I’ve had this account for a while now and this is the third time I’ve reset my level and start from scratch because I couldn’t remember shit from before because it’s been so long since I tried learning.
Before this latest reset my level was at 9. Before that I think I made it to 6. Before I quit the last time I noticed kanji here and there in videos and games, so I felt like I was definitely making progress. It was slow but it was progress. So I don’t feel like I quit because I wasn’t making progress.
I think it had more to do with being flooded with reviews and lessons at some point. I recall spending several hours just clearing up all reviews that built up over time because I didn’t have time to clear them right away.
I’d like to be able to stick with it this time, so what are some strategies I should be considering to avoid this in the future?
This is a sign you’re doing too many lessons, thus having too many active apprentice and guru items.
How many reviews do you feel comfortable doing per day? We can offer a specific number to keep the workload around that.
I also recommend getting the heatmap or timeline script to check when your reviews are coming in the future and how many of them, so you can speed up or slow down to prepare.
The amount of reviews that you get is determined by how many lessons you do per day. Doing fewer lessons (you don’t have to do them all at once) will result in fewer reviews.
That said, I think for most reasonable paces (i.e. which allow you to finish within a couple of years), you’ll probably still look at ~100 reviews daily minimum, at least when you start getting higher level reviews (enlightened, burn) and also have a couple of leeches. That’s only my impression though, maybe somebody can run the numbers more concretely (you should be able to calculate this based on #lessons / day and your accuracy).
So that means that, in any case, doing WK reviews does take a lot of time and not doing them for a longer period of time is just going to create issues. So you’d have to ask yourself how commited you are to spending at least this half an hour or so a day on WK. If not, there might be alternative resources that make more sense, e.g. RTK which doesn’t include readings and vocab.
As with everything you want to get good at, establishing good habits is usually the most important part.
I’m not sure about a number of reviews but the amount of time I have available is ~2 hours a day for WK. I’d preferably spend a little less, so it doesn’t feel cramped.
Where would I find those? Is there anything like an android app that has these?
Interesting. I used to always do lessons the second they were available because they distinctly made me feel like I’m moving forward. I guess that wasn’t the best decision?
That’s a mistake most people do initially (myself included), but yeah, no. Pace yourself, because all these lessons are going to come back as reviews later.
There are several different strategies for how to determine whether you should take on any more new lessons. Myself, I try to limit # apprentice items to 100. You can also take a look at the Ganbarometer script which uses some formula based on the number of apprentice and guru items to determine whether you should take on new lessons.
You could start by doing 15-20 lessons per day, with a limit of 80-100 apprentice items. If you think its too much, stop doing lessons for a bit, take your time catching up, and once you feel ready again, try doing less lessons and/or putting a bigger limit on apprentices.
This is just a guideline, and you’ll still need to adjust to what you want, and how you spend these 2 hours, but its better than doing all lessons at once.
There’s forum thread showing how they work and how to install. They’re only for PC, but flaming durtles is an android app that has similar functionalities if you prefer that!
Hi, and welcome back!
I completely understand your wanting to do all the lessons that are available. Folks have offered tips on keeping the review count low by delaying new lessons.
WK was easier for me to keep up with when I could not go out as much. Now that life and work have returned, I sometimes get behind on reviews. I ended up with a pile of 700 around Christmas!
The good thing is, you can just do some of your reviews, end the sessions, and come back to the pile when you have more time or mental energy. You’ll clear any pile of reviews eventually. If you make mistakes and items get dropped down to Apprentice or whatever, that just means you didn’t remember them. I stopped doing lessons in November to try to clear my leeches.
As others say, the pace you choose determines how much time WK will want. And you can do it! It’s definitely not a race.
I’m impressed that you keep coming back! That shows real motivation. You should celebrate the fact that you’re really trying!
I’d recommend finding a good time for you to do Wanikani daily, for at least 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Maybe right after lunch, or in the morning? Find a good time and stick with it, and focus on finishing all your reviews before you do any new lessons. That way, it won’t end up being too much!
Good luck, friend! I know you’ll make it through, even if sometimes it gets hard. Just remember we’re always here to sympathize with the work load!
