So who's taking JLPT next Sunday?

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Odin89
Member
Registered: 2010-07-31
Posts: 47

About N1, I thought some of the texts were pretty hard, especially one of the last ones about philosophy. I found the listening pretty challenging too, guess I'll have to work on that.
Unfortunately, I ran out of time during the first part. I was marking the answers I thought were correct in the Questions paper, thinking I would have enough time to pass them to the answer sheet, but they only gave a time warning when 5 minutes remained so I didn't manage xD.
I'll surely be really cautious about the time next year.

Last edited by Odin89 (2011 December 04, 8:38 am)

Zorlee
Member
From: Oslo / Kyoto
Registered: 2009-04-22
Posts: 526

Just finished N1 in Copenhagen.
Harder than expected. I have no idea if I pass or not.
What I do know - I'm going drinking tonight! Christmas vacation!!!! big_smile

phantombk201
Member
From: Egypt
Registered: 2010-07-08
Posts: 54

Hey guys,i just took the N3 in Cairo,Egypt today. I did mostly ok except i screwed up badly on the dokkai part .I know how the test is graded for the most part except a little bit that confuses me,on the JLPT site it says that Both N1 and N2 have 2 parts of 120 points and 60 points,and for N3 to N5 the test is graded for 3 parts with 60 points each.Now at the end of my test the test supervisors told us that our test is graded for 2 parts also like the N1 and N2,So now i'm confused.Is the dokkai/bunpou and moji/goui merged for N3 to N5 as well or not? and what is the passing mark if it is? Im afraid if the dokkai is graded by itself i'll fail and i can't really wait 3 months to find out :S

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Ellen
New member
Registered: 2010-01-29
Posts: 9

Sat N1 today. Could have gone better, but could also have gone worse. If I've failed it's definitely only by a narrow margin.

astendra
Member
From: Sweden
Registered: 2009-07-27
Posts: 350

No idea if I passed N1. Reading went reasonably well, didn't focus too well on listening though so I might have screwed it up.

Zgarbas
Watchman
From: 名古屋
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 1190
Website

Took the N4 because I really needed a confidence/self-esteem boost.

It backfired.

kainzero
Member
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 2009-08-31
Posts: 944

N2
i thought i did okay on the reading. i think i panicked so there were two articles (the one about authors and the one about running) that i probably could've done a better job. i think i relaxed too much after i blew through the grammar/kanji.

but man i did really terrible on the listening. well, i don't know for sure but i have zero confidence. i guess that's what happens when your only exposure to listening is akb48 variety shows and radio shows. i think i gotta branch out more...

taking it was refreshing though. i feel like i have a lot more to learn and definitely need to study more!

dusmar84
Member
From: Tokyo Japan
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 177

Took the N2. Grammar/kanji is usually my strong point but I found the exam to be unreasonably hard in this area. Felt like I guessed the first 9 kanji because I had never seen them before. Nothing like the practice exams...

fifo_thekid
Member
From: Fukui Japan
Registered: 2011-07-20
Posts: 94

Zgarbas wrote:

Took the N4 because I really needed a confidence/self-esteem boost.

It backfired.

How did it backfire exactly?

Rina
Member
From: Kyoto
Registered: 2008-11-24
Posts: 535

dusmar84 wrote:

Took the N2. Grammar/kanji is usually my strong point but I found the exam to be unreasonably hard in this area. Felt like I guessed the first 9 kanji because I had never seen them before. Nothing like the practice exams...

quote for truth. I found the reading part easy though (even though I wasn't sure of all my answers).

The mock tests I made were way more basic in the kanji/grammar part.

Zgarbas
Watchman
From: 名古屋
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 1190
Website

I did a horrendous job at it =/. Not helping the ol' confidence there.

I'm probably passing it anyway, but the Reading section was one big disappoint. Basically spent the entire hour in an adrenaline rush, got stuck at most questions and ended up being very inefficient with the exam time.

fifo_thekid
Member
From: Fukui Japan
Registered: 2011-07-20
Posts: 94

there has been a huge contrast between the vocabulary and the reading sections
while i could manage to finish the vocabulary and kanji questions in 5 minutes, review in 5 minutes, and sleep for the 20 remaining minutes, the reading part took me 40minutes to finish, 15 minutes of mind burning review (where I changed the answers for at least 6 questions)!
p.s.: I'm the fastest exam taker in the world, so finishing 5 minutes before the time is considered a horrible experience for me!

