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JLPT BC 15 | The N3 Dilemma

N3 jlpt podcast dilemmaUp until the end of 2009, the JLPT only had 4 levels.  Because people were having trouble passing the level 2 test, they decided to add a new test between the old level 2 and level 3 tests.  This new test is N3.

With the new testing system, they are also no longer making the old tests available like they did previously.  So, you will not be able to see what an official old N3 test looked like.  Before you could look at previous year’s tests and use them as a guide for what the test is like.  Unfortunately, you can’t do that with N3.

This makes it one of the most difficult to prepare for.  In this episode, I go over my personal insights into the exam (I took it back in December of 2010).  Overall, I felt like it was the easier material (vocabulary and kanji) from N2.  There were only 13 choose the correct form grammar questions, 5 scrambled sentences, and 5 text grammar questions.  Mostly these tested for appropriateness more than conjugation.

The listening section was a little tricky mostly because you have to have laser focus to get through it.  Also, at some test facilities, other lower level tests might get out before you.  This means students from those tests might be in the hallways or outside making noise and might interfere with your concentration.

Action Steps –

1) Have you had experience with the N3? If you have let me know about it in the comments below.

2) Do you think this test was needed?

P.S. I’m now in iTunes.  If you like the podcast, please be sure to visit iTunes and leave me a review.  If you have comments or suggestions for the podcast, by all means let me know in the comments below or contact me and let me know what I can do to improve the show.  Thanks!

Photo by Patrick Hoesly, Music by Kevin MacLeod

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ryuu June 16, 2013, 8:56 am

    I’ve not sat the exam yet but I’ve been using the number of Kanji required for each level as a very very rough guide to the difficulty level. Jumping from 300 to 1000 Kanji clearly gives the impression of a jump in ability perhaps too great for beginners. The 1000 to 2000 jump of N2 to N1 is undoubtedly bigger but shouldn’t be as much of an issue for someone at that level.

    I’m pretty happy about the inclusion of N3 to bridge that gap. With regards to not being able to see past papers; I’d consider it both a good and a bad thing.
    Bad as, like you said, it makes it all the more difficult to prepare for. However, it would also encourage “over-preparation” which is far from being a bad thing.
    It’s a good thing for the reasons that the Ministry of Education stated for not making them publicly available; you learn the language for the sake of learning it not for the purpose of passing an exam. That way you should have a much greater grasp of it.

    • Clayton MacKnight June 21, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Yeah, I do like that aspect of it. Before, you could just over-prepare for the exam and sail through it mostly. But, still, it is pretty hard to get a hold of the type of reading you need to get through to pass the test. I guess you just need to diversify on your own more, which is what I am doing more of these days.

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