“PRE” LEVEL 2
Tests kanji that people learn before becoming an adult (up to high school level kanji)
Tests everything from Level 3
Reading of all the joyo kanji (approximately 2000 kanji)
Tests on “complex” radicals
In theory, this is where native Japanese speakers “should” be (though of course this isn’t the case). Being able to read kanji is one thing… but being able to know all the on’yomi / kun’yomi, as well as being able to write everything is totally another. People don’t hand write anything anymore, so it’s doubtful that most Japanese people could pass this level of the test… and this isn’t even the “real” Level 2 test yet.
Tests everything from Pre Level 2
Tests the 284 kanji used in names (jinmeiyou kanji)
Tests “special” compound kanji words
Level 2 just adds the 284 kanji used in names. Many of these kanji are kanji that people know, but the hard part is knowing the reading of them (or knowing how to write them based off of the reading). For Japanese learners, knowing how to read names is one of the hardest advanced-level challenges (I’d say), and something I still have a ton of trouble with.
“PRE” LEVEL 1
Tests everything from Level 2
Ability to read and write around 3000 kanji
Tests kanji unique to the Japanese language
Tests classical Japanese proverbs
I didn’t even know there was kanji unique to the Japanese language. Totally new information to me. This is how you know you’re running out of things to test on…
Tests everything from Pre Level 1
Ability to read and write 6000 kanji
Tests special or unusual kanji readings
Tests place and country names
Tests "the ability to recognize relationship between modern and ancient or old character forms"
And of course, here’s the ultimate level. If you can pass level 1 of the Kanji Kentei, then you might as well be a God of Kanji. I haven’t studied much along the lines of “old character forms” but I can tell you knowing that kind of thing is pretty epic.
About level 5
So, easily harder than it looks.