Once a week I read two newspaper articles my Japanese teachers have selected and brought to class. A week later they test me on whether I can read and write all of the kanji compounds from the two articles. Being a lazy bum I usually cram the night before the quiz, and the results show. Recently however I have pushed myself to study the kanji as soon as possible after the lesson (usually the evening of the same day) and then just briefly review the kanji each day leading up to the quiz. (Now I do way better)
I have come up with a nifty routine involving two shareware applications and Apple's own TextEdit. I use JEDict and TextEdit to put the kanji into a list and then use iFlash to create flashcards so I can test myself. This is how it goes:
A. Making a list
1. Open JEDict
2. Enter the kanji into the search box on the "Words" screen (when reading through the article in class I make notes as to the reading of compounds)
3. When the result pops up drag it to the Document tab
4. When you have entered all the kanji from the article go to the Document tab, select all and copy
B. Editing the list
1. Open Textedit
2. Paste the kanji and definitions from JEDict
3. Use the "return" key to make a list with only one term per line
4. Use the "tab" key to insert a space between the kanji and reading, and the reading and English definition
5. Save the file as a plain text UTF-16 document
C. Creating flash cards ("break" is just a reference to the return key - when you put each kanji on a separate line in B. you were defining that line as a single flash card) (This defines the three sides of the card - kanji, reading and English meaning)
1. Open iFlash
2. Select Import
3. Set "Enter card separator" as
4. Set "Enter side separator" as
5. Leave "Enter break separator" blank
6. Import the text file
("break" is just a reference to the return key - when you put each kanji on a separate line in B. you were defining that line as a single flash card)
(This defines the three sides of the card - kanji, reading and English meaning)
Set your card preferences, for example I usually set the kanji to a large font size eg 96, but the other two sides are probably better at 36 point, because there is more text to squeeze in.
If you start testing now the first side to appear will be the kanji compound, so you can test your reading.
To test writing, go to Deck Prefs, click Sides and simply drag the side with the kanji reading (usually the back side) so that it appears first.
iFlash lets you combine lists so you can also carry out a comprehensive review of ALL the kanji compounds you have studied.