You may wonder if at all it is possible to pass the Level N2 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in 3 months, isn’t it? In 2017 July, the pass percentage of N2 level in Japan was 38.3%.
Yes, it is possible and I did it in July 2018. On September 10th, I received my Test Result from the organization conducting JLPT exams. The score is 103 out of 180. There are three (3) sections such as Reading (読解), Listening (聴解), Kanji/Vocabulary/Grammar (文字、語彙、文法) for the Level N2. One needs to score at least 19 marks in each individual section and a total of 90 marks out of 180 marks to pass the test. This individual scoring is the tricky part of N2 and is the prime reason for higher failure percentage.
The organization formed by国際交流基金 Japan Foundation and日本国際教育支愛協会 (Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, JEES). Japan Educational Exchanges and Services conduct the test in Japan, and the Japan Foundation conducts the test overseas with the cooperation of local host institutions.
After studying and passing N2, one would be able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents. They may also reach the level to read written materials on general topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers.
I could score 53 out of 60 in Listening. I was confident to score higher in the listening section since I could grasp almost 80 percent of the conversation in Japanese in my office. An examinee is expected to understand the verbal presentation of materials such as logical and rational part of an argument/theory and news reports. These reports and conversations are spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations as well as in a variety of situations. The examinee will be asked to answer questions based on the contents of what was heard. The examinee shall be able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents. They shall also be able to understand the relationships among the people involved and the essential points of the presented materials.
So, what do we need to pass JLPT N2 in 3 months?
This is not only limited to the JLPT but also to achieve anything in life, we need a dedicated approach. JLPT especially needs a lot of it. We should not deviate from our goals at any cost. Most of the foreigners come to Japan for work and might have already crossed the age that is suitable for study. According to a study published by NHK, 84.8% of foreign residents fall between the ages of 15 to 64. People in their 20s and 30s make up 51.9% of that group. The time that is dedicated to studying is an important factor, especially for working people. It is comparatively easier for youngsters to maintain dedication. I must have studied 2 to 3 hours on an average from April 14 to June 30 on weekdays plus more than 7 hours of lessons on Saturday at JLPT Academy. On Sundays, I used to attend a volunteer Japanese class in Ogikubo.
Systematic Study to Memorize Kanji
There are prescribed books such as from 日本語総まとめ(Nihongo Soumatome) for Grammar and Kanji. Learn 20 to 30 Kanji a day. Revise them next day + learn another set of 20 to 30. So, on the third day, we would revise 40 to 60 Kanji and learn another set of 20 to 30.
Read, Read and Read
Along with Kanji study, read the book 新完全マスター読解, 日本語能力試験N2. This book is a great compilation of previous test materials. Repeated reading of this book will give a good command over typical sentence patterns and vocabulary that appear commonly in JLPT N2. After two months of continuous reading of this book, you will realize that you can attempt correctly to a majority of the questions without even reading the full text! Thanks to Tamegai-Sensei of JLPT Academy to guide properly on how to manage the time during the Reading test.
Listen to Youtube Videos
There are tons of videos on Youtube to help people preparing for all levels of JLPT. One of my favorites was日本語の森channel. Fix the earphones and listen to their video classes while walking. Repeated hearing of the same words and phrases would deeply engrave in your brain. Previous years’ listening question papers are also available on Youtube. Listen to them repeatedly.
Thanks to Nozawa-sensei of JLPT Academy, all those grammar that I studied for the N2 test were the ones taught by her on Saturday classes. She gave a lot of homework…a lot. I did mistakes repeatedly, but she corrected all of them patiently.
These were what I did from April to June 2018 and the result was 103 out of 180. It is not a great score, but Japan Educational Exchanges and Services could measure my level fairly accurate. Out of curiosity and also to verify that I am really at the level of N2, I took the online J-CAT test and scored 224, which is equivalent to JLPT N2.
If you follow a dedicated schedule for study, you will definitely pass N2 in 3 months, provided your current level is near to N3. Scoring above 90 in JLPT N2 in total and 19 in individual sections with three months of studying is challenging, but it is not impossible.