If you registered online for the test in Japan, and took the test here, you should be able to get your results online now at the JEES website. If you registered ‘offline’ for it, your results should be coming in the mail sometime next week or so. For people that took it in Asia, you can find some information about when and where test results will come available on the jlpt.jp website. The jlpt.jp website usually has online results available for everyone about a week or so after they come available for people that took the test in Japan. And, generally speaking, certificates are usually in everybody’s hands by the end of February.
Since I really didn’t have to time to prepare for the exam, I instead sat on the bench this time. To be honest, I don’t really regret my decision because I was tremendously busy in November and December and I’m still catching up on my list of things I need to do. I’ve been putting off a lot of things in my mad dash to study, which has just meant that I’ve basically got nothing done (studying or otherwise).
So, since I didn’t take the JLPT. I decided to have a go at the J-CAT, which is an online test you can take for free every 6 months.
J-CAT stands for Japanese Computerized Adaptive Test. What exactly does that mean you ask? Well, it means that the computer will adapt to you while you are actually taking the test. What happens is that every time you answer a question the computer will use your answer to determine what kind of questions it will dish out to you next. In general, if you answer a question wrong, you will get easier questions. Answer a question right, you get more difficult questions.
This weaving back and forth is suppose to help determine your level in a lot quicker way than say a standard paper test. It’s kind of like when you go to the eye doctor, they start with something really weak and slowly work up to your prescription by repeatedly asking ‘Better here or here?’ while flipping lens in and out to get you the best view.
It can give you a fairly accurate score. These kinds of tests tend to give you a good ball park and your overall weaknesses but not really as accurate as a real paper test. There is a similar one for English called CASEC, which does about the same thing. It has sometimes given negative or positive inaccurate scores, but it still serves as a decent check of your level and you don’t have to get all dressed up to go out to a testing center.
Another interesting difference about this kind of test is that it is strictly linear for obvious reasons. You can’t go back and modify an answer, once you answered it, you are done with that question. Also, every question has a time limit associated with it. A timer in the upper right part of the screen tells you how much time you have left to answer the question. If you are not careful, you can lose track of how much time you have and be forced to move on, automatically getting that question wrong.
This happened to me several times while I took the test actually. The grammar section seemed to be especially brutally for me in this regard. There were a few times when I had narrowed it down to two answers and I was just about to click one when it moved on, giving me an automatic wrong answer.
Although it doesn’t give you the most accurate score, it is still handy to take because it only takes about an hour or so. You don’t have to leave your house to take it. And it will point out your weak points in general terms, so that you can refocus your studies if you have to.
For me, it seems like I am overall weaker than I used to be. I can’t say I’m that surprised. I really haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and go through practice tests and go over answers in such so my test taking skills are probably a little off. It is good to see that my listening and reading skills are my best areas since I’ve been focusing mostly on those two over the last couple months. However, the scores are still a lot lower than I had hoped for.
I scored a 201, which is just barely N2 level. I remember taking the test before you scoring slightly lower right after I actually passed the N2, so the test tends to have a small negative bias, which you can probably chalk up to the whole time limit and not being able to go back and think through a few questions.
I think I’m still going to continue my little break from taking the test for a variety of reasons. As a lot of people will tell you, the N2 is all you really need to use Japanese well and to work and live in Japan. The N1 is incredibly nice to have and can open some doors for you but is not absolutely necessary. In my hot pursuit to pass the N1, I’ve left behind a lot of fun things I want to do with the language like learn slang and talk more like a human being at parties. These are the kinds of things I would like to do more of.
I really don’t have that many issues doing day to day stuff like ordering at restaurants, rescheduling packages, reading notices in the mail and such, but I would like to be able to just talk a lot more freely with my neighbors and people I bump into. I can make small talk, but it tends to fall flat after a few minutes as I struggle to explain some situation that I would like to talk about. I want this to become as automatic as skimming through notices and articles has become for me.
Also, I’m starting to really like blogging and teaching Japanese. The Japanese learning community is overwhelming a really nice group of people that love to email me and thank me for all the work I’m putting in, which in turn makes me want to contribute more. I think the more you teach the more you learn. I’ve learned a lot of little details about the language since I’ve started making my N5 videos. And I’ve started to notice a lot more things when I’m reading and using the language.
It has been a lot of fun. So much so that I find myself spending more time researching people’s questions and reading about Japanese grammar and quirks of the language than actually studying. So thanks everyone for making this blog a joy to maintain. I started it so that I could stay motivated to study for the JLPT and now it has become it’s own little thing.
My goal is still to pass the N1 someday, but I’m taking a little detour to boost my production skills and make that more automatic for me. I also want to do more speaking ‘on-the-job.’ Nothing is better than getting paid to learn a language. I know it might seem a little odd to people outside of Japan. But if you teach English here, you really don’t need Japanese. There are a lot of people that have been here for 20 years or more and can barely handle ordering at a restaurant. I want to be more proactive than that obviously, so I’ll be looking for something where I can use my speaking skills a little more.
I also just want to dip my foot into the culture a little deeper. I have learned bits and pieces of Japanese history through blog posts and just traveling around to see the sites, but I’d like to do a lot more. There are a lot of things that I don’t really know that much about. For example, I have hard time keeping track of famous actors and comedians, so it is hard to make small talk about them.
How about you?
How were your results? Where do you go from here? What changes will you make to your study plan? Make a measurable goal now, and tell us about it in the comments below.