WaniKani with real-life studies

So starting next month schools are gonna be up again in my country and I was wondering about the people who are doing WK when they have to study for school/college is it really possible to keep up with it and get to level 60 within ~1.5-2years? if so how much time will I have to dedicate to WK? will I fall far behind if I take a day or 2 off to study for a test or so? can I maintain good grades while also keeping up with my WK lessons and reviews?

I know I’m asking a lot of questions but I feel like committing to learning a language as hard as this is a pretty big commitment (I’m gonna buy the 1-year plan soon) and I’m willing to commit to it but not at the cost of my studies.


Hey StolenUFO,

Wanikani premium is well worth it. The amount of knowledge and personal development you can achieve in a short space of time is amazing… and addictive! Everyone’s situation is different, but here’s mine.

I wasn’t in school per se, but I was working full time and studying for exams outwith that as well as keeping up with WK, in the 2 year time frame. I needed to commit to reviews & lessons first thing in the morning, usually with a face-meltingly strong coffee, and doing more reviews at lunch and then before bed; say 1~1.5hrs a day.

Not gonna lie, it was tough. But I found that, so long as I was organised and allocated myself time to do WK each day, it was manageable. Eventually, it just becomes part of your daily routine.

The only thing that derailed me was the birth of my daughter and my wife’s subsequent health issues, so I felt that WK was the least of my problems then.

I reset from about Level 11 all the way back to 1, which I maybe wouldn’t recommend, but you can use vacation mode if you need to take a week off for exams, etc.

In summary, totally manageable, but just stay organised & consistent :+1:

Good luck, and happy learning :vulcan_salute:


I would say dont worry about pace before level 10, until then it is like a breeze, even if you dont have a lot of free time,

only then you start a little discipline to keep apprentice items below 100, 15 or 20 lessons a day, do every other time self study quiz, and then in 6 months you get to higher levels, like me now.

that’s what I did since january 1st this year and now at lvl 25 and still manageable after a long day of work.

I got to 60 at full speed while going to what was considered a more difficult engineering uni. It’s really not that hard so long as you’re disciplined. I can’t remember ever feeling like I didn’t have enough time. Full speed at me dedicating like at most 2 hours a day to wanikani and it didn’t get in the way of anything.


I freely admit I am jealous of school-going folk seriously starting to study this language. It’s a great time to start.

First, regarding your timeline:

  1. If you do all your radical lessons as soon they are available, do 5 Kanji and 10 vocab lessons per day and you login only twice per day at fixed times, 12 hours apart (like 7am and 7pm, for example), you will be done in 2 years, provided your accuracy is not bad.
  2. If you think it could take you two years, they cost of two annual subscriptions is the same as the cost of Lifetime when the sale comes aorund in December. I can tell you, from my experience, that life happens and things don’t always go according to plan. Delays can happen and sometimes resets are necessary.

Second, regarding pausing for studies:
Yes, but, don’t pause for too long even while in vacation mode. The SRS may be paused but your brain’s propensity for forgetting won’t be. If you’re away too long, you will probably rightly consider resetting to a lower level.

Third, regarding how large the workload will be:
This will largely depend on your accuracy. If you keep failing items, the workload will grow to staggering proportions. However, this is unlikely as that would require some really low accuracy. The workload also depends on whether you choose to use something called “Anki Mode”. This greatly speeds the process of doing reviews up (though it doesn’t shorten the waiting periods, fortunately), but is the subject of a different discussion. If you use WK with standard input and you’re good with a keyboard and your accuracy is not too bad, a total of 2 hours per day will probably be enough.

Fourth, regarding asking questions:
Better to ask all you can now before you pay. Remember that language learning is a journey and WK is a marathon, not a sprint. Above all, focus on not burning out and on what matters most to you (it seems to be your studies, kudos to you).

Finally, WK can be tedious at times. But, it should be mostly fun. If you’re not having a good time, perhaps another method would be more suitable for you. I’m not saying we should always avoid things that aren’t fun, but you’re doing this because you want to learn a language, not because you have to, and this is not school. I’m sure you have enough tedium to contend with over there :wink:.


thanks for the detailed reply you and everyone who replied honestly made me feel like I’m making it look like a big deal although it really isn’t, I think I will just buy it and try my best if life happens then I will try to organize my time as much as possible even if I have to slow down WK a bit I will try to keep up as much as I possibly can.


