367 Kanji Later… (Review of 97-day Kanji Challenge)


Anki StatsIn a previous post, I talked about the 97-day Kanji Challenge. Long story short, I’ve found it to be quite challenging indeed.

It’s now been over 50 days since I got started on that–well over half the amount of time that NihongoShark suggested. According to the card type breakdown (see the pie chart at the bottom of the image), I’ve looked at about 367 kanji at the time of writing. The total goal, by the way, is 2200. I’m not even close to being halfway done!

But you know what? I wanted to be a little discouraged at first. Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is still an incredibly effective way to learn. Because of Anki’s system, I’m still reviewing each one as I go, and should be able to remember most of those 367 with some effort. On the other hand, when studying Genki in college, I only learned 317 kanji–and I often forgot them when the quiz was over!

This means that I’m learning more kanji, more effectively, in the last two months than I did in the previous two years. That really is a big improvement!

If I keep going at this same rate, it’ll probably take me about one year in total to get to that magic 2200 number. But, you can also see that I haven’t lived up to one expectation: study every single day. I was honestly intimidated by the amount there was to do. Now that I’m looking at it in this new light–that is, that I can do less than the suggested 20 each day and still learn a ton of new information–I might be encouraged to get at this every single day. That would help my pace a lot.

In the end, the 97-day Kanji Challenge is probably too much to expect for any sane human being. Sure, we can probably do 20 a day for a week or so, but that pace will burn most people out really fast. However, you can still use the same principle, and just do 5 or 10 new ones each day. It’s better to keep a steady pace than to run yourself into the ground.

Still, the principles behind the challenge–using the deck suggested, choosing your own stories to remember each one, and reviewing every day–work wonders, and I can’t suggest those enough. If you really want to learn all the kanji, I would try a 200 or 300 day challenge instead.


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