My main focus for this July test was to improve my reading score. That was my base goal – just improve my score from my dismal 9 that I had before. My stretch goal was to pass the reading section which I thankfully did. A 21 is not too bad after getting two 9s, the previous two outings, so I’m quite happy overall.
The other part of my goal was to keep my current scores on the other parts of test and try to raise my score overall. I did in fact raise my overall score, not as much as I’d have liked though, only a measily 5 points. And I took a big hit with vocabulary for the 1st time taking the test, I got a C in this section. I’ve never scored that low before which is a little embarrassing.
It has been a tough year so far though. Just last weekend, we spend 3 to 4 hours walking through the process of getting a house built and that was our 3rd such meeting. And we aren’t even quite sure if we want it built, to buy a used house, or buy a new one. Then there’s gymnastics class for my daughter, doctor’s appointments, and trip preparations. To be honest, I’m happy that I get any studying done at the moment.
What’s Up with Vocabulary?
I completely bombed the vocabulary section, which is where I usually excel. It is after all, one of the easiest sections to study for (in theory). I was really surprised to see such a low score. If anything, I was hoping vocabulary, grammar and listening would give me enough points to pass eventually. Looks like it will have to be more balanced, which is how I usually end up scoring anyway.
I’m a bit disappointed in myself to be honest. This is usually not a section that I do poorly on ever. For every level, vocabulary and kanji have never been something I focused on. I could just write this off to bad luck, maybe the words on this test were a little different or just words I hadn’t seen before. But, I’m not going to whine about, I just need to cover more vocabulary so that I have better chance of knowing what is on that section.
The usual thing to do in this situation I suppose is to pile on more words via SRS, but I’ve gotten a little bored of drilling and I’m trying to keep it to a minimum with SRS. So, I’m going to be expanding my reading as much as possible, so that I get regular exposure to vocabulary in context.
At this level (N2+), I’m starting to believe that reading and watching (jDramas, TV shows, etc…) are the best ways to build vocabulary and SRS should be reserved for the kind of words that are easily confused or forgotten because they aren’t commonly used.
Reading Speed and Review
The last couple of reading passages actually seemed easier and more interesting than the first couple passages this test, but I had spent too much time trudging through the boring passages that my focus wasn’t its best by the time I got to the last passages. This makes me want to increase my reading speed beyond what it is now. I’d like to come close to increasing it by about 30% or so before the December test.
I also need better focus. Thanks to the mild sauna-like conditions we were subjected to at Kyodai, I had some minor issues with focus. I’d like to have a little better control over that, so I’ll be doing a lot more focused reading on the train. I’d like to build up enough focus to read for 20 minutes without being distracted by the going-ons in the train.
I’ll also be speed reading through my grammar book again over-learning grammar structures and expressions so that I don’t have to think about them. I want to make these automatic. This has actually two benefits, first, I can speed up comprehension for the test, but also I can speed up my ability to translate (for work, not on the test) which I’ve noticed I’m still a little slow at and the faster you are the better.
How did you do?
Have you gotten your results back yet? When you get your results will differ from country to country, but you should be able to see your results on the JLPT.jp website starting August 29th at 5pm (JST?). For those that registered via the JEES site here in Japan, you can see those results now. Although the site has gone down a few times over the last 24 hours or so.