Zgarbas wrote:

I did a horrendous job at it =/. Not helping the ol' confidence there.

I'm probably passing it anyway, but the Reading section was one big disappoint. Basically spent the entire hour in an adrenaline rush, got stuck at most questions and ended up being very inefficient with the exam time.

SomeCallMeChris
Member
From: Massachusetts USA
Registered: 2011-08-01
Posts: 780

Hnnn, N2... Didn't finish the reading, ran out of time and had to guess at the last few, some 6-8 bubbles. Particularly annoying since the same thing happened last year and I thought I had substantially increased my reading speed. There was quite a bit of material left to read to answer those last few bubbles.

Still, I think I did better than last year which should mean that I pass, but it's hard to say.

If I have to do it again, I think I'm going to skip ahead to the reading section and then go back to the short answers with the remaining time. Also I'll probably break down and blow hundreds of dollars in sou-matome books - I've not been studying to the test, just whatever strikes my interest. (I may buy N1 books anyway, it could take a -long- time in unfocused study to accumulate the correct bits of knowledge to face that test.)

Last edited by SomeCallMeChris (2011 December 05, 12:42 am)

Guoguodi
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-01-03
Posts: 72

I could never figure out why they continued with the misleading notion that your "marks" (i.e. XX/180, XX/60 etc) actually mean anything. They don't. They don't represent the percentage of the test that you got correct. For all it's worth, that mark you see on the certificate is a completely useless measure of anything (without further data to cross-reference it against).

Which is why they release the cumulative graphs (PDF) each year so the curious can look up what the test is really measuring -- how you did compared to everyone else. That said, these graphs would be better presented as non-cumulative curves (i.e. normal bell curves) which would make it even easier to see where the majority of the results cluster around.

It would make more sense to just directly tell the candidate what their final position in the cohort is, e.g. "You placed in the 90th percentile (top 10%)". Using the indirect and meaningless "marks" as measures also means that many people will be misled into thinking they only need to get one-third of each section correct to pass, which is not the case.

Last edited by Guoguodi (2011 December 05, 1:35 am)

nadiatims
Member
From: Tsukuba-shi
Registered: 2008-01-10
Posts: 1676

Why don't they just grade it objectively? not against other test takers. How do they determine the percentage that should pass? Why should that percentage remain static when methods/materials are surely getting better every year?

Guoguodi
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-01-03
Posts: 72

nadiatims wrote:

Why don't they just grade it objectively? not against other test takers. How do they determine the percentage that should pass? Why should that percentage remain static when methods/materials are surely getting better every year?

Ostensibly, the reason they switched from objective raw scores to the new scaling system is because the difficulty of the test can vary each year. Which is fair enough, it probably does. So the rationale is, "If we rely on raw scores to determine pass/fail, and the test difficulty varies each year, then it could be a source of unfairness to test takers in different years because for example, a raw pass mark of 110/180 might be easier to attain in this year's test compared to last year's."

So instead of that, they chose a system where you're actually no longer graded directly on your raw score on the test itself. Another factor is introduced -- how well everyone else did on the test. They do this by assigning the total marks for each question based on how difficult that question is (how many people correctly answered it). Fewer people getting a question right will make a question worth more marks, and vice versa.

By adding in the factor of how well other people did on the test, it means that you're no longer actually just doing the test itself (i.e. aiming to get above a certain raw score). Now you're actually being measured against everyone else in the same cohort. This is why the standard of 19/60 or XX/180 is kind of meaningless -- instead you're aiming to score higher than (usually) at least half of the other test takers. If you do so, your chances of passing are pretty solid. Otherwise, well, they aren't -- at least going by the statistics available on the JLPT site.

Basically I think the marking scheme, whilst clever and probably fairer overall than using raw scores, ends up making the whole thing more of a black box that no-one really understands. You just have to hope that you did better than the majority of the test takers.

Jarvik7
Member
From: 名古屋
Registered: 2007-03-05
Posts: 3946

Why do people even care about what the pass mark or point allotment is when studying?
When I was studying I aimed for 100% and never bothered calculating my overall mark for any practice tests I did.

nadiatims wrote:

Why don't they just grade it objectively? not against other test takers. How do they determine the percentage that should pass? Why should that percentage remain static when methods/materials are surely getting better every year?

