Thursday, October 27, 2005


Passed my kanji test (I hope!)

I just sat my Kanji Kentei level 6 exam this Sunday, and with a bit of luck, I should have passed it with a wee bit to spare. According to my own marking with the answer sheet provided after the test, I should have got just over 75%, with the pass mark set at 70%. For all you students of Japanese, the Kanji Kentei is actually rather a fun but challenging test of kanji skill that doesn't usually get exercised by other tests, especially by the more famous (amongst foreigners) Japan Language Proficiency Test, which I found deadly dull to revise for, slogging through a million and one obscure grammar points. I can read with a decent degree of accuracy novels and easier newspapers, yet even just level 2 of the JLPT is a tough proposition for me, and the average Japanese person knows nothing about the tests so cannot relate to them. On the other hand, the Kanji Kentei tests useful skills (and perhaps not so useful skills like radical recognition) that can be used every day, and the Japanese can easily relate to (and be impressed by!) describing your writing skills as, in my case, that of a final-year primary student.

With a bit of determination and a following wind, I want to try to pass levels 5, 4, 3 and 2.5 in rapid fire succession. There must be some tricks to remembering kanji - a lot of people swear by Heisig's book, although I think it is over-rated, but I'm making that statement from the ignorance of having never read it. I found getting readings learnt first was better for me, as kanji with common readings can be grouped then discriminated by ... ahh, describing how my memory works is rather tricky! I don't really know what I do but it seems to work to a decent degree. I just used the standard Kanji Kentei text books recommended on their web sites to do my revision. They seem to be suited to my style of learning, but note that the revision tests are a good degree harder than the actual test I took, but I suppose that just encourages you to work harder!

My boss was impressed by my (probable) passing, especially as she's caught Yon sama fever and has been failing miserably in her attempts to learn Hangul.

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