Episode 1 – Do Not Cram Now


Don't Be a Victim of JLPT Cramming

We are only 3 weeks away from the JLPT.  You haven’t finished all those books you bought to study for this test and you are starting to get a little nervous.  I never feel fully prepared for the JLPT.  But, now is not the time to break your good study habits.

If you are anything like me,  you feel a pretty strong desire to start cramming for the test.  I’ve found that that’s a bad idea on several levels.  Studying any language is no easy task.  It takes dedication and a good study schedule.  If you try to take it up a notch in this final stretch, you might end up burning out which isn’t going to help you in the long run.  It is significantly more difficult to unlearn something incorrect than it is to learn something the right way.

In this episode, I go over why cramming is not such a good idea and how study any language takes dedication.  Give it a listen and then complete the action steps below by leaving a comment in the comment section.  Thanks for listening!

Action Steps –

1) Do you have a study schedule?
2) Are you sticking to that study schedule in this final stretch?

Photo by Caitlinator, Music by Kevin MacLeod
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • カナ November 17, 2010, 6:30 am

    Hey Mac! I’m Kai13, from JLPT study, you gave me a recomendation on books and your blog.

    I have to say that I agree with you. I’m taking level 4 and I feel like my level is definitely level 4, but increasing. I have to classmates who signed up for level 3, and we are having extra classes to prepare for the JLPT. We still are in the middle of the book, but what we were already supposedly taught is not consolidated. Also, I feel that my classmates haven’t studied any new vocabulary at all, because during classes I sometimes say something and they don’t don’t the meaning.

    They (we) are still cramming and half way there, with no new vocabulary not kanji and no consolidated grammar. I’m studying that grammar too, but I just get overwhelmed with the ammount of new vocabulary in the Alt books and with the grammar japanese explanations.


    Anyway, I’m now uing an Integrated Approach to Intermediate japanese, and I’m going to buy the book you told me to (and probably others).

    I love the japanese language so much! ^_^

    頑張って! このブローグはとても役立つになると思います。

    • Mac November 17, 2010, 3:01 pm

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Sometimes I do feel the temptation to just studying for the test as much as possible, but I need to speak Japanese. I’ve been living in Japan for about 7 years and I need to get fluent! The test really helps keep me motivated and gives me something to aim for. I haven’t taken many Japanese classes recently for now I’m just doing a lot of self-study and trying to chat in Japanese as much as I can.

      I would say you are well on your way to passing N4. Heck, I just studied つまり today. Very useful piece of Japanese grammar!

      Good luck on the test. I’d love to hear how you did.

  • Simon November 17, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Hi Mac,
    I’m excited to see the progress of your website, it looks very promising so far.

    I’m taking the N4 test this Decembre, and I’m sticking to my daily schedule of 1-1.5 hours of learning (which equals to about 6-10 new Kanji and their related usage).

    I can wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that cramming in the last couple of weeks is bad. If you really do feel like you don’t do enough, you should realistcally increase your schedule. Now, that might not be able for a lot of us (not everyone is able to dedicate a whole day to learning), but if you do have the time to dedicate, say, 5 hours of learning each day, do yourself a favor and include pauses. And not only pauses in “I’m closing Anki now, putting down my pen and go watch youtube for 10 minutes and then get back to studying”.

    The most effective pause (I find) is to turn off your computer, put aside your study materials and, as clichée as that might sound, do an hour of sports. Do not overstress yourself, or else you won’t be motivated to keep learning afterwards anymore. But if you find the right dosis of running, walking, cycling, whatever floats your boat, you will feel great and motivated to keep studying those Kanji.

    Best regards, and good luck to everyone taking any JLPT this Decembre,


    • Mac November 17, 2010, 2:07 pm

      Simon, I can wholeheartedly agree!

      I can naturally break up my study sessions because they fill in the ‘gaps’ of my day. I take the train for 30 minutes to work and that is an excellent time to power out a little studying before heading in to work. I usually find about 10~15 minutes during lunch and another 30~45 minutes in the morning before I head out. I guess I also do some listening during my 20 minute (way to long) walk to the station.

      Great tip Simon for adding some exercise to the mix. I think that will help you keep the blood pumping and your head going.

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