We are just a couple of months away from the July test here in Japan and I’m starting to look forward to it actually. I’ve started a slow change to the way I study and I’m interested in seeing if it makes a difference for better or worse.
One dramatic change I’ve been working on is to cut down on my drilling time. I was doing 1 to 2 hours of drills a day with kanji and vocabulary. I never really intended it to get that out of hand, so I’m now trying my best to cut it back.
I’m moving towards just doing a lot of reading and listening to build up my vocabulary. I try to read for at least an hour every day in Japanese. I feel like I have at least seen most of the vocabulary before, and I have a pretty good idea of what 90% of what the vocabulary means. Now, I just need to practice quickly understanding how all those words come together.
I have been trying out some new blogs, my new favorite is LifeHacker.jp. Lifehacker is a very popular site in the States that basically details how to make your life better in every aspect, jobs, money, motivation, web tools, apps, etc…
The cool part of LifeHacker.jp is that a lot of the articles are just translations of English articles. So you can read an article and then check your understanding of it by reading the English it was translated from. Of course, the articles don’t match up word for word, but they do come pretty close sometimes.
More Focus on Overall Language Ability
I’ve been making N5 grammar videos and have started work on an interactive N5 grammar course. I wanted to make videos and cheat sheets that just go beyond giving you a simple English definition, but actually give you a real feel for the grammar point. So I set about doing some through research on the grammar points.
And, when I look through some of the Japanese teaching books, and the Japan Times Grammar Dictionaries, it is really interesting. When I first learned these grammar points (about 7 or so years ago) I remembered just the simple meaning of them. But, of course, Japanese particles are a bit complex, and so it is interesting to go back now and read in detail about some of the nuances.
I think being at a higher level is pretty exciting with a language because you can see the whole picture. There are some parts of the picture still missing, and a few parts are a little fuzzy, but you at least have a general idea of the overall mechanics, which is pretty cool. Cool because, now it is simply just a matter of filling in holes and cleaning up the fuzzy parts.
July JLPT here I come!
I have signed up for the Summer JLPT test (July 7th) again this year. I’ve been pretty busy with family things and looking around for a house but I have been making slow steady progress with my studies. For example, getting all my kanji study out of the way (although I’m still doing regular review).
My primary goal is still my reading score. I’d really like to see that go up. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to pas the section (get 19+), but I’d like to try to get above 15. I know that these are pretty modest goals, but I’ve become a little more humble with my estimates since my December results. I will be trying a more traditional approach to doing the reading this time after my reading debacle last time.
I’m actually really looking forward to taking the test this time to see if there is a difference. Last year, I put a lot of pressure on myself to finish all my drill books and be ready for the big exam. I really wanted to pass and be done with it. This July though, I feel a little less pressured to pass and just want to take the test to see how well I do. Also, I want to see how my new study methods helped or hurt my score.
How are you keeping going?
I know the July test isn’t available for some regions (e.g. most of North America) so if you can’t take the July test, what are you focusing on now? Are you just having fun? Experimenting? Let me know in the comments.
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