Thinking about slowing down - Looking for advice

I feel like WaniKani is taking up too much of my time, so I’m thinking about slowing down. I’m looking for some advice (particularly from people who slowly, but steadily level up) so I can decide what pace might work better for me. Thanks in advance to anyone who reads all this and gives some advice. :slight_smile:

Some background:

  • I’ve been maintaining a short-term level up time of 8 days on average. Long-term level up time is more like 10 days since I’ve been taking a 2 week break from lessons every 10 levels. My Apprentice pile is usually between 70 and 120 depending on if I just did a bunch of new lessons. My Guru pile tends to be around 500.
  • I originally joined WaniKani (and iKnow) because I tried reading a manga (Yotsubato) and quickly realized that knowing only 100 kanji and not nearly enough vocabulary was not going to cut it. This SRS style learning has worked well for me, but I find myself with no time to do anything else. I haven’t tried reading manga again even though I’ve been meaning to, and I don’t read NHK Easy or do grammar studies nearly as much as I’d like (basically none in the last few months). That’s in addition to not doing as much non-Japanese stuff as I’d like (more anime/TV and reading).
  • My annual subscription is up at the end of the year. Assuming there’s another holiday sale, I’ll probably just get lifetime at that point. The cost isn’t a significant factor in what I do. I have no plans to reset and I don’t think I’d resurrect much either, but I’d always be happy to have the lifetime subscription lying around if they add more levels later.
  • I have no reason to rush. I don’t live/work in Japan, nor do I plan to. Up until now I’ve been going fast partly because I didn’t want to “arbitrarily” slow down (gamification working against me here), and partly out of frustration that I didn’t know as much as I wanted to. Hopefully the influx I’ve gotten of these first 24 levels lessens that frustration.

Questions:

So on to the questions for the slow and steady people.

  1. How many lessons do you take a day?
  2. Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever? Do you do any type of planning around what combination of item types you take a day?
  3. About how many days does it take you to level up?
  4. Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?
  5. Any other general comments or suggestions?

tl;dr Please advise on how to decrease my workload by slowing down, while still making progress.

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Here is a schedule I made for a friend to do a 3 week level. It also shows what the workload will be if you follow the lesson schedule. The section on the right spots you how many lessons you will have a day given the speed you go. (This assumes you don’t mess up. So adjust a little bit.) Now let me answer your questions.

How many lessons do you take a day?
Um… I’ll explain in next couple posts.

Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever?
Do all radicals when I level up. Try to do all vocab in first week. Do kanji in the next week. Leave 3 so I won’t level until day 15.

Do you do any type of planning around what combination of item types you take a day?
Previous question.

About how many days does it take you to level up?
I aim for a 15 day level, but I don’t sweat it if it’s closer to 18.

Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?
When I cut back using this technique it dropped me down to about… 80 reviews a day?

Any other general comments or suggestions?
Mix up your learning. I use a lot of language exchange. It’s helpful for everyday conversation. I also chat with a couple WK people in Japanese. We discuss grammar points and the like.

Also, I try to enjoy Japanese media a few times a week. I know my progress won’t be amazing and I can’t understand everything but I relish the times when I pick up a sentence here and there. :blush:

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Thanks for the quick reply. For the spreadsheet, I get the Radicals, Kanji, and Vocab tables, but I don’t really get the rest. Care to explain? Also, I don’t know where you came up with that modifier (feel free to explain), but it’s spot on.

That’s definitely the main goal of this. If I spend all my time on the formal learning part, I’ll burn out. The whole point is to enjoy the language and what it has to offer, not spend all my time drilling kanji and vocab. :slight_smile:

How many lessons do you take a day?

I’ve played around with several different “metering methods” for Wani Kani, and have now settled on 10 lessons a day, and an extra 10 upon leveling up.

Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever? Do you do any type of planning around what combination of item types you take a day?

Nope. I just take them as they come.

About how many days does it take you to level up?

20 days, give or take a few.

Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?

Usually 60 or 70, but can be as low as under 40 or as high as over 100.

Any other general comments or suggestions?

