First off, kanken is short for kanji kentei 漢字検定 – meaning kanji exam. There are 10 kyus; 10th to 1st kyu (kyu = grade, level). These levels measure your kanji ability. 10th kyu is about the level of an early elem. student, while 1st kyu is about the level of a kanji Ph.D. An educated university graduate should be able to have a 3rd kyu level.
The Kanken DS3 game is great for learning kanji and prepping for the kanken. IMHO it is so much better than studying kanji from a textbook. Here are some reasons why:
- portable & compact; the amount of info and exercises held on this game would amount to a few backpacks of textbooks
- it’s fun and it doesn’t feel like you’re studying, which is the natural way to learn
- the guidance you get from this game would amount to 1000s of dollars in lessons (FYI the game was $25)
- you can gradually increase your level; the game displays charts that analyze your abilities and tackles them accordingly
- 10 min. mach and 40 min. actual test simulations