Japanese language proficiency test

Approaching towards the end of three years living in Japan, taking Japanese language proficiency test (JLPT) gave a good understanding of the level of Japanese language so far I have acquired by attending the lessons and daily interactions with Japanese people. The test site was at Yoyogi. The TKP business center at Yoyogi was crowded with foreigners who aspire to test their knowledge on Japanese language.

The Kanji paper was comparatively easier (for me) as I have done a fair justice to the book ‘Write Now! Kanji for beginners’ published by 3A Corporation. This book has 323 Kanji arranged in 21 lessons. The writing and reading practice notes given in the book is also helpful. Learning Kanji is the toughest part of Japanese language learning for a foreigner. The Japanese language teachers are good at teaching grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking parts of Japanese language. Learning Kanji needs a great effort from the part of the foreigner more than from the teacher.

For Japanese people who learn Kanji from childhood, it is a part of the curriculum and they learn it over a period of 9 years. Whatever the structure, the stroke or the shape, Kanji is just a script for Japanese people. For grown up people, especially after a certain age, this kind of learning will not work effectively to the foreigners. Kanji needs logical thinking and it has the right logic.

Kanji is the abstract of ideas and thinking process. Kanji reflects the wisdom of the East Asians, their association with the nature and living things on this earth. May not be an exaggeration that a book can be written based on each Kanji. 3A Corporation has done a great work to compile the most frequently used 323 Kanji that will appear for the old JLPT level 3 test. From this year onwards there will be change in the levels. I took the Level N4, which is equivalent to the level 3 of the past JLPT. From this year there will be five levels of JLPT starting from N1 to N5. More details can be found in JLPT official website

Many websites helped to study Japanese Kanji online. Those sites are updated with plenty of study materials aimed at foreigners who may wish to start from the scratch. Charles Kelly’s Online Japanese Language Study Materials, which has the quiz on vocabulary, grammar and Kanji helped a lot to do revision of what was learned. Repeated attempts in the quizzes provided in the website will help students.

Recently I found a very useful site smart.fm which introduces an impressive way to master languages. Not only limited to Japanese language, smart.fm has many areas of knowledge useful to students all over the world. This website has a special tool to measure the level of study, which will tell where we stand in the course of learning process.

Basically, I have been learning the Japanese language by using Minnano Nihongo books series I and II. In our Japanese language classes, we have completed Minnano Nihongo book I which has 25 lessons and half of Minnano Nihongo book II, up to lesson 38. For level N4, an examinee is supposed to study both the books and approximately 300 Kanji. Minnano Nihongo books follow the conventional way of teaching methods. Though conventional, the examples, pictures and live situations illustrated in the books are impressive. The caricatures are lively and we can observe a sarcastic attitude in the illustrated situations.

Mr. Mike Miller is a character who represents foreigners in the books. In one of the conversation strip, Miller’s boss is a lady, which is extremely rare in Japan. In western cultures it is normal and since Miller is a foreigner, he can have a lady boss! The caricatures convey the face expressions effectively to the reader when the characters encounter with unexpected or unusual life situations.

JLPT is conducted by Japan foundation and Japan Educational services and exchanges. Japanese Language Proficiency tests are conducted twice in a year. Exams are held on first Sunday of December and July every year. There was a trial JLPT this time different from the old years. It was a good experience to prepare for the practice JLPT examination. The practice test was on November 21st at selected centers. Hitotsubashi University, which is at Kunitachi, around 40 minutes from Shinjuku, was the center for the trial JLPT. The test was for the selected candidates and the criterion of selection was not disclosed to the applicants. Application form for trial JLPT was sent to a few numbers of actual JLPT test applicants and from the list of applicants for trial, a few were selected for trial exam. As an encouragement to come for the trial JLPT, an amount of 2000 Yen was given to those who completed the trial test. JLPT official website also has the sample of the JLPT test. Japanese Language Proficiency Test
The first sensei to teach Japanese language was Morishita Sensei, then Imade sensei and Suzuki sensei. Currently I am learning from Seki sensei under whom I could start a little bit of conversation in Japanese language. I have been learning from Seki sensei for more than one year. For the past four months I have been taking a private tuition from Mana Suzuki sensei in Komatsugawa on Sundays.

Taking JLPT gives a good understanding on the current level of learning Japanese language and the areas where one needs to concentrate more. Application kit can be obtained from the stores for 500 Yen. For details of JLPT application procedure test samples, the following site will be useful JLPTGUIDE

Preparatory Course for the JLPT N5 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)

Author: Jayaprakash

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