I think your WK time should only be half or less of your complete time studying Japanese. Trying to read easy things is very important, although it is also extremely frustrating at first. But by reading actual content, you’ll learn grammar (or at least what grammar you need to study) and you’ll learn and reinforce your vocabulary in context.

I often disagree with those who recommend Yotsubato as an easy read for beginners. I can read it now, but at fist it had too much slang and super casual conversation. Even my Japanese girlfriend agreed that it was tough for beginners. I think you’ll have better luck with prose.

Absolutely. Previously I felt like kanji/vocabulary was my weak point for reading, but that doesn’t mean my grammar is great. I’m probably hovering around N4 level (or maybe a little less), which is why I want to get back into it. I definitely want to spend time reading a combination of news and pleasure material to see a variety of grammar and vocabulary that might only show up in one context or the other.

Yeah, I had the same thought in retrospect. The slang was really brutal. I also have the first volume of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? which might be better in that regard. It has no furigana, but I know enough kanji now that I think that would actually be a benefit rather than a drawback. And I’ve already watched the anime, so I’m familiar with the setting and characters, which should help. Do you have any specific suggestions for reading material that is more reasonable than Yotsubato?

Try this and see how you feel about the level. Afterwards, Tobira has some good reading, and I liked this series. Lots of photos to go along with the text and you learn a bit about science as well. I’d go with 5nensei (5th year in school) and above, as the earlier ones use too much hiragana because the younger students haven’t learned the kanji yet.

Good luck, and enjoy!

I’ve been in your position. For about the first half of WK I was racing pretty fast. Same as you though, a combination of having too many reviews and a feeling that just learning more and more kanji was resulting in diminishing returns led me to slow down a lot.

A major thing I’ve changed in my WK study is reversing how I use the reorder script. I now use it to get vocab out the way at the start of a level and gradually introduce kanji as I feel like it - often holding back the last 3 or 4 before a level up until I want to move on. This means you have total control over your level up speed. It also means that if you ever do feel like knocking out a quick level again, it’s far easier since half your new level workload is already done.

Also, just be aware that when you do slow down, you’re unlikely to see an immediate large reduction of workload. There’s nothing you can do about all those guru + items that are coming. However, by slowing down you are setting yourself up to make things easier months down the line.

@pgoonghang Thanks, I’ll be sure to check out those resources.

Yeah, I realized that during the two week breaks I took at levels 11 and 21. It didn’t really make those two weeks much better, but it was better right afterwards for a short period. I’m hoping that just decreasing my lessons and apprentice count will help a bit early on, and I’m in it for the long haul, so I don’t mind if I don’t see huge benefits right away. :slight_smile:

I started slowing down right at around your level (or actually I think 2 before) because I realized I was having problems with retaining the vocabulary over the long term without concreting reading to base it in (and because real talk, “lead poisoning” and four different terms for “reality” can only come up so often in casual conversation). Since then, I’ve been much less regular about WK– which I don’t think I’d recommend, but I also if I feel myself getting overwhelmed will just stop myself at 150 reviews per day, whatever the actual count is, and focus my energies more on grammar studying (my weakpoint) or reading and writing.

As for general suggestions, Satori reader helps me. Also my friend gave me Crayon Shin Chan manga last sunday– she swears by it, I haven;t had the chance to open it b/c this weekend is busy workwise and also I’m taking the N4 on Sunday and have been doing targeted reviews.

I’ll let you know if Crayon Shin Chan has my vote. Best of luck!

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I recommend setting yourself on a timer and focus on completing the time instead of the reviews. I usually do four fifteen minute increments a day.

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I’m a part of team reallllllllly extreeeeeeeeeeemely slow. And that’s cool for me.

[details=Summary]But my two longest periods of levels were because I went on vacation for 2 weeks and ended up not doing WK all during that time.

[/details]
How many lessons do you take a day?
Depending solely one what happens in the day, I may not do any lessons at all. When I’m feeling up to it, I do as many lessons as I can retain (so if I can’t immediately recall them when doing the test part of the review, then I stop.)

Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever?
When I level up, I always tackle the kanji and radicals as soon as they appear.

Do you do any type of planning around what combination of item types you take a day?
I work hard to clear my review cache. I often use the reorder script so I can organize by level and clear out my burns before working on the stuff I’m going to get wrong a lot.