I’ve restarted twice before. The first time I made it to level 28ish (I forget exactly where) and reset to level three (way too far, probably should’ve gone to like level 10).
The second time I made it to about level 28 again, but with way better retention. I restarted and went to about level 20ish (where I am about today). I find that doing 14 lessons a day keeps me learning and engaged in new content, but also always having incredibly manageable review sessions. I also do learn a lot of words through other resources (I’ve been reading a Satori Reader, and the novel “Anne of Green Gables” in Japanese).
Even though this pace is slow, it’s still a pace of 5110 items a year, which is plenty fast for me. I know language learning doesn’t happen overnight, and I find language learning much more rewarding when I have spend less time on WaniKani and spend more time reading Manga (I read the first 300 issues of Naruto last year) and books. WaniKani is a still useful, but I learn more from reading.
I was also rushing in the beginning and had a huge pile of reviews, around level 5 I started taking hints from users here in how to manage the review pile and it worked.
I am comfortable with 180 daily reviews, I can do them in 45min tops, that’s my time dedicated to WK at least.
I agree with @Elbereth00: you clearly meet the only requirement (persistence). Someone once told me it’s the rarest human virtue.
A few specific things worth considering, though:
I mostly used my phone for the first few levels, reasoning that I always had it with me and could do my reviews anywhere. I quickly discovered, though, that doing my reviews on a computer with a larger screen and real keyboard meant better focus, fewer typos, faster reviews, and (icing on the cake) access to scripts. I’d highly recommend trying to use a real computer for a week or so if at all possible rather than a phone or tablet.
I think people romanticize what an SRS is all about. Quizzing you just before you forget something is definitely part of the theory but, to my mind, only a secondary point. To me an SRS simply quizzes you most often on things you find difficult and less often on thing you find easy. That’s it. That’s the whole point. All of the efficiency comes from that sentence.
The Wanikani SRS only knows if you find something difficult if you answer incorrectly! Incorrect answers are actually more important than correct ones. IMHO having the correct attitude about wrong answers makes the journey much, much easier. Just do your reviews.
Within a session, you’ll eventually see an item so often that you’ll be able to answer both the reading and meaning correctly. In my experience, this happens at the macro level, too. Currently, I have one item I’ve reviewed 71 times. Many people would consider this a “leech” and worry about how to fix it. I view it as simply a difficult item that I need to review an awful lot of times to memorize.
To make a painful analogy: reviews are like the engine in your car. It’s best to keep it warm and running continuously. Long periods of inactivity make it hard to start. Lessons are like adding fuel to the carburetor: without it the engine will soon come to a halt, too much and you’ll flood the engine. Figuring out the right mix can be trick. I may be biased (laugh) but that’s why I wrote the GanbarOmeter (thanks for the shout-out @Fryie!).
Because of the above, I think it’s important to always do your reviews first. If you’ve still got time and mental energy to do some lessons, do them at the end. How many depends on many factors, but I’d never recommend doing them all as soon as they come up if your goal is retention (vs. getting to level 60 as quickly as possible).
Habit is a powerful thing. Doing your reviews every single day is the most important factor to success, so I’m a big believer in using streak-tracking with your daily reviews. Buy a three-month-at-a-glance calendar and a big, fat, red sharpie. Put the calendar on the wall next to where you usually do your reviews. Every day you do at least one review, put a big red X through that day. It feels good. Then play “don’t-break-the-chain”. Silly as it sounds, once you’ve got a nice long streak going you’ll really feel bad if you break it. I like the visceral feel of making that big red X, but the heatmap will also keep track of your streaks for you if you prefer (it’s a very useful script, regardless).
This looks very simple but also very useful, thanks for the suggestion! I just installed it.
This actually sounds like a great idea! I’m not the kinda person that has a calendar at all. I usually just jot stuff down in my little notebook. But I just happen to have a calendar lying around that I didn’t know what to do with. This would be the perfect way of actually using it.
And thanks to everyone for their suggestions and encouragement so far, I appreciate it!
