Taking a break from leveling!

Hey guys!

I just decided to do something this week to ‘celebrate’ that I’m lvl 31 and therefore entering Hell now, and was wondering if anyone else had done it.

To be specific, I’ve decided to stop leveling or learning anything new via WK for a few weeks.

My reasons? Well, over the past 30ish weeks (more like 28) I’ve been studying nonstop. Ever since I started I’ve at most taken a week to complete a level, with a few levels taking about half as much. As a result, I’m facing two issues:

  1. There are some kanji and vocabulary items that I can’t seem to learn. They consistently go back to apprentice because I forget them, or their readings, quite quickly, and

  2. I’m constantly bombarded with reviews. Even today, four days after refusing to start working on lvl 31 for my own sanity (I’ve been leveling up every Saturday night), I was greeted with 150 reviews when I woke up in the morning.

This situation, particularly number 2, has me quite burned out of WK because it feels like I’ve been spending far too long on WK lately (And I have, I average about 2hr/day on reviews), which has left me less time than I would like to study with books and progress with grammar. So for the next 2-4 weeks I’ve decided to just ignore the “New lessons” button and instead focus on learning some of those apparent leeches I can’t ignore and flushing out the apprentice/guru piles in order to reduce my weekly reviews to a more manageable size.

Has anyone done this? I hear of people going on vacation, but this isn’t the same as I’m still reviewing daily (And as of this writing I have over 900 reviews for the next week… ugh), so I’m wondering if I’m the only one who has at some point decided they need a break from new stuff in order to focus on older things (and in order to stop having so many reviews 24/7). So what’s your experience? Anyone else taking a week or two off from new items every now and then, or is everyone else soldiering through a constant influx of reviews?


Yup, been doing it for about 6 months and it’s glorious. Someday I’ll finish the last 10 levels but there is just so no rush.

The only thing I’m sad about is not having access to the 60+ oldfolks lounge :smile:


I tried taking breaks from lessons every 10 levels, but this didn’t do much to help. It takes a while for the reviews to slow down, even when you stop doing lessons. It got a little better since I didn’t have the apprentice items from new lessons, but all the fast levels from before were still causing many reviews to show up.

However, I recently slowed down in general. Instead of leveling up every 8 days, I’ve been leveling up in about 15 days. Between not doing all radical/kanji lessons within 2-3 days and having fewer reviews, my stress has significantly decreased.


I recently reset and this is the approach I will be taking. I want to slow down on the lessons and really learn material before adding more items to my review pile.


I’m still a newb on WK compared to you, but here’s my position:

I’m doing a level every week, just like you. I do intend to continue that way until I see that WK is no longer the most effective tool for my study i.e x time spent on WK is less effective for my learning as x time spent somewhere else. Right now, WK is being very effective. That’s why I try to optimize it to a 7day/level. This might change in the future.

Our goal should always be “learning a language” because it forces us into thinking about long-term efficiency. Forget that goal and you’ll basically be running on numbers every day until you burn out.

If you feel like taking a week or two off new lessons, just go ahead. Better a week or two this month than 1 month or two next year :slight_smile:


I’ve also been on a leveling break for over a month, now. :3


with the exception of a few levels, i averaged 7 day levels (or 8 days for the levels before they made the change to 7 day levels).

You may already be doing this, but splitting the lessons into smaller sessions helped tremendously for me. I used to do 10 in the morning, 5 at lunch, and 10 in the evening, but post-level 46, that mostly changed to just 10 in the morning and 10 before bed. If you’re good about doing the 4 and 8 hour reviews, you can kind of control when your reviews will be… i.e., if you do your lesson at 7 am, after the first two reviews, that word/kanji will always get reviewed at around 7 PM.

I probably also spend around 1.5-2 hours a day doing reviews, but it doesn’t bother me too much since I split it into multiple sessions (half an hour in the morning, during lunch, in the afternoon/evening, and before bed).

All that being said, until recently, I’ve hardly spent any time on non-WK studies - so although i recently hit level 60, my grammar and overall reading/listening/speaking skills are pretty lacking. On the plus side, I’m capable of using pretty much any Japanese resource since I can read pretty much 100% of the kanji’s I see. Could I have paused WK to continue other studies earlier and not have a problem with kanjis? Almost definitely, but I have no regrets gonig til 60.


Absolutely. In fact I do this more often than most might be comfortable with. Every four levels, I pause for a few weeks and flush my apprentice and guru queue. Then I dive straight back in. When I resume, my apprentice queue is usually less than 10 and my guru queue, less than 100.


You really need to set your strategy early on, because by the time you realize you need to change it’s too late!

I was going at about 10 days per level and trying to keep my apprentice items at around 100. I got to the point where it was becoming a bit much and like you I was questioning whether I was spending too much time WK and not enough on grammar etc. So I decided to only keep 80 items in my apprentice queue, but the old reviews keep coming and although the workload has dropped off a little, it’s still pretty similar. I expect in 6-12 months that I’ll really see the results.

So now I level up maybe monthly. Only thing I really regret is not getting lifetime last year when it was available.

Yeah, I’ve taken breaks from leveling and have also set limits for myself like only doing 5 new lessons a day or only doing 10 new lessons a day, or even no new lessons for a while.

I always do all of my reviews as soon as I have time, and have never used vacation mode even when I’ve been on vacation. If I am going on vacation, have a friend from out of town visiting, or if I know work will be getting busy, I just stop taking new lessons a week beforehand to give the queues time to catch up.

Currently, I’ve been doing 10 new lessons every day including weekends and that keeps me with 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s in Apprentice, only rarely breaking 100.