Because it makes the certificate meaningless if what it certifies fluctuates randomly every year. I took JLPT1 the hardest year it was ever offered (2009 had the lowest pass rate in the history of JLPT). If you look at JLPT1 tests from the beginning of JLPT they are almost as easy as JLPT2. It's misleading/not entirely fair to award me and someone from back then the same certificate, especially since it isn't point based like TOEIC.

This was an attempt for consistency.

Last edited by Jarvik7 (2011 December 05, 2:39 am)

nadiatims
Member
From: Tsukuba-shi
Registered: 2008-01-10
Posts: 1676

What it measures shouldn't fluctuate by an awful lot if the the test is designed well.
If everyone is preparing based on the old material, it is likely the number passing should go up each year. Then in order to keep the percentage that pass fixed, they will need to either consistently make the exam more difficult (which could explain the difficulty difference between the first one offered and the 2009 test) or fail people who objectively should have passed. For all we know, the 2009 pass rate could have been lowered because it was determined to be too easy.

Last time I checked JLPT is supposed to be a proficiency test, not a competition. It shouldn't matter if too many or too few people are passing. Did the person understand the material or not?

Last edited by nadiatims (2011 December 05, 2:57 am)

erlog
Member
From: Japan
Registered: 2007-01-25
Posts: 604

nadiatims wrote:

What it measures shouldn't fluctuate by an awful lot if the the test is designed well.

You don't realize how hard it is to actually design and write tests like this. The JLPT in total isn't very many questions, and in that amount of questions it has to survey knowledge of 2000 kanji, 15,000 words, tons of grammar points, reading comprehension, and listening skill. It also has to be varied enough from year to year that someone shouldn't be able to just study for the test in order to pass it.

Scores taking into account how other students did is a smart move. It means that if one year the foundation screws up and makes a wildly hard test like say...they did just recently in 2009 then students aren't punished for not knowing material that was outside the bounds of what the test is supposed to be measuring.

People like you appear to be putting together conspiracy theories of "But what if everyone taking the test that year is a genius!" or "But what if in my test year there's a bunch of dullards that make the certificate I've earned meaningless!"

Here's the question I'll pose to you. Every single year both the test and the test takers change. Which of those variables is more likely to fluctuate wildly and which one is more likely to be fairly solid? Which one should you be worrying about more than the other?

The new scoring system treats the people taking the test as more of a constant rather than the test itself. That said, the reason it's a hybrid system is to address the problem you've pointed out. If anything this whole thing should end up making the top end of the test harder because the foundation doesn't have to worry so much about screwing otherwise qualified people out of a certificate.

Maybe it will make a JLPT certificate mean something because as it is having it on your résumé means nothing, next to nothing, or is a negative. It's a good test for measuring basic literacy, but the people taking it shouldn't delude themselves. JLPT1 is the absolute bare minimum anyone claiming to speak or get a job with Japanese should know, and I do mean bare minimum. N5-N2 are nice intermediate steps to that eventual goal of N1, but I think a lot of people in this thread need a bit of a reality check about what the JLPT means.

We're talking about a test most 16 year old Japanese public school children would be able to pass without breaking a sweat.

Last edited by erlog (2011 December 05, 4:05 am)

YuzuHoney
New member
From: Japan
Registered: 2011-05-09
Posts: 8

おつかれさま!

Well, I think I did alright on kanji and vocab (n3), and listening wasn't much of a problem. The first half of listening seemed ridiculously easy, although there were definitely a few things toward the end I wasn't sure about. My weakness was really in the grammar/reading portion. I started with the reading first. It wasn't so difficult, but I took too much time and had to rush through the grammar part. Oops.

Interesting about the new scoring system. I knew the scoring had changed, but didn't realize your score is compared to everyone else's. I guess that might explain why it takes so long to get the results back.

mutley
Member
From: japan
Registered: 2011-01-23
Posts: 126

Sorry but I don't see how having a JLPT certificate could possibly be a disadvantage on your resume. Sure it is very limited in what it tests and the level to which it tests but there still seem to be plenty of companies that quote it or an equivalent level when they are recruiting.

The impression I get is that most companies assess applicants Japanese ability through interviews and possibly their own tests taken at the same time anyway so they maybe use JLPT merely as a guide to show that someone is worth interviewing.

