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Kanji Kentei

Harvey

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Has anyone here ever taken a look at the KANJI Kentai?

It's the Japanese Kanji exam actually geared towards Japanese people, not foreigners.

I am already at an advanced Japanese level, and next year I'm going to have a ton of time to study Japanese.

I figure it would be freakin BAD if I could pass teh Kanji Kentei, level 1... maybe thats unrealistic, but at least level 2.

Was curious if anyone had taken a look at this at all before.

Thanks
 

JimmySeal

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Kanji kentei requires not only being able to recognize kanji but to know them thoroughly, probably on average 5 compounds per character. So even if you can pass JLPT 2-kyuu (1000 kanji), you can't necessarily pass kanken 6-kyuu (600 kanji). You also need to be able to write kanji from memory. 1-kyuu seems like a pipe dream for almost anybody, Japanese and non-Japanese alike, but pre 2-kyuu or maybe 2-kyuu is entirely possible with a looooot of studying. I don't know how good your Japanese is or how good your kanji skills are. There are of course preparatory books that you can buy from amazon.co.jp and elsewhere, and each one has a sample test in the back. Also the magazine 漢字道 publishes a bunch of kanken questions in the back of the magazine every month. I've seen 3-kyuu and pre 2-kyuu questions there and probably that's what it has most of time because the magazine is geared for that level.
 

Harvey

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Thanks for the info Jimmy! I plassed JLPT 1-kyuu 2 years ago and have been in Japan improving since.

Writting the Kanji though sounds like it will be killer difficult.

I'll take a look at some of the 2-kyuu books in a bookstore next time I have time and see what it is like.

Do you know often the test is offered?

I would be so cool to sit for the level 1 exam in Japan... Maybe I'll set my sights on level 2...
 

JimmySeal

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The test is offered 3 times a year. For the 2006 testing year, it's offered June 11, October 29, and Feb. 4, 2007. Since you're at such an advanced level I'm not sure how much it would help you, but Heisig's Remembering the Kanji, Volumes 1 and 3 are great for remembering how to write the characters. You could probably get through them faster than the average person. Volume 3 would get you nearly all the characters for pre 1-kyuu, and then the only (haha) issue would be learning the readings and compounds.
 

nice gaijin

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I know a native Japanese who just barely failed the kentei 2-kyuu just after graduating high school. I understand that 1-kyuu requires an ungodly command of kanji, including origins and characters that are not even used anymore. I'd say check out the practice material to decide what level would be best for you, and good luck!
 

The7thSamurai

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My Japanese teacher told me about this test not long ago, and showed me the chart. It's pretty crazy. You need to know stuff like how the kanji evolved, the changes in meaning over time etc. I remember her saying there are about 6000 overall for the highest level.

I agree it would be cool to turn up to a testing centre in Japan and sit the test, if only to freak out the Japanese!
 

Harvey

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I stopped by a bookstore today and looked at some of the stuff.

It seems there is level 8, thru level 1. Level 4 is considered to be Japanese high school level.

I looked at the books, and holy goodness. Level 1 is utterly insane. Even my Japanese friend who was with me was clueless.

Working backwards, we figured that with a heck of a lot of studying, I could probably get level 3. With some insane effort and an angels blessing, 2 could be possible.

Level one though, no way.

This test is ridiculous.
 

JimmySeal

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Harvey said:
This test is ridiculous.
Told ya it was :)

It was my assumption that people spend all of middle school and high school learning the second half of the joyo kanji, but the staff at my school claim that some middle school third years take 2-kyuu. I'm dubious. I think the Japanese (国語) teacher took and passed 2-kyuu this year.
 

Mukade

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The school I work at (a combined Junior/Senior High School) requires all the students to take the kanken once a year. I've proctered many of these exams for the students, and I had a third-year middle school student last who passed 2-kyuu. But that's quite rare. Most of the other middle school students were taking somewhere between 6- and 4-kyuu.

Even if you don't take the test, the study materials (like the Kanji Step guides) are great practice for your kanji skills. You typically have be able to read and write (from memory), as well as be able to identify:

stroke order
radical classification
homonyms
synonyms
commonly confused characters
unusual readings
four-character jukugo
how the characters relate to one another in compound words
etc.

I'm currently studying the 2-kyuu books and yes, it would be a difficult test. Try the kanken website to take a free mock exam:
http://www.kanken.or.jp/
 

JimmySeal

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I think you only have to know stroke order and stroke count up to 6-kyuu (or maybe 5). I guess they assume people taking more difficult tests have mastered stroke order and stroke count, which is definitely not true. The lower tests don't have 4-character compounds and some of the lower tests don't have 2-character compounds either.

Those kanji step guides are pretty nice, but I think they're mainly good for strengthening kanji you already know, not learning new ones.
 
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