Anyone tried Kanken?


When I took the practice test these were from, I got them all right except for the homonym one.

But like I said, I’ve been cramming the grade 6 kanji stuff… if I took one that covered a different grade level, even a lower grade level, I’d probably do worse in my current state.


I was talking to a guy who’d been living in Japan for 13 years I think he said, he’d also said he was preparing for that test, I can’t remember which level it was. He was real into Kanji, was not happy if anyone said they were skipping out on learning it. Firm but fair kinda person.

I’m not overly familiar with it given that I’m currently coming to grips with the basics of Japanese, but it sounds like something I’d like to do once I’m at that level.

Good luck on your test, Leebo.


Intensive selective learning, the best way to achieve a test!


Well, you make it sound like I have no foundation for it… if I hadn’t done WK in the first place, what I’m doing wouldn’t be possible. It’s the icing on the cake.


I’d sign up if I wasn’t already signed up for my chuunin exam.

No but seriously, it could be a cool thing to do but I question whether it’s worth it. Using the time and getting the top level in BJT would be much more useful if we’re thinking in terms of job opportunities. Would be pretty fun curiosity thing to have a high (or well low, I guess) kentei level though.

Good luck with the test!



I don’t have any business aspirations for the next few years, since I’m planning to do the JET program for a while.

It’s only “worth it” in the sense of any challenge being worth taking on. I just want to see if I can do it. I certainly haven’t set my sights on level 1.

I take all the exams, so I’m not really putting anything aside just for this. I’m taking the J-Test again in May (it’s not really recommended to take the BJT until you can score over a certain amount), then the Kanken is in June, and JLPT is in July.

I love tests.


Oh absolutely, it’s a fun thing to challenge yourself with those things whether they end up having any utility or not. It’s a bit of a shame that you can’t do many of those tests outside of Japan except for the JLPT. I’m not a big fan of standardized tests in general but for languages they’re a good benchmark to measure your progress, also they provide a good ‘route map’ for your studies.

I’m planning to sign up for the HSK next year, not sure what level yet but doing the level 3 would seem like enough of a challenge to get me excited. The real challenge comes in that they test your writing and speaking ability as well as your vocabulary and grammar, so it’s not just another multiple choice test.


I think this will indirectly help me on J-Test, because the writing portion of that has been one of my worst sections the last two times I took it. They aren’t asking you to express opinions or anything, but I basically wasn’t practicing writing on paper before studying for Kanken.

Good luck with Chinese.


Thank you! It’s quite fashinating even though I don’t have similar love for the language and culture as I have for Japanese, but that’ll probably develop as I progress into some more authentic content. The easiness of Chinese grammar is also a refreshing thing after the complexity of the Japanese one.


I was also thinking I would try to jump into Chinese after learning Japanese very well. This is a long way down the road obviously but good luck to you! @Leebo, I would also love the challenge of the Kanken test. I think the Level 2 would be a fantastic goal. The level 1 seems a little too ambitious… :smiley:


Actually, it’s not what I meant, but I understand this could be misinterpreted.
It was more like: if you are going to have an exam about WW1, you do not need to start studying from the medieval period… But yeah you’re also going to have to learn about its background (the assassination of Ferdinand for instance). So I agree, you definitely need good foundations.

Anyway, good luck on this test!


Slowly improving on my practice tests. Got 163 and 167 on the two most recent ones. (140 is passing)

My three worst categories are homonyms, categorizing by reading, and categorizing by meaning. I guess it’s no huge surprise why, since those are sections that most often deviate from the “target” pool of kanji into lower level ones I haven’t crammed as much. I still scored at least 50% on those sections though in the last test I took.

It’s going to be very weird to take the real test after all these practice ones.

But I’ve been using copies of the actual answer sheet to get used it it.

This is what they look like:

Trying to get my handwriting neater while being aware of the time limit.

Show Us Your Handwriting -- In Japanese

Your handwriting looks nice, certainly readable.


New record, 178 points! I went 54 questions before getting one wrong, haha. Of course, the harder questions are later on, so I didn’t do as well on the second half of the test, but my pipe dream of getting a perfect score on the real test doesn’t seem as crazy now.


About a month left till the test?
(It looks like you must be spending a crazy amount of time studying!)


A little more, it’s in late June.

In addition to WK, I spend 1 or 2 hours drilling 5th and 6th grade kanji daily. I take a practice test, which takes an hour, every other day or so.

I love kanji!


Whoa! That is a lot of study time!
Do you also find that being in Japan helps since you are exposed to kanji “in the wild” more often? From the examples, I see that you also have to have a decent vocabulary and grammar skills. Do you spend devoted time studying that, too?

(The forum is sending me funny notes saying I should reply to more people in this topic, but I’m ignoring it for now…)


It definitely helps to be in Japan. I have conversations with my girlfriend and spend time watching Japanese TV, and I don’t really consider those study time, but that’s basically what they are.

I spent a long time studying Japanese before this recent Kanken binge.


So the test was today.

It was at 大手前大学 in Nishinomiya. I got there about an hour early and killed some time at the nearby McDonald’s.

There were about 130 people taking level 5 at my location, and about 95% or more looked like elementary school students, as I expected. There were a handful of adults, but most of them appeared to be someone’s mom or dad taking the exam with the kid for support. I didn’t see any other foreigners.

It helped immensely to have done practice tests from the prior years. It allowed me to waste no time deciphering the Japanese instructions for each section.

The most annoying thing was there was no clock in the room. I didn’t bring a watch, because other times I’ve taken tests in Japan there was either a wall clock or the proctors placed a clock on the blackboard or something. For this, they called out 30 minutes remaining, 10 minutes remaining, and then test over. I had about 5 minutes left after I felt liked I’d checked everything I could check.

We were allowed to keep the question booklet, so I’ll scan it and post it tomorrow.

I estimate that I got over 160 points. It’s hard to know for sure, since I didn’t write anything on the question booklet, but going on memory I think I can be confident I got at least that many. If anything it’s more, but we’ll see. As I’ve noted before, passing is 140. I’ll probably sign up for level 4 no matter what later today.


Here’s the test.