Well, let's share tips on how to be more productive and what mistakes not to do[SHARE TIPS]

This is EXACTLY what I was looking for… You are awesome, thanks for sharing!!

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I’ve only been truly committed to studying for about a year (before that, I was much more sporadic), but I have been able to keep up an extremely consistent study schedule this entire time, so I might have some tips worth offering? Here’s what has worked for me:

  1. Make studying into a daily habit. Practicing every single day will help you retain what you’re learning, keep up your enthusiasm, and also keep your reviews from ballooning into unsustainable numbers. If you miss one day, it will be twice as hard to motivate yourself to get back into it the day after. Aim for never missing a day, no matter what.

  2. Keep your daily workload consistent. Doing a set number of lessons a day really helps with this, as does doing your lessons and reviews at the same times each day. For me, it further helps to use the lesson filter script to distribute the kanji reviews throughout the level so that I’m learning 3 kanji a day alongside 9 vocab. If you do the same amount of lessons a day, your review counts will be very even and predictable, with no unpleasant surprises.

  3. Plan your daily SRS workload around what you can do on a bad day, not in ideal circumstances. SRS can be very punishing if you miss a day of reviews, so you want to make sure that you can still get your work done if you are tired, or sick, or depressed, or busy, or in love, or on vacation, or any other time where the last thing you want to do is study. When you add new items to your review queue, be kind to your future self. If you have extra time/energy on any given day, use that time to focus on other aspects of study that do not involve adding to your SRS workload.

  4. Focus on the day-to-day, not on the "eventually"s. Fluency is a very long ways off, and being able to read easily and painlessly is a long-term goal. It’s easy to get frustrated because of how far you still have to go. But if you just get your daily work done, every single day, you will eventually reach your goals with the language. Don’t try to rush this part beyond your capacity to keep it up! Some people can easily learn 20 new flash cards a day. For others, this is a recipe for burnout. It’s better to be slow but consistent than it is to load yourself up with work that you’ll be unable to complete. Start a little below where you think your limit is, and adjust from there as needed. Vocab in particular is a massive grind, but if you learn 10 words every single day, that isn’t too much work to do in any one sitting, and you may not see a difference in comprehension immediately, but you’ll have increased your vocabulary by 3,650 words by the end of the year, and you will see a difference comparing this to where you started.

  5. Engage with Japanese media the entire time. It’s more important that you enjoy it than that it is well-optimized for studying. This will reinforce the things that you are learning, and it will also help remind you why you want to learn the language. You probably will never quite feel “ready” for a lot of the media you watch/read, so you sort of have to just push past that feeling and give it a shot anyways. But if something is too hard for you to the point where it starts to become frustrating and discouraging, it’s okay to drop it and come back later! You’ll want something that you can still enjoy at your current level of comprehension. You’ll also want something that you’re able to watch/read without becoming too concerned about perfectly understanding everything. An important skill is the ability to let things go. Don’t get too caught up over not understanding one line. Just let it go for now, and move on. If you revisit it in the future, you’ll probably find that many things that were once impossibly hard are actually comprehensible now!

  6. Focus on the small victories. Recognizing kanji in the wild, hearing a word you know in anime, understanding a sentence without needing a dictionary, being able to read a tweet on your twitter feed, that sort of thing. It will be a long time before you can watch anime without subtitles, but you’ll start to encounter more and more of these small victories, and they will add up! Every one of these victories is a reminder that you’re gradually getting somewhere.

  7. Keep your studies balanced. Don’t put all of your spare time into WK and neglect grammar and immersion, etc. If WK is starting to take up all of your spare time and you have no time/energy for anything else, it’s probably a good idea to scale back a little on your WK lessons. It’s possible to go very hard on kanji at the beginning and neglect other aspects of Japanese until afterward, but the less you use your knowledge, the more it will fade, and it is very hard to use your WK knowledge if you only ever engage with Japanese within that program and never actually learn how to read.

  8. If you add new resources to your daily study schedule, do so gradually, especially if it involves SRS. Don’t start using WK, Anki, and Bunpro all at once, for example. It’s very easy to overload yourself with a bunch of resources, so you want to make sure that when you add something to your routine, it won’t be too much. It’s better to do just a few things very well than it is to do a lot of things very poorly and inconsistently. If you get overwhelmed by all of the different resources, you’ll be better off just picking something that you can stick with rather than obsessively deliberating which is the objectively “best” resource to use. If it works and it’s something you can keep up, then it serves the job just fine.

  9. Make sure that you’re prepared for life after WaniKani. You will encounter kanji that are not in WK, as well as thousands upon thousands of vocab words that are not in WK. If fluency is your goal, WaniKani will not be the end of your Japanese journey. If you have grand plans of starting to use Anki or another program after reaching the end of WK’s content, it’s a good idea to start developing a habit of using the other program before you’re done with WK. Otherwise, it’s common to reach level 60 and sort of stall out. It’s very hard to adjust suddenly to a new program after you’re used to doing things one way. WK is a very useful tool, but it alone is not enough, and it probably won’t get you to your real goals unless you are already very proficient at Japanese. Use what WK offers, but make sure that it does not become a crutch.

