I'm thinking of sitting any of the Kanji Kentei levels, but I'm not so sure what level I should take. Is there any list or at least estimation available of what amount of vocabulary (and what words) do I need to know to pass each of the levels? I've been searching the internet and it seems that the limiting factor is the amount of vocabulary you need to be knowledgeable about rather than the amount of kanji.

Thank you!

  • 1
    I have Kanken level 2 and I've just used various books, games, and apps aimed at Kanken prep. In my experience, there are sets of words in the various test sections that appear at relatively consistent rates. They wouldn't be able to market the prep books if you couldn't be confident that most of the content that appears would also appear in the official resources.
    – Leebo
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 22:30
  • Invaluable advice. Thank you!
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 8:01

2 Answers 2


I think what makes sense is to go to Japanese Wikipedia and search for the kanji kentei. That shows the grade levels (1st grade to high school graduate) for each exam level up to level 3.

For grade-levels in elementary, middle, and high school, there are textbooks available for free online published in Japanese. This is one site that I found. https://www.kyoiku-shuppan.co.jp/textbook. There are other sites with free textbooks as well. I'd just choose a grade-level and then try to read textbooks associated with that grade level, regardless of the subject matter.

I believe this approach tells one at what level of kanji, vocab, and grammar one functions at as per how the kentei test is calibrated. To be clear, I could not pass level 10.

  • It is a very good idea to test myself against textbooks aimed at those grade levels. Thanks for your advice.
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 8:02

Unless you are already at a high proficiency level (JLPT N2 or N1), I would recommend starting with a very basic level of the Kanji Kentei. While you are correct that vocabulary is an important part, if you do the test or practice tests, you will realize that you need to know kanji readings, radicals, meanings, stroke orders, antonyms, correctly producing written kanji, etc. In other words, you need an all-round solid knowledge of the kanji on that level of the test. I suggest using books which target specific levels, and by starting at Level 10 just to familiarize yourself with the test itself. Have a look at this series on Amazon Japan.

If you want to be very thorough, you could make your own vocabulary lists of common words. You could start by cross-referencing the Kanji Kentei kanji (see here) with frequency-based vocabulary lists, such as the ones here . By doing that, you can isolate the most common words associated with each kanji on the Kanji Kentei level you are preparing for.

This is a good link for cross-referncing kanji and vocab: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZIyxTcH7ZfSjbnNku5pTZMpzpeIWv3RPiL79isR4qYw/edit#gid=0

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