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Featured JLPT N4 - tips for a better next time

Discussion in 'Textbooks, tests and language schools' started by J_Neko22, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. J_Neko22

    J_Neko22 Kouhai

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    Hi all, sorry for the long post, just reflecting after my exam today.

    Just finished N4 today and am pretty sure I failed. This is disheartening because I know my language level is and should be better than this based off my experiences and preparation. The first 30 minute vocabulary section I finished with 5 minutes to spare, probably got all of those right. The 60 minute grammar and reading section I got tripped up on one or two questions in beginning trying to decide between two choices and then later just ran out of time. I did not even read 4 questions and randomly filled in those answers. And because of the time crunch I also felt myself panicking which further slowed me down. Next time I will probably start with the long passages at end and finish with the shorter questions at beginning.

    For the listening section - no confidence. Probably only 5 questions I know I got right, the rest were stabs in the dark answering based off key words I heard but were probably just put in there to trick you. I feel this is the area I need to focus on most next time. I know I know the vocabulary but it just was not clicking with me fast enough. During my practice test I also felt it was difficult to catch everything on the first play and after playing the question back a second time, I would be able to answer it correctly. That’s the biggest red flag I need to fix I think before testing next time.

    Now my background and experiences - I’ve been self studying Japanese off and on for 3 years. I have 8 language exchange friends in Japan who I text once a month or so. I finished the two volumes of Genki Elementary series and used flashed cards to memorize any N4 vocabulary I was missing. Last year I was able to spend 3 weeks in Japan traveling and speaking only Japanese to my friends everyday. When I told my friends I was taking JLPT they thought I would be taking N2! (Probably just being polite) I read 3-4 articles a week of TangoRisto. I also took 2 N4 practice tests and did well, but did feel the reading and grammar section was tight on time and the listening section I had to sometimes play twice as mentioned above, the two things which will probably do me in.

    How can I prepare better next time? I am not retaking the N4 because I can’t see myself staring endlessly at vocabulary and grammar I already know. So I will just aim for the N3 next year.

    My thoughts are:
    1. Do more Skype sessions with Japanese friends practicing speaking and listening. After my return from Japan I spent all my time finishing textbooks, reviewing flash cards, and taking practice exams. I did not have any more Skype sessions with my friends but continued to text them.
    2. Find more test material to test listening. I should find fresh material and be able to consistently understand them on first play, and not after two+ plays.
    3. Adjust strategy on the grammar reading section and time myself better during the practice tests.
    Thanks all and really appreciate any ideas and inputs.
    J
     
  2. Andromedashun

    Andromedashun 先輩

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    I feel for you. I did pretty bad on N2 too, especially listening since I don't have time to practice it. But I need to throw those feelings over and work on. Anyway, good luck and I hope we both pass. XD
    Btw, the idea of studying for N3 isn't bad, since N3 contains the basic of N4. Heck, even in the grammar section of N2 yesterday I found plenty of N4-N3 questions, very few of N2. You can go back revise your N4 knowledge anytime when you studying for N3 as most of it are the key to advance to higher level.
     
  3. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

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    I have tried for the last 24 hours to think of a positive and pleasant way to answer this, but I have failed.

    You were the victim of a fatal combination of over-confidence and half-assed preparation is what it looks like to me.

    I would have given a more fleshed-out point-by-point reply, and I still may, but your past participation in the forum makes me suspicious if it is worth the effort or not. Let's see how much you're going to be active in this thread first.
     
  4. J_Neko22

    J_Neko22 Kouhai

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    Thanks Andromedashun.

    Hope you pass as well! No matter what, I also won’t give up. Do you have any tips from a listening improvement perspective? The vocabulary is not difficult but I just have a tough time picking it up on one hearing only. If I listen a second time I’m generally able to catch it all no problem. Maybe I’m just freezing up a bit. Ideally I would like to find a lot more practice test listening material and be sure to consistently understand dialogue on the first hearing before sitting for the next JLPT.

    Thanks,
    J
     
  5. Andromedashun

    Andromedashun 先輩

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    #5 Andromedashun, Dec 6, 2017 at 15:11
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017 at 15:21
    A lot of people suggested listen a lot, like listening to native material like anime. I don't know man. If you don't do listening frequently (like me) you'll surely be screwed in the listening test. I heard that they said the N2 listening section was lot more difficult than last time so I guess I'm not the only one who was ****** up (shame on me XD). Anyway even if I passed or failed, I'm going to give N2 another shot the upcoming July. I did terrible, even in vocab & grammar which is my strongest point, hahaha.
     
  6. nahadef

    nahadef No time for people who can’t meet you halfway

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    One really good thing to do is study above your level. I went from studying and passing five to studying two. I had a lot of vocabulary to fill in, but it wasn’t some sort of massive leap grammatically. When I took my next test a year later, level three, I passed with flying colors.

    Also, listening is incredibly important. I spent a lot of time listening to audio materials in early days, equal or more to studying texts. This helped start things off with better pronunciation and when I read Japanese, I read it in a much more Japanese voice than when I first cracked open a text and read in an English style.

    Lastly, hopefully you’re using the JLPT texts to make sure you’re focusing on the content of the tests. Anime is not on the tests. Taking the test is not proof of any Japanese communication skill in and of itself, it’s proof you know how to take the test. I found it very useful in broadening my speech, but don’t confuse it for daily Japanese, which has a lot of different rules.
     
  7. OoTmaster

    OoTmaster 先輩

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    The best way I've found for improving listening is speaking to a native speaker. If there are native speakers in your area that's the best way you can improve. If this is not an option listening to material that has native speakers in different situations is your best bet.
     

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