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Wakatta
February 5th, 2009, 14:22
Just wanted to double-check something...so for the JLPT, do you need to take 4Q before 3Q before 2Q, and so on? Or can you just start off with whichever level seems appropriate? I assume it's the latter, but wanted to make sure.

I'm scheming about whether or not I can possibly aim for 2Q in the near future. I have a feeling the answer is "no", though. (1 year college study, 1 year in Japan.)

Gusuke
February 5th, 2009, 14:33
Your right; you can start at any level you'd like.

Wakatta
February 5th, 2009, 14:40
Ah, okay. Thanks.

I think I'll take a look at some random practice tests or something to gauge how close I am to trying 2Q. Maybe I can just study the HELL out of it for the next five months, and supplement that with occasional practice during law school.

Timoshi
February 5th, 2009, 15:53
Knock yourself out!

http://jlpt.biz/jlpt/jlptexamine.do?year=2008&level=2

keekers
February 5th, 2009, 19:44
My first JLPT was 2kyuu right after 3 years of university study. 2kyuu after only 2 total years of study will probably be really hard, but it might be doable if you study a lot.

UPGRAYEDD
February 5th, 2009, 21:37
Once you become an ALT you can become a study monster. I'm going for 2 kyu in July with a semester of Japanese and a year in Japan.

wicket
February 6th, 2009, 06:58
Not necessarily, Upgrayedd. I studied 6 hours a day at my first school in Osaka, then they transferred me and I had to do my study at night or during exam periods.
I got 3-kyuu without 4-kyuu and should be going for 2-kyuu in London this June... but other things have come up.

dombay
February 6th, 2009, 07:20
I'm doing 2q again this summer which will be the three year mark. I know a tonne of kanji, grammar and can read books in Japanese but I assume I failed in December because my listening sucks arse. That's what happens when you study a lot and don't participate in speaking and listening because you live in the inaka where everyone speaks fisherman-grunt dialect.

Beware!

keekers
February 6th, 2009, 10:19
I'm doing 2q again this summer which will be the three year mark. I know a tonne of kanji, grammar and can read books in Japanese but I assume I failed in December because my listening sucks arse. That's what happens when you study a lot and don't participate in speaking and listening because you live in the inaka where everyone speaks fisherman-grunt dialect.

Beware!
How do you know you failed? You didn't get your results yet, did you!? :o

That's a good point though. It's good to hit the books, but don't burn yourself out. I only studied from JLPT books during my free time at school. After school I was hanging out with my Japanese friends or watching Japanese TV or something, and that kind of stuff is really important for studying Japanese too.

Wakatta
February 6th, 2009, 18:01
Once you become an ALT you can become a study monster. I'm going for 2 kyu in July with a semester of Japanese and a year in Japan.

Well, I've actually been an ALT for almost a year now (counting the Interac time) ... and I'm leaving in August. However, that's exactly what I'm aiming for: studying like CRAZY until August. I've been studying the whole time I've been here, but I'm going to really ramp it up and cram the most learning into these five months that I possibly can. It'll be harder when I'm in law school, but I'll try.

Right now, I'm using Anki to go through the JLPT vocab. It doesn't seem too bad so far. ... this weekend, though, I do need to review the actual format of the test and get the lay of the land, to make my approach more systematic.

Ideally, I can grab 2Q on the next available test. We'll see! It's entirely possible that this is a Quixotic endeavor on my part, and that I've just been taking the "Nihongo JOUZU!"s a little too seriously, but I think I'm doing okay.

dombay
February 7th, 2009, 08:04
How do you know you failed? You didn't get your results yet, did you!? :o

That's a good point though. It's good to hit the books, but don't burn yourself out. I only studied from JLPT books during my free time at school. After school I was hanging out with my Japanese friends or watching Japanese TV or something, and that kind of stuff is really important for studying Japanese too.

Not yet but I know I was totally raped by that listening section.

mattyjaddy
February 20th, 2009, 09:41
Wakatta,

To give you an idea of my experience, I came to Japan in August of 2007 with essentially no Japanese (I had taken a community course that was 2 hours a week for 8 weeks which went through 5.5 chapters of Japanese for Busy People--romaji version. This was October/November 2006. Before arriving, I also managed to teach myself the kana so I could sound out words.)

