Why my JLPT Fail was Still a Win

by Buddy Lindsey

Yesterday was JLPT day and I did fail it. Whether it is graded that way or not I am not sure. However, I failed it in my opinion. That being said I would not trade the experience for anything in the world. I am going to include some picture of the trip too so not so much reading all at once.

01 Breakfast

My World of Japanese
Lets look at my world of Japanese first. I take a class at local community college and am president of the Japanese Language Club there. On the side I go to our local city Japanese Language Club meetings once in a while. As for study I watch hours of J-Drama and anime along with trying to follow ajatt with SRS and generally having fun with learning. Also if you read here much you know I blog about the Japanese Language too, like grammar for example. I realize now how small my world is.

02 On the Way

My JLPT Experience

Kanji Section
This I found was more of a misnomer because only about 2/3 of the section was actually kanji, which I rocked it hard, it was my best section. The last 1/3 of that section was more vocab than kanji, which is why I call it a misnomer. My biggest problem was I didn’t understand the instructions to well so I had to guess at what was going on. Since I sat in front of the classroom I could watch while they organized all the test answers sheets and saw I guessed mostly right on the instructions. Unfortunately my old nemesis vocabulary stepped in and struck me down, I have a huge problem remembering words. At the end this was my best section and I didn’t do so hot on it I think.

03 Our Ride

Listening Section
I utterly failed this section. I have a problem because of my ADD when I hear too many words in a conversation I get bored and my mind drifts. Well while that didn’t happen per se. The listening section had WAY to many words.

Essentially the listening section was a recording and the instructions before they started the CD said “We are now going to start the test”. Well to me that means staring at number one. It took me about 2 minutes to realize they were starting on example 1. All words on the CD where in Japanese and probably only half of the CD by the end pertained to actual questions. So 3/4 of the way through that section I had heard to many words and couldn’t concentrate anymore. I now know a new problem to overcome.

I think this was an important section because it really re-enforces that there is a lot of Japanese to pay attention to listening wise.

07 Entering Test Town

Grammar Section
Grammar part was the second hardest part for me. What I found quite interesting was the grammar that I knew I am 90% sure I got right. However, there was a LOT of grammar I had never even seen before so it left some to be desired on my ability to answer these questions. I had to go with the best educated guess I could make.

12 Campus 05

What I learned

As I said before I failed this the JLPT in my opinion. However, it doesn’t bother because I had a great experience taking it. In my post “The JLPT CAN be Used to Measure Proficiency” I mentioned that it is all about the approach. I went in and didn’t take the test to pass it because it needed passing. I took it to measure skill passing didn’t matter all that much to me, would be nice though.

The biggest thing I learned is what I have been trying to avoid admitting to myself for a year now. That is I am using my Japanese class as a crutch to learning Japanese. I should be using it to compliment my learning Japanese. Instead I am putting my efforts into the class as my primary study method. I need to get back to AJATT and have class be secondary, but still pass the class.

I now realize more that I have a LONG way to go. In my little world I have seen a lot of Japanese, but have had no real effective gauge of exactly how much there is to learn. The book I use isn’t exactly the best at helping to show how dumbed down it is. Taking the JLPT has provided me a way to breakout of the normal day life and into another world of the Japanese language and prove to me I have a long ways to go still yet.

11 Campus 04

Final Thoughts and the Future

One thing I really enjoyed about the trip was getting to meet other people, in person, outside of my area that are learning Japanese too. It was a lot of fun to hear about there experiences, study techniques, and backgrounds. It was really cool to hear how many people were excited about Japanese, and to see how many nerds were there too, I include myself in that one.

I recommend everyone take the JLPT if you are learning no matter what level you take, just remember how you approach it. I’ll take the JLPT next year too, except i’ll go up one or 2 levels. My study habits need to change and will. And overall that is why the JLPT was a win for me because now I know how low on the skill level I really am where and what I need to improve. All is not lost and there is a bright future ahead in learning I am actually more energized after yesterday than anything else.

Have you taken the JLPT before and what was your experience like?

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