Anyone tried Kanken?


I took the lvl 10 kanken a year ago … it’s a great experience :slight_smile: What made me laugh was sitting at a tiny little desk on a tiny little chair, surrounded by ickal Japanese kids. When the test finished, a little girl came up and asked if my mum was going to come and pick me up … awwww … he he he. I’ve passed lvl 10 and 9 now … and just the other day got the results of lvl 8 … I failed that one with 60% … so I’ll be retaking it in the autumn sitting. Good luck with the kanken - it feels great when you pass them :slight_smile:


I am going to take it in Germany so hopefully normal desks for me


I’m getting curious about this test and think going for Level 5 at some point in the near future might be fun (and moderately beneficial). However, I’m still studying/learning material for the N2, so adding dedicated writing practice on top of that isn’t always feasible.

Would you recommend leaving something like this until after the N2? Or do you think prep could reasonably be done simultaneously? (Theoretically I’ll be through the bulk of my N2 prep by late fall/early winter, after which it’s just review and continuing kanji/vocab apps as normal.)

(Thinking in the time frame of like a year.)

Or would you guys say even further out–the kind of thing that should only be considered after N1?


Well, it depends on many factors, but for me passing the kanken was about finally learning properly to write kanji. Do you have any need for that skill? If not, I would indeed recommend to push it back to after the N1 (or maybe in between the N2 and N1, if you think you will have the time and want some added variety)

My point is that being able to write kanji is a nice skill to have down the road, but it’s not priority.


Fair enough. Yes, I would say the ability to write kanji is fairly important to me, as far as wanting to achieve a level where daily life, including written communication, is possible in Japan, and as a distinction among other language-learners if I ever want to do something like translation, but it certainly wouldn’t be a more immediate goal than N2 or N1.

So I guess I’ll continue to prioritize those but keep this in mind for the future. Didn’t realize it had so many levels, so something like the Level 5 test looked appealing.


Yeah, properly preparing for level 5 would consume a lot of your time. Something like level 8 or lower probably wouldn’t so much.


My thought was that levels below 5 wouldn’t be as worth it in terms of the results being meaningful (good self-assessment, but not the nice clear “all grade-school kanji” that level 5 is), but depending on how JLPT prep is going it might be something to look into this year just for fun. Thanks for the input, all!


Okay, I’m marking down February 3rd (test date) and January 4th (registration deadline) for Level 4. I bought a level 4 prep book recently, and I figure that even if I fail N1 again, I have enough time that I won’t be doing myself a huge disservice by taking a pit stop for Kanken.

And 3 months (from JLPT to Kanken) should be adequate time to polish up for level 4.


Good luck!
In a couple of years time, I would love to tackle some of these!


Is the goal to go all the way to level 2? Maybe even level pre-1?


Kanji is my favorite thing about Japanese, so I don’t really see myself stopping. Even if I never passed, I think I’d still study for, and try to take, level 1 someday.


So, I said I’d sign up for the test that will take place on February 3rd, but I ended up changing my mind.

I signed up for the computer-based version you can just take whenever, at various testing centers, and scheduled it for next Sunday. Level 4, as planned.

I have a lot of cramming to do.


Good luck, Leebo! We’re looking forward to hearing how it goes for you.


I spent like 5 hours studying today and barely passed level 4 in Kanken Training 2 on my first try.

But to be fair, I do feel like you have to shave a few points off of your Kanken Training 2 score from what you would actually get on the real test, because the game gives you feedback that the real test doesn’t allow for.

Still, encouraging that I’m in the ballpark right at the beginning of my week of cramming.


Excuse my ignorance here but what’s the difference between “the test that will take place on February 3rd” and “the computer-based version you can just take whenever, at various testing centers”? If I get back on track I hope to take the test some time this year.


You can take the Kanken in a room of 200 other people at a local public institution 3 times a year, with pencil and paper, like the JLPT or something. I did that when I took level 5.

You can also take it on a computer. You schedule an appointment for whenever is convenient for you, go to a testing center that isn’t solely dedicated to Kanken, and take the test by yourself. You get the results within 10 days after that.

As far as the actual content, there shouldn’t be any difference in structure as far as I’m aware. However, it does seem that only about half of the levels are available in computer form. I saw 7 through 2 when I registered, so 10-8 and pre-1 and 1 weren’t available.


Thanks. I had no idea and I think I’d prefer to do it on the computer so I wouldn’t be sitting in a room full of kids. I was imaging all these kids staring the the strange middle-aged man sitting in a child-sized desk. BTW, strange is what I imagine their perception of me would me. I am actually quite a normal middle-aged man.


I’ll report on how the computer test goes. I imagine it depends a bit on individual test centers to some extent.

I also thought that taking the test with a bunch of people would be weird too, and it for level 5 it was indeed nearly all children, probably in the 3rd to 4th grade range. Level 5 covers through 6th grade, but it seems like people who are interested in the test are almost always aiming for higher than they have covered in school, trying to get ahead. There were also a few parents taking it with their kids, presumably for moral support.

But I found that most people just ignored me and focused on what they were there to do.

I imagine at higher levels, like 3 and up, there would be even less weirdness, as almost everyone would be a teenager or older.


The HSK doesn’t test speaking.

Edit: Ooops, Just realized how old this post was.


Looking forward to your report. I wonder how they deal with the writing aspect of the test.