Vocabulary vs Leveling

Hi everyone,

I wanted to hear your approach on how to handle vocabulary. I am currently at the end of level 2 and about to be level 3 in a few hours but I am still lacking behind on my vocabulary, I finished about 50% of it. The approach I took when leveling up to level 2 was to use to reorder script to get my radicals and kanji out of the way first, this way I didn’t have to wait too long for my 2nd batch of kanji.

The problem I am facing with this is that it is hard to finish the vocabulary for that level at the rate I am going. I do about 10-15 vocabulary a day, maybe closer to 20 when I don’t have a lot of reviews.

My question is, should I level up even though I am behind on vocabulary or should I try to get them out of the way first?

Thanks in advance!

The problems start when you’re e.g. level 4 but still have open vocab from level 2. Having vocab from level 3 while you’re level 4 is normal.
The first two levels are faster, so I don’t know how many lessons you’d have to do every day for those, but my general approach is this:
Since WK has roughly 8800 Items over 60 levels, its an average of 147 items per level. If you wanted to do 8 days per level, that is 18.375 items per day.
So once you’re caught up in vocab lessons and then do 20 Items every day, you shouldn’t ever get a large vocab backlog.

TL;DR If the amount of lessons you’re doing every day is in line with your speed, you won’t get backlog. If you’re going too fast with too few lessons, you’ll get backlog.


What I personally do is use the reorder script, in conjunction with a script that shows the kanji on the progress bar, to determine exactly how many kanji to not guru in order to get as many vocab as possible. Once I’ve cleared all the available vocab before levelling, I level up and immediately do the vocab for the remaining kanji (and maybe the radicals all at once, if I feel like it).

In a sense, I do the opposite of what many do with the reoarder script- instead of using it to make my progress faster, I use it to delay my progress and make things slower. I find that works pretty well for not being swamped with last-level vocab.


So the general rule of thumb you would say is to have your vocab from the previous level done before leveling up, that way it doesn’t get out of hand? That seems logical but the vocabulary is meant to reinforce the kanji you learned, so if you are always learning them 1 level later wouldn’t that take away from their purpose?

The, in my opinion, most important aspect of vocab lessons (new/irregular readings) don’t get affect by this at all.
You could also argue it’s a good thing, because instead of going straight from entering the kanji quiz correctly to the lessons, you’re now leaving a few days inbetween (Much like an srs interval)

To be honest, I have no idea what the intentions of tofugu where, but I don’t think delaying the vocab lessons by a couple of days is a bad thing. Being able to do your lessons on a regular basis is way too important to me, so I need a little buffer of vocab.

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If I understand it correctly, the default setting (ascending level, then subject) is to give you all lessons from the previous level, then (in that order) radicals, kanji, and vocabulary from the current level.

If you leave the settings alone, you should not get into trouble because you’ll be forced to complete everything from the previous level before you get lessons from the current level. It’s what I do and I’m happy with it.

As long as you’re happy with finishing all vocab from the previous level first, you shouldn’t have to do that since you get Radicals and Kanji first by default after you’ve finished all previous vocabulary.

There are people here who work through the levels as quickly as possible and leave vocab behind, but it’s not for everyone. It works for some and not for others. Give it a try and see what works best for you.


Thanks for the input. I will try to find a routine and just do a certain amount of vocab a day to keep me from falling behind. I think one of the reasons I am behind also has to do with the fast first few levels (4+ days) compared to the rest of WK levels (7+ days). The amount of vocabulary compared to the time spent on a level is a lot more disproportional right now, making it a lot harder to keep up.

If you are feeling overwhelmed then I would not use the reorder script, it will just keep piling up. If you feel as if the pace is fine then don’t worry about it! Having some vocab left over from the previous level isn’t a bad thing


No, it’s part of a process they call “interleaving”. Here is a good article on it:

It’s why the system gives you items the way it does by default.


I don’t feel neccessarely overwhelmed, I was more curious on the best approach to take and how other people handle this. I am not here to rush through WK but I do want to try to learn as optimal as possible.

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That will probably change once you get more familiar with Japanese and kanji. The meaning and reading of a good portions of words will be obvious to you, and it will take barely any time to learn them. At the beginning you get kanji with many different readings like 日 and 一 that are confusing and take time to learn, but that will get less over time.

So even if the number of vocab per level stays the same or goes up, the time you will need to learn them goes down.

Since you’re not in a hurry, I would suggest that you stick with the standard order and instead spend your time between reviews with listening to Japanese (Drama, Anime, Japanesepod101) with subtitles/translations. Getting a feeling for how the Language sounds is also very important.


You might want to try the Lesson Filter script instead of the reorder script. I use this to learn vocab alongside the kanji for the new level, this way it you can chose exactly how many items of each kind you want, and don’t lose any momentum (if going fast is your thing).


That makes sense, I guess I havent thought about it in this way.

I am currently listening to http://bilingualnews.libsyn.com/ whenever I have some free time and watch anime (subbed) when I get the chance.


Billingual News seems cool, I didn’t now that one. Thanks :slight_smile:

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I use reorder to fast level, but I also don’t want to be more than a level behind in vocabulary. The vocabulary does a good job reinforcing the kanji by usually either giving you a jukugo word with the same pronunciation and a new definition, or a kunyomi word with a new pronunciation and the same definition. Meaning and pronunciation get that much more ingrained.

I use the lesson filtering script, and do it like this:

  • on levelling up: all radicals
  • throughout the level: 10 items, divided like this:
    – 3 kanji
    – 7 vocab
  • I don’t do more than 20 lessons a day.

It slows my levelling a little, but I’m not attempting to be speedy as much as consistent. This method gives me a nice spread of lessons that I hate doing in big batches (kanji) alongside lessons that I don’t have as much trouble with (vocab), and I always finish all my previous level’s and most of that level’s vocab by the time I level up, because most of that level’s vocab gets unlocked by then.

You can change the ratio to 5/5 or another ratio until you run out of kanji if you want to go faster.

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