Preparation for Japanese Language Proficiency Test

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Nine short hours from now I will head for the train station to make another attempt at the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT・日本語能力試験). Being sick for several weeks, tied up with special events, and teaching friends on the side; not to mention getting sucked in by the Stargate, have all kept me from studying as much as I would like. What’s the number one rule for taking tests? Don’t get stressed out.

My choice was to be laid back and have a nabe (鍋) party tonight. We ate lots of brain food, drank a bit of beer, and discussed seventh century Asian history for kicks. Hopefully, living in Japan, speaking Japanese everyday, and being well rested will carry me through the test tomorrow. Regardless, I had fun tonight.

Since I met my girlfriend in January, I think my perspective has been shifting. If I bond my life to hers, I have to be ready to spend many, many years here; hence, failing the exam doesn’t concern me so much, since, “There’s always next year.”

Also, I only failed by four percent last year and have learned a lot about approaching the test. One key is that the Reading/Grammar section is ordered to make people run out of time and fail. The first two subsections are loaded with reading for a small number of points. The remaining subsections require about one sentence of reading for each answer. These latter sections clearly carry the most points per time; a wise test taker would attack them first. Merely taking this approach should improve my score by several points. I’ll report more on Monday. Not tomorrow because, of course, I must enter the Sunday Soundcheck… and it will have a bit of a twist.

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