漢検満点! Going for Gold! Perfect score on all levels of the Kanji Kentei Tests (Study Log)

Hi everyone,

I’m studying for the Kanji Kentei tests and looking to keep myself accountable and hopefully find other people doing something similar.

The goal is simple. I want to get a perfect score (and get all gold certificates) for all levels of the Kanji Kentei.

As of now:
Perfected (attempts): 10級(1),9級(1),8級(2),7級(1)
WIP (attempts): 6級(1)
Currently studying: 5級

I’m not sure which communities are active, and of those communities who is taking this test, so I’ll be posting to a few different places at first and settle where I find other learners. I hope this doesn’t come across as spam!

If you’re also studying for any level, feel free to post in this thread too. Let’s do it!


I am not specifically studying for these anymore, but studied all the readings/stroke orders for all kanji up to 準一級, so am definitely able to have a chat/exchange ideas whenever you like!

From memory, @Megumin (unless I am mistaken) was using the DS games to practice for the 漢検. Those games are amazing. Natives are usually capable of completing 二級 around the time they finish highschool/mid university, and anything beyond that are natives that just love kanji/need it for some specialist purpose.


Asher, that’s amazing! I can’t imagine how long that took you. What was your motivation for doing it to begin with?



Currently Studying: 漢検漢字学習ステップ5級

New Kanji: 縦,縮,熟,純,処,署,諸

Sorry for crap formatting. Will try and make these prettier going forward.


I just really really wanted to study kanji properly, so spent about 2 and a half years doing only kanji, writing them, and memorizing all their readings. I actually didn’t even have the goal of the kanken at all to begin with, but realized that I was in a really good position for it after doing a few practice tests.

There are a lot of regularly appearing trick questions that use rare readings of kanji, so unless you really know them all, you can get tripped up. A good example I remember off the top of my head was 従容, which is read as しょうよう, but a lot of people would think じゅうよう as 従 is almost always read as じゅう.


I didn’t know about this exam, but it sounds very interesting. While I don’t plan to take the exam, I’m also practicing handwriting. Even though I’m an absolute beginner (started Kanji just yesterday, after finishing Hiragana), I guess I can study along with you! :blush:

Also, I believe I saw you on the WaniKani forums as well?


Great kanji! I can tell your stroke order is correct just by looking at them :partying_face:


Yeah, that’s right.
I no longer do them daily but I have my 3DS around with it from time to time.

I bought a second hand copy from Japan


If anyone is interested, there’s a more recent version in the Switch, but I’m not sure how good that one is.



I just started learning how to write Kanji. My goal is to be able to write all the kanji taught in Japanese schools. I have a book that teaches proper stroke order that I ordered from Amazon Japan.

May I ask you all what your study routine for learning how to write the kanji is?

Thanks :blush:



Currently Studying: 漢検漢字学習ステップ5級

New Kanji: 除,承,将,傷,障,蒸,針



Took me so long to remember the reading of うけたまわる when I first learned this one, but then I started noticing it all the time in polite settings :sweat_smile:. Nice list!

ひきいる is also a really useful reading for 将, but can also be seen as 率いる. Really common for ‘leading’ something. Especially is the sense of a group or army.


A man of character. Nothing but respect for that. I have no clue why common advice for learning kanji is any way other than the way the Japanese themselves learn it. Wish I had done this from the beginning.

Yeah stroke order is all good… But actually I’m surprised you can read my crap handwriting at all :laughing:

Hell yeah :fist:t5: If you’re up for it, try kanken level 10 and go for gold. If you’re into this study log thing, please post here and share pics!

About WK, yes I’m trying to find different places to post and get more involved with people (plus give myself more motivation). This is a long, long road.

I actually learned how to write kanji using RTK1, which in hindsight was kind of a waste of time and I really really don’t recommend, but this is how I currently learn kanji (which includes learning / practicing how to write them)

EDIT: First time studying a character, I practice writing it using the method below, confirming all details listed in its entry (in the step book). After the first few levels this includes the kanji’s meaning, but I don’t try to memorize the meaning – only confirm it and get it into my mind. That comes with practice. Depending on how well I think I know the character, I’ll glance over the 用例 (example words) listed if I’m confident or look all of them up if I have no clue. It’s a bit slow but they really help me to understand the meaning of the kanji and how it’s used / how it relates to other characters.

Anki card:

  • Front: kanji
  • Back: kanji dictionary entry + stroke order diagram (anki plugin)

I see the front and write out the character, the number of strokes, all common readings (including any okurigana), bushu and the bushu’s name (if it’s new or I’m fuzzy) from memory. On-yomi in katakana and kun-yomi in hiragana – exactly how most resources do it.

Pass if I got everything, fail if I missed even one thing (including one out of order stroke). Glance over the meaning or example words if I am fuzzy on it or want a refresher. It’s really important to learn the kanji as best and completely as you can the first time you study it.

Writing them becomes second nature after doing this!

