It feels good to have the test behind me. There is always that build up to the test and then it’s over. The N3 was a bit of a weird test to study for, but I made it. I’m sure you feel the same way about taking the test.
This time of year always makes me think about goals. In language learning, we need to set long and short term goals. Both are equally important for maintain motivation. Right after the test is the perfect time to take another look at those goals and make sure you are following them.
So, what is your long term goal? Some people study Japanese for travel, for business, or for just the adventure or challenge of it. Have you thought about why you are studying Japanese? Try to visualize your ultimate goal with the language. Where do you see yourself?
Personally, My goal is to pass the N1. I’ve been living in Japan now for 6 years and I think it is time I become fully fluent. Being fully fluent helps me to get through my day without having to have my hand held everywhere I go. I also want to raise my kids bilingually so I want to set a good example for them.
Action Steps –
1) What is your long term goal?
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My long term goal is to go back to university and get my writing degree after I’m done teaching English in Japan (maybe two years from now). Ultimately, I would like to be an editor but it’s possible that I could get some jobs doing translation work if I have high level JLPTs. I’m taking my JLPT exams because I feel like it’s best to get as many as you can done in Japan; the pass rates drop by about 10% outside the country. I think, as a whole, two degrees and a high level JLPT score could open some good career opportunities.
This is definitely a worthy goal. There are plenty of translation jobs available if you love to write and love languages. I know a friend here in Osaka that just got hired to do translation. He passed level 1 of the old JLPT and had been working in a 50/50 English/Japanese speaking workplace. It’s definitely totally doable.
From what I’ve heard from people with translation jobs is that they will be more interested in your English writing ability than in your Japanese ability. Not to say that Japanese is not important. You should have at least passed N2 if you want to get a job with translation, but you can probably get away with not taking the N1 if you can speak and use Japanese in a business situation. This should in theory be N2.
Good luck on your long term goal and thanks for the comments!
My long-term goal is to teach at universities in Japan. I have the educational degrees to teach, but many universities require L3 Japanese ability. I also want to have at least L3 level to be able to talk with my co-professors and read internal memos, attend meetings, and so forth. I hope to take the L3 in December of 2011.
I haven’t been studying too long, so it might not be possible. When I get a little closer to the date I might have to take the L2. I wonder if they offer the test on different dates I could take both? That way I would be sure to pass at least one test!
The N2 and N3 are offered on the same day. In japan, there are two test times, the first weekend of July and the first weekend of December.
You could try for the N3 this July and then try the N2 if you pass.
From personal experience. N3 is enough to survive in a all japanese environment. You might want to learn all the kanji from N2 to be able to read most documents. I don’t have too many issues reading internal memos and reports. I run into problems with newspapers and technical documents.
Are you in japan?
My long term goal is to become fluent in Japanese. I am fluent in English, conversational in French, basic in ASL and basic in Japanese. I have been trying to learn Japanese for a while but haven’t had anything to motivate me or to have as a goal. Now that I’ve found out about the JLPT it gives me something to work towards and a short term goal that I can plan towards.
I would like to become at least bi-lingual, if not tri-lingual (I’m hoping to refresh my French and get it back up to the nearly fluent that I was in school) in order to use it for my career. I love languages and seeing how they work together, and having an Asian language would be good for the future.
I think knowing an Asian language is a lot different and valuable (in a different way) to knowing a language that is related to English. An Asian language has a completely different alphabet, sometimes different grammar, and definitely a lot of different vocabulary. I have much respect for you for studying so many languages. Knowing two or three languages can really expand your horizons and help you see the world in a different light.
Are you planning on making a trip to Japan anytime soon? or are you interested in any part of the culture? Those two things might also be big motivators for studying Japanese. The test is a good benchmark and motivator, but it’s also good to have some other things to ‘keep you going’.
Thanks Jessie for the comment, and I wish you ultimate success with the test!