Well, the results are in. And I am a little embarrassed to say that I failed it, which I kind of expected. What I didn’t expect was an absolute pounding. This was my worst score yet on the test. Even when I took it for the first time and hadn’t really started preparing for it at all, I did better than I did this last round. And I am a bit perplexed as to why.
I could chart it up to simply not being on my game that day or just getting a bunch of topics that I was not really all the familiar with for whatever reason, but I actually didn’t feel that bad about the test. I wrote about my initial reactions before, and although I was a little weary about the results (I was pretty confident I had failed) I didn’t feel it was that difficult. The section that I thought I did the worse in, listening, I actually did the best in.
So what gives? Well, I am not entirely sure. I kind of had these types of moments in high school where I thought I had done pretty well on a test only to find out later that I had failed it miserably. It looks like it was one of those moments for this test. I can’t really explain what went wrong, I obviously either misjudged the entire test or skipped a question on the answer sheet. Either way, I guess it is back to the drawing board.
Time for an About-Face
Some might say that the answer is in more books and more drilling. But, I’m pretty sure I have the question formats down and what is being asked of me. I might still hunt down a book or two toward the end to check my level again, but that is probably not something I am going to start with. Instead, I’ll be trying a new mix of production and some more native materials that I’ve been fishing around for.
I’d really like to get comfortable listening. I still have to ‘focus’ to listen. This causes a lot of problems when I’m talking to friends and the conversation suddenly turns Japanese as it sometimes does and my brain doesn’t quite switch with it. For some reason, I have to ‘warm up’ to listening in Japanese. It doesn’t really take that long, but long enough that it can cause problems at work, out with friends and obviously the test. I got a score of 24 on the listening this time, which is absolutely abysmal. Especially since listening has never really been a weakness of mine until the N1.
So, I will continue to listen to the Jane Su podcast that I mentioned earlier, but I’m going to try to go through it with more of a fine tooth comb. I’m going to keep individual episodes that sound exciting and re-listening to them a few times until I can discern almost everything that is being said. I can usually get the main gist the first time around, but I want to make it more natural and automatic instead of what it is now, which is at times a bit forced.
I’ll probably step up my reading of articles from magazines like Aera. I will miss reading Game of Thrones though, so I might have to read a few pages here and there every once in awhile. I have been getting into Aera as well though. The articles are pretty interesting and pretty easy to get through.
I want to throw some production in there as well. I would love to be able to read articles, summarize them and do a little bit of discussion so that I can practice some of the vocabulary that picked up in the article. I’m not sure how feasible that is though because my schedule has become next to impossible of late. My wife is back working full time, which basically means that any free time we have we just want to relax and chill out, which often means sleeping in. Raising an extremely genki 2 year old takes a tremendous amount of energy.
A little Too Eager to get it Over with
I’ve started to take the test a little less seriously because I just want it to be done with because I have other projects I would like to jump into. That is putting a bit of a dent in my motivation to be honest. I just don’t have the gung ho-ness that I once had to pass the test. It’s not that I am giving up. I still need the test for various reasons. I just want to take my studies in a different direction that may or may not give me a higher score per se, but will improve my overall language skills.
In a perfect world, I would go to Japanese classes or get a tutor that can help me push through this and get it over and done with, but my schedule is incredibly erratic at the moment. Some weeks I have a somewhat empty schedule, but most weeks these days have been packed with translation requests and additional private lessons, which is great for me financially I suppose, but not the perfect solution for my sleep schedule.
A Note about Results
If you registered on the JEES site and took the test in Japan, your results are available now online. The official results will be mailed out next week. For everybody else, check this page for information on how to get your results online. For most people they will be available on Aug 28th at 5pm JST (about 16 hours from when this post went live).
How About You?
How did you do? Did you get the score you expected? Were you disappointed like me? Let me know in comments.
Be sure to let us know what level you took, where, how you studied, what you think was the most effective, least effective thing you did in preparation for the test so that you can help your fellow JLPTers. Thanks for helping everybody out!
Photo by jsellger2