Tips for time management while studying with WaniKani?

Hello Everyone,

I am only at level 15 as you can see, and I am doing fine so far, but I more and more running out of time, because WaniKani demands A LOT of time.

For example last night around 11pm I had 43 reviews to do, but I postponed them to the morning since I was very tired. Not unexpected some more reviews were added till the morning. So I had to start with 90 reviews. When I was done with my reviews the famous “Oh boy,…” bubble popped up and 63 more reviews were waiting for me! While doing that another full hour passed and the “Oh boy…” bubble popped up again with 54 more reviews. In total I was probably 2 hours or 2hours 30mins busy doing my reviews.
And I was doing the reviews on a computer so it’s really fast because I can type writing.

When a new level starts there are most likely 80 new vocabs / kanji / radicals to learn which come on top of the reviews… so sometimes I have the feeling I have to stop my 9-5 job and start a part time job, just to suit the demands of WaniKani… :-/

How do you deal with time demands of WaniKani? Stays it at this level or is it getting even worse?
Are there people who only do reviews when they are in the mood and stop doing them when they’re tired? Do they then pile up endlessly?

I am really curious how YOU do it! :slight_smile:

Thank you!!


I try to do some reviews during lunch time at work as well as in the evening before going to bed.
If it piles up I put on some “speed-run” music and chug my way through it. E.g. when I revived this account I think I had about 1000 reviews, but I forced myself through it within 2 days.

You can however manage the amount of reviews by not doing all lessons at once. Spread them out over a couple of days.
I highly recommend the ‘Wanikani Ultimate Timeline’ addon. With this you can see how many reviews are coming up which gives you time to prepare and make a strategy.

Also, I never do reviews on my phone as I find it clumsy and terribly slow.

In the end, you have to motivate yourself.
Lately I discovered the app 'Tango Risto" which makes reading news (and some other stuff) a lot easier, which then motivates me to learn more Japanese and keep doing Wanikani.
When you see that you are actually making progress, you just want to keep doing it :slight_smile:


Limit yourself when you do the lessons to just 20 a day or so, that way all the reviews won’t pile up at once!! It sucks to see that number of lessons still left to do but in the long run you’ll be less likely to burn out

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I use the ultimate reorder script when I have a huge pile to work with (like, 300 or something). I usually try to review at least 10% and at least 20 items per day, that keep the stack from piling up too fast. Then, I only learn 5 new items each time I’m back at 0 reviews (no reordering here). Of course, it takes longer, but so what.

Additionally, I have the impression you take a lot of time on the reviews, at an average of 1 minute per item you are thinking a long time for each item. If I don’t remember the item within a few seconds, I just type something and check the meaning/spelling again.


I wrote something a little similar to what you’re looking for some time ago. Take into consideration that it’s not 100% perfect, as I’ve found new tricks and new scripts since the time of writing this. Also, pay extra attention to the “Let’s talk about reviews” section.

Scripts that I use (and recommend):

