We are heading into the final stretch before the main event in December. As always, I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get all the things I want to get done, but I have managed to (barely) keep to my 5 month plan I laid out in July. It has been a little rough recently when the entire family got hit by a cold, but it was luckily just a speed bump.
November is for Reading
October and November are my reading months and in some ways I wish I had started reading a little earlier so I could do more of it. I only scored 9/60 on the July test in this area and I have a lot of catching up to do. My biggest issue is just comprehension which I talked about in the last update.
I’ve finished off the So-Matome N1 Reading book (I’ll try to get a review out soon). This book took me a little by surprise mostly because a lot of the So-Matome books follow the same pattern for their reading comprehension books. They start off with a dialog and then one reading passage. I never quite understood the usefulness of this approach, but it did make the books easy to get through.
The N1 book on the other hand goes for a different approach. Each day focuses on a particular skill, like reading for conclusions or looking out for certain key words or phrases. It then walks you through problems that start simple and get more complex. Still not quite as difficult as the test, but it is a great book to walkthrough a lot of the skills needed.
I especially loved the last week where they go over how to mark up the long passages to make it easier to answer the questions at the end. This is a pretty powerful technique that I will need to practice more to make full use of before the test, but I have a feeling it could boost my score a bit.
Abandoned Sticky Study, Keeping Memrise.com
In my quest to absorb as much vocabulary as possible before the test, I’ve had to drop Sticky Study at least for now. I do feel like Sticky Study is pretty handy app if you have the time, but I simply have been too busy to spend a regular amount of time with it every day. To make matters worse I haven’t used it for awhile so there are a lot of reviews that I have to go through just to learn new words. I might have to end up resetting my count.
I’ve switched to primarily using memrise.com to review for a couple of reasons. I feel like you can be a lot more intimate with the vocabulary at memrise than you can with your typical flashcard setup. What do I mean by this?
Well, for memrise, you have to be exactly correct because you have to type in the right answer, so you can’t cheat, which is something I sometimes do with Sticky Study just because I want to get done with the day’s vocabulary practice. Since you have to be exactly correct with memrise, I’m more apt to build up what they call mems, basically mnemonics to help you remember the word.
This forces me to get my hands dirty to make sure I properly understand the word. I think with some automated systems it almost becomes to easy to say, ‘Well, I was close enough, it’ll catch on later.’ and then it never seems to catch on.
Finishing Off Harry Potter
I’m literally a few pages away from completing the first book in the Harry Potter series that I have been reading for the last 5 or so months. It has actually been a pretty good book to read while studying for the N1, easy enough to read without having to look up every other word, but difficult enough that I managed to add 1000+ new words to my review list. I’ll try to put up a word list on memrise as soon as I finish the book.
After I get Harry Potter done though I’m going to switch to using that free time for simply reviewing and making everything more and more automatic. I figure I only have a month and a half before the test, so I should be able to not bore myself to sleep on the train studying every possible moment.
My review time will essentially be me going back through my reading and listening books with a fine tooth comb, making sure I understand as much as possible. I am also going to try to sneak in some grammar work with the New Kanzen Master book if I can manage it. It is going to be a tough next couple of weeks, but then it will be time to relax and enjoy the holiday season.
The JLPT Study Guide Kit Update
I just posted another update to the JLPT Study Guide Kit. This time I go over step by step how I taught myself the grammar for the N1 level in about a month through a simple method that I used on my walk to work. I was pretty amazed how fast I was able to absorb the grammar and understand it.
If you want to make the most out of your study time, I encourage you to pick up the JLPT Study Guide Kit today. For a limited time, you can pick it up, and get lifetime updates for absolutely positively free!
Let me Know your Thoughts
What is your game plan for the final stretch? How are you going to shore up your weak points? Are you going to doing some sword sharpening?
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 15:25 — 14.1MB)
Hope this helps for you.
Thanks for these, I’ll give them a look. Still having issues answering some of the reading questions.
I was looking for some N1 samples of the previous years on the Internet and I found this post. Funny enough, I am also taking the N1 this December (1st try) and I’m also using So-matome books (Goi, Kanji and Grammar, and I have another one for dokkai). I also think that the day does not have enough hours, hah… Anyways, I wanted to ask you whether you know any websites to see/download previous N1 tests (the real ones) for practice. Thanks, and ganbarimashou~
Previous N1 tests are not officially available, but the official workbooks are made of test questions from previous tests. They are a bit hidden on their website, but you can find them here:
Not exactly what you are looking for but pretty close and free. I’ve also found the paid mock tests are pretty accurate and pretty reasonable:
I’m sure you know about this site but thought I’d post it anyway
It is online tests that are free and allow you to take each section and review the questions answered. I found it really useful last year. I’ve just plucked up the courage to do the Vocab section for N4. I got 22/35 which is okay though I wish I didn’t make such stupid mistakes. I’ve just looked at your recent notes in the kit and it says for N4 I need 38/120 (Vocab + Grammar) to pass that section (I know not overall). Is that right? I’m going to try the Grammar section at the end of the week – those reading sections really scare me 🙁
It sounds like you’ll do all right. 22/35 is pretty good, not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Yeah, you need a 38/120 to pass the whole section, but I would say this is a great section to gain some points in.
Did you try working through the official workbook?
Good luck Barbara! I know you can do it!