Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's Enjoy Japanese: The JLPT!

December is that time of the year again - the most wonderful time. Christmas? Oh yeah, uh...that, too.

Photo taken with my new phone!

I kid, I kid. December is time for the winter sitting of the JLPT, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, or 日本語能力試験. Many of you are quite familiar with it, I'm sure, but for those who aren't, it's basically the test you take to prove your Japanese ability level. There was also a business Japanese test, but I heard somewhere that it's being discontinued...

The JLPT was recently changed. It used to be 4 levels, with 1 being the most proficient (fluent) and 4 being the most basic (beginner). In 2007, I think it was, I passed the old level 3, which was lower intermediate, I suppose. The brand-spanking new version has 5 levels, with N1 and N2 being mostly the same as before. The old 3 and 4 were bumped back to N4 and N5, and they added a new level, which is the new N3. Apparently the jump from 3 to 2 was considerable.

Anyhoo, I'm taking the N2 in early December. I'm not uber confident, but if I hit the books for the next couple months I think I have a shot. After all, I've come a long way since passing the old 3 (by the skin of my teeth). I mean a long, long way. Anyway, enough about me. For those of you who may also be preparing, here are some resources (I haven't really explored them all thoroughly, but they look good, anyway):

The JLPT Study Page - Because it's official. The lists don't seem very useful to me, but has some free sample questions you can check out.

The JLPT Study Forum - All manner of links, advice, and FAQ to be found, like gems waiting to be excavated from a quarry of, uh...Japanese...uh...language rocks?

For your viewing and listening pleasure:

My Soju - Ignore all the other stuff - the J-dramas and movies are what you want to work on your listening skills.

As for something more practical, probably best for those studying for the N1, some news sites with streaming videos might serve well:

Channel J

And for those of you who don't want to be chained to a screen, I believe these stories can be downloaded to an mp3 player:

Japanese Log

Update (10/6/10): AJATT also looks to have a good Japanese study resource list.

Last, this isn't exactly JLPT-related, but looks like it could be an interesting thing to participate in. Perhaps pique your kanji interest a bit: KRAE. Saw the link originally on beNippon, so a hat-tip to David. Hopefully the registration link will be up one of these days!

So that's it for now. Have any advice, questions, or anecdotes about the JLPT? Sound off in the comments

Update: I may want to resurface this post from time to time with updates to the listed resources. Anyone know if there's a way to keep Blogger posts near the top of the page without reposting or adjusting the post date?


  1. I hope everything goes well=) Hang in there!
    I struggle to improve myself,too.

  2. Thanks! =)
    一期一会さんも頑張ってね! ;)

  3. Yaaay! Good luck with your studies. With the change in exam format, you can't rely on the old tests to practice with, as the timing has changed with vocab, grammar, and reading being bundled into one section.

  4. Thanks, man. Good luck to you, as well, with the N1!

  5. Wow, the N2, good luck with that! :) Have you already done the N3 or do you leave that one out?
    I've written and passed the old level 3 test last year, but I don't feel up to the task yet to fight the N3. Maybe next year, when there will be more study material available. :)

  6. Hey Haf,

    I haven't taken the N3, but I feel like I've improved so much since passing the old level 3 that it's an unnecessary step. I'm not supremely confident that I'll pass the N2 this time around, but I think it's a reasonable goal.

    Good luck to you in your studies - having a goal helps!