  • WaniKani Ultimate Timeline this one shows you a graph of when you have reviews. Knowing when you have reviews at the beginning of the day vs 1h before is much more organized, saves you time and avoids unecessary worries. This means more energy to focus on important stuff :slight_smile:
  • Wanikani Override: This one allows you ignore wrong answers. Use it exclusively for when you make typos or for when WK lacks your synonym. Getting a Kanji wrong because of a typo and postponing your leveling up because of it can be quite annoying. This script solves it.
  • WaniKani Pitch Info: This one shows you a small graph about the pronunciation of every vocab on WK. Not sure what your native language is, but the further your native language pronunciation is from Japanese, the more you’ll need this. Getting used to Japanese tones is important in my opinion and it definitely helps with memorization :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Real Numbers: This one shows you the actual number of lessons/reviews that you have (and not just the 42+). Instead of having to check the actual number, you’ll have it right there. This helps you organize your work because you can better make the distribution of your reviews inside your head instead of just worrying about contantly checking the real numbers. WK should be a stress-free tool.
  • Wanikani Reorder Ultimate 2: This allows you to reorder what you see first on your lessons and reviews. I mostly use this for my lessons. Why? If you think about WK and its leveling’s system, you’ll quickly understand that radicals and kanji have priority over vocabulary, since the later doesn’t influence how fast you level up. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to do the vocabulary lessons in time. However, instead of having to deal with tons of vocab before getting the radicals, you can choose to get them right away :slight_smile:
  • WaniKani Show Specific SRS Level: This one is very simple. Instead of getting “Apprentice”/“Guru” every time you get an item right during reviews, you get the specific level that it leveled up. For example, “Guru 2” and “Apprentice 3”.
  • WaniKani SRS Level Progress: This allows you to have access to the number of items in each subdivision of both the Apprentice and the Guru categories. For example, you’ll get “10/0/37/63” instead of just “110” items on Apprentice. [Explanation: 10 in App 1, 0 in App 2, 37 in App 3 and 63 in App 4]
  • WaniKani Dashboard Progress Plus: This one allows you to see the progress of your current level’s items. Are they Apprentice 2 or are they 3 already? You’ll know in 1 sec.
  • Wanikani Self-Study Quiz Edition: I find Kanji to be the hardest to learn. If I get to a point where I feel the need to review my current level’s kanji, I’ll use this script. The better to learn the Kanji, the easiest the vocab will be.

In terms of learning how to use WaniKani:

First, you need to define how many days you want to spend in each level. How do I do it? I make sure to know how long it will take me to do all the vocab of that specific level. I don’t care about leveling up faster, just so that I’ll end up leaving vocabulary unlocked from the previous level to do. If you want to level up every 8 days, you need to make sure you can do not only the lessons of radicals and kanji but also those of vocabulary successfully. WK has on average around 120 vocab per level (higher levels have less). This means that if you want to level up every 8 days: 120/8=15 vocab lessons that must be done every day. Leveling up every 10 days means you do 12 lessons of vocab every single day. 7 days/level and you’ll do 17 vocab lessons. Choose a number that works for you. Doing WK the fastest way is about learning efficiency, not about how fast your level increases :slight_smile:

If you intend to level up as fast and as effectively as you possibly can, there’s 4 things to worry about related to items:

  • Doing the radicals as soon as you level up. The sooner you guru the radicals, the sooner the 2nd half of Kanji will appear.
  • Doing the 1st half of Kanji in the days between the unlock of radicals and the unlock of the 2nd half of Kanji. This establishes that most if not all of your 1st half of Kanji will be already Guru before you leveling up.
  • Doing the 2nd half of Kanji as soon as you guru the radicals.
  • Doing the vocabulary available during the time you spend on that level (use the “total vocab/number of days” formula to know how many words you should learn per day to achieve this).

Now, let’s talk about reviews. I assume you already know the subdivisions of the Apprentice category, right?

Apprentice 1 => Guru 1 (3d10h, considering 4 correct answers in a row)

Apprentice 1 (lesson)
Apprentice 2 (+4h)
Apprentice 3 (+8h)
Apprentice 4 (+23h => consider this as 24h or 2x12h)
Guru 1 (+47h => consider this as 48h or 4x12h)

This helps you answer the question: How frequently should I do the reviews?

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that WK is divided by periods of 12h. Apprentice 1 (4h) + Apprentice 2 (8h) = 12h. This means that you need 12h after the lesson to put an item in the Apprentice 3. After that, it takes +2x12h for Apprentice 4 and +4x12h for Guru. Why should you care? It’s simple. This allows you to build your own schedule for WK.

For example, imagine that you do a lesson at 9am. This means that you’ll get the 1st review at 1pm (+4h) and the 2nd review at 9pm (+8h, considering you got it right both times). Did you notice the pattern? That’s right, 9 am and 9pm. It’s the WK’s pattern working. Now, think about the time it will take for the next Apprentice levels. That’s right, Apprentice 4 at 9pm of the following day and Guru 1 two days later also at 9pm. See the magic happening?