Besides, I see you’re at level 31. That’s a pretty good base. I’d spend more of your time on actual reading and avoid letting WK get too far ahead of your reading skills. Get some easy reading material and/or start playing around with NHK Easy news or other online sites and get really solid on the first 30 levels of Wani Kani. Once you review load has gone down to a manageable level, start up again by taking 5 new lessons a day and see how it goes. Also, from doing the reading practice, when you get to the higher levels of WK you’ll start seeing things you’ve come across before on NHK or elsewhere so they’ll move through the SRS faster and give additional help to reducing your workload.

Good luck!


What? The only levels that take less than 6 days 20 hours are 1, 2, and 46+.

As for the topic, I haven’t taken a break and don’t anticipate I will. I’ve had a slow but gradual decrease from 8 day levels to 7 day levels (current avg 7.5, last 10 or so have been less than 7 days 2 hours). It’s tough to keep up with, but also super motivating to see constant progress. 60 used to look so far away and now it’s like I can already see the finish line. It may also be hard to come back after taking it easy. I’d rather keep a consistent pace unless my accuracy dips below 95% perhaps.

Not saying taking a break is bad, just playing devil’s advocate here since it looks like everyone is all about them breaks :stuck_out_tongue:

You could also consider reducing daily lesson count rather than altogether stopping, so that you continue to progress, albeit a bit slower.

26 can also be completed in but half a week.

What/where else are you studying, if I could ask?

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That’s pretty odd and random, but I’ll concede to not noticing that. Your comment still implied, however, there were many levels, at least to me. I guess “a few” is a pretty subjective amount, but I imagine most people would consider 3 more as “a couple” even though it’s not literally a couple. To me, it seemed like you meant there were several (i.e. 5-10). Also I personally don’t take lvl 1 and 2 into account when talking about level times, but I guess I can’t assume others don’t as well.

Guess that topic is a bit irrelevant anyway, though, just something that surprised me.

Just to mention that I learnt most things here around Lv 21-30. After 40 is pretty much a rundown, and grammar might become more relevant. Furthermore, you don’t even learn enough Kanji at level 60, either.

So, a level-60 isn’t better than a level-40 in my opinion… (unless they are All-Burned)

It sounds very reasonable to slow down to studying other aspects of Japanese around Lv 31-40. Probably Vacation Mode also, not just let it be 7-day level.


Right now, my main focus is on 5 things: WaniKani, KaniWani (ENG => JP), Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide (free online textbook), Japanese Ammo with Misa (youtube channel) and HelloTalk (language exchange app). WK, KW and HelloTalk is on a daily basis. I lost 15 pages of my grammar notes at the beginning of this month so I was kinda desmotivated to study grammar lol. This past week, I went back to it. I’m focusing on finishing watching every video from Japanese Ammo with Misa and then I’ll focus on finishing what is left of the Tae Kim’s grammar guide.

However, I do think that the way you use the resources depends on your level in each individual skills (kanji, grammar, vocab…). At the beginning of the month, I was having a serious problem with vocab, so I started using KW for the first time and it’s been doing wonders ^^ less leeches and I can recall a lot more vocab now. Now, I feel that I need to catch up on my grammar. The trick in here is to find a balance between all your skills. It doesn’t matter if you can identify more Kanji when during that time you let yourself miss the opportunity to learn grammar that allows you to actually use them. It doesn’t matter to be a guru on grammar if you lack vocab to apply it. It’s counterproductive. One reinforces the other.

Also, one should not focus purely on results, but on building the habit of using the tools to learn. I started Tae Kim’s Guide in April. WK in June and KW in August. I wanted to go faster than that, but I didn’t because I couldn’t. I wanted to make each tool into a habit first, into something as natural as brushing your teeth every day. It’s like that cheesy quote from Bruce Lee:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I think that I’m doing well with WK because I focused on making it a habit. I know exactly what to do and how. I didn’t try to do too much at once. I checked my pace and made sure to respect it. I did reviews several times a day, just to make sure I got used to the system. I know we’re all busy people (and I respect that), but using WK several times a day (even if it’s just for 2 minutes) reinforces the habit more than trying to do 50+ reviews twice a day. It’s easy to get things out of our control when we’re trying to go big in one go.

I’ll give one bad example of mine now: I haven’t finished the Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide yet because before my time on WK, I burned out on my grammar study. I was like “Yeah, I can read 6 pages in one go… I’m even taking my time! 1 and a half hours is a lot, right?! That’s 15 minutes per page!!!”… and then I would pick it up 5 days later and do it again… and again… until I gave up. I wasn’t learning anymore. Lately, since I returned to studying grammar, my only goal has been “Just learn 1 new thing about grammar today. Doing more is great and all, but if you learn 1 new thing every day, at the end of year you’ll know 365 new things!” The cool bonus is that even though the grammar will become harder with time, because you’ve built a strong foundation first, you can handle it without losing momentum.

Not sure if this helped or not. Like I said, I’m just a newb and a lot of you guys know a lot more Japanese than me. However, I believe that the principles that rule your study should be the same, no matter if you’re lvl 11 or lvl 40+ :slight_smile:

Also, I’ll leave you with my Progress post for this month that I wrote on 1st of August. Some stuff has changed, but all the tools I’m using are there :slight_smile:

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Level 26 only became a short level recently (they moved a radical), so you may have missed it.

Oh, WaniKani, you sneaky sneaker you (•̀ᴥ•́)

That’s a pretty thorough approach!
I use WK./KW for the bulk of my studies; don’t really use Hellotalk, as I find the conversation dries up after a couple exchanges. I also live in Japan, so I have my fair share of conversation/language exposure on a daily basis. Grammar is about a chapter a week pace.

Good luck!

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