For those of you lucky enough to be in Asia, you might be taking the JLPT this July, which is only a month away. You’ve already signed up and are ready to go, but if you are anything like me, you might be starting to wonder if you are really prepared for the exam.
Even if you know you are not prepared for the exam, what can you do this late in the game? We all know that cramming isn’t really good for long term language learning and also defeats the purpose of learning language anyway. After all, you are probably learning Japanese to use it not to just pass a test. So can you really cram successfully? Will it do any good?
How to Cram for the JLPT (if you have to)
If you have to cram, it’s best to prioritize what you can learn in the next month. To do that, you need to first analyze your weaknesses. What are you weakest at? If you don’t know, maybe it’s time to take a practice test to see where you stand. Or if you’ve taken the JLPT back in December, what did you score the lowest in?
For me, it was definitely reading, so for this last month I’ll be focusing a lot of studying time on reading and building up my reading skills. This mainly involves doing about 20 to 30 minutes of reading every day to build up my reading stamina in addition to working my way through the Nihongo N2 So-Matome Reading Comprehension Book.
It’s important too to be realistic with what you can learn in a month’s time. You aren’t going to be able to cover everything, so stick to a few key points and learn them well. This way you will at least be able to benefit from the study and hopefully do well on the test.
Another thing you can do in a month’s time that will pay off on the test, is building up your stamina. If you are studying for N3 and above, try watching a few Japanese movies (with subtitles), so that you will be able to stay focused during the listening section. You can do the same for reading, by trying to do as much as reading as you can for long periods (30 or minutes).
Usually it is not recommended to study for more than about 50 minutes simply because you start to lose focus, but this is a special case. Also, you aren’t really studying, you simply just want to get use to hearing or reading Japanese so that your mind doesn’t ‘throw it out’ when you get to the test.
If you are taking the July test of the JLPT, outline what your weaknesses are and create a plan to attack those with the time you have before the test.
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