From August to March, I studied on my own with traditional books and materials and from interactions at work and in my community. I also was told to try Heisig's book and started that in October. From January to March, I didn't study so much. Low period. Then in March, I found alljapaneseallthetime.com and tried following the method there as it matched my understanding of language acquisition. I've never been able to go 100% Japanese or sleep with Japanese playing, but my music mostly switched to Japanese, TV was mostly Japanese, I started going to the local library and reading Japanese children's books, etc. (By the way, children's books are great for 2kyuu grammar-especially chapter books. People say they aren't good because the vocabulary is stuff you'll never need, but seriously, there is so much good grammar it's worth working past the vocabulary.) In March I started with picture books at 1 sentence per page. By the end of May, I had graduated to a Children's chapter book (Kosoado no mori series). By mid-June I finished Heisig's book (but having rushed through the last 800 or so kanji in a short time and then getting too busy to review once finished, I don't really count that as being done). By the end of July I had restarted Heisig, going back to frame 700 where the kanji started getting shaky. In August, I got a tutor.

I took a practice 3kyuu test August 2008 (without the listening section) and got 76% on the sections I took. Since it looked like I would pass 3kyuu, my tutor and I decided I should go for 2kyuu for the real test. My tutor helped me by providing materials from a book with 2kyuu grammar among other reading/study materials. By the end of August I had finished my second chapter book and was beginning to read adult non-fiction in areas of interest. In October, I finished Heisig for the second and final time. End of November, I finished the 220 grammar points book (don't have the title now) with my tutor and was working on practice tests. I think I did 7 or 8 practice tests in the two weeks leading up to the real thing.

I took the test and passed.

So here are the keys:

It can be done!!
Be determined.
Read Japanese.
Memorize kanji (through Heisig or other)
220 2kyuu Grammar Book
Practice tests (in the month before the real one)
Listen to Japanese.
Read Japanese.

Reading/Grammar is the most important section. So put your efforts there. Heisig will help you manage the kanji part of the Kanji/Vocab section. Reading should help with the vocab part. Listening you should get from living in Japan. I suggest not taking the practice test until about 3 or 4 weeks from the real thing. It will only serve to make you feel like the task is impossible at this point because you already know from the point system which sections need the most attention.

Good luck!

Wakatta
February 24th, 2009, 22:02
Thanks for the suggestions! That really helps a lot.

Any other children's books you'd suggest?

mattyjaddy
February 25th, 2009, 20:15
It depends on your level. If your kanji is still a work in progress, then the picture books with a sentence per page and nice detailed pictures that support the sentences and help you decode the sentence through context would be good. In that case, let yourself revert to a kid. Pick books that have cool art and graphics. I liked the books about Ultraman. I really liked the illustrations. Otherwise, enjoy them for their interesting vocab (like wuss and crybaby and wet the bed), figuring out where words end and begin (for some books that don't use spaces), and the repetition of grammar that you need (I noticed lots and lots of -te in the lowest level books-it helped the -te formation and usage become more intuitive and automatic). And realize they are just a step to bigger and better things. I stayed with little kids books for about a month before moving up and trying some more difficult material.

If you are beyond that level already, I suggest finding a series of adolescent or young adult chapter books in a genre that you enjoy reading in English. I specify series because reading deep has been shown to increase reading skills at a faster pace than reading wide. And the skills have shown a high level of transference when someone switches to a different author, genre, level, etc. (Though, starting with a new author/series/topic can feel just as or even more laborious than starting your first series. But the pick-up will go more quickly.) So find an interesting looking series and start reading. I picked the one I did because my library was small and limited and I liked the sketches in the book and found I could somewhat follow the first page without a dictionary. Also, decide if you want a chapter book with furigana'd kanji or unfurigana'd kanji or a mix and look for that in the library. Kosoado no mori was mostly furigana'd kanji. But it was odd. It wouldn't use kanji for common words like 'go' and 'come', but it would for words like 'fossil' and 'shipdeck'. But this was another feature I liked about the series.

