The hot, sweaty, humid days of summer are almost over. We just have to make it through the typhoon season and we are into probably the best season in Japan, fall. Time for barbecues and hikes and getting out of the house before we have to hide out again in winter.
I hope I can get out of the house as much I can. I’ll most likely be incredibly busy over the next few months though. Now that I have my results back from the July test, I have a general idea of what I need to work on in order to bring my score up enough to pass the test in December.
Moving Away from Lists
I think when you first start studying for a particular level, it is important to devote a good chunk of time to learning the new vocabulary. I usually try to go through the lists for the particular level as much as I can to start off, learning as much of the new vocabulary as I can. But, there comes a point where you can do too much ‘list-studying’.
I feel like I’ve reached that point. When I was taking the test, I knew the vocabulary pretty well. I could recognize most the words on the test and there weren’t too many words that I drew a blank on. There were plenty of words that I was a little foggy about, but I had still seen before. But for the most part I had a vague understanding of most of the words.
But when it came to gluing all those words together to form a complete thought, I was a little stumped. I couldn’t really comprehend a lot of the passages and make a summary of the ideas. This is part grammar problem and part phrasing problem. I’ll be working hard to try to build up my skeleton making skills over the next few months.
In addition to hitting the reading drill books hard, I’ll be reviewing a lot of the listening I did in July and August. I’ll be walking back through a lot of the listening in order to build up my comprehension skills for both reading and listening. I personally think listening is one of the easiest things to study for because it is so portable these days.
Reading is going to be more difficult though. In order to review reading you generally have to be sitting down and in a relatively quiet room. Even studying on the train can be a bit difficult at times, but I’ll try to squeeze in as much practice as I can, and pouring back over difficult passages to extract the vocabulary and phrasing.
Keep it Fun
This is probably the most important thing to concentrate on for me! I have an incredibly busy and hectic schedule and it will be very easy to burn out while studying, blogging, podcasting, working, and raising the little one. So, I also recognize the need to keep it light.
I’ll be finishing off Harry Potter here pretty soon, I hope by the end of next month, but it might take a little longer. Right now I’m currently on page 350 of 457, so it will be close. It has become a real fun book to read after the initial hurdle of difficult vocabulary.
After I finish off Harry Potter, I’ll be moving on to a book about buying houses in Japan. Yes, that’s right, I’m keeping it fun by reading about real estate, but I’m thinking about buying a house sometime next year I need to do the research. Anyway, it is exciting to go house shopping, even if it is a little complicated.
High Speed Reading Update
Another thing that I’m going to practice a little bit during my reading months is to increase my reading speed. I have a pretty good speed, but I’d like to crank it up a little faster so that I have time to do the test than go back and double-check or adjust answers.
I recently accidentally discovered a new technique of how to force yourself to read faster. It is a method using audio to force yourself to read faster. I’ve started to use it and it has helped to train my mind to focus on the reading so that I can increase my speed.
I go over step by step how to do it in a new update to the JLPT Study Guide Kit. You can do it with simple, free-to-use tools that will accelerate your reading speed effortlessly. If you haven’t picked up the kit yet, you can find out all the details at the premium site.
What’s your game plan?
What are you planning for these final 3 months before the exam? Did you take the July test? Did you change your plan? Let me know in the comments below.