In order to use WK to its full potential, it’s better to do the Apprentice reviews using the intervals of WK. Why? If you read the FAQ/Guide, you’ll see that WK shows you an item right before you forget it. By being loyal to their intervals, you’ll be able to be more successful in your reviews. Does this give you extra work? Not at all. Just notice the pattern again.

For an item which lesson was done at 9am, you’ll need to:

  • review it at 1pm.
  • review it at 9pm.

You basically only need to use WK three times per day. Forget about trying to be here every single waking hour. You don’t need to. Waking up at the middle of the night is also completely nonsense. Your sleep is way more important than WK and the cool thing is that you can do both right.

Now, I believe you already noticed that choosing the time you do the lesson also determines your schedule for the rest of your day. I’ll tell you more, it determines your schedule for the rest of your WK usage. Use this to your advantage.

Imagine that you know that tomorrow you’ll be able to use WK at 8am and 8pm (12h interval). Then, 8am is the right time for the lessons. If you do the lessons at 2pm, it means that the 2nd review will only be available at 2am. Little bit late, don’t you think? By creating your own schedule for the day, you allow yourself to use WK in a healthy way. No need to wake up at the middle of night, no need for more guesses. You’re fully in control.


  • Define a number of days per level that doesn’t interfere with your learning of radicals, kanji and vocab.
  • Taking point 1 into consideration, think about the 4 rules related to items that I mentioned above.
  • Then, define a 12h schedule (0h, +4h, +8h) based on your routine that allows you to use WK.
  • Protect your learning: while doing the lessons, make sure to only focus on it. No TV, no people talking to you. Those 5 to 10 minutes should only be yours to use. The better your lessons go, the better your reviews will too.
  • Sleep well, eat healthy and exercise.

Enjoy your journey of learning Japanese :slight_smile:


I agree with @DerRittmeister and @Pluckabee that you’re probably best off limiting how fast you do lessons. I tend to try to level up quickly, so here’s how I do that while keeping things from piling up too much. Note that this is only really possible since Wanikani started giving you lessons in level order. I guess I could have used a script before, but I never tried it.

  • When I level up, as soon as I’m able, I do the lessons for the remaining vocab from the last level and the lessons for the new radicals, then I stop.
  • I do reviews only for a day or a day and a half, then do the lessons for the first kanji in the new level.
  • After that’s sat for another day or so, I’ll do all the remaining lessons, which are just the first vocab for the new level.
  • At this point, the radicals and kanji will start to move up to guru in a naturally staggered sort of way, and I’ll do the resulting new lessons as they come up.

This method doesn’t reduce your average review load over, say, a week, but it does help to spread reviews out more evenly, so you don’t have a ton at once and then nothing for a while. I also expect this method will stop working in the late 40’s, but I’ll deal with that when I get there. :smile:

My method for doing lessons was very similar to jprspereira, except, instead of dividing the total number of vocab by the number of days you want to spend on a level, I divide the total number of items for the entire level (radical + kanji + vocab) by the number of days, and that determines the number of lessons total I need to do per day - and of course I’d prioritize radicals first, and kanji spread over the next few days.

The goal of course is to try to have a steady amount of reviews.

As far as time management, I try to do WK reviews whenever I can, even if it means just doing a few at a time. For example, while I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting on the toilet, during my lunch break etc.

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Apart from slowing down with lessons, I think it’s essential to remain focused during reviews.

Often I catch myself slacking off during reviews, but when I’m really focused on doing reviews as fast as possible I can do 100 reviews in under 30 minutes. So perhaps it’s advisable to do smaller sets of reviews but stay focused during reviewing instead of ending up wasting more time in the end.

I guess that only applies as long as you didn’t take a break or something and really cannot remember the items. In this case it would not be possible to do the reviews any faster.

I was very concerned with this too and have been helped out a lot by other forum-goers. :smiley:

@jprspereira’s comment contains a lot of useful tips. (It can be improved with more links :P)

For now, I’ve decided to settle on a 9-day leveling cycle (20-25 lessons/day, with 2 rest days). Since I’m not going at max speed, I do not reorder lessons and slowly grind my way through any level up vocab. I spend about 1 hour 15 min on WaniKani studies per day and use my rest days for reading, mainly (TangoRisto and YotsubaTo).

