JEES, the organization that puts the JLPT on here in Japan, came through again this year. I received my results Feb. 9th last year, and I got them again on the same date. I was starting to get a bit anxious for the results, waiting around to see if I passed or not.
That lull between taking the test and getting the results can be a bit rough. I never know quite know what to do. Should I study for the next level? Should I try to review what I know? This time I decided to just review a lot of my vocabulary that I’ve learned, study kanji in depth, and do a lot of reading.
But, needless to say, I’m incredibly relieved that I passed N2. I now have that stress off my shoulders and can set up a new game plan for the ultimate goal, the N1.
Congratulations to Everybody!
But, before I start talking about myself, I just want to take some time to say a big congratulations to all those taking the test. Heck even getting up the motivation to go take the test means that you are serious about being a good and accurate Japanese speaker/reading/listener/writer.
But, of course if you passed the level you were going for this time, a big congrats to you. It takes some serious studying and ambition to get that little certificate. Even if you didn’t pass, but got a higher score, you know what to work on for next time, and you’ve improved!
A super congratulations goes out to all those that passed the N1 and N2 this year. These two tests are a huge step up from the rest and require you to know more than just the ‘lists’. You have to really practice your reading and listening skills before you can pass these two. You must have worked hard, so a big congrats to you.
The Road Forward
I’ve been mulling over what I should be doing going forward. It is going to be tough to choose the exact path for me. But, I have formed a rough outline of what 2012 is going to look for me and my Japanese studies. I’m sure this will inevitably change over the coming months, but here it is the sketch of it.
I’m going to practice more speaking. I’ve realized that my reading and listening skills have improved to the detriment of my speaking skills. I went into the store the other day, and had trouble asking some basic questions about some of the products.
I was a little bit embarrassed that I hold an N2, and supposedly have a pretty good competency level with the language, but hesitate to ask questions like ‘How long does the battery last?’. That should be second nature to me buy now. I’m sure I can hear and understand a question like that, but I’m not confident I could ask it easily.
Also, now that the pressure is off so to speak, I’m going to be doing a little bit more experimenting with my studying style. I want to try a couple of different things that go beyond the drill books. I feel like drill books can be of tremendous help, especially at lower levels.
But, the higher levels cover such a wide range of things, that it is hard to fit it all in one book. I think you need to journey out and do more things like reading and listening in order to fill in the gaps enough to pass.
That’s why I’ll be poking and prodding a variety of different methods to find one that works the best. Of course, I’ll be reporting back on what works and what can be scrapped here at the blog and podcast.
What I’m going to Keep Doing
I’m going to stay pretty persistent with my SRS, or Spaced Repetition System, practice. I feel like Anki was a big help and one of the reasons I passed the N2. I’ve recently switched to memrise.com which is very similar but with a gaming aspect to it. Working over there on the different courses and doing some moderating has really helped me to put some clarity to some difficult words.
I’m going to continue doing some reading with books. I’ve picked up a few books recently that are more for adults compared to the elementary kids books I was going through before. I think this will be of tremendous help to my vocabulary and grammar.
I’ll be practicing my listening with Japanesepod101 as always, but I will be branching off with some other listening practice. I’m going to try my hand at studying with jDramas by cutting them up and drilling the vocabulary and phrases I learned with Anki or memrise. I currently watch jDramas on a fairly regularly basis (1-2x/week), but I want to get a little more in depth with them.
I’m thinking about trying to do some writing here and there, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to get to that or not. I guess only time will tell.
How about you, what are your steps forward?
If you hit a setback and didn’t get the results that you wanted, what are you going to do to fix those weaknesses? If you achieved your goals, where are you going to go from here? Let me know in the comments below.
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What Should the Podcast be About? (select up to 3)
- What I am doing to study and prepare (46%, 76 Votes)
- What's it like to live/work/study in Japan (33%, 55 Votes)
- Focus on grammar/vocab/kanji for one level (per year) (33%, 54 Votes)
- Interviews with test takers (28%, 47 Votes)
- Mnemonics for Kanji/Vocab/Grammar (28%, 47 Votes)
- Japanese Culture (17%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 165