As a lot of you know I did not make the trip up to Kyoto University this year to take the test. I want to say that I feel little disappointed in myself, but in actuality I’ve been too busy with family to really be too worried about the exam. There have been a lot of little things and small emergencies I’ve had to be there for, and I’m thankful that I didn’t have the test looming over me to worry about.
Of course, I haven’t been sitting on my laurels in terms of studying Japanese. I’ve taken a bit of a radical change to how I’m organizing my learning. I’m focusing more on just doing a lot of intensive reading and practicing and reviewing vocabulary that way. My only wish is that there were more audiobooks to choose from in Japan or at least more long-form advanced level listening material that has a script.
I’ve learned that I am more of a visual learner. I need to see it to understand it, but I don’t have any ‘sit-down’ time to look at things, so I’m forced to review more with listening while I walk to and from the station, to work, or while I’m doing house stuff like cooking after all my family has gone to sleep. Anyway, I’m looking forward to taking the test again and seeing if this departure from drill books and drudgery has its advantages or not.
Enough about me though, what about you? You are probably ready to throw all your JLPT out the window and veg out. But before you do that, I have some advice for you to take maximum advantage of the ordeal you just went through.
Analyze before it Fades
Before the test material becomes a distant memory to you, it is best to do some minor analysis so that you can take the test better next time. I know the last thing you want to do right now is think about the test but bare with me here.
First, what sections did you struggle with? Did you feel like you were able to answer the questions easily and with confidence? Now, you never can be 100% sure of an answer, but just try to recall how confident you were in each section. Later, when you get the results you can match this up with reality and see if your guesses were right or if you were way off and just thought you were okay.
Second, did you have enough time to answer all the questions? Specifically, do you think you could read through all the passages in the reading section with enough time to understand them well enough to answer the questions? You don’t have to read them all completely, just be able to skim through them and pick out the right details. Or did you feel like you could have answered the questions more correctly with a little more time?
It’s good to get this initial snapshot while everything is still fresh in your mind. Later, when you get the results you can look back on what your first impressions are and see how close you were to predicting your score, or how far off you were. You might not realize what some of your weaknesses are until you do.
So, stop what you are doing right now and head to the bottom of this post. Leave comment with the following information:
1) Test level
2) Location you took it (in Japan or abroad)
3) What section you thought was the most difficult
4) What section you thought was the easiest
5) What you felt you should have studied harder or focused on more. Reading speed? More vocabulary?
6) What was one thing you did that helped your score the most (in your opinion)
Your answers will help others as they move up to different levels. Take just a few minutes to let us know your thoughts.
Take a Load Off
Okay, are you back? Now it is time to just relax and take the load off. You’ve probably been going through so many drill books, you see test questions in your sleep, so go out and just veg out. You definitely deserve a break. If you want to still practice some Japanese, switch to doing something more fun and less drudgery. Don’t push yourself to the point of breaking.
But, remember to try to keep the habit up. You have probably set a lot of good study habits up and it would be shame to throw away all those good habits after you have come so far. So instead of dropping them, make sure to do at least a little something every day. Even if you are studying for 5 minutes. What is important is starting the activity. When the test comes up again, you can crank up the time you spend. But, for now, just keep the routine.
Tell me your Reactions
Take the time now to leave me a comment about how well you think you did. Use the list above and tell us all about it.