Reviews used to take me about 30 minutes a day for ~150. I’ve been able to cut it down further with the WaniKani Reorder Ultimate 2 userscript. Doing reviews in 1x1 mode (reading, then meaning) saves so much time; I wish I’d done it sooner.

Reviews should not be taking you so long (2h30min for 200 reviews is too slow. ~1.3 reviews per minute). I think you should set aside distractions and focus. I like playing music in the background to keep reviews more exciting. Try doing reviews more quickly. I’m relatively certain you can go 4x faster.


I intend to make the ultimate manual about WK when I get to lvl 60. Until then, let me just be lazy plz :man_shrugging:


Hahaha, sounds good to me. :slight_smile:

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Reading this revolutionised the way I study WK (thanks @jprspereira): I do lessons at 7am only (I have my lesson batch size set to 7 and do a max. of 3 batches/21 lessons a day), followed by reviews; I do reviews again at 11am, and because I rarely have mistake-free reviews a few more at 3pm if I am able; then finally another longer session at 7pm. If I do not finish all reviews within the hour, they have to wait for my next scheduled study session.

I know I’m at a lower level than you, but refraining from doing lessons and reviews all day long every time they popped up has really helped my time management and so also my focus.

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Thanks for tipps. Interesting strategy. I was probably exaggerating about how long it took me.

Thanks for the tipps! :slight_smile: Haha speed-run music!! 2 days for 1000 reviews!?! You’re a genius!
On the train to and from work I do my reviews on the phone. Its two hours per day that I can transform in useful time! :slight_smile: Even though it is slow and clumsy, I admit that! :smiley:
Have to try Tango Risto as well.
The addon sounds interesting. How does that work? Can I install it on my Mac or do have to add it on the browser? Which browser?

Thanks for the tipps. Maybe I should try that! :slight_smile:

Yes, doing reviews on the train is nice as you have nothing better to do I suppose^^

I think you can only install Tango Risto on your phone:
I love this app so much! I used to want to read the news, but ‘NHK Easy News’ was too easy, and the real news was too difficult, but this app made it possible to read the real news as you can instantly look up words via the app with its built in dictionary.

As you can see, there are other articles and stuff to read there as well.

Hi rtcmanga!
I actually had the same problem. I stopped my reviewing for a while to focus on exams. I ended up having 500+ reviews to do, 100 new coming each day.
It took me 20 days. But I did it consequencely. And I did it! Now I feel like a boss!
Before that method, I needed 1h for 100 reviews. Since I use it, I achieve approx. 80-100 reviews in 25 min!

My method is easy and of course not from me :smiley:
I set a countdown to 25(!) minutes and just study! No phone (turn airplane mode on) and no other distraction (no music, no videos. I also love to hear while studying but no; Besides, it’s just half an hour). Any researches you do are only for Japanese learning purposes (i.e. if you forget the mnemonic of it or don’t like the WK one)

And immediately after the countdown has ended, go do a break! 5 - 10 min should be fine. It is important as your brain need to have a break too. Then repeat if you still want (and only if you feel like you want! You should be proud because you already did a session!)
My father taught me this method when I asked him how I can work more productively and stop wasting my time. I still love his advice!

Greetings! =)


I second the going fast part. If I can’t recall after 5-10 seconds I clearly don’t know it and shouldn’t get it right. That what the SRS system is there for. Hammering the knowledge in to you until you don’t have to think of it. Don’t ever be afraid of getting an answer wrong, you’re supposed too.

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I think that’s how SRS of WaniKani works… it’ll flood you with reviews then the next thing that you’ll have to do is to wait for a couple of hours, even a couple days for the reviews to come wahahaha :rofl: But that’s what makes wanikani perfect xD Usually reviews pop up at 11am haha and that’s the peak time to sleep and I’m doing my best to finish the reviews omg xD You just really need to finish all of your reviews before you sleep :V

No you can click on the clock and then it will show a numberat side of the clock. After you finish that number of reviews it ends the session.