Wherever you start, expect it to be extremely slow-going at first. Excruciatingly slow. Just take pleasure in the language. Have a grammar dictionary and language dictionary at your side. When reading the kids book, I always had my kids Japanese-Japanese dictionary at my side. It allows looking up through hiragana and definitions are written with furigana'd kanji. If you don't understand a word in the first definition, then look it up as well until you can get an understanding of the original definition. I found that it got too much for my brain to handle if I tried to go beyond two levels of looking up at which point I would use my denshijisho to do a Japanese-English translation of the word. It lets you continue in the story quicker. You've got to find a balance between being rigorous with your input of Japanese and letting yourself get a quick understanding of a word so that you can continue while enjoying yourself which ultimately will give you more time with Japanese. The dictionary of grammar helps when you know the meanings of all the words but the sentence just isn't clicking.

Now, as slow-going as it will be upfront, your progress should be more on the exponential side than the arithmetic side. Assuming you put the time in--one to three hours a day at least. You don't want to go many days in a row without reading. Staying connected with the language is key to increasing the speed of your progress. The other key to increasing your progress is reading deep like I said above. By staying in a single series, you are upping your chances of being exposed to repetitive vocabulary and repetitive grammar. Authors tend to reuse expressions and grammatical features. And writing about the same characters on similar adventures in similar settings from one chapter to another and one book to another requires the author to reuse vocabulary to the extent that you will find, after the first chapter, your reliance on a dictionary will decrease by about half. It generally gets limited to the odd unknown vocab word and, more importantly, new words that fit into grammatical expressions. These are the key for level 2 grammar. If you prefer non-fiction, then just stick with books about the same topic so that vocab repeats itself. I had trouble finding non-fiction that fit my level. Most had too much kanji.

And as hard as the struggle is, make sure to give yourself some breaks. But by breaks I just mean letting yourself go back to reading something at a lower level. After I got into chapter books, I occasionally went to a picture book and it was like a breath of fresh air. Then after I started attempting an adult level book, I picked up the next book in the children's chapter book series and once again found it was a breath of fresh air. This serves several functions. It equates reading Japanese with a sort of reward for working hard. It shows you just how far you've come. (You might even write how much you're struggling at the beginning so that you can read about it later for more motivation.) It also lets you take a "break" but stay connected with Japanese. And anyone who knows what's actually in kids books, even down to picture books (ones with full sentences at least) will tell you that there's usually level 2 grammar in them.

And when I said before to read all the time. I really mean it. When you're in the bathroom read the sign above the toilet that tells you what not to put in the it. Read it everytime. Notice the differences. Read all the signs visible to you when on the train. Read every road sign you pass. Read the menu yourself and don't let others hurry you and order for you. (Or in that case, ask to keep the menu to glance through.) Read the flyers that come the mail. Read the Japanese directions above the lame story or exercise in your students' textbooks. Read. Read. Read. No, you won't understand it all. But try to recognize kanji or parts of kanji. Try to speed up your hiragana/katakana fluency. I would test myself on trains by trying to read signs in kana before they passed. Now I'm to the point of doing that with kanjified signs.

And trust that reading supports every other language skill.

But even so, you must put the other skills into practice on a continuous basis to make sure they are progressing as well. But it's obvious with this test as a goal, that reading is where to put the focus.

Good luck.

Mr. Plainview
February 25th, 2009, 22:22
I'm doing 2q again this summer which will be the three year mark. I know a tonne of kanji, grammar and can read books in Japanese but I assume I failed in December because my listening sucks arse. That's what happens when you study a lot and don't participate in speaking and listening because you live in the inaka where everyone speaks fisherman-grunt dialect.

Beware!

oh god, i can see my future

AliDimayev
February 25th, 2009, 22:24
I hate that gruntspeak some people have. Very difficult to understand for me, if not impossible.

Mr. Plainview
February 25th, 2009, 22:26
do you live near a place with a specific -ben?

i do... and it's not famous like kansai-ben... it's very rural.

only good thing is it's crazy slow and drawn out, so as long as you know the whack vocab, it's easy to understand.


oh god, does this just mean i'm becoming one of them?