Uncertainty about my progres with WaniKani

Hello, I am a pretty new WaniKani user, and I’ve been feeling a little stumped and slow. A lot of people here say how you need to go fast, and how some peopel just go too slow and don’t dedicate enough time to it. I’ve made it to level 2 and I’m about 75% done with the level after 23 days total of using the wanikani program. I find myself getting overwhelmed by the amount of lessons already, I have about 50 so I leave them sitting and I wait until I memorize all of the kanji I have which on average it takes a couple days for me to get the new kanji under my belt. After that I usually add about 5-10 new kanji to study through and continue with that format, it’s the most digestible for me I feel in the moment. I feel like this is very slow, and I feel bummed out. I’m not sure if I’m doing anything wrong, or just not studying enough, or maybe this is just all that my brain can process? I do reviews probably 3-4 times a day if not more, I like to do them frequently cause its fun to just kill off the notification that I have lessons do. I enjoy it a lot, but I’m not sure if I’m learning at a pace that is sufficient and I’m not sure if I’m doing everything in my power to do the best that I can. I’m not sure if this is normal progress? Or if it gets easier and faster as I progress through wanikani? I just feel like I’m stumped. I am doing a rather (what I would consider) vigorous study of Japanese in general as I have a lot of free-time now and I’m really striving to achieve conversational fluency and greater. I’ve made a ton of progress in this past month, I have learned ~300-350 words in a little over a month which I’m very proud of myself for doing. I on average try to learn 10 new vocabulary words/phrases/grammar rules a day so my mind is occupied doing that a lot, and I’m not sure if that’s contributing to my slowness. I’ve also found that if I already know a word but not the kanji for it I remember the kanji for it extremely fastly, so maybe I’ll get faster when I expand my vocabulary a bit more. Please let me know any advice you have, I’d love to learn at a fast pace like everyone, I feel like I’m lagging behind a bit.

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Hi there ! Maybe you could share your study method to give better advice? How many new lessons do you do per day ? Do you do several rounds of reviews every day ? How’s your accuracy in general ? The SRS system in Wanikani works well when you do regular reviews, especially for the 4h and 8h reviews.

Also, have you been exposed to the japanese language before ? For me, the first few levels of WK were quite easy because I had already encountered some kanjis and vocab before “in the wild” (through anime and beginner classes in Japanese). So if it’s your first time encountering all the new kanjis and vocab, of course it is difficult!

Also, do you work a full time job or have a busy school/university schedule ? If that’s the case, it is normal that your studies are a bit slower than you would like. Sometimes your brain has other stuff to care about than kanjis …

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Your pace is whatever pace you can handle while still enjoying it. Your plan to leave those lessons sitting until you feel like you have your reviews under control is a good one. The pace only intensifies if you try to take on too much too fast. Only move forward when your accuracy on the lessons you already have is good greater than 80 percent or so… and definitely keep your apprentice under a hundred. Or less if you have to. Part of the trick is finding your groove… the number of lessons and reviews that keeps you comfortable. It has to stay fun…. Try not to compare… just compare to yourself. As you say…. You are making progress. Just focus on that. Ignore what everyone else is doing.

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Best way to deal with a big block of lessons. The available lessons are just an indication of content that’s been unlocked and can be lessoned when you’re ready for it. I always found being at 0 lessons available much more frustrating because you don’t get a choice to either do or not do more lessons.

By comparison, I spent more time on levels 2 and 3 than on any other levels. You get used to WaniKani’s format, you become more accustomed to standard readings of kanji - over time certain stuff gets easier and you will move faster. Having said that, over time the kanji available get more complex and this can slow you back down - whether it will or won’t tends to vary from person to person.

Another important thing to remember is that WaniKani’s level 60 isn’t the magical ‘now I can read and before I couldn’t’. Even at level 20 your recognition of kanji is going to be substantial - funnily enough even for kanji you don’t immediately recognize (because you recognize the radicals and have an easier time looking them up!).

This is the important part, regardless of WaniKani-speed!

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I’m not 100% sure I understood your daily intake, but it sounds like you might be doing something outside of WaniKani as well? If you are, then it’s relatively normal for you to feel like you need to take WK at a slow pace.

However one thing I feel I need to say, because I went through the same phase in the beginning, I would learn 5 kanji and then let it sink in for 2-3 days before doing more, but that is not good. You need to do some lessons everyday, you can start with 5-10 a day, and you might think that it will slip from your memory, but that isn’t necessarily true, you’re probably underestimating the capability of your brain, just because you learned something yesterday, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new today, while retaining the things you learned yesterday.

I think you should try for now, doing 5-10 lessons a day, currently I’m doing 15 a day, that’s comfortable for me, some will do 20, but it’s up to you. If you are doing something outside of WK, you could think about slowing that down in favor of speeding up on WK.

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You’ll find your pace eventually, I didn’t have it all figured out until I was level 11 or so. The more you learn, the easier it gets to learn new kanji/words.

