What do you guys feel about raising the free levels from 3 to 5?

To be fair, it sounds like you are saying it’s too hard rather than too slow? The first level takes 3 days at the fastest speed, which many people still complain is too slow.

And when they do, I get to post my list of the other 500 threads about the same thing!


I mean, it was pretty difficult. The hiragana and kanji are pretty decent in difficulty, but vocab kinda hit me pretty hard. The whole difference of when to use onyomi or kunyomi in the vocab is hard, especially trying to identify jukugo. So far, it seems you have to just memorize which ones are jukugo and which ones aren’t. Plus the whole mnemonic system was taken to another level with ~35 new things to memorize, but I guess knowing that it’ll take me 10-15 minutes a sitting to internalize it is a bit comforting. Slowly but surely I’m making it. Kinda sucks when you accidentally enter a wrong answer that was barely misspelled or what not and it keeps you back, but overall I like it. (Curse those 3 kanji that aren’t apprentice yet! :upside_down_face:)


3 levels were enough to suck me in. The 3rd level is what really kept me. Once I finished that I was ready for more.


Go search on the forum for some user scripts. There is one called WaniKani Override (there might be others). This allows you to ignore the answer IF you get it wrong due to a simple misspelling. I’m hesitant to recommend this to a new learner because if you abuse that power, you will defeat the whole purpose of an SRS. That being said, if you use it properly it can be a huge help.

And if you are worried about it being too slow… just wait. Oh the days when I had only a few reviews and lessons…


If they think its too slow, changing it to level 5 wont make a difference. The onboarding process seem to have been designed to make starting as a beginner as painless as possible.

Get people you introduce to read this guide. They should be able to decide for themselves whether WK offers what they want.


I’d reinforce the fact that kanji learning doesn’t need to go much faster than 1 year. There’s grammar, extra vocab, reading, speaking and writing to practice. Learning kanji in 3 months (RTK way) won’t make those other paths any easier.

PS: I’m mentioning 1y because they’re worried about being too slow, not because I’m assuming it’s easy to do so. Just an argument to use.


I think 3 levels are already more than enough. I knew I was going to subscribe by the end of level 2 itself :smiley:


Everyone is making such reasonable arguments.
I was about to jump in to fervently agree with the OP because I just hit the free level cap. :smirk:


Personally I feel okay with raising the free levels from 3 to 60, but then again I don’t stand to earn any money from WK so my opinion is biased :ghost:


I’m a few days away from having to pay so, uh, sure - raise it to 5 right now!

More seriously, it does feel slow but it seems to be working so I shall be parting with some money soon. From Tofugu’s perspective 3 may well be optimal.

TBH the only thing I’d really want to change is when new radicals become available. Teach me the radicals for level N+1 in level N, there aren’t many of them, they’re easy, and they just (seem to?) block access to learning kanji in each level which unnecessarily extends levelling time. (I’m not SRS-ing if I haven’t seen it yet.)


Funnily enough, I just got the lesson for the vocab 無料 and this is one of the example sentences:

WaniKani is available for free until level four.

Which is not true because WaniKani is available for free until level three.

But perhaps based on that example sentence alone we have a solid argument for making level 4 free.


Danger OT:
Until in the meaning of “until you reach”. So lvl 4 is excluded…

Back to topic:
I don’t think it’s of any use to raise the free levels. The first 3 are more than enough to acknowledge how wanikani works and if it’s a fit.


It depends on how you interpret “until”.

“I’m busy until 3 pm” means I’m busy until shortly after 14:59. 15:00 is excluded.

“I’m busy until Thursday” means I’m busy until and including Thursday.

“We climbed the stairs until 4th floor” means 4th floor is included.

“I went to school there until 6th grade” means 6th grade is included.


I feel like the first three levels give you a good taste of what WaniKani is all about. It allows you to see whether you even like WaniKani, like the language, or even feel like learning through mnemonic devices even works for you.

Some people can’t learn that way and work best through visual and wrote memorization. I, however, have always worked really well with mnemonics, even as a teenager.

It also allows people to see if they are serious or not. If you think it is too slow at first, but are serious about it, you will push through. If you lose interest that quickly, then you weren’t going to continue, most likely, anyway.

So, I agree with everyone here, that the first three levels being free is pretty good and it is early enough in the levels that when you complete them, you are forced to make a decision about whether to pay and continue or not, especially if you liked it.

I luckily was able to finish level 3 and make that decision around January when they had the Lifetime Membership discount :sunglasses:.

1 Like

I think that the current system actually maximizes the chances of someone adopting WK. If the first levels were as challenging (in terms of pace and amount of material) as the more advanced levels, I think much more people would quit immediately.

Also one can pay monthly if she/he is still undecided after the first free levels.


By the time you reach level 3 and you’re still not sure, a month subscription doesn’t cost too much will get you to level 5/6/7/8 depending on your speed. By that time you can either cancel subscription or keep paying. I don’t think it is too high a price to pay


I thought that while you were on free trial you weren’t able to see the content for levels 4+? Am I remembering wrong, or have they changed things?


No, you’re right :v:

I remember feeling frustrated by that because I knew a lot of the level 1-3 stuff from prior study and I wanted to see when it would get to new material. But, I do understand why they wouldn’t want to expose all of the information for free…