Trying Bunshouken (文章検), a reading comprehension and written composition test by the Kanken people

The full name is 文章読解・作成能力検定

Official website

The levels correspond to Kanken levels in terms of what your kanji knowledge is expected to be. So, level 4 of Bunshouken is for people who have passed level 4 of Kanken, and so on.

That’s the level I plan to try first, since it’s the easiest level that they are currently offering, it seems.

The level 4 test is 60 minutes long and consists of 5 sections. (Maybe the other levels are a similar structure, but I haven’t confirmed)

  1. Choosing the best word or clause to fit in a sentence.
  2. Answering multiple choice questions based on a chart or graph.
  3. Answering multiple choice questions based on a medium length text.
  4. Writing the missing portions of a text based on various instructions.
  5. Writing a 250-400 character essay expressing your opinion on some topic.

You can see sample exams here.

The first 3 sections are very similar to what you might expect to see on the JLPT’s vocab or reading comprehension sections.

The last 2 are what make this an interesting challenge for me. You have to write by hand, write grammatically correct and contextually appropriate Japanese, and display general composition skills you would need in any language, like logical flow and linking expressions.

The next test is August 25th, so I’ve got some time to prepare. I’m looking forward to putting my Kanken experience to practical use.


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