Let's JLPT!

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Let's JLPT!

Postby Greatsaintlouis » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:27 am

So I've decided that I'm going to try and take the JLPT this year in December and am trying to get into a study/review mode so I can be sure if I should register when it opens this summer, and at what level. I know that if I keep up on everything I learned abroad I could easily pass Level 3, but assuming I can be diligent about studying, I think I might be able to give Level 2 a reasonable shot as well.

For those of you who have taken and passed the test before, what were your preferred and most effective study methods? Any specific books or study materials you'd recommend?

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:38 am

It's been so long since I took the 2 I can't remember what I studied (specifically) but reading/grammar is half the test, so obviously you should focus on that. For the most part though, the grammar is memorization, and is kind of easy. The reading is tricky though.

The key, of course, is starting now, and doing a little bit every day!
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Postby Shou » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:26 am

I took 2 over 4 years ago but grammar is the most important thing. You also need decent listening skills for the tape section. There's a good series of JPLT grammar books put out by Kodansha but they're completely in Japanese so if you can't comprehend them, then they'll be of little use obviously.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:57 am

I've never seen any JLPT study material in anything other than all Japanese. The 1-kyu book I used for reading was called ニ恥ニ耽ツーニ停
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:37 am

So did you end up taking the level 1 test, GP? How was it?

I've yet to see any JLPT materials in anything other than Japanese as well; an online Japanese bookseller I've used in the past has a large range of study materials but offers nothing in the way of a description, reviews, etc., which is why I wondered about material that others found useful.

I really ought to have picked a few up while I was over there, along with that excellent grammar dictionary as well. The online prices are about $10-15 more expensive.

Shou, do you remember the titles of the Kodansha books? I've got a few of their dictionaries (grammar, kanji, furigana) and have found them all to be very helpful. Also, for the listening section, it's tapes and not actual people you listen to? Is the speed that of a typical housewife, or is it a bit less than regular native speed?

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:40 pm

Greatsaintlouis wrote:So did you end up taking the level 1 test, GP? How was it?


3 times total. Only once I put in a LOT of study time. The first, almost zero (and the grade showed). I studied about 3 months the 2nd time, and finally passed on the 3rd try. I got about 8-9 months of studying in, but due to my home life at the time, I not only got zero studying in for the last 3 months (the most important) I was really stressed out. I bombed the first two sections (even the listening which is a gimme) and rocked the fucking house on the reading & grammar (like 84% total in that section).

Don't bother w/ the practice tests. They're awful. Get something that explains the answers to you.
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Postby Shou » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:16 am

Greatsaintlouis wrote:Shou, do you remember the titles of the Kodansha books? I've got a few of their dictionaries (grammar, kanji, furigana) and have found them all to be very helpful. Also, for the listening section, it's tapes and not actual people you listen to? Is the speed that of a typical housewife, or is it a bit less than regular native speed?


Actually, I went home and had a look at my old books. The best ones are the Kanzen ni Master series by 3A Corporation.

When I took it in San Francisco, it was tapes. I would say it was close to regular conversation speed but with some circular topics to confuse unfamiliar people.

Not needing to actually speak Japanese with someone during the test really makes me question just what this test measures. You'll see a ton of Chinese people who obviously already have the kanji skills taking the exam and passing but can't speak whatsoever.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:03 am

Not needing to actually speak Japanese with someone during the test really makes me question just what this test measures.


The same thing ALL Japanese tests (well, Juken, anyway) measure: your ability to prepare for a test. I will say that studying for the reading has made me a better reader. That's about it. I rarely see any level 1 specific grammar. Vocab is always nice, but cramming isn't the way.
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:12 am

Shou wrote:Not needing to actually speak Japanese with someone during the test really makes me question just what this test measures. You'll see a ton of Chinese people who obviously already have the kanji skills taking the exam and passing but can't speak whatsoever.


Simple, it teaches you to speak Japanese the way most Japanese speak English! Or don't, rather.

Gaijin Punch wrote:I rarely see any level 1 specific grammar.

I've always heard that level 1 is ridiculous overkill that suggests your Japanese is better than the average Japanese (yet is ironically required of many foreigners looking for jobs). Is this at all true? Has the level 1 been worth the effort it took to attain, or would you say that barring a specific job requirement level 2 is good enough?

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:41 am

It's a nice goal to have, but it's never been an issue when looking for employement (the better/more experienced you are in the your field, the less they give a shit), and it definitely doesn't mean you speak better Japanese than a Japanese. If you want to translate professionally and/or read Japanese literature, you should proabably score 85% or higher on the test I would think. I'm the first to admit, there's tons I don't know... quite a bit of stuff I should.
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Postby Kaneda » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:58 pm

I'm going to be taking the level 2 test here in a couple of weeks and am pretty sure I'm gonna fail. I've studied like 3 hours a day for the past few months and yet when I do the practice tests I suck dick. The kanji is cake but that's about it. The listening fucks me up especially. Not much to do at this point since I'm in the final hours, but just thought I'd vent my frustration at standardized testing and at my dumbass for not being able to learn this language after all these years.

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Postby CIT Seven Force » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:34 pm

I feel with the listening you can actually improve fastest with practice.

It's not so much about being able to understand everything, but about training yourself to pick up on the key clues that you will need to answer the questions and taking the right notes. Usually the questions revolve around some sort of "was it the woman with the red dress and the yellow hat or the woman in the blue dress and red hat" type deal, so it's all about quickly sorting the information you are hearing.

If you have access to practice tapes I would recommend using them now. Even after a couple of days you'll see some results.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:57 am

Yeah, the listening part is cake compared to the rest. You just have to learn, first and foremost, to clear your head. Also remember that in most of the questions they'll tell that it's one thing at the first of the dialogue, then at the very end do a complete 180. You basically have to pick up the last few words or you're fucked.
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Postby Kaneda » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:53 am

Yea they get kind of dirty with the listening.

I remember one I heard on a practice test was asking what the girl was doing when her dad came home and it starts off with "while i was watching tv, dad came home" then goes on to talk about this dinner she prepared, homework, laundry, etc., and at the end of it I think "didn't she just say right at the start she was watching tv?" Thinking it was too easy I put down a different answer and got it wrong. I guess I need to not outsmart myself and just relax.

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Postby mog123 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:48 am

I'll be trying to get the JLPT 4 this december, I know I could give 3 a shot, but I think going through all the basics won't be a bad thing. Will "Japanese for busy people" 1&2 will be enough to get me going on covering everything in 4 kyuu and a bit more?
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