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Thread: Self-Study Plan

  1. #1
    ERRRRRGG Avocado's Avatar
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    Dec 2008

    Default Self-Study Plan

    After being in a directed study course for so long I've decided to make the jump to complete self-study, with the aim of passing 2-kyuu in December. Considering that I'm already 90% of the way there (my vocabulary could use a bit of work), I have full confidence that I can pass it with no problem. But I want to retain what I have, and if I stop studying that clearly won't happen. Once I start working again I won't have much free time during the day, but I feel that I can devote an hour or two daily to study and review.

    Before I left I bought a lot of novels in Japanese, and I can read those for the most part, with the exception of the kanji I don't know, and I feel that even just by reading I'll be able to get comfortable with recognizing grammar patters and my comprehension will skyrocket through the roof. But clearly I need to get a better background in the JLPT 2 vocab and at least the kyouiku (hopefully jouyuu) kanji. I own all of the Kanji in Context textbooks, have a pdf copy of Rembering the Kanji, and there are countless vocab lists online that I can utilize.

    Right now what I think I'll do is start doing one lesson of Kanji in Context and RtK each per day, starting from the beginning just so for review (and Kanji in Context is good for some compounds that I may not have necessarily been exposed to). I know that it's not recommended to mix Heisig (which I have a lot of reservations about but figure I'll give a shot - after all, that's how I learned, and still kind of think of, my kana) with learning readings, but I figure that because the books don't have much overlap in order of how they present the kanji that it will be okay.

    I'm not quite sure how to work the vocab, though, because I don't think that it's necessarily a good thing to do in alphabetical order (as it is so often presented), and I would like to, if possible, learn vocab that utilizes the kanji I know. If anyone had any pointers in this regard I'd like to hear them.

    But, overall, what do you think of this plan? I know that most of the people who post here have done self-directed study, and what works for you?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Self-Study Plan

    How much kanji and vocab can you read already?

    If you're thinking of using RTK and aiming for JLPT2, then you may be interested in RevTK Lite. Information is found here .

    With RevTK Lite you would be able to cover all the kanji you need for JLPT2 in half the time it takes to go through the whole RTK book.

    A lot of vocab is kanji vocab, so if you use KiC you will cover that part of the vocab with context. Ofcourse there's quite a bit of non-kanji vocab used in the example sentences too.

    KiC has more compounds than you need for JLPT2. There's another book like KiC from the same writer but aimed at JLPT2 - 例文で学ぶ漢字と言葉.
    Last edited by biku23; May 21st, 2009 at 07:06.

  3. #3
    ERRRRRGG Avocado's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Self-Study Plan

    I estimate that I've learned about 800-900 kanji, but I've forgotten a few here or there, and some of them were in context to just a single compound (e.g. I don't know all of the readings by heart).

    I'll definitely look at that last book you mentioned, though - thanks.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Self-Study Plan

    Whatever you decide to do, I suggest a large portion of your time go to just reading. I did self-study to pass the JLPT2. My study started with Japanese for Busy People, then the JET beginner's course and Heisig, then about 3 months of no study, then AJATT style trying to listen and read as much Japanese as possible. My focus was reading since that's what I like to do. I started with about 100 children's picture books, then a couple adolescent novels, then was trying my hand at reading adult level books.

    In the four months leading up to the exam, I had a tutor once a week who basically took me through the Kanzen Master grammar book and provided level 2 passages to read each week. In the two weeks leading up to the test, I took about 10 practice tests, most were under the time conditions of the actual test.

    Your reading ability is the main thing this test assesses. So if you can't read at a relatively high speed and high level, you won't do well. Also, if you are only reading an hour or so a day, the grammar from the test likely won't come up enough for it to be acquired. It'd be a good idea to supplement your study with a grammar book aimed at the level 2 test. I've heard there are better ones than the Kanzen Master. The books do have the grammar you'll need to know, so they aren't a bad idea.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    For vocab, I definitely recommend studying it in sentences/patterns so you can get a feel for how it's used in Japanese, rather than just doing straight definition studying. Luckily, Kanji in Context lends itself to this anyway. My friend learned shitloads of vocabulary studying for his university exam with KiC. I'm currently making Anki sentence flashcards with the examples in the books and definitely wouldn't mind sharing (I'm not too far yet... but this swine flu thing has given me lots of time to add on )

    I'm definitely a supporter of RtK by the way. I was doing it the intended way (I got through the book but after a period of not studying, I have some reviewing to do), and so my knowledge of readings is limited, but I can understand a whole lot of things just by looking at the kanji (and taking them in the context of whatever I'm reading). I like this when I'm feeling too lazy to look up loads of words while I'm reading because I can go on and still know what's happening.
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