That makes me feel a little bit better about buying it thanks! and I hope you and your family are all doing fine ( :

Well that’s reassuring

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You. Can. Do eet.

Really though the biggest issues I saw with my peers in college that would prevent them from doing the same is just time management skills. Get yo stuff situated and you’ll be hardcore chillin


I see, i currently have a test unrelated to school that i study for every now and then and i will take it soon so i guess the fact that levels before 10 are easier is pretty good so i can finish that test while I’m still in the easy zone

I’m currently in my last high school year and if i do as well as i expect then i can probably get to pretty high levels in this year + my summer break then i will have to do the rest of the levels in college, I’m going for software engineering and it feels like that needs a lot of work. but you make WK sound so easy hahaha, hopefully its as you say! i will try my best to organize my time as much as possible and keep up with everything


Ah thats actually the exact degree I was getting lmao.

I think wanikani itself and vocab/kanji as a whole is really very easy. Its really just very small pieces of knowledge that you need a surface level understanding of. The hard part is the quantity of those pieces is very large which requires a lot of consistent dedication over a long period of time. Thats why I say discipline is pretty important. Motivation will carry you pretty far if you’re like me, but you need discipline for those days when you’re tired from school work or don’t feel like doing your reviews. Choosing to skip japanese on those days can really weaken your good habits and make things harder in the long run.

One thing to note, I found wanikani to be easier the more time I dedicated to it. Past like a certain point, I was dedicating enough time to it so that it just became like part of my day and I didn’t think twice about it. It stopped feeling like a chore and I felt like I had better focus. It was no longer “no video game time” and it ended up becoming just “wanikani time”.

Either way, if you’ve got the ambition and discipline I can guarantee you’ll do just fine!



I’m currently doing my last year of graphic design and I think it’s totally possible to keep up with WK if you have the determination to do so!

YES! although of course, every person is different. I spend maybe an hour and a half doing reviews everyday… if you take into consideration the fact that reviews are spread out throughout the day, it’s really not that much. It’s not easy but as someone said earlier, you get used to it and it becomes part of your rutine.

Consistency is key! you just need to find the pace that’s right for you and makes this experience a comfortable one :dizzy:



Hi there, first of all, welcome to WaniKani!

Don’t wanna scare you, but my personal experience was kinda awful hahahaha

I started WaniKani very shortly (August) before the beginning of my second year in University (end of September). It was all great, but as soon as exam season came… Well, in the first rounds of exams in December, I basically took a one week break from doing any new lessons on WaniKani.
In the second round of exams in May, I took one whole month off :sweat_smile:

But I still continued doing my reviews =)

The thing is, I’m a pretty weak person. I get tired easily, and I get headaches easily, so studying and revising for exams was more than enough to fry my brain. Learning some foreign language’s words on top of that would have tipped my sanity over the point of no return :joy::joy:

As you can see by my level after 1 year, I’m taking my time with WK. Sometimes I’m irritated at myself for being so slow and weak, sometimes I think I’m doing amazing. It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I’m so used to it now, I wouldn’t change anything about it :wink:

From what I have personally experienced, doing WK whilst studying is perfectly manageable (although I have no idea how hard Highschool (I’m guessing in the US??) is, so I can only speak from my experience with UK College and University :sweat_smile:).

I’m supposed to get to level 60 in 2 more years (so 3 years in total) but I can imagine I’ll take more breaks as I start my third year of Uni this September. Kind of annoying, but meh, that’s life. I’m just happy I’m still going.


I started WaniKani at the very end of my undergrad, right before finals, which was a terrible decision lol. I’ve done the bulk of my WaniKani time while being a full time teacher though and have struggled with the work load at times. My advice would be:

  1. Do all your reviews before you do any lessons
  2. Keep your apprentice items at around 100. If you have 120 apprentice items and 30 lessons, hold off on doing those lessons.
  3. It’s ok to take a break when life gets hectic. Just be prepared for things to be a little rough at first when you come back
  4. Go at the pace that works for you. You’re just starting college and don’t know what your work load will be yet like. If you’re able to keep to that 1.5 years goal, great, but give yourself the flexibility to extend that and go at the pace that works best for you.