  10. Consider starting a study log. My study log (linked in my bio) has been a really fantastic source of motivation for me. I’ve had great luck with milestone-based updates (rather than updating daily or weekly), because wanting to share what I’ve been up to is a great incentive to keep pushing forward with my studies. It’s also a fantastic way to get more involved with a community of other language learners, and many folks here will offer advice and encouragement. I recommend having sections for different aspects of study, including one for just talking about small victories/fun things you encounter while learning Japanese, because this will help your studies stay balanced, and will also help remind you of all of the progress you’ve made, and all of the things that are wonderful or interesting to you that make learning the language worthwhile. Having a public study log also helps keep you accountable! If you say you want to do something, you’ll feel guilty if you have to report in the next update that you still haven’t done it. I update my log whenever I level up on WK (about once every two weeks), and I feel obligated to complete at least one lesson in my textbook every level, as well as doing at least some active immersion. It provides a convenient deadline for me so that I have some external pressure to get work done that I might otherwise be tempted to put off.

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But isn’t that the point of the spaced repetition system? I find it more useful to check the reviews before doing them. Maybe I even saw it somewhere in the description of the system on Wanikani. Imagine that you are an airplane pilot who has learned 5 important buttons and what they are responsible for, then after a while you get on the plane and start flying, and suddenly you forget how to use one of the buttons, because you did not repeat these buttons right before the flight, and eventually crashed. Hehe. I do not know what consequences such a method will have on me, but now I find it much more useful than bad. It would be interesting to know what other people think about this, who also repeat reviews before doing them for a long time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Well, I started reading what you wrote, thank you all for your thoughts!

The purpose of the SRS is to commit things to long term memory. Looking things up right before a review is due is like studying last minute before an exam: You’ll do great at the exam, but will forget it immediately after. It’s just in your short term memory.

When used properly, the SRS will show you items more frequently if they’re not sticking well enough in your memory. By cheating the SRS, you’re making it much easier to forget things because you won’t see them often enough.

To follow with your pilot analogy, it’s as if the pilot cheated on his exams in flight school and now, in a real flight, can’t remember which buttons to press without constantly checking the manual.

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Oh, shit, I think I know what you’re talking about. That is, you want to say that the whole point of SRS is to repeat items until they really get stuck in your head, even if you have to repeat them 100 times and fail the same amount?

Yes, “failing” in the SRS is not a bad thing. It’s just how the SRS knows how often you need to review the item. If you keep failing a review, it means it’s not really sticking.

SRS works to a point, but if failing is happening too often, you might need to find some new mnemonics to help memorize the item better.

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I just found this method very long and often makes me give up, because when the same hieroglyph does not come to my mind for several days, it is very sad. But, apparently, I was just too lazy to spend more time studying. I will correct my teaching method because your arguments look logical, thank you!

The shortest interval on Wanikani is 4 hours. If you can remember it after 4 hours, it will show you the item again after 8 hours. If you keep getting it right, it will wait longer each time. If you get it wrong, it will show you again after a shorter time span.

You don’t really need to spend any time studying, just do your reviews a couple of times each day and most things should stick eventually. SRS are very efficient, you’re not expected to spend any time on them outside of doing reviews.

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Well, well, it will take longer now, but okay) I included the answer of one of the guys above and yours in the topic and marked my recommendation as “BE CAREFUL HERE”.

I hope it’s what you need, anyway, just try it?:

As I understand it, then all stuff with words, such as examples and other things to do, should be done after the review, when it is already clear whether you remember this kanji, vocab or radical or not. If not, then repeat and wait for the next srs step, yes?

I Just think wanikani as a game instead of a habit or chore. Its different from the usual wrote
memorization technique . I Just visualize I’m In War With Crabigator minions and level 60 is the boss level where i fight crabigator himself.

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:joy: I relate to that too much. My timeline looks way worse though. There is something satisfying about having tackled a back log.

Personally, instead of studying all the items before the review, I recommend spending some more time on your failed items right after the review. Like do a self study quiz for them, maybe read through the mnemonics (if you use those) or if you confused some kanji try to pull up the one you confused it with and look at the differences.
It can be frustrating if you fail more items in reviews at first, but I try to treat it as just a reminder that “oh apparently those are some items I should spend a little more time on”. There are just some items that stick immediately and others that don’t and that’s just natural.

edit: that being said, I don’t worry too much about messing up the SRS… if my reviews are at 0 and I have some motivation to study, I might pull up the self study quiz and quiz me on items that I failed the last 24 or 48 hours or something. If one of that items pops up for review shortly after, I’m just like “whatever” and don’t worry too much about it. I could filter them out, but honestly I don’t think it matters too much in the long run.

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I’m not sure about your pacing, but the general rule of thumb for slower-paced people is: have maximum 100 items in apprentice.
I’m currently at level 21 and I generally get 120-200 reviews per day. Its not too much for me, as I hop on WK to study three times a day.
Hope this helps ^^

Personally I might have spent a bit too long using only Duolingo before moving to something else. And I should have started reading Graded readers earlier but I was not aware of their existence by that time.

What are your impressions and thoughts about Duolingo?

It was not as bad as people say it is when you just start. After a few month the method shows its limits.

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Just curious, because I know someone who is on it and they are always saying how they are on sapphire level or amethyst or something. I think we both started around the same time - 2 months ago.

But I’m on here and Japanese from Zero and then on to Genki and TokiAndy…

So I’m just curious as to how they would compare. But I don’t want to ask them!

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keep it fun. immerse in japanese media you legitimately enjoy even if it isn’t the most optimum study material at your disposal. you can still set aside some time for the less fun stuff.

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