Yes JLPT 1 isn't some sort of magic level that entitles you to a job in Japan, but there are also plenty of people who do manage to get jobs using Japanese without reaching that level. It depends so much on the individual's skills and the job type that it's hard to generalise.
People shouldn't delude themselves over what the JLPT 1 means but equally people shouldn't exaggerate about how it is 'just the beginning' or 'next to useless'.

Anyone who passes JLPT 1 should be proud of themselves, just remember that there is still plenty to learn (especially is you only just passed).

JimmySeal
Member
From: Kyoto
Registered: 2006-03-28
Posts: 2279

erlog, Jarvik, and Guoguodi are absolutely right.  Any test like the JLPT needs to be normalized against the applicant pool, just as the SAT has been for many decades. It would be the height of arrogance for the JLPT test makers to claim that they create perfectly equally difficult tests every year.  In 2005, the average score on the JLPT2 dropped by a rather large margin.  Do you think that means the pool of test takers suddenly got a whole bunch dumber that year?

erlog
Member
From: Japan
Registered: 2007-01-25
Posts: 604

mutley wrote:

Sorry but I don't see how having a JLPT certificate could possibly be a disadvantage on your resume. Sure it is very limited in what it tests and the level to which it tests but there still seem to be plenty of companies that quote it or an equivalent level when they are recruiting.

The impression I get is that most companies assess applicants Japanese ability through interviews and possibly their own tests taken at the same time anyway so they maybe use JLPT merely as a guide to show that someone is worth interviewing.

Yes JLPT 1 isn't some sort of magic level that entitles you to a job in Japan, but there are also plenty of people who do manage to get jobs using Japanese without reaching that level. It depends so much on the individual's skills and the job type that it's hard to generalise.
People shouldn't delude themselves over what the JLPT 1 means but equally people shouldn't exaggerate about how it is 'just the beginning' or 'next to useless'.

Anyone who passes JLPT 1 should be proud of themselves, just remember that there is still plenty to learn (especially is you only just passed).

I can tell you exactly how it hurts. Having the JLPT on your résumé means your level(theoretical "your," not yours as in mutley's the person I'm responding to) is low enough that you think the JLPT actually matters, and that you have very little career experience with Japanese. People who've worked as translators for 10 years don't have to put their JLPT1 cert on their résumé because they've got 10 years worth of work and a pile of references that can vouch for their ability.

You're correct that it's listed a lot as part of hiring requirements, but that's really only there to allow them to throw away applications. Companies have their own tests, interviews, and hiring procedures that they rely on more than they rely on the JLPT. I wouldn't be surprised if the JLPT requirement is selectively enforced. I'm sure simply saying it's required then never checking for it deters a lot of unserious people from applying for various jobs. I've worked at companies where I've been in charge of hiring where I've done this very thing myself with regard to IT certifications, and it's a common hiring practice.

The thinking behind having the JLPT as part of hiring requirements is that it's a fairly cheap test to take, and anyone hoping to do anything with Japanese for a career should be able to pass it fairly easily. It reduces the number of applicants without putting an unreasonable or onerous burden on those applicants. Like I said, it's the bare minimum. So even if a company did want to be sticklers about checking for it when hiring it wouldn't ever be considered unfair.

I know that this is going to come off to some people here like I'm attacking their accomplishments or whatever. I don't mean to do that. Passing the JLPT1 is not a meaningless accomplishment. It takes serious commitment to get that far, and most people give up before ever making it that far. Most people who live and work in Japan even give up before ever making it that far.

However, I think people need to be realistic about what level the JLPT 1 is testing for, and how that compares to native speakers. I see a lot of hyperbole around the internet about people saying the JLPT 1 is so hard that even native speakers couldn't pass it when that simply isn't true. Japanese people will tell you that after looking at your practice materials, but that's simply Japanese people being overly nice.

Japanese people don't realize how many kanji they actually know, and few of them actually know anything about JLPT test levels. They compare it to 英検 or TOEIC in their minds, and most of us Japanese learners who know nothing about 英検 or TOEIC don't realize how the JLPT is different. We don't realize that the amount of competition among English-speakers and the sheer number of English speakers in the world raises the bar beyond what is usually required of foreign Japanese speakers usually. Some of the content 英検 and TOEIC tests does indeed surpass the level of a lot of native English speakers, but the JLPT is just not that way.

