The vocabulary deck for, say, the N5 JLPT, for example, contains roughly all the words that can be expected to be on the test. The problem is that many of these words would only be in hiragana on the test, not kanji. The deck does not differentiate, though. You are expected to learn the kanji regardless of whether it is appropriate for the N5 level. Many of the kanji in the deck are much more advanced than what would be on the test. Is there a workaround for studying the N5 vocabulary without being forced to learn kanji beyond the N5 level? If you skip the kanji cards, I believe they get counted as “correct,” which is not what I want.
Hi, I took the JLPT a few months ago and encountered a similar issue when comparing Skritter’s decks to other prep material and the actual test, so I share your sentiment and get where you’re coming from. We’re working with a Japanese teacher to make the kanji presented in each deck more level-appropriate.
That being said, even if the test itself doesn’t use the kanji for a particular level, Japanese “in the wild” often does, so it’s about striking balance between test expectations and having an opinion on what’s best for a learner’s journey overall. While in theory a learner being able to correctly recall the reading of 熱い should have some correlation to a learner being able to understand that あつい is the same word, we also understand that it impacts reading speed a bit (especially at lower levels). We’re experimenting with new ways to interact with content to bridge some gaps in recall that the current cards and activities don’t cover as directly.
If the JLPT decks are revised to include less kanji, I would really like there to be an alternate version of each deck that uses kanji as much as possible. That would be really great for users like me who are coming from Mandarin.
Thank you for your response. Can we expect updated JLPT decks any time soon? I can agree with Thomas that two versions would be good. Also, I think I understand what you mean about kanji in the wild. But I don’t live in Japan, so I don’t encounter kanji naturally. Also, children’s books introduce vocabulary in hiragana prior to kanji. It seems natural that one’s vocabulary study should outpace their kanji. Or to put it another, one’s vocabulary study should not be limited only to words you know the kanji for.
@788166676 We’re working on auditing and improving the decks and just released an update for the JLPT N1 deck a couple weeks ago. But in the meantime, you can always create or edit your custom decks Skritter already has kana equivalents of many kanji words in its database.
Our official lists need to cater to all levels of learners, and our specialty is efficient character memorization, so our content tends towards Japanese as it is generally written adults. As @thomas1985 can probably attest to, on the Chinese side of things, there’s not much a learner can do to avoid encountering large amounts of hanzi after their first few days of learning onward. But we on the Skritter team recognize that Japanese does present a different possible path for easing new learners into the language that Chinese does not offer, and it’s something we want to explore more in the future.