Challenge Yourself

challenge yourselfEverybody, including myself, always seeks the easiest way to do something. We try to buy the quick and easy guide to weight-loss or feverishly read the top 10 ways to get things done. It seems to be an innate desire in us all.

And why should we work hard? That is for those heathens in the dark ages who sweated and tolled and lead a hard life. We live in a modern society with cool little electric do-dads and gizmos to assist us. After all, if you have a problem, there is most likely an app for that. Is there not?

So, we seek out the easy route, the painless route to victory, but this route can be a bit misleading at times. It can easily lull you into a sense of security and then before it’s too late, you can find yourself up a creek without a paddle.

I know, because lately I’ve been feeling a bit like this lately. Until recently, I kept working my way through books with the idea that I’m more than prepared for the test and that I should be able to pass it quite easily, but that wasn’t the case. I fooled myself, but with any luck I won’t be fooled again.

More Pain More Gain

Recently this slogan has gotten a bit of a bad reputation because it reminds people of the old ways of doing things. But, it does come in handy from time to time. Taking on material that is more difficult than what you need has numerous benefits actually.

First of all, the JLPT itself is actually more difficult and complex than real life. This is actually one of the reasons people state for not taking it. But since it is more difficult, it will help you be even more ready for real life. If you can puzzle out some of the most difficult and confusing passages of the language than the regular everyday stuff should be a walk in the park.

This holds true for actually taking the test. You have to have more than just a notion of what all the grammar, vocabulary, and kanji mean. You have to have a good understanding of their uses and connotations, too. You have to go beyond what the meaning of the grammar point is in English, you have to make the grammar yours.

So, it helps to overshoot your goal of the test and study more difficult material than the test ‘requires’. I found this to be extremely useful when preparing for the N3. When I was preparing for the N3, I was actually preparing for the N2, so when I got into the N3, it was a real cakewalk, since I’d been used to practicing vocabulary, kanji, and grammar from N2.

Challenge Yourself

You’ll have a better chance of passing the test and doing well on it if you go beyond what you think you are capable of. Challenge yourself with material that is more difficult than what you are used to. It’ll get you used to dealing with something out of your comfort zone.

And the test will most likely take you out of your comfort zone. For me, I think one thing that I struggled with on the N2 was that the material was at about the same level as what I was studying with or more difficult. However, when I took the N3 that material on the test was actually easier, so it felt like a relief to take the test. This mental advantage was huge for me.

So, go out there and challenge yourself a little before you get into the test. It will be a huge benefit to you.

Are you up to the Challenge?

Do you challenge yourself with more difficult material? What do you use to push yourself harder? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. Do you need tips for the challenge ahead? Sign up for the newsletter then!

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Photo by Pasukaru76

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Isaura January 6, 2013, 12:23 pm

    In December 2013 I want to take N3, but now I am studying for N2, and I am learning every new words with Kanji, too, so I can memorize some N1 Kanji, too:))

    • Clayton MacKnight January 7, 2013, 2:59 pm

      Excellent idea. It’s going to be a little difficult, but if your goal is to master the language, I think you have the right idea.

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