We are just over 2 months away from the July test here in Japan and I’m getting a little nervous. I’m still not sure if I’m going to be ready for the big test come July. I’ve also ran into a few train wrecks this past month.
First off this is a busy season in Japan. April marks the beginning of a lot of school years as well as fiscal years. This is usually when we get a lot of new students and my day job gets pretty busy. So, it gets even harder to have the energy to come home and do some studying after a long day at work.
To top that off, my computer completely crashed. I mean, completely dead, it just gave a sorrowful beep when I hit the power button. But, thanks to a little troubleshooting, I was able to work with it slowly until I got some replacement parts. Hopefully, that is all behind me now though.
Okay, so, my Anki study time became just completely erratic this month. Not only did I have computer crashes I also had a few things to do before and after work that really prevented me from studying on a few days. So, this chart is definitely nothing I’m proud of.
On the days where the study time is over 50 minutes, I broke these into two study sessions. I don’t know about you, but after about 40 minutes this stuff starts to blend together, and I just get frustrated and want to finish the study session.
My JapaneseFlip progress is a little bit more optimistic:
I managed to add about 400 words on my lunch break. That’s not too bad for a month’s worth of work.
My biggest problem with all this vocab study though is I feel like I don’t really have enough time to make the vocabulary my own. I don’t have time to experiment with it that much in conversation or to listen for it when I watch TV shows or listen to podcasts. This makes me a little nervous about the vocabulary usage part of the test, which is notorious for picking out those words that have specific uses.
On the other side of things, I’ve been able to pick up more and more when I watch TV shows and listen to podcasts as well as in everyday conversation because my vocabulary has been expanded.
I finished off So-matome grammar book for N2. I’m now using it to go back and review the grammar points that we’re difficult for me and look up some more examples of a few points that weren’t exactly clear in the text. I’ll definitely be keeping it close over the next two months before the exam. If you are studying for the exam, I recommend picking up a copy of this book. I’ve found it invaluable. For more details, read my review of the so-matome grammar book for N2.
I’ve been slowly putting sentences from the book into Anki and practicing them with that. I usually put the English sentence and the Japanese sentence or a re-writing of the Japanese sentence and the Japanese sentence containing the target grammar to practice. I found this really helps to lock in the grammar.
After I finished off Nihongo So-matome Grammar book, I started the Nihongo So-matome Reading book. This is a shorter, 6 week course, so I’m hoping to finish this before the test, which is in 9 weeks. I actually went through the old edition of this book too. So hopefully between the two of them, I can get my reading skill up to the level it needs to be.
Incidentally, if you did buy the old book, the new book is mostly different. It has the same format, but they changed most of the reading passages, so it might still be worth picking up if you are need of some more reading practice. Both books cover everything from information retrieval exercises to the standard passages that you’ll see on the test. The information retrieval exercises are especially useful if you are living in Japan because it can help you read direct mail, apartment ads, job ads as well as notices and some other things you would encounter after you’ve lived here for awhile.
I’ve also continued reading my book, The Secret. I can happily say I’m halfway through at page 155 of 296. Hopefully I’ll be able to just finish it before the test and then I can move on to some movie novelizations again. I really enjoy the book though, it is great practice for reading. I usually give myself the train ride home to read as much as I can. The train ride is about 30 minutes, so it’s a small achievable goal that I can get through.
I feel more and more on track to pass the test, but it’s definitely not over yet. I need to keep reviewing the grammar so it’s permanently in my head. They always say to over-learn something in order to be prepared for a test and that is going to be my goal. Not only for the test, but also to use it in real life.
Recently I’ve been looking over previous level 3 and 4 tests to prepare for the recent series of podcasts and being surprised at how easy they look now, but before they seemed next to impossible. Some of the that has to do with over-learning the material so that I can recall it quickly now and some of it has to do with good review and trying to use the language every day.
So, if you are struggling with your language study (and I’ve definitely been there) just keep in mind that if you study the language every day, you’ll be making progress.
1) What is your progress looking like?
2) If you are taking the test in July, do you feel you are prepared?
Let me know in the comments below.