There’s something else I’m wondering about:
My plan is (and already was back when I first started) to use WK to learn to read Japanese so that I can learn Japanese my reading Japanese media. As in, I learn enough kanji so that I can read basic Japanese news, forums, games, etc. and go from there. The way I learned English was by watching tons of (Japanese and other languages) movies and series with English subtitles and then reading books in English and so on. From doing that I also picked up some very basic Japanese, so I can understand spoken Japanese here and there but of course I can’t read it.
My hope is that once I can actually read, the whole process will just keep going on it’s own like it did with learning English.
I’m sure I’m not alone in trying to do things this way. How has it worked out for those that tried to do it that way?
I just do all lessons and reviews as they pop up. But on the other hand I don’t really mind doing 300 reviews daily.
It is said that it takes three months to create a habit, so do that and you’ll get there eventually. Once it’s a habit it’s just something you do without thinking about it, you mostly clear reviews on autopilot. Whenever I’m about to start a larger session it kind of sucks, but once I start it feels like a 5 min sesson at most when it really took 1h.
Once a habit is created you don’t really need to think too much, it’s just something you do. I cannot imagine a life without waking up and having a larger session ahead of me. My day only starts once I’ve cleared my lessons and reviews.
I don’t want to say that this way is impossible, but WK only gives you Kanji and vocab that uses Kanji. It gives you little kana-only vocab (and when it does, sometimes quite late) and it also doesn’t teach you nearly all the common Kanji vocab.
In addition, it also teaches you essentially zero grammar and doesn’t give you much listening practice (except for individual words).
So if you complete WK and burn everything and remember everything perfectly, that still doesn’t mean that you can just start reading. You still have to deal with unknown grammar and vocab. You can learn all of that systematically, or you can learn it as you go (i.e. you look up vocab and grammar while reading), but you have to learn it some way or another.
I don’t know what your first language is, but there’s a chance it’s much more closely related to English than Japanese (plus, English has famously simple grammar), so I don’t think that strategies that worked for it are going to be 100% applicable to Japanese. That said, at some point, immersion will become the best way to move forward, you just have to get to a stage where you can actually comprehend what you’re immersing yourself into.
That’s the way I did it with english, so that wouldn’t be anything new. And I do already know some Japanese from just listening. For example, I understand the general gist of some dev streams for games.
It’s german, which has famously complicated grammar, so I think it levels out
That is absolutely part of the plan.
When I was learning English I was barely talking at first but once I got to the point where I felt like I could talk with confidence, the pace at which I was improving was leaps and bounds beyond what I learned before.
I got burnt out for about two weeks, and had 400 reviews. Starting over would hurt me TREMENDOUSLY, so here’s what I did: I literally just got through 100 a day. Yes, they kept coming back. Yes, it hurt. But, day by day the number slowly went down. It’s better than starting over, in my opinion.
400 reviews is not that bad. But I agree, not starting over is usually the best option up to a point. However, if you stared at 2000 reviews it would be much harder to recover from, how would one reasonably kill the reviews, while having apprentice at a reasonable level and having the accuracy at somewhat reasonable degree? Kind of futile.
The only useful tip is to never stop. No matter what.
That’s not necessarily the same thing. English and German grammar are extremely similar (and so is much of the vocabulary), Japanese is completely different. I learned English essentially the same way as you did, but I don’t think it’s really comparable.
I don’t want to say that an “immersion first” approach can’t work, there are people in this forum who have done that successfully. But I think what they’re usually saying is that you will have to decode sentences with a dictionary and grammar reference, you won’t just be able to read them while looking up the odd word here and there. So when you’re saying:
I feel that you’re underestimating the complexity of Japanese if you think that you “can actually read” once you’ve done WK.
Could I suggest something different from the usual “do fewer lessons” and “pace yourself” advice? Those are great suggestions that everyone who does wanikani should keep in mind. However, maybe Wanikani just isn’t for you?
If it’s hard to stick to or stay motivated maybe this way of learning doesn’t suit you? Maybe you will find it easier to learn the kanji without their readings first (which is way faster) or some other way to learn?