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Level 2 and 3 were my longest levels by far, actually. Click this to see what my chart looks like so far:

If you are new to Japanese, learning kanji and vocab can be very confusing and overwhelming at first! But as others have said, you’d be surprised at how much your brain really is capable of learning. I started at a very slow, irregular pace, then tried doing 10 lessons a day (this is when my level-up speed started to pick up), and when I realized I could handle that, I upped it slightly to 12-13 lessons a day, which is where I’ve pretty much stabilized with WK.

I have also added Anki lessons on the side, though I didn’t start out doing that, and only really this year have I been adding as many as I have been. Now I often learn 19 vocab words + 3 kanji a day across both platforms (WK and Anki). Could I have done this when I first started? Absolutely not! But my knowledge eventually got to a point where I had a strong enough base to work from, so learning new words/kanji wasn’t as difficult for me, and I was able to take on more work without taking on additional stress.

If you have better luck learning vocab and then kanji, then it might be that you’re better off investing more of your energy at this point into vocabulary acquisition, and letting your WK pace lag a little behind. I’m the exact opposite, haha, and find vocab way, way easier to learn if I know the kanji, so it’s more valuable for me to keep up a steady WK pace.

If you do want to improve your WK pace, I recommend checking out the ultimate guide to WK if you haven’t already read it. The tips in there are very useful even if you aren’t trying to speedrun WK.

One strategy that I have personally found useful is using the lesson filter script to distribute the kanji lessons throughout the level. I do 3 kanji and 9 vocab lessons a day, for example (if you keep a roughly 1:3 ratio of kanji to vocab, you shouldn’t get too far ahead with either one of them). I’ve found that it’s way easier for me to learn kanji in smaller batches, and it’s also less demoralizing for me if I can get started on new kanji right away when I level up instead of having to get through a pile of vocab lessons first. Perhaps trying something like this could work for you as well?

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After four months on Wanikani I have settled into a daily groove of clearing all my reviews and then doing five lessons. This is super comfortable for me, and I’m in no rush; I’m at level 7 now and who knows if I’ll ever make it to level 60 but what does it matter? I’m learning and retaining well and I’m enjoying myself. I was thinking of increasing to 7 or 10 lessons a day during summer vacation when I have more time, but I might be more inclined to add more of my other Japanese activities instead so I can reinforce what I’m learning through exposure. It sounds like that’s what you’re already doing. I do think maintaining a daily habit is what’s key for me; whether it’s five lessons or thirty, if it’s sustainable over the long haul, that’s what matters.

Hi, welcome to WaniKani! I’m going to add to what everyone else here is saying. The pace that feels comfortable for you is the pace that will work for you.

Going “faster” than what feels right will very likely lead to burn out and lowered retention. Even if it feels like you’re going slow, a process that still works for you 5 years later is better than anything else.

Learning any language is a lifelong process. A few more lessons or so a day won’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, so I’d say you’re right on track :slight_smile:

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I think the speedsters are a little over represented on the forums. There are a LOT more slow durtles like myself out there. I know it can be hard, but try not to compare your pace to others. Go at what feels right and fun for you, like others have said.

I definitely went more quick at the start, but burned myself out and had to slow down, else I was afraid I wouldn’t finish at all. Best decision I could’ve made, and here I am, level 60. :slight_smile: Some people take a week per level, some take a few weeks, a few months–there is no correct pace except for the pace that works for you. If you need to adjust over time, adjust! But don’t feel pressured to do more than you can just to “keep up” with anyone else. The important thing is to learn and enjoy yourself. :heart:

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I don’t think anyone here say you need to go fast in the 7 years I’ve been on here. If you’re seeing a lot of people say that, I think you might be misinterpreting something.

You need to go fast to (insert goal) in (challenging time frame), but you’re the one whos sets the time frames and goals. I don’t think anyone actually cares how fast you go.

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Hello, when I started WaniKani initially I was going to rush, but then I joined the scenic route which is basically just a group of people who “take it slow”.

I would say that, if it feels slow, you can speed it up by doing lessons right away and doing reviews as soon as they pop up. For some, this works great, for others (like me) it can become overwhelming - you need to remember that, if you are going quickly you’re going to be having a lot of reviews stack up very quickly.

The two most important things with WaniKani are:

  1. Consistency
  2. Finding your pace

Your pace might be keeping lessons at 0, and reviews at 300+, or it might be keeping lessons at 100 and reviews at 100. You’ll need to experiment and find out what works for you.

I hit level 5 before, but after taking a break I came back to tons of reviews and was overwhelmed so I just reset since level 5 is quite low anyway.

Currently, the way I do things is “try to keep lessons under 100” but preferably even under 50, I can handle a ton of reviews because I have a ton of free time, but seeing a ton of lessons that I haven’t even started makes me anxious.

Whatever pacing you decide on, good luck :+1:.

If conversation fluency is what you’re aiming for, buy this book and spend your extra time there instead. Keep progressing in learning Kanji but pushing and learning 100, 500, or even 1000 more kanji in the same time frame won’t make much difference for conversation fluency.