Sunday, February 11, 2018

Passed my JLPT N4!

JLPT is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test which goes from N5 (easiest) to N1 (hardest). Since I started learning to read Japanese after I first went to Japan a lifetime ago, taking the JLPT has been on my to-do list and after giving myself too many excuses to not do the exam, I got inspired last year to get off my ass and just do it.

I bought an N3 sample exam book and found the grammar questions way too hard. Even looking for answers online was difficult. I could get half of the grammar questions right based on 'this sounds right' but I chickened out and decided to go for the much easier N4. At least get a pass first before I get a possible fail.

That being said, there were a lot of N4 grammar things that I did not and still do not know. My grammar knowledge is practically zero being a self-taught student of the language. I learn Japanese from reading manga, playing games, and watching movies and jdoramas. I know lots of useless in real life words like 初陣 (first battle), 帰還 (return to base) or 召喚 (summon) which will never come up in exams.

There is a part of me that feels like just doing mock exams will not level up my Japanese as a whole or make me understand movies more but there is one thing I realised when taking the JLPT; that its not an exam of filed with trick questions (although there are plenty), its more an exam to confirm the general level of one's Japanese. Though in my case, my vocabulary is a lot better than my grammar.

We only get one JLPT exam a year in December so I got 8 months to start going through the JLPT N3 books I got in Japan during the last trip. I'm feeling very lazy because I have plenty of games to play and mangas to read. In the end, I'm going to be doing the N3 for the sense of achievement and a piece of paper that says my Japanese is at a certain level. In the end, the road to being fluent in Japanese is a never ending one. Will I ever get there, I don't know.

On a side note, anyone have anymore 2017 jdoramas to recommend? The only ones on my to watch list now are Shimokita Die Hard, ByPlayers and Ishitsubute.


Anonymous said...

Wow I'm really surprised! I thought you watch jdramas with just japanese subtitles, so N1/N2 would be easy for you! I can probably pass N2 but I don't think I can watch a jdrama without subs..

Sonna~ said...

Well done! I need to get off my lazy butt and take one -- I haven't, but I think we have a similar level of understanding, although your reading is probably a lot better.

I have decent collocations thanks to Japanese dramas, but I can't form sentences very well, only speak in phrases.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you ahould take a look at this one
I followed the same method with Mandarin Chinese and have been pretty comfortable with reading and watching stuff in Mandarin. Although I've only studied Japanese for about a year, I feel that reaching fluency in a foreign language is totally possible within a few years, and I'm not a native English speaker to begin with.
So good luck with your Japanese study!

Akiramike said...

@anon : If you can pass N2 you can definitely watch jdoramas, especially with the listening part of the exam.

@Sonna : I started off with simple phrases when I first went to Japan abut I still have problems with long complicated sentences.

Buck said...

Congrats. But I thought you would pass N2 with flying colors. I passed N3 on my first try, but my listening skill is definitely nowhere near your level. I got lucky because I read a lot of Japanese news :).

Akiramike said...

@Buck : N2? The N3 grammar questions already scared me! Your Japanese is better than mine since you can read Japanese news! I only can do the NHK Easy Japanese News which I recommend for Japanese learners.

Anonymous said...

Late congrats. I got N3 this year yet I don't think my listening skills are anywhere near yours.

You may be aware of it but if you take the N3, the reading paper is the trickiest. The texts are really long so, if you're too slow on grammar, you won't have enough time left.