I can now see that going back to my old 2級 kanji book was a good idea. Perhaps I should return to 3級 kanji, now that I think about it. As the JLPT neglects to test the writing of Japanese, so have I.
My ability to recognise most kanji seems to have developed from constantly seeing common compounds, but put a kanji on its own and I might not immediately recognise it. It’s almost like I see a whole kanji compound as a visual object, but have not needed to know every element or stroke of the individual characters. It’s like seeing and being able to recognise an English word without knowing its spelling properly. Due to this, I’ve found that ‘fill in the missing kanij’ questions are very difficult for me.
Worse though, is the fact that due to my lack of writing practice, a lot of the time I cannot recall what a kanji looks like if given only hiragana. My mind now only works in the opposite direction. Even for something like 「研究」, which I could write perfectly fine when I took 3級 has my mind looking at a blank kanji, not even knowing where to begin.
Although somewhat tedious and very frustrating, I’ll continue slowly with this book. Don’t forget to write kanji with a pen and paper sometimes…