If you registered for 2015 December test in Japan online, you should now be able to view your results online. If you mailed in your registration, you should be receiving your test results in the mail next week. However, if you are anybody else who would like to check your results online, they should be available on the official site starting at 5PM JST on 3rd. Be aware that the link will not be ‘live’ until then, so if you click it and get a dead site, just hold on.
So now that you have your results from the test, what can you do with them? Your test results, although admittedly pretty sparse with information are the most valuable part of taking the exam. This where you get to see the valuable feedback from your study habits. You get to find out what really worked and what really didn’t.
It might be an easy time to sit back and take some weight off your feet for awhile. But, now, at the beginning of the year, and armed with your freshly-received results is the perfect time to lay out a sound study plan for 2016 so that you can achieve your goals.
Yes, for a lot of you, the next test might be in ten months or it might not even be in the foreseeable future. But in either case, you will want to have a plan so that you at least keep what you have spent so much time building up. Now is the time to lock all that Japanese goodness in.
Sticking to goals
So, I’ve already talked about SMART goals. And there are plenty of other resources on the interwebs about how to set a proper goal. So, I’m not going to elaborate that much on how to define a clear goal, other than to tell you that it is extremely important that you have one. Without one it can be difficult to really gauge how well you are doing, and your motivation might go down because you have no idea if you are even making progress toward something.
Some other people might be quite phobic of goals, or honestly don’t want to commit to something, because things change. A lot can happen in a year, and if you are using Japanese, or living in Japan, your goals can change quite quickly if you get a new job or meet someone special suddenly. In those cases, it might be better to decide on a smaller, more temporary goal for yourself instead of trying to set something massive.
Need more help? An entire section of my study guide is dedicated to setting good goals.
So let’s assume you set a goal, something that you want to move toward. What can you do to make sure you stick with that goal to the end? How can you guarantee that you hit that mark and that you are goal won’t end up discarded a few months in? There are a variety of ways to stick to something. A lot of the basic ideas I’ve gone over before but I’d like to talk about one more tool for your tool kit that you can use to keep you on target so that you can meet your goals in 2016.
Scientists have recently discovered something that people have known for awhile. If a strap a fun or pleasant thing to something that you don’t want to do, you are more likely to do that thing you don’t want to do.
The classic example of this is that you can only watch your favorite TV shows or listen to your favorite music at the gym. The idea being that you might not want to go to the gym to exercise, but if that TV show is addictive enough you will go to the gym for that and once you are at the gym, you are going to exercise.
What does this mean for Japanese study? Well, it can mean that you don’t drink your coffee in the morning unless you do it with your Japanese book cracked open. It could mean that you don’t turn on your heat in the morning until you have practiced a few vocabulary words.
In general, you want to pair something physical with your studies. You obviously can’t study Japanese while watching your favorite TV show, unless it is in Japanese of course. Basically it can’t take your attention away. So it can be food, drink, temperature control, a comfortable spot to sit, etc…
Another way to keep you studying is to find a study buddy that will keep you encouraged for the long haul. You just want someone to study with, not necessarily someone to compete with. Metrics like number of words studied can be useful for keeping you motivated, but too much concentration on these numbers can lead you to bad study practices.
You may even want to place a bet with your study buddy to keep the studying going. Make sure to make the conditions of the bet that you keep studying and not some arbitrary metric like number of hours studied or number of words learned/mastered. Again these kinds of metrics can lead you to bad practices that can ultimately demotivate you.
Try to setup a calendar reminder to force you to think about studying on a regular basis. Some apps like Memrise have built in systems that remind you to get going periodically.
How did you do?
So now is the time to let us know how you did. What went right? What went wrong? Let us know in the comments below.