One More month to Go

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The final stretch

Just one more month! Hang in there!

For some of you, the July test is fast approaching. We only have about a month of studying before the big test. At this point, you are probably wondering what you could possibly do now to improve your score.

It seems like such a short time, a month, but if you just do a few things you will be able to boost your score and that might mean the difference between passing and failing. Sometimes it comes down to just one word that you miss, so this last month can be time well-spent that you use to take yourself over the edge.

I mention these a lot, but if you still haven’t taken a practice test, now is the time to download the ones freely available for each of the levels:

JLPT N5 Practice Test
JLPT N4 Practice Test
JLPT N3 Practice Test
JLPT N2 Practice Test
JLPT N1 Practice Test

These practice tests are pretty short and easy to take, if you want something a little more robust, you can pick up the official workbooks which are roughly the same size as a regular test, and are made up of questions from previous exams. You can find them below:

JLPT N5 Official Workbook
JLPT N4 Official Workbook
JLPT N3 Official Workbook

N2 and N1 are only available on the due to some copyright restrictions.

Strengthen your Weaknesses

If you take a practice test or, better yet, work your way through one of the official workbooks above, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what your weaknesses are. Do have trouble answer the reading questions correctly? Is the listening a little difficult to focus on? Is the grammar driving you nuts?

Keep in mind that a weakness could be something non-language specific, like having trouble staying focused, or not managing your time properly.

If you have a critical weakness, something that you only got around 10~40% of the questions correct on, you should probably think about devoting a lot of time to it over the next month. It might seem a bit hopeless, but skills, like reading and listening can really get a boost with some immersion in this final month.

Also, while you are doing all this cramming it is important to take a step back a few times and analyze why you are getting questions wrong. Is there a pattern you can see? Do you have issues with vocabulary or is it just overall comprehension? Take a moment to analyze the root of the problem instead of racing through example questions.

Set a Reward

If you are right on the edge of passing the test, you’ll be putting in some extra hours this month to study if you want to pass. That means a lot of hard work, and that could mean burn out if you are not so careful with yourself. So, how do you stay motivated? Set a reward for yourself.

Maybe you are going to have to give up some extra TV watching this month in order to do more reading practice. That can be a hard thing to give up, so tell yourself that it is temporary and that after the test you are going to sit yourself down to a Jdrama marathon (or whatever is rewarding for you.)

What will actually happen is three things. First, you’ll probably get more studying done. Second, you’ll be motivated to keep studying. Third, you might just find yourself sticking to the new habit even after the test is over.

It is very easy to get distracted this last month and having a prize or reward to focus on will help you keep going and push through.

Take Care of Yourself

Try to get a healthy night’s rest (somewhere between 6 and 8 hours) and eat right. No sleep and eating fast food can put you into a vicious circle of not being able to finish your studying because you can’t focus, so you stay up late to finish everything. Then, you are tired the next day and so on and so on. No your limits and remember its just a test, have fun.

What is your Routine?

Are you doing anything different this last month to prepare for the exam? Let me know in the comments.

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