I have been pretty much preparing for this big test in December all this year. I have studied at least an hour every day and usually a lot more. That time has not been wasted as I can truthfully say that my reading and listening comprehension have noticeably gotten better since last year at this time. It really is great to feel that progress as you are studying.
Last month was my final month of reading comprehension. I spent it trying to finish up the New Kanzen Master N1 Reading book. I wasn’t quite able to finish the whole book in October due to the fact that it is a pretty thick and detailed book with plenty of examples of reading samples.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by how in depth the book is. I went through the New Kanzen Master N2 Grammar book and was a little disappointed because it didn’t give enough detail or explain why I got answers wrong. The N1 reading book is a lot different. It gives you detailed information on why each answer is wrong, and how to go about getting the right answer.
This is really powerful! Mostly because it just doesn’t give you the answer or even a short explanation by actually goes step by step through how and why the right answer is what it is. I’m sure it will help me get more points on the reading section.
I have gotten incredibly frustrated however! Not at the book, but at my self. I keep scoring 50% on the questions. This isn’t actually that bad (50% is a passing grade for the reading section on the real exam), but I’d like to do a little better than that.
What I usually end up doing is being able to narrow down the answers to just two out of the four possible. Then, I inevitably have to guess. This means of course I end up with an average of 50%. There are sometimes when I completely strike out because of a misunderstanding, or a vocabulary word is not exactly clear.
To improve my comprehension and just overall reading speed, I’m going back through the reading passages that took a little bit of time to answer, or that I did not clearly understand and re-read them. Some recent studies have actually shown that re-reading a material can boost your comprehension (more than just reading more material).
I hope the combination of re-reading and working back through how to get the answers will boost my reading comprehension and speed enough to get higher marks on the exam. It will also help me review some of the key vocabulary that is a little more prevalent at this level.
This entire month is review month, and so I’ll be working through all my drill books another time to make sure everything clicks. I think I have to beaten my listening books to death at the point. I almost have all the listening exercises memorized from listening to them so much.
I do need to hit up my New Kanzen Master N1 Grammar book as well, especially the back part. The back part of the NKM Grammar books (for both N2 and N1) have a special section that zeros in on the types of questions in the grammar section and goes over some common traps that the test makers use.
I also want to do at least one practice test and hopefully two practice tests before the real one. For those, I’ll be laying out my test taking strategy so that I can try to maximize my time on the exam.
If you are not familiar with the grading system, the JLPT is not based on a raw score. It is graded by an incredibly complicated system called IRT. I can’t really explain what that is very quickly, but one thing to remember about it is that most people believe certain questions are still worth more than others. In other words, question A is worth 2 points whereas question B is worth only 1.
This is important stuff to know because then you can decide what questions to spend more time one and what questions to simply skip over. I actually just published an update to the JLPT Study Guide Kit that contains a mini guide that goes over all the questions for all the levels of the exam and how many points each one is worth, so that you can decide for yourself the strategy that you want to use.
You can get more details about the Study Guide Kit over at the premium site.
I’d like to Hear from You
What is your plan for this final month? Let me know in the comments below.