About how many days does it take you to level up?
… see the above summary. It depends on what ends up happening outside of WK. (also, I’m a bad girl and rarely do my reviews on saturdays and sundays because I japanese all day everyday so I don’t want to when it’s my break)

Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?
I try to do my reviews twice a day. So today, my first bout of reviews was around 238. I intend to clear that and then come back and do them again later this afternoon.

Any other general comments or suggestions?

My system is 100% not for everyone. And honestly, it’s not good system, but my main point is, don’t treat it like race? However you retain the information is best.

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I made some edits to clarify some things. You can also edit the modifier now. It lets you know how many reviews a day you will have based on the speed you go. How did I come up with it? I don’t remember… I just remember I was living in the spreadsheet for 2 hours and it just sort of happened.

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1. How many lessons do you take a day?
Depends on if I have lessons. I usually just do them all when I get them, so I don’t usually have lessons in queue for long. Also, I forget WK exists during the weekend because I tend to spend my mornings at work hammering at my reviews but I sleep in on weekends.

2. Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever? Do you do any type of planning around what combination of item types you take a day?
Most of the time I do them whenever. Sometimes I’ll reorder to do the radicals and kanji first because I feel like it. No planning about what I review.

3. About how many days does it take you to level up?
On average, between 11 to 13 days.

4. Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?
Ranges from under 50 to over 200, mostly depending on whether or not I just completed a wave of lessons. Also depends on if there’s a wave of older items to be burned/leveled up.

5. Any other general comments or suggestions?
I am the most useless person to answer this question :smiley: More seriously, just tackling WK once a day, maybe for an hour should be good enough. If you can’t clear around 200 items in an hour and a half you’re going too slowly. It might sound a bit ridiculous but if you can’t recall an item’s meaning or reading in less than 5 seconds, you don’t know it well enough and you should let it drop a few levels anyway. Once those 5 seconds pass, just fail the item and try again next time. The goal is to be able to recall an item’s meaning and reading just by looking at it after all.

That being said, doing that many items in an hour is probably contributing to burn out so just maybe 30 mins is okay. You set whatever period of time you want. But if you’re not going to clear your entire queue at once don’t use the reorder tool to put kanji first. That will just cause vocab to build up and stress you out even more.

Adding to what everyone else is saying, now’s about the time to start focusing more on using what you’ve learned. If your grammar’s up to par, you should be able to read light novels and a few video games now, so just dive in. If not, start building on that. It will help you remember the vocab you see on WK too.

If you’re looking for some recs on media I’ve got a few, but it depends on what kind of stuff you like.

How many lessons do you take a day?
10 usually.

Do you still do radicals first or do you just let them show up whenever?
Yes, I do radicals first, then I balance the Kanji and vocabulary lessons afterwards so that I learn a good mix between the two of them and not only one type (hope that makes sense…) Usually I have remaining vocab from the previous level that I start to work on in the beginning, so that I have the whole level completed. And then I do the radicals for the current level, then Kanji + vocab.

About how many days does it take you to level up?
14-15

Most importantly, how many reviews do you have on a normal day?
About 60-70 I think.

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I’ve been trying to keep a close eye on keeping my WK workload regulated. I even have a stupid spreadsheet that I update every day showing how many items I have in each category (Apprentice, Guru, Master, Enlightened and Burned). It also show how many items are active (in the queues, but not yet burned), and how many total items I have (total cumulative lessons taken).

I really like my current workload which I’ve achieved by taking 10 lessons every single day (if available), and an extra ten lessons on days when I level up. I’ve changed the rate of taking lessons a few times to try and determine the proper speed for me. As someone mentioned upthread, making a change like this takes some time to have an effect on your workload. There is a bit of a lag, so to speak. If any of you look at my spreadsheet, you can see which type of rate I was using at any particular time by looking at the changes in the “total” or total lessons taken column.

Also, I use the phone app and never miss a day. I’ve been on vacation out of the country many times, but still manage to do my reviews and lessons every day. I think this is one of the benefits of taking it at a slower to moderate pace. Another benefit is that it allows you time for other study (grammar, reading practice, etc.).

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