Full disclosure, I’m at like, 3+ years on wanikani and I’m nowhere near level 60 lol. Life happens. But I’ve managed to keep up with my Japanese in other ways and I’m confident in my Japanese level. Reaching level 60 in 1.5 years is not the be all end all. Language learning is a long haul journey, and level 60 represents the number of kanji that Japanese kids spend 9 years learning. Go easy on yourself.


A respectable take for sure, but
Counter opinion: I spent quite a bit of time studying japanese while getting my 2 degrees, about 4 hours a day on average I would say for most of 4 years, and I’m incredibly glad I didn’t go easy on myself because it allowed me to get a lot more done before I became a working adult with other responsibilities and less free time.

Like you said, language learning is a long journey. If I’m being very conservative with my estimates, I would say getting 60 on WK has been about 20% of my journey so far in terms of time spent (realistically its probably in the teens). So, focusing only on wanikani, had I taken…say 5 years to get to level 60 then that would mean it would take me 25+ years to my level rather than my sub 5 years. As someone who is about to move to japan and live there for the foreseeable future, shaving 20+ years off of my journey to get here has been so worth not going easy on myself. Everyones different but thats just my experience and I know for a fact that had I taken things slower I would have nothing but regret. Hell, I still wish I studied harder and played less video games. Even after all this time I’m not even close to being satisfied with my level. Its also worth noting that its kinda hard to compare native learning of kanji with what we do here on wk and when japanese people learn all their kanji after 9 years they can do a whooooooooooooole lot more than we can with the language just by completing wk.

TL;DR: Depending on who you are…maybe don’t go easy on yourself and set that bar high. Right now might be the best time of your life to make lots of progress.


Med school student here who spent his first year going through WK on a 10 day pace per level. I’d say it’s definitely doable especially if you have online classes. I do my lessons first thing in the morning (6 am), do my reviews at 10 am (a bit of multitasking during the lectures :D), and do my reviews again at 6 pm. If I have free time after studying and such I’ll do reviews in between those intervals. All in all, I spend at most 2 hours on a busy day and 1,5 hours on WK on average. I use the normal WK order without reordering scripts/lesson filters, so on a vocab/radical lesson day I only spend 20 minutes on lessons with 20 cards, however if it’s a kanji lesson day I spend like 45 minutes with 15 kanji cards. I try to schedule my time to keep up with this schedule while attending a 8-3 online class, assignments, studying, learning grammar with BunPro, and exercising 3x/week.

On my first year, I’d say that WaniKani has been so much fun that it has been an app for recreation for me! If I need to unwind after cramming myself with medical terminology, it’s fun to review vocab and just chill on the bed or on my laptop doing reviews. On my break time, I scroll through the forums, reading about Japanese language tips or about some heated arguments on classic threads.

In the end, I can say I did an okay job of balancing WK out with my real-life studies as I managed to get stable grades by the end of first year without being too overwhelmed. I’d say try it, at least get an annual subscription like I did! I’m going to renew mine on August so my plan is to finish in two years with a 2x annual. If you want to finish in two years, you can definitely do it without spending more than two hours on WK. Remember, whatever you decide to use to learn, having fun with it is a must!


I think it really depends on the person and workload. I can’t imagine having tried starting WK my last year of high school. Although I was taking 7 different AP classes, French, and German. I think you should also consider the pressures of applying for college as well. If you’re not expecting a massive courseload though and feel like your stress is manageable, go for it. I found college to be a lot more manageable than my last year of high school, but I didn’t have the funds to comfortably spend on learning another language just for fun.

If it works for you, it works for you

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well that’s basically what I wanted to hear, “it might get a bit hard and you might go a little bit slower but it’s still worth it”, and it’s really great to hear all the advice from everyone in Uni since I will be in the same situation next year lol


i started my 3 free WK levels at the end of last year (which was online), and my time never felt so manageable during a school year before i felt like i had so much time to study for school, do all lessons and reviews, and still have sososo much more time (in fact it was so much that i was gonna try to learn digital art alongside school and Javanese) but my school wont be online for next year, the problem with it not being online is the fact that i wont be able to do my reviews 4-6 hours after i do my lessons (I know its quite weird but my school starts at 6am and finishes at 1pm) so i will have to do my lessons at 5am and my reviews at 1:30pm or so, which will force me to slow down a bit

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