending how I’m feeling. That’s about as many as I feel can really stick in one day, otherwise I’m just making myself go cross-eyed with too much information at once. There’s plenty of days where I only do 5 or 10, though, 20-25 is just the upper cap.

However, I also taper it based off of my energy that day; if I’m only at 60 apprentices, but I slept terribly and I’m swamped at work, then I probably won’t take any new lessons that day. (Heck, I might not even get through all my reviews, on a really bad day. I’ll just get through whatever I can without making myself feel like I want to cry. Frustration is not your friend in studying!) This also involves a little bit of looking ahead: if I can see that I have like, almost 500 reviews already in the queue for the week, then I’m usually in less of a hurry to do new lessons than if there’s only 200 or 300 coming up.

Tldr; I use the 100 apprentice limit for general control, with modification for daily energy levels :slight_smile:


If you do all of them at once, get used to doing 400-500 reviews daily in a few months. If you are willing to do that every day for 8-12 months, go for it. Otherwise, pace yourself. That’s like 2 hours on srs alone, then you need probably atleast twice the immersion daily. Only there it’s 6 hrs a day.

How do I know this? I did just that and more. So unless you are crazily disciplined and got a lot of free time, I wouldn’t think about doing all of them at once. Even if it’s itching.

Do set number of lessons a day and do the reviews atleast three times a day, make it a routine and don’t rely on reminding yourself or something stupid like motivation.


I blow through them all at once. I do not recommend it lol.

For me, I just like to have everything at 0/0 at all times. It just feels unpleasant to leave things incomplete, to have work looming over me. So at 7:00 every day I get around 200 reviews and knock them out before going to work. Some others trickle in throughout the day, usually less than 100 at a time, and I just knock em out as soon as I get on the train.

To be clear, this is not an optimal strategy for going as fast as possible. My average level-up is still between 8 and 9 days, and that’s with a few fast levels under my belt already. I make a lot of mistakes in the first couple days of every new level, which slows me down considerably. At this rate, when I hit level 60 it will have taken about 1 year and 6 months.

So it’s a slower, sub-optimal method, with more mistakes and therefore more reviews, but it gives me better peace of mind throughout the day, so it’s worth it for me personally. But unless you’re the exact same style of irrational as me, I wouldn’t recommend my method.


I’m close to your style of thinking which is honestly exactly why I was asking for input, so I can try to find an alternative that doesn’t stress me out (like doing all of them at once and then making mistakes does) but also doesn’t drive me slowly crazy by leaving a pile of undone “work,”

I’m going to use a “keep the number of apprentice items under X” approach suggested by a couple of people, and hearing from someone who does use the all at once approach helps me choose a different way, so thank you.

(which isn’t to say you should do it differently in the slightest, getting the brain itch to go away is such an important factor and if it works for you it works for you regardless of overall efficiency)

I only do lessons if I wake up with less than 100 reviews to do. Because I do reviews several times a day (after waking up, lunchbreak, before bed), if I wake up with that many it’s a sign that I’ve taken more than I can handle / some really difficult readings are in the mix and I shouldn’t add more stuff until I’ve straightened them out, lest I just add more confusion.

Otherwise I do radical lessons all at once, because they unlock the actual meat and potatoes of WaniKani. Kanji in batches of 5 per day, and vocab in 10+ batches per day, depending how confident I am in the corresponding Kanji.

I’m really impressed by people that do more Kanji lessons than that. They’re so many similar reading, how do you keep them straight (don’t say mnemonic because I can’t for the life of me keep track of all these しゃmans doing rituals)???

How many lessons I take on depends on the the type I have in my queue. My radicals get done all at once as soon as i get to them. From then on I have around three days to to the Kanji lessons for that level, assuming I want go full speed, because I can´t unlock the other Kanji until then anyway.

So i take them on how I feel like it. If the lessons stick well I might do all at once, or little by little.
When the second half of Kanji unlocks I get them done as soon as possible. Since the batch is usually smaller it´s not a huge problem.
Vocab isn´t a requirement for leveling up, so I can pace myself more. I space the lessons out until the next level up to get a more even workload with those. But I want the queue to be empy close to the next level up.

Whats important for me is also catching the first and second reviews for new items as soon as possible. I noticed that my retention increases by a lot if I actually do the first two reviews close to 4 and 8 hours.

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