ALSO, doing exercises is critical! The Step series provides basic exercises to practice after you study the kanji for that day, but anything that prompts you to think and produce the kanji will work and is necessary to actually make the kanji your own. So I do those every day, and then grind a bunch of drills when I’m done with the step book.

Yeah, I saw ひきいる as part of the definition for the character and had the same thought about 率. But step doesn’t list it as a reading to memorize. I think because I’m at a low level maybe they don’t expect 10 year olds to have that down yet. :man_shrugging:t5:


I might one day attempt the level 1 as well :slight_smile: As already mentioned, I currently don’t plan to take the exam soon, but I will definitely prepare for it, and when I do attempt the exam, I’ll definitely go for a perfect score!

I actually have a study log on the WK forums, but I never shared any pictures of my handwriting so far. I guess I could do that here (and over on the WK forums as well) :slight_smile: Unfortunately, I don’t have such a neat paper that you have, and I also just have a normal pen, but I’ll try my best :grin:

Very true! I experienced that my study log really boosted my motivation a lot (and still does)!


I’m considering doing dedicated study in order to pass 2級 once I pass JLPT N1 (Passed N2 so far). I might even begin studying for it sooner since extra vocabulary and kanji practice can never hurt. I already familiar with the common 2300 or so kanji and can write a fair amount of them, but I definitely could improve my writing some more.

You probably already know this, but the jump from 2級 to 1級 is massive. There’s something like 2300 kanji for 2級 and 6300 kanji for 1級. I just can’t see myself having the time to dedicate to learning another 4000 kanji lol, but if you do it good luck and you’d seriously have a lot of people’s respect.

Other users posted about a DS game and I believe there’s now a Switch version that’s verified by the official testing organization as well.


Jeez, you need 6300 kanji for level 1???

I’m in for the challenge haha


As you all practice writing the kanji, are you writing out the readings as well?
If so, how many different readings do you include for each kanji?

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I personally don’t write down the readings of the kanji, only the kanji themselves.

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In case you aren’t aware the test also tests your knowledge of readings, differentiating kanji with the same readings, antomyns, kanji compounds, old forms of kanji, classical Japanese phrases, etc. The grade one level is only taken by the most extreme kanji otaku and and has a pass rate of only around 10%, supposedly in that 10% are many of the same people retaking the test to keep their skills fresh. You have to learn a large amount of redundant words and basically live inside a kanji dictionary for a few years to pass the test. As far as I know only two foreigners whose native language doesn’t use Chinese characters have passed grade one.

Grade two, on the other hand, is routinely taken by high school students (and many still fail) but the knowledge is within what is reasonably expected of an educated adult. Many people forget how to write some of those kanji as they get older though, especially as the prep system used by most students for the kanken is just to cram and rote memorise the less common kanji.

Pre-1 seems reasonable as well, although within the remit of someone who particularly likes kanji already.


As someone who took 準一級 and 一級 last year when I was in Japan (153点 and 100点 respectively; I was really hoping I could pass 1.5 but oh well, I’m happy I was able to get exactly 50% on level 1 given 1.5 months of rigorous study haha), I have to say that once you get to higher levels, knowing how to write the kanji becomes a matter of course (once you understand that most kanji are just building blocks of one another). Currently I am in university so while I am still studying some parts of the kanken (notably 四字熟語 writing, general reading, 熟字訓, and 諺), my time available to put into kanken study is reduced; after all, Japanese isn’t just about the hard to read kanji!

The difficulty in those tests rather becomes, as another replier has mentioned, the ability to recall, accurately read, and write extremely esoteric kanji and kanji compounds.

Personally, the most difficult part of 1.5 was a section where you have to come up with a given kanji within the joyo set given an example sentence and a hiragana bank. I was able to get I believe full marks for the reading and I believe 29/30 (don’t quote me on that though haha) on the standard writing sections. 四字熟語 is also a good source of points.

For level 1, aside from simply not knowing some words, I got absolutely annihilated with a section where you are given the meaning of a 熟語 and a hiragana word bank and you have to write out the word. From what I have been told that section leads to 0/10 for many new test takers.

Also, while the difficulty curve is relatively linear for levels 10 to 2.5-2 ish, I need to warn you that the jump from 1.5 to 1 is about an order of magnitude, as the amount of kanji and words related to said kanji one needs to know essentially doubles from all other levels. At this point, you should be able to write all joyo kanji with no issues, including the infamous ones like 鬱.

Some of the more “common” level 1 compounds/kanji can be seen in literature, and if you go back to older works (think around the Meiji era), you’d be surprised to find quite a large amount of these kanji being used (my guess being that the education system put more focus on Classical Chinese at that time).

Hope this helps.


On the topic, I would like to take grade 2 in the future. I’m focusing on expanding my vocabulary currently but probably I’ll take the test next year if all goes well. I work in a high school in Japan so would quite like to set a little competition with some of my students.