There is nothing better out there for learning Kanji fast than WaniKani. It absolutely works and will help you learn over 2000 kanji in under two years. Before I started, I knew pretty much no kanji, definitely less than 10. A bit over two months later, I’ve reached “Enlightened” on many terms. In four more months, these will be “Burned”, supposedly forever burned in memory. In my drills, I usually get 94-100% correct. If I pause to think really hard on ones I don’t know off the top of my head, I’d get closer to 100%.
But that’s it, I don’t want to have to pause to rack my brain! That involves thinking about the radicals involved and the “story” and then coming up with the answer! Which is understandable and totally fine for the first week or two, but after that, I want instant recognition. I know I should place my trust in the Almighty Crabigator and completely rely on the Spaced Repetition System where my reviews are all carefully timed; which in effect forms the strongest memories by recalling them right at the point you’re about to forget them. Well, gulp, sometimes I do indeed forget them. Or I have to think for a moment to obtain the answer.
But am I asking too much?
I want *instant* recognition and 100% accuracy! I need more than 8 drills to really burn those into my brain, I mean turtle shells. There is at least one person on the WaniKani forums who I believe has achieved that, he is known for only getting two drills wrong – ever. And he does his own drills.
So I decided I want to do a little extra practice on the side, like right after I learn them – in those first few hours – drill them a bit extra so I really know them. And then letting the SRS magic take its course.
Now, I could import some premade decks into Anki, but I don’t particularly enjoy doing Anki too much. I could painstakingly make my own flashcards (which I did for writing practice), but I prefer practicing on my computer.
Then I discovered WaniKani Self Study Quiz Edition browser extension! (The person I mentioned above authored this extension, and this is how he can be so accurate.) Just one click to enable the addon and now, right within WaniKani, I have instant customizable quizzes on my radicals, kanji, and vocabulary! It’s like a dream come true for me. Click the link above to get the script or learn more by heading to the forums with the full list of features.
How to Self Study using this app
Currently you can only drill one set, one level at a time, and I think that’s been fine for everyone who uses it, as the script has been out for a year now. You choose the Level and Category (radicals/kanji/vocab) you want to study. Below I highlighted the new menu you will see once this extension is activated – one above each level.
I chose the Radicals for Level 9 – my current level. There isn’t much to study for radicals, just recognize them and know the name WaniKani chose for them, but they are important to keep up with the mnemonic stories to remember kanji and vocab!
Then I customize the quiz options. These settings are conveniently saved so you don’t have to set them again next time. You can also choose handy Presets that have options already configured.
The quiz begins! As an overlay, a small window appears and you can enter the answer. With lightning mode enabled, pressing [Enter] after a correct answer will move to the next quiz item. If you don’t know it, you can press the Question icon (or F1) to get the answer. After the round, you can do another, or choose the setting to have it end after one round. Stats are displayed at the end.
What’s really cool is you can also quiz yourself on your listening skills! Something I haven’t looked into much, but hey, I got my first one right!
Here are some animated images that the author used to describe how it all works.
When I first started WaniKani, this is what I so desperately wanted. A way to hide the English meanings and kana readings so I could quiz myself very quickly on the fly, right on the main Kanji page. This is my NEW BEST FRIEND! Look, it even shuffles the terms for you!
Only downfall? I can’t use my favorite UserStyle with this script, as it doesn’t look the best, but I don’t mind coming back to WaniKani default colors now and then. 🙂
One small improvement might be to darken the background while you’re doing the quiz. Perhaps make the popup window sizeable or a bit bigger, as it gets lost on my huge monitor. Adding custom sets or combining the levels was something that was discussed on the forums, but honestly, it works fine as is.
If you use WaniKani, do you do any type of extra studying? Anki? Flashcards? Writing practice? Or perhaps Wanikani Self Study Quiz Edition?