What to expect when changing levels?

I realize I should be used to it by now at the end of level 15, but I just have a question. I can usually do radicals pretty much immediately, and kanji not far after that, but then I get in this weird position where technically I’m level Y but I’m still doing 100 vocabulary all at once (and vocab is definitely my weakest area of the 3) for level X and can’t even start Y for a week or two.

I’ve noticed this for a few levels now but I see after the last time it happened, I’m back up to my actual level and 1 or 2 kanji away from leveling up… and being stuck “behind” with vocab again and got that tinge of fear. I really don’t like it. I understand it for leeches and ones I’m generally bad at, but these are always all new. I kind of wish it would level lock me until I finished the vocab.

Is this normal or did I get myself in some strange loop?


The level that you’re on has no bearing on anything whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if you’re level 15 or 16, what matters is the number of your lessons and reviews. Don’t sweat the little things.


Ok thank you, I’ll try to take that to heart. Always feeling behind is unpleasant.


I have had the same problem since around level 8 or so. As plantron has said, it does not really matter as long as progress is being made. Typically, I spend 3-4 days on finishing Level N-1 vocab before I even start Level N and that’s OK.


You can’t prevent the level up, unfortunately, but the system does have a way to make you do previous level’s vocab before you start the new level’s radicals and kanji, which might help with at least minimizing the end of level stack. From the dashboard, go into your settings and scroll down to Lesson Ordering. You can select ‘Ascending Level then subject/shuffled’ (subject goes radical, kanji, vocab, shuffled just tosses it all in willy nilly) and it will force you to do the last level’s vocab before you can start on the current level. (I’m assuming you either have it set to true shuffle or are using a reorder script to do radicals and kanji before vocab.)

Beyond that, like the others said, there’s no rush so long as you’re moving forward. I do the same as tip, clearing out the previous level’s vocab before I start in on my current level radicals and kanji. I also do my best to keep doing vocab lessons once I’ve done the radicals and kanji, since I have at least two days before level up at that point and the more vocab I do before level up, the fewer I have to do after level up to proceed with radicals and kanji.

Out of curiosity, is the fear just from having a tall stack of vocab lessons to get through? Or is it because you have trouble with vocab reviews and getting them to guru and above?


If you change your lesson order to ‘Ascending Level then Shuffled’ in settings, you’ll have less vocabulary items waiting for you on levelling up.


Thank you both. I’ll change to ascending then shuffled and see how I like it.

A little of both. And also I see how fast people go through levels and then I’m slowed down by a huge vocab stack and I feel… pressure on myself to move as fast as I see that they do I guess? It’s all in my head, I always feel like I have to do what X person is doing our that I’m not doing well enough, etc. So, the big stack, and also comparing myself to others that I shouldn’t be doing.


Yeah, watching the fast folks zoom through stuff is always tough. I’m not one of those fast people (it’s taken me two years to get to level 17, for various reasons) and I can admit that I’ve fallen into that thinking sometimes when people who started learning after I did are zooming past me in level or ability. What I’ve found helps is finding a metric for yourself that you can measure against that isn’t one of those people. For a while, my metric was just doing ten or fifteen lessons a day. More recently, I’ve installed this heatmap script to give me a visual metric on whether I’m doing reviews and lessons at least once a day, which helps more than just me holding myself accountable for it.

Fast is flashy, but slow and steady can win the race just as surely. You’ve made it to level 14, that’s more than a lot of folks do and gives you a really good chance at making it the whole way. Find and keep a pace that works for you, because that’s when you’ll be doing your best learning.

As for the giant stack of vocab, hopefully the lesson ordering will help get that more under control for you, but also don’t worry about doing all the vocab lessons in one session, if that’s what you’ve been doing. You move a mountain one stone at a time and chances are, you’ll also learn them better if you break them up. I only do ten or fifteen vocab lessons a day, usually, regardless of what the stack looks like, and it might seem a bit slow, but it can go surprisingly quickly.

Hope even some of this is helpful, but at the very least, keep in mind you’re not alone in any of this and the folks here are always willing to offer support or advice.



I used to be like you, but what i realize as i reached level 15 was the radical reduces significantly (about <10 per level) and about 80% kanji gets unlocked on the spot (speaking from experience from my 2 recent levels). So my tip is:

  1. Unlock all radicals on the go

  2. Don’t do such big batches of kanji in one go. I’d do about 5-10 and wait for it to go apprentice 1 or 2 before doing the next kanji batch. That way when i guru the first batch, I’d unlocked a small batch of vocab and i could finish it before leveling up. It worked so far for me!

So I’ll do about 5-10 kanji + 10-20 vocab (depending on my apprentice load, i try not to exceed 100+) in a batch.


Not that I think mine is the best way, but I found it interesting how different your approach was than my own. I do the lessons for all radicals and kanji the first morning after I unlock them, and by the time the second wave of reviews for them comes around at around 7 I have a pretty good grasp on all of them. Then I’ll do lessons for the vocab (around 30-40 per day until I run out) every morning, so I don’t have any vocab lessons queued by the time the second wave of kanji lessons comes, and at the end of the level I only have those straggler vocab that unlock at the very end (only ever been around 30 or so), which I can either dedicate a day to and delay working on anything new until the day after, or work in with the lessons for all the new radicals and kanji.

It’s cool to read how many different strategies everyone has, mine is definitely more fast paced than some but I haven’t taken it to the crazy levels some people do (I’d burn out so fast). So far (since level 7 when I started it) this has worked for me in case there’s any other fast-paced learners out there.


Hello :smile:

I’ve done your style and for me, i burned out after 3-4 levels. Because as the items from prev levels came back as guru in big chunks + current level’s reviews pile up, it gets overwhelming pretty fast for me.

It definitely takes a lot of trial and error to get to a rhythm you’re comfortable with, so I’m glad your way is working for you :blush::blush:

Oh and for me, kanji is sooo hard to memorize so if i try learning them in huge chunks i tend to screw up my reviews :rofl::rofl:

I try to always have 150 “in the next 24 hours” and usually do them when theres about 50ish reviews ready. Sometimes that feels too little, sometimes (lately) it feels too much. Especially when a bunch of higher level items come back in bunches. Might knock it to 125 and see what happens.

Thanks for all your advice, I really appreciate it.

One weird thing you made me notice is you said level 14 and I thought it was a mistake but I do seem to have a 14 next to my name there. Which is weird because I’m almost done with 15… I wonder what causes that. Maybe I got some level 14s wrong? Not a big deal or anything, just weird.

EDIT: Nevermind, I’m being slow, I assume it shows last completed level, not the level you’re on.

Nah, it should show the level you’re working on, but the forums just sometimes lag behind your actual level. You can fix it by logging out of the forums and back in.

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Oops, yeah, there is often a lag between WK proper and the forums, I forgot to double check the level.

Since I don’t think it’s been explicitly explained yet, what happens when you reach a new level:

  • You’ve just learned at least one kanji that put you over the threshold for the level, and probably a fair number of kanji in a batch. So all the vocab using those kanji in the current level unlock.
  • The new level will also usually have some number new of vocab terms using kanji you already know, so all of those will immediately be unlocked as well.

So I think the flood of new vocab any time you gain a level is going to be pretty normal.

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Fast people also get the big vocab stack and they also dont do it all at once.

Reading this guide will help.


Good luck!!

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That guide SoraR linked is REALLY good, and I highly recommend it. In particular, check out sections 4, 5 and 6. They explain exactly how leveling works and give you tips on how to set up your schedule so you can level at the pace that is right for you.

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