(2015-12-01, 6:23 am)zx573 Wrote: My other experiences have usually been showing friends a random question from the reading section that I got completely wrong and couldn't figure out why my answer wasn't right, so I would ask them what they thought the answer was and why my answer wasn't right. *Almost* every time they gave me the right answer but sometimes they would also say that the passage/problem was worded to be intentionally tricky and why, then try to explain why my answer wasn't right.
Overall, I'd say I have as much faith in a random Japanese person being able to pass the JLPT N1 as I do a random American being able to pass something equivalent to JLPT N1 for English. I can think quite a few people off the top of my head that I think would probably struggle to pass an equivalent English test, and I can also think of a lot of people who I think wouldn't have any issue with it.
Those are a couple of obnoxious questions though, and hardly representative. And as you just observed your friends almost always get the right answer ... the passing score on the JLPT is ridiculously low for test. I'm sure you're friend who was being so careful this time can answer questions quickly in a test situation even if she has to guess a little.
The first time I tried the JLPT N1 (yeah, it took me 2 tries to pass), there were several individuals of asian descent who were probably Nisei, considering that they were talking among themselves in extremely fluent Japanese before the class and an actual native wouldn't need to take the test. In any case, one of them was sitting almost directly in front of me, so I couldn't help but notice that he finished the test in half the alloted time. His instant and decisive answers on the listening portion were distracting too and couldn't help but affect my own answers since I could hear his pencil every time (and I did pass listening with a far higher mark than I deserved that year, but of course that didn't make up for only finishing half the long readings! Just as well maybe, I would've felt a built guilty about those listening answers.)
Anyway, the vast majority of the (written) questions on the JLPT are common sense that anyone who has read a lot of Japanese can answer easily. Sure there are the occasional 'tricky' questions, but the bar is so low that... so what? That won't stop anyone from passing.
TBH, I didn't waste any time puzzling out tricky questions on my successful attempt, I made several 50/50 guesses instead. Even though I had been working on improving my reading speed I was still very concerned about time, and rightly so; the time I passed I still was pressed to finish, and had to just skim rather than properly read the last couple reading items (which were shorter ones fortunately, not the big essays). Which is another huge advantage that many nisei have and that native Japanese would have if they took the test - if you can read at native speed you actually do -have- the time to think about the answer, unlike someone like me.
Edited: 2015-12-01, 12:04 pm