So, the bad news is that you’re going to get even more Kanji with similar meanings at later levels so it’s best to figure out how to deal with them now. For example, there’s another 5 for plan at level 20/21.
One tip I have to is to spend some time really thinking about what the word means and the connotations and also the nuance of any Kanji that’s reused. Let’s take plan/hypothesis, 予定 and 想定, as an example.
They both use 定, which WK says is determine. It’s easy to see how beforehand-determine 予定 could be plan and concept-determine 想定 could be hypothesis when first coming across these. But there’s a nuance to 定 in that it’s really the concept of something that’s fixed, like it’s been determined already. So 予定 is really the concept of something that’s been determined beforehand, it’s a fixed plan.
想定 includes the Kanji for concept, so it’s a concept that’s been determined. It’s a fixed concept, like a hypothesis. And even “concept” is very close but doesn’t cover the nuances of 想. If you look at the Kanji it’s used in, you can see that it’s more of a mental conception of an idea or state of mind.
So, here are some tips:
- Give yourself some extra time for each of these. Think about the nuances and deeper meanings.
- Look at other words that the Kanji is used for. You’ll get a better idea of how it’s used and how the meaning is derived.
- Brute force.
I’ll be honest, I try to do 1. and 2. as much as I can but I really end up doing 3. more often than not.