Okay, just got back from Kyodai (Kyoto University) where I took the JLPT. I took the N1 again this time after a not so bad first attempt back in July. I was trying to do something that might be impossible for me: pass the N1 a year after passing the N2.
It can be done mind you. I’ve heard from several people that it is completely possible to study and review enough to get everything you need to know in your head. But, I have a few time handicaps, a newborn baby, blogging and maintaining a site, working 6 days a week. These things tend to take time, so I wasn’t sure if I could make it happen this year.
And, to be honest, I feel like I probably improved, but probably not enough. The test also seemed to be a little different this time than last in a lot of ways.
Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading
I changed up my strategy this time. I started from the back and did the info retrieval question first (the last question) . Then, I went on to do the short and medium passage questions. My hope was to spend the most time on those because I had a higher chance of getting them correct. I think I might have actually pulled that off.
The comparison reading (where you had to compare the two passages) was a lot easier than July. Actually, a lot of the reading passages seemed easier this time around, which I was very thankful for.
The vocabulary was a different story though. Generally speaking, I am usually familiar with at least 60 or 70% of the vocabulary (and am very confident of about 30%). But I hadn’t seen a lot of the kanji words or other vocabulary before the test today. I was quite shocked actually. I had to guess about a lot of the questions.
I think I’m going to try to fit in a lot more reading practice so that I can get a better feel for how to use vocabulary. Also, I think I just need to be exposed to how kanji are used in different words and their nuances. There were a few words on the test that I had a general idea about the kanji that were in them, but didn’t know the meaning of the word.
I usually look forward to listening because it is easier than the reading. You also don’t have to worry about time management because the CD pushes you along through the test. All and all, a good way to finish the test.
And the July test wasn’t so bad in this respect. I missed words and there were the occasional passages that I had no idea about, but overall, I could say it was ‘do-able’. But the December test seemed to be a different animal. I’m not sure if I just couldn’t concentrate, or I had been hit with a stupid stick, but I had a hard time catching a lot of the keywords in the conversations and I consider myself to be generally strong at listening.
Especially the quick response section. There were several questions that seemed very fast and way too difficult for me to answer quickly and correctly. These questions are believed to be worth less points, but still…
I think I did do better on the 5th and last section (this is the section where 3 people discuss options and then the question comes at the end). I feel like I might have actually gotten down the whole note-taking thing for this section. The 3rd section of listening was a bit tricky though. I always flunk this section in practice tests, so I’ll probably try to go back and revisit it before the next test.
I feel like I probably just failed the test, but I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for a passing score. What I really want to see is for me to keep my grammar score, improve my listening a little, and improve my reading a lot over my July test scores. I am about 65% confident that I did that. Well, we’ll see.
Results for those in Japan will be mailed at the first part of February, but if you registered for the test on the internet (like me), you get the results at the end of January. Only 2 months to wait!
How about you?
How did you do on the test? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to let us know what level you took and what country.