Happy new year everybody! It was an exciting first year for JLPT Boot Camp and 2012 is going to be no different. I thought I would start things off with a bang and release the hotly-anticipated N4 deck. I tried really hard to get this out before Christmas, but I missed my mark by a few days. Anyway, you’ll be able to ring in the new year with some Ultimate N4 goodness
It has been a good 4 months since I released the original Ultimate N5 deck. It has been getting some good responses and I have received a lot of feedback on its use. I took some of the good and threw away some of the bad to make the N4 deck more useful and more valuable to you.
I never thought about background color that much when I am studying. I guess I didn’t see it as being that important, but a reader recently wrote in and suggested changing the background color to a greyscale. At first, I was a bit skeptical but it is actually a big help for the deck.
First, it is a lot easier on your eyes. This might not seem all that important, but if you consider the amount of time you spend with your Anki deck, it really starts to factor into the equation. The lower contrast between the background and text is easier on your eyes for sure.
Second, the reader that emailed in told me that this helps with memory retention. This makes sense because other sites like memrise.com use this same low contrast setup in their systems. So, I think it will help you focus more and retain more information easier.
I’m still open to suggestions though. Do you think the contrast is too low? Too high? Distracting? I’d like to hear from you if you like or don’t like it.
Another thing I didn’t put much consideration into before is fonts. This was, again, another fabulous reader that suggested that I use a more readable font. I’ve had to change the font in Windows because although Windows 7 comes packaged with a fabulous font (Meiryo), it isn’t turned on by default. The reason why is anyone’s guess.
So, I modified the deck to use the Meiryo font by default. This should work for Windows Vista and 7 users out of the box. Windows XP users will have to download Japanese ClearType fonts. Mac OS 10 users can use the font Hiragino Maru Gothic ProN, which should come free with the OS.
Fonts might seem like such a small little thing to tweak, but it does really improve the readability and usability of the deck. I think you’ll find it easier to read as well as help you to be able to recognize other Japanese fonts when you encounter them.
Without further ado, here are the goods:
It might be pretty easy to get lost in this deck with all the extra do-dads I threw into it, but don’t despair. It is a lot easier than you think and should help you score higher on the test because you’ll be armed with extra knowledge that doesn’t come with some other decks.
The key here is to remember the primary English definition of the word, then use that as the key to the other words in the ‘alternatives:’ section. Don’t try to remember all the words for the kanji in one go. It is way too much information and the main reason why I tried to simplify this deck (and the deck at memrise.com).
Furthermore, the parts of speech are there solely to distinguish what kind of word it is and how it is used. For 90% of the words in the deck the part of speech should be straightforward, but a few of them might throw you for a loop so I added them in.
Pay particularly close attention to the transitive (vt) and intransitive (vi) verbs. These often come up on the test in the usage or grammar sections, especially at the N4 level.
I try to remember these parts of speech by coming up with a short and simple example sentence. Doesn’t have to be too complicated, just something to help you remember the part of speech.
Again, I’m making this data available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License. This means that you can share or modify this collection of data, but you can not resell it, and you must attribute your work (with a link to http://jlptbootcamp.com). I’d also like to hear about what you’ve done to the deck, or any changes that you think would make it more useful. If you have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact me or you can of course, leave me a lovely comment below.
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