Monday, December 2, 2013

JLPT. Yes, Again.

Another year, another attempt at the JLPT — Japanese Language Proficiency Test — Level N1. As always, it's held on the first Sunday in December.

JR Tenmangu station, Osaka, on my way to Daito and Osaka Sangyo university.

You get assigned to the test site, and it can vary from year to year. This year I took the test at the Osaka Sangyou University in Daito in northeastern Osaka. I took it here last year as well. It seems perhaps this site is only for N1 level tests as I didn't see any signs or anything for lower levels. Perhaps they've started to divide test sites by level. dd

Daito, Osaka.

Two things hit me this year. First, I often seem to have luck with the weather. I can remember only one single time it rained; all other years it's been beautiful autumn/winter weather with clear, high skies, autumn leaves and that fresh bite of cold in the air. It's a good time of year here in Kansai.

Daito, Osaka. Seems like a good place to live.

Suminodo station, Daito, Osaka. I can imagine the flash floods from the mountains can be quite interesting around spring.

Second, as far as I can remember I have always been assigned a seat on the left hand edge of a table. Never once in the middle (when there is a middle seat) and never on the right hand side. After eight tests (or is it nine now?), it's really fairly improbable — the odds are around 1 in 850 — to happen by chance¹.

Of course, the chance for it to happen to me is small, but with hundreds of thousands of test takers in a year and five levels to take, thousands of people take the test multiple times, so it's all but certain that it happens to someone. So it's unexpected, but not at all strange; there's no need to find an explanation other than random chance.

Osaka sangyo university.
Outside atrium at Osaka Sangyo University, and people are waiting to get inside and start the test. The weather was just perfect, and the area was really a lot warmer and cozier than it looks like here.

This one is taken with the Xperia Tablet Z, by the way; camera quality is not unimportant of course, but a good camera is not necessary (nor is it sufficient) for a decent picture.

The test itself? Well... The good news is that it did feel a bit easier than last year. The listening, especially, was fairly comprehensible to me; most of my problems were really more of the "which answer fits the situation better?", or "I lost focus and missed the beginning" kind, not "I don't understand what they're saying". I guess weekly meetings in Japanese, over a noisy low-fi internet connection, has really paid off.

The bad news: I got the ending time wrong by ten minutes for the first half, so I had to leave the last reading questions altogether, and just blindly mark something. The reading questions at the end account for a large part of the score so this is going to hurt me badly. I expect a score somewhere in the 80's point range, and I really need to have improved to manage a score in the mid-90's again.

On a positive note, I can see this as a build-up year, with more time to finish up the kanji and the N1 grammar, and I'll have an excuse for an autumn day-trip like this again next year.

No, this way
I will return, apparently. All the signs point to that.

#1 1 in 864, if I assume three sites had middle seats, and the other five had only end seats.


  1. And by the way, you may have noticed that I've turned off the G+ integration for comments again.

    We'll see if this works better. I'll post a bout it in a few days.

  2. JLPT, a yearly tradition as you said on a previous post. I was thinking of how long I've been following the blog. I think since 2010 for sure.

    Which reminds me that I should take an English certificate test, whether advanced or proficiency.
    I learnt English "On the field" and didn't bother to get any certification until now. Seemingly it's becoming mandatory for university, so that's it... Next summer might be dedicated for English.
    I think I might be able to take the advanced exam as it is, without classes. If going for proficiency, that would take more effort.

    As of comments, let's see if it works better. Anyways, got me back around here and set up the account so I might comment every once in a while.
    Glad to hear there is Good weather in Osaka. Dad has got a friend in Tajiri and we sent correspondence after a couple of years without contact. Opening communication lines.

  3. Well, it certainly already works better in that I get a notification when someone comments now :) I didn't when it was tied to G+.

    A language test can be a good idea; just be sure you know why you're taking it. I took Japanese level 2 years ago since it's useful, and I'm taking level 1 just to have something to aim for when I study.

    Judging from your comments here your English seems plenty good enough for an advanced exam, by the way.

  4. Turns out my university has a specific test for certification. Not the "Cambridge official" but an equivalent title, also much cheaper and convenient. I did an orientating test and my level was between the advanced and proficiency. That's it, by January I will take it.

    Indeed, it's important to know the end of taking certificates. Before I got lost about it because practically, unless bragging I didn't see a practical need or use.
    Last year, which was the first, many people just talked about how and which certificates they had.

  5. In my case I'm really only taking it to know what to study. Like in any language, the possible grammar, expressions and so on are endless; but aim for a well-defined test and I know what I need to learn and what I can ignore.

    That's the main value to me, alongside the "reality check" of knowing how well I do over the years. It's difficult to know if you're progressing without some kind of independent verification.


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