But the wide variety of choices available can make it hard for some people to utilize in their Japanese study routines.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use when studying with the Japanese Kanji Study app.
Sort All Kanji to Match Your Goal
The app displays all kanji by JLPT by default, but did you know you can change this?
Menu (三) > Kanji Sequence
This is great if you’re not studying for the JLPT but have a different goal in mind. You can change the order to match the Kanji Learner’s Course, how frequent the kanji is in the media, Remembering the Kanji, the Kanji Kentei exams, and even your own custom order!
Arrange the kanji order to match how you want to learn!
Split Kanji to Make Studying More Manageable
When you select a level you want to study all kanji within that group will display as one group, you can split these into smaller groups.
Hold finger on group > Split set > Select the number of kanji you want in each set
This lets you study kanji in more manageable batches.
If you’re not used to studying kanji then start with a smaller number, but if you’re familiar with a set of kanji you can combine them and re-split them into larger groups. (Splitting and merging batches of kanji will change their order.)
Adjust Your Study Streak to Help Motivate You
Study streaks can be motivating for some people and soul-destroying for others. But did you know the streak display on the home screen is completely customizable? This way you can display the study streak in a way that best motivates you!
You can choose to adjust how many minutes you want to study a day, display how many weeks you’ve studied, and your study streak.
Cog icon on home screen* >
Daily study target: Adjust the amount of time you want to study on a daily basis.
Weeks of study history: Choose between 1 to 50 weeks, or “None” to hide streaks altogether
Show study streak: Displays the number of days in a row you’ve studied, and your highest streak.
*The cog icon allows you to adjust pretty much everything so you can have a home screen that works best for you.
(I have my study steak set to hide the streak numbers and display 3 weeks at a time.)
Plan a Study Routine that Works for You
When you study a group of kanji you have the option to study then using flashcards, multiple choice quizzes, writing challenges, and short sentences (which costs extra).
It’s fine to study in a way that works for you but if you’re overcome with choices then design a study routine for learning/reviewing kanji.
For example, a one-week per kanji group might look like this,
Day 1: Study new kanji with flashcards
Day 2: Info → Kanji quizzes
Day 3: Kanji → Meaning quizzes
Day 4: Kanji → Reading quizzes
Day 5: Example → Kanji quizzes
Day 6: Writing challenge with automatic stroke detection
Day 7: Writing challenge with manual stroke detection
Favorite Difficult Kanji
If you keep getting stuck on the same kanji then you can favorite it and focus your study on them later.
Select the kanji > tap the ♡ on the kanji page
Then open the menu (三) > Favorites > select all (□ symbol) > Study
You can easily deselect the ♡ when you’re more confident you know the kanji.
Create Custom Sets to Focus Study
You can create custom sets for any kanji you want to study.
Go to kanji list > hold finger on kanji > Add to set
You can then pick your custom sets from the menu (三) or display them on your home screen. You can even adjust how many custom sets display on your home screen from the settings cog.
Custom sets are great for,
- Focused studying on difficult kanji
- Studying the kanji you’re learning in class (such as custom sets with the kanji from Genki or Japanese for Busy People)
- Studying kanji you see in the wild (such as a novel, on TV, or when you’re out and about in Japan)
You can even use pre-made custom sets that focus on hiragana, katakana, radicals, etc.
Export Vocabulary to Anki
This is such an underrated but invaluable feature. You can add vocabulary from Japanese Kanji Study and add it to any Anki deck. Then when you’re studying the vocabulary in Anki, if you click the word in Anki it takes you back to the vocabulary’s page in the Japanese Kanji Study app!
Select vocabulary (either from kanji list or when studying kanji via example) > tap + button > select anki deck
- Studying unknown/unfamiliar vocabulary in example quizzes
- Studying vocabulary found in wild (see next tip!)
Find and Study Vocabulary Found in the Wild
When you find kanji or kanji-based vocabulary you don’t know in the wild (in a novel, on the internet, on TV, etc.), you can look it up using the Japanese Kanji Study app!
Home screen > green magnifying glass > search by word or kanji
You can then easily add what you find to custom sets or Anki!
(I use this the most when I come across new vocabulary in novels. I look up the meaning to words and add them to my novel focuses Anki deck if I think they’ll be good words to know.)
Edit Kanji Meanings and Reading to Work for You
Pretty much every part of a kanji is editable on this app. This allows you to remove uncommon kanji readings, or edit the meaning of the kanji to better suit your understanding of the kanji, or pick a meaning that you will remember easier.
Go to kanji details page > select pencil icon
Remember Kanji Better with Decomposition
The kanji decomposition is such a nifty little feature! You can see how kanji is broken down into different components and radicals.
Go to kanji details page > scroll down to Decomposition
This is particularly useful if you’re struggling to remember how to write a kanji or how it differs from a similar kanji.
If you click on a component, you can then either search by component (see next tip!), kanji, or radical.
Discern Similar Kanji with Components
When you click on the component of a kanji the app will show you every other kanji that uses that same component! So you can look up every kanji with the radical/component for 金 or 手 or 反, etc.
This is particularly great if you keep getting similar kanji mixed up. You can focus on them and work out how they’re different to help you tell them apart later.
Extra Study Tips When Learning with Japanese Kanji Study
Invest in SRS
The SRS feature Guided Study was recently added (in 2023) and has been one reason I’ve started using Japanese Kanji Study on a daily basis.
If you’re struggling to study kanji on a regular basis then investing $30 (on top of the $10 for the base app) in this little feature allows you to easily hit your daily study goals without overwhelming yourself.
Check out my review to learn more about this feature and see if it’ll be worth it for you: The New Japanese Kanji Study App SRS Expansion—Guided Study
Answer Questions Before Looking at the Options
It’s incredibly easy to cheese quizzes by looking at the options and picking the answer you think is correct. But does that mean you actually know the kanji?
The problem with this technique is it triggers your passive memory but not your active memory. Passive memory is when you know something by being reminded of it, whereas active memory allows you to remember something without any references. In other words, by answering a question before looking at the options you are training your brain to learn kanji/vocabulary more effectively, so you can use the information without needing to look it up.
(Check out Passive and Active Memory – Turn Passive Learning into Active Use! for more info on this.)
Try to say the answer aloud if you can instead of thinking them in your head. This will help focus your brain more.
Write Down Your Answers
This is an extension of the above tip, but if you write down your answer then you are training your brain even more than just saying the answer aloud.
I find it’s very easy to kind of get the answer when thinking it or saying it aloud, but writing means you really need to engage your brain and can clearly see if you got the answer right or not.
It also helps you learn how to write the kanji faster.
Don’t Say “Close Enough” With Quizzes
When you’re working through quizzes (whether focusing on a set or SRS session) don’t think “close enough”. Be strict with yourself and try to focus on kanji you don’t know all that well.
If you think “close enough” then you’ll never truly learn the kanji and risk making the same mistakes over and over again.
Again, saying the answer aloud and/or writing it down helps keep you accountable.
Go Over Other Answers Too
When you have a multiple-choice quiz, quickly go over (say aloud) the readings and/or meanings for the other kanji.
This helps you study similar kanji and pick up on the differences between them.
You can tap on kanji you don’t know as well to check their details and improve retention.
Japanese Kanji Study is the ultimate kanji studying companion that’s worth the $10 for the N4-N1 kanji, and $30 for SRS.
You can take or leave any of these tips. The great thing about the Japanese Kanji Study app is it’s so versatile you can use it to match however you prefer to learn.
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