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Is it true that even natives Japanese people will struggle on JLPT N1?

#51
(2015-12-01, 7:47 am)vix86 Wrote: Is the Eiken 1級 even comparable to the N1 on the JLPT? I've always placed the TOEIC as more comparable to the JLPT.


Somehow, I got wrangled into to taking the TOEIC a few years back, and thought it was incredibly easy.  Based on what I've seen of the past tests the Eiken is much more difficult that the TOEIC.  Either way any reasonably educated adult would pass either test with ease, and from what I've shown to people I know any reasonably educated native Japanese person would pass the JLPT N1 with ease. 


If people are telling you that then n1 is too difficult for native speakers they are probably confusing it with the 日本語検定 which is on the other hand is pretty difficult.
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#52
(2015-12-01, 6:23 am)zx573 Wrote: 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.

Yeah, it should be pointed out that I'm usually assuming native Japanese people with a certain level of education in answering questions like this. I'm sure there are plenty of Japanese people who would fail N1 because of their educational background.
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#53
(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.Smile
Edited: 2015-12-01, 12:04 pm
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#54
I think if you say its English name they might figure out it's not the same test?
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#55
Some Japanese people took the JLPT1 in July with us non native speakers in Brisbane (they needed to due to some stupid job requirement), they finished in about 25 minutes and spend the rest of the test staring around the room.
Edited: 2016-07-28, 7:48 pm
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#56
I've helped a couple people with the Eiken (3, pre-2, and 1).

It's really weird. For Eiken 1 the vocabulary and reading are probably on par with native freshman high school level, and with that said, the answers are pretty obvious, there's usually no tricks to them like there would be on the SAT/GRE.

The writing on Eiken 1 is an SAT-level prompt and the topics are usually controversial/philosophical in nature ("Do you feel that the death penalty should be abolished worldwide?"), but they are much more generous on the grading. I'd probably think the same for the listening; it's like an impromptu speech competition with those kinds of topics, but the judging is much easier.

When I helped middle school students with Eiken 3 and pre-2, you could look at the vocab and reading and think, wow, this is actually a pretty decent level of English. However, when I did the interview practice, the students were struggling to answer basic questions like "What's your favorite food?" and "How did you get here?"

And they still passed. Keep in mind the speaking section is taken weeks after you pass the vocab/reading/listening part and is graded differently, so I feel that the evaluation minimum for the speaking part of Eiken is quite low.
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#57
(2015-11-29, 12:46 pm)Tzadeck Wrote: I've seen a lot of 'N1 vocab' and 'N1 grammar points' in books written for elementary school kids.  People who say that 'no one uses this' are being untruthful in a way that's extremely common socially in Japan.

You are so right on the money. I have been finding these "sophisticated" words in grade 4 texts. For those that don't know, all elementary school vocabulary and kanji (kyoikukanji) which is comprised of 1006 kanji are pretty much "basic". Just because it seems sophisticated to us gaijin this does not make it so.
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#58
(2016-08-20, 12:11 pm)CANUCK Wrote:
(2015-11-29, 12:46 pm)Tzadeck Wrote: I've seen a lot of 'N1 vocab' and 'N1 grammar points' in books written for elementary school kids.  People who say that 'no one uses this' are being untruthful in a way that's extremely common socially in Japan.

You are so right on the money. I have been finding these "sophisticated" words in grade 4 texts. For those that don't know, all elementary school vocabulary and kanji (kyoikukanji) which is comprised of 1006 kanji are pretty much "basic". Just because it seems sophisticated to us gaijin this does not make it so.
Are you guys making the claim that you can pass N1 by only knowing the 1006 basic Kanji and elementary school vocabulary?

Because you can't. You need pretty much everything taught in Japanese schools, all the way through high school. I'm sure there are plenty of Japanese people who haven't learned every Kanji that was taught to them, and would struggle with a written test that requires them.

And even with the primary school (grades 1 to 6) Kanji: odds are, a significant portion of the population doesn't know them all. I don't know of any Japanese studies, but in the US, 21% of adults read below the 5th grade level (and are therefor classified as functionally illiterate). I'm sure Japan has functional illiterates too (people who meet the very basic standards the government uses to achieve 99% literacy rates, but couldn't pass a more comprehensive test, like the JLPT N1).
(2016-07-28, 7:48 pm)mickal555 Wrote: Some Japanese people took the JLPT1 in July with us non native speakers in Brisbane (they needed to due to some stupid job requirement), they finished in about 25 minutes and spend the rest of the test staring around the room.

Yes, but if a Japanese person is getting a job in Brisbane, odds are it's not at Mickey D's. Odds are these are mostly college educated, well read, high IQ people, not exactly a random sample. It doesn't prove that uneducated Japanese people could also pass the test.
Edited: 2016-08-22, 6:57 pm
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#59
(2012-12-06, 7:01 am)Javizy Wrote: Are you sure your friend wasn't talking about 漢検? I can't imagine how JLPT would be valuable for anyone who isn't a foreigner. It shows that you have a basic level of passive fluency and little else, and this can be assumed for anyone who graduated from a Japanese high school.
I don't think you should assume that. In the US, 19% of high school graduates failed a comprehensive functional literacy test, and 21% of American adults read below the 5th grade level. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06...80355.html

There's no reason to assume that Japan is all that much better. And you can't really pass N1 without being functionally literate.
Edited: 2016-08-22, 7:03 pm
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#60
(2016-08-22, 6:52 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote:  In the US, 19% of high school graduates failed a comprehensive functional literacy test, and 21% of American adults read below the 5th grade level. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06...80355.html

There's no reason to assume that Japan is all that much better. And you can't really pass N1 without being functionally literate.
Do you have any idea if these functional literacy numbers include immigrants who are coming from countries who don't primarily speak english? If they are included, there is much reason to think Japan's literacy rate is better because Japan has far fewer immigrants.
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#61
(2016-08-22, 6:42 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2016-08-20, 12:11 pm)CANUCK Wrote:
(2015-11-29, 12:46 pm)Tzadeck Wrote: I've seen a lot of 'N1 vocab' and 'N1 grammar points' in books written for elementary school kids.  People who say that 'no one uses this' are being untruthful in a way that's extremely common socially in Japan.