Japanese people are also conditioned through their experiences to think their language is hard. Some of this is mild racism or nationalism, but a good portion of it is also pragmatism. Japanese people are used to dealing with foreigners in their country that simply can't do Japanese. Or, they meet people who can do survival Japanese and small polite conversations, but can't read anything past hiragana/katakana/simple kanji. The number of people like those of us posting here in this thread setting our goals at eventually achieving JLPT1 are extraordinarily rare in Japan.

As an example, I teach English on the JET program. The Japanese part of my job is officially completely optional, but my skills are much appreciated by my co-workers. My level of Japanese is more than sufficient for the job that I do, and I most likely failed JLPT 1 this past weekend. I can tell you honestly that I should have failed because my Japanese level isn't high enough. If you were to ask my co-workers, though, they would tell you they think my Japanese level is off-the-charts amazing because they're comparing me to all the other foreigners they've ever met in Japan.

They constantly ask me why I'm so worried about my Japanese level and why I study so much when from their perspective everything seems golden. I do these things because I have to. Their understanding of my level is wrong. My Japanese needs serious work.

The dichotomy here that makes talking about this difficult in an online forum like this is that Japanese is a very popular language that most people don't have the stomach for. Hell, most Americans don't have the stomach for learning any foreign language let alone Japanese. So talk and low levels of proficiency are cheap in discussion forums like these. It seems like people hit a wall with their studying where they stop around the N2 level of proficiency, and then don't come back to it. Or...they continue studying, and then end up eventually getting a job that keeps them too busy to discuss studying Japanese on the internet or it saps their interest in doing so.

So because most of the discussion online is happening among people who tend to have low levels of Japanese proficiency who are constantly told by non-Japanese-speakers and Japanese-speakers alike that Japanese is like the hardest language ever there's a tendency to inflate the difficulty and ultimate importance of the JLPT. I think there's a lot of people who just don't know any better.

I think every once in a while it's necessary to remind people that all the jawing and clawing we're doing in order to pass the highest level of this thing leaves us with the same understanding of Japanese as...a reasonably well-educated 14 or 15 year old. Even then, that 14 or 15 year old also has fluent speech, a much better handle on nuts and bolts grammar, and an innate understanding of many idioms.

I'm just trying to give a more realistic description of what the JLPT is for people who may not know. You seem to already understand what I'm saying, and so to you this comes off like I'm harping on this too much or too seriously. There's a lot of people for whom what I'm writing here is going to be a surprise. There's a lot of people that were told for years in discussion forums like this one that just having JLPT2 on your résumé was enough to get your foot in the door at a lot of places.

I think it's important to dispel those notions so that it's clear exactly what kind of accomplishment passing JLPT 1 is and what kind of things come after passing it.

Last edited by erlog (2011 December 05, 5:46 am)

mutley
Member
From: japan
Registered: 2011-01-23
Posts: 126

Fair enough erlog, fundamentally I'm not disagreeing with you, just the impression your previous post gave.
Sure translators with 10 years experience don't need to put JLPT on their resume, once you get to that stage in your career experience is always going to be more important than tests.

zigmonty
Member
From: Melbourne
Registered: 2009-06-04
Posts: 671

erlog wrote:

I think every once in a while it's necessary to remind people that all the jawing and clawing we're doing in order to pass the highest level of this thing leaves us with the same understanding of Japanese as...a reasonably well-educated 14 or 15 year old. Even then, that 14 or 15 year old also has fluent speech, a much better handle on nuts and bolts grammar, and an innate understanding of many idioms.

Which is why every time this comes up (no, you haven't offered any fresh insights), many of us suggest that maybe, just maybe, trying to compete with japanese people on japanese ability a bit of a fools errand. You know, there are other skills in life, right?

Here's the thing, my japanese ability is *not* on the level of your average 14-15 year old. I'm not fluent and i couldn't pass the JLPT N1. But i'm a qualified engineer, and i can read and understand technical japanese at a reasonably high level. I can read and understand stuff that even some native engineers would be baffled by. Guys like me aren't hired for our japanese ability. We're hired for our other skills. A JLPT cert is simply piece of mind that we've attained some level of competence in the language.

If your only skill is watching dramas and anime then... yeah... there are millions of natives who will always be able to do that better than you.

Why do people think that the only jobs involving japanese are either "english teacher" or "translator"?