Why do you level up before you've done the vocabulary?

I assume that’s not something you plan to change? Because I have a script specifically designed to let you balance different types of lessons (you get to pick how many radicals, kanji, and vocab to do). You could theoretically use it to avoid taking the last 4 kanji to avoid leveling up early if you wanted.


By the way, if you’re using the default setting for lesson order, this is not the case. When you level up you unlock a bunch of vocab for the next level immediately (in addition to vocab unlocked from guru’ing the kanji). Here’s the actual order (again, if you’re using the default setting), where N is your new level after leveling up:

  • Level[N-1] vocab
  • Level[N] radicals
  • Level[N] kanji
  • Level[N] vocab
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This has not been my experience in the first 4 levels. When I have leveled up, it has only unlocked new radicals for that level, I do not get kanji for the new level until guru’ing the radicals that use them, and I do not get vocabulary for that level until guru’ing the kanji that makes them.

That’s because you’re still a really low level. As you level up you’ll already have a large set of radicals and kanji you know. So the system will automatically unlock kanji where you know all the radicals and vocab where you know all the kanji. By level 14, it becomes the norm to unlock most of the kanji as soon as you level up.

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Oh, so I am waiting for the 14 lvl! :smiley:

This is true at least as early as level 11. I did not notice it before leaving the pleasant levels. At the end of level ten I found myself with 42+ lessons immediately and as you said, they were a mix of radicals, kanji and vocab. I handled this by starting a lesson and if it included radicals, I quit and returned a few hours later. Next time, WK offered me a different set of lessons which I would do until it started showing me radicals again. This system seems just about as effective as purposely getting the radicals wrong.
My setting is at Ascending then subject which WK suggested was the optimum.

What’s the specific reason you want to finish all the previous level’s vocab before starting the next level’s radicals/kanji?

It appears that I have a knack for leveling up quickly without actually learning the readings. I can easily recognize kanji meanings but basically have to guess at the reading. The vocabulary is what makes it stick especially when there are exceptions and rendakus.
I decide if I am actually ready to level up by how much vocab I have guru’d. At least 80-90% seems to be a good spot for me.

That’s the case for me too. I’ve purposefully been avoiding levelling up so as to catch up on all the vocabulary i’d ignored from the previous levels. Felt like cheating and was afraid of having a depressing number of vocabulary to catch up later on.
But if this is actually a thing, and not a bad one, I’ll definitely just keep them on the side (for when I have extra time) and just level up.

Have you heard of phonetic components? Many kanji have parts that indicate a reading and can be used to often know the reading of even kanji you haven’t seen before. Hate to say it again, but there’s a script for that…


Definitely don’t keep them on the side. This could hurt your long term retention since you wouldn’t be properly reinforcing the kanji. You should never be more than half a level to a level behind on vocab. If you ever find yourself more behind than that, it probably means you’re misusing one of the scripts and/or leveling up too fast.

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This is the default behaviour, since you level up when your guru 90% of your Kanji. Guru-ing Kanji unlocks vocab so there will always be vocabulary from the previous level when you level up.

If the radicals are presented to you in lessons before the previous level vocab, you may want to check your lesson settings to make sure its “ascending level…” or something rather than shuffle. This way lower level stuff will always be presented first. (On the occassion where you have <10% of the Kanji not yet guru-ed, the vocab will be presented when you do so. It shouldnt be a hugh amount though)

Scripts are not needed for what you want to do. Theres no need to purposely delay levelling as its only a system for unlocking items. You can do it however slow you want.

True but you wont know how well they have truly stuck until it comes back a few weeks to monthes later anyways.

I do think that connecting kanji with vocabulary is a much more natural way of learning the readings than memorizing the readings with out-of-context mnemonics. It’s a lot easier for me to remember that 当 is the とう in 本当 than to remember some silly story about a wolverine fighting a triceratops in Tokyo or whatever.

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Changing it to Ascending level then shuffled will change your lessons slightly towards doing more vocabulary before levelling up, and frankly I consider it more optimal than level then subject.

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I like the way the vocab helps me learn japanese as opposed to kanji, as well as reinforcing the learning of the kanji. I definitely make a point of learning the radicals and kanji in a new level ASAP, but I don’t skip vocab.

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I understand why it is the way it is and I wouldn’t advocate for a change, but I would say that it does take some of the excitement out of leveling up when I do so and then have to get through a hundred vocab words from the previous level before getting to those tasty new radicals. It’s like being given a birthday present but being told not to open it until next Tuesday after you’ve finished all your chores!

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So, you’re saying go full speed on radicals + second wave, but take time on vocab?
Speed-wise it should work, how was retention?

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I’m sorry, but unless you do as @Naphthalene said, it’s literally impossible to have perfect speed.

Thats literally how everybody that wants to go fast does it…

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Perfect speed as in 6d20hr yes. But you can have 7 day levels while spacing out your lessons and losing no sleep. So if you consider adding 4 hours “trash speed”, sure.

https://community.wanikani.com/t/how-do-you-people-level-up-in-7-days/35681/2?u=vanilla

EDIT: And yes, how naph does it is quite literally how everyone who goes fast does it…So where are you getting this waking up at night thing?

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You can reorder the lessons to strictly do levels first and then type. You can stop when you see the new radicals appearing.
If you have a lifetime membership or are willing to have days with nothing to do, then feel free.
I get anxious when I suddenly level up, but I only have WK until next January, so I forge ahead. In reality, vocabulary is not new content, but rather practice of what you already have some clue about, so moving on works well for me. Dropping perfectionist habits is doing me good.

That’s about it. You can also take your time on the first wave kanji (as long as you start them at the latest at the same time as the second wave).

As for retention, it’s hard to say. It mostly depends on how much time you have per day, and especially how long you can spend on lessons and reviewing items you got wrong. For time-critical items, the trick is to learn them ahead (i.e. go to the item page and learn from there, then just skip ahead during actual lessons to finish everything on time)