You are so right on the money. I have been finding these "sophisticated" words in grade 4 texts. For those that don't know, all elementary school vocabulary and kanji (kyoikukanji) which is comprised of 1006 kanji are pretty much "basic". Just because it seems sophisticated to us gaijin this does not make it so.
Are you guys making the claim that you can pass N1 by only knowing the 1006 basic Kanji and elementary school vocabulary?

Because you can't. You need pretty much everything taught in Japanese schools, all the way through high school. I'm sure there are plenty of Japanese people who haven't learned every Kanji that was taught to them, and would struggle with a written test that requires them.

And even with the primary school (grades 1 to 6) Kanji: odds are, a significant portion of the population doesn't know them all. I don't know of any Japanese studies, but in the US, 21% of adults read below the 5th grade level (and are therefor classified as functionally illiterate). I'm sure Japan has functional illiterates too (people who meet the very basic standards the government uses to achieve 99% literacy rates, but couldn't pass a more comprehensive test, like the JLPT N1).
(2016-07-28, 7:48 pm)mickal555 Wrote: Some Japanese people took the JLPT1 in July with us non native speakers in Brisbane (they needed to due to some stupid job requirement), they finished in about 25 minutes and spend the rest of the test staring around the room.

Yes, but if a Japanese person is getting a job in Brisbane, odds are it's not at Mickey D's. Odds are these are mostly college educated, well read, high IQ people, not exactly a random sample. It doesn't prove that uneducated Japanese people could also pass the test.

Have you taken the N1?
You can easily pass it knowing less than 1000 kanjis. It is not at all comprehensive, especially when compared to the language certificates for English (like CAE/CPE/IELTS), Spanish (DELE), German (Goethe zertifikats), etc. If you can sort of read an article in your newspaper and have the time to struggle, then you can pass the JLPT. I think I was pretty much functionally illiterate when I took the N1 and I still passed it. They don't really test you on anything but reading an editorial, some light vocab and reading, and incredibly basic grammar.

Have you met any Japanese people?
Yeah, they will mess up writing Kanjis on a whiteboard or ask for the reading of a placename, but no one really has problems understanding kanjis in context, like the JLPT.
Yes, if you get some old lady with dementia she will fail it, but she is hardly the average Japanese person. The average Japanese person has tertiary education these days (80% enrollment rate). IQ has little to do with language or job requirements, fortunately.
Edited: 2016-08-29, 3:45 am
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#62
(2012-12-06, 6:38 am)Ceras Wrote: Hi, i'm new here, and i have a question because concerning some people views about JLPT, i was quite surprised; there was someone who told me that jlpt N1 was difficult to the point even japanese people can have trouble with it, and that there 's japanese taking the test who don't pass it. Told me something about 40% of japanese people failing it.

Actually i found it very strange since it is said by the standard of the test, that JLPT is intented for non native speakers; so...why would native even bother to take it?...
he said that some of them were required to do it for job purposes, and that even in high school some of them would have to take it.

Moreover, there was someone taking japanese at college, who told me that one or some japanese teachers says that there is japanese people who took jlpt and fail.

Is it true?If it's not i would like to figure why people are thinking that.
I have already heard about this statement that it is even hard for japanese, but i this is the first time i heard some who says 40% of the japanese taking the test would fail it. If it is true, that's quite puzzling.

Hey, I know a Japanese guy named Takeshi Robert Miyamaki who failed the JLPTN2 even. He took it at Capilano College. I knew him From back in high school French 8 class. He pursued French until we both graduated high school since he was not allowed to take Japanese 9 with me. I remember Tak was my first Japanese tutor that I had. Anyway, he failed the JLPTN2 badly. I was really disappointed in him.
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#63
(2016-09-06, 6:21 am)CANUCK Wrote: Hey, I know a Japanese guy named Takeshi Robert Miyamaki who failed the JLPTN2 even. He took it at Capilano College. I knew him From back in high school French 8 class. He pursued French until we both graduated high school since he was not allowed to take Japanese 9 with me. I remember Tak was my first Japanese tutor that I had. Anyway, he failed the JLPTN2 badly. I was really disappointed in him.

I know a few Japanese people who know very little any Japanese at all because they've never been to Japan. The reason I say this is - and I'm making some assumptions here, Takeshi Robert Miyamaki seems like he spent some time away from Japan. Did he do all of his primary education in Japan?
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#64
(2016-08-22, 9:25 pm)yogert909 Wrote: Do you have any idea if these functional literacy numbers include immigrants who are coming from countries who don't primarily speak english?  If they are included, there is much reason to think Japan's literacy rate is better because Japan has far fewer immigrants.

It's everyone who graduated high school in the US. So no, it wouldn't be people who just arrived in the US: only those who went to high school in the US, and got all the necessary grades to graduate (and sure, some of them would be immigrants...but immigrants who graduated high school in the US).
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#65
(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote: Have you taken the N1? You can easily pass it knowing less than 1000 kanjis.
No, I haven't taken the N1. But I've read that