So, I'm applying for JLPT N1 again this year. And like last year I don't really stand much of a chance passing it. I'd need to sit down and really study for the test — do example tests and practice sets, review all kanji and obscure grammar and so on — and I just won't have the large blocks of free time I'd need to actually do that.
Yes, you could argue that you should be able to pass the test without preparation. A native speaker can do so without trouble after all. But the test is calibrated so you'll pass with a given competence level and with adequate preparation. If you can pass it without preparation you're either very lucky or higher level than the test is designed for. I'm neither so this year will be a practice round again.