I’ve been learning Japanese for what seems like forever but haven’t truly taken it seriously until last year when I decided that I wanted to take the Japanese language proficiency tests and pass them. I’ve always enjoyed learning Japanese and saw it as a fun hobby, but I’ve decided that I really want to make it my second language and maybe one day even become a translator.
My current Japanese language level is N5, I passed the JLPT N5 level last summer before I started this blog. I still wanted to share what my experience was like and what I used to prepare for the test specifically.
First to see if I was even ready to take the test I went to the official JLPT test website and did the N5 sample questions. At first I went to the N4 questions but quickly realized I was not ready ha ha. If the questions are fairly easy to you or you only get one or two wrong I would say that you are at a good place, if there is a lot that you dont know then I would wait unless you have enough time to study it before the test.
After I decided that the N5 was the level for me I went looking for vocabulary and kanji lists to make sure I was studying all the correct material. A GREAT place for that is http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/ there you can download and or print out vocab and kanji lists for all 5 levels! Which I suggest doing. Printing them out and crossing them off as I learned really helped me to remember and feel like I was getting somewhere as I studied.
I won’t go to much into study material in this post, I have another post in mind that will go into more detail on how I self study and what I use. However those two sites are what I used to help prepare me for the test specifically, I didn’t buy any JLPT books or flash cards.
Now for the test, I studied intensely for two months, from what was a very, very basic level of Japanese, to take the test. I took the test at a university campus and the people I met there were nice enough. If you have taken the SAT, or ACT the feeling is very similar. There is a Proctor that tells you when to start and stop, and then there is a listening section followed by questions. I studied very hard and was confident in my ability but I was still very nervous during the test. Once it was over, I was immediately happy that I even took it and had to bear hug my brother who took me to the test site. Once I settled down and thought back on the test and looked up other peoples experiences about the test ( which you should never do by the way) I felt like I MUST HAVE FAILED.
Afterwards, I really couldn’t focus on studying Japanese again until I got the test results. I know it would not have been the end of the world if I had failed, but I studied really hard for the test so to fail it would have really sucked. I remember reading online that if you got a small letter in the mail then you failed and a big envelop meant you passed so of course I stalked the mailbox dreading the site of a small envelop with my name on it. Lo and behold a large envelop appeared! I Passed! I was really excited but I didn’t get to go right back into studying because of other things getting in the way at the time, but now I’m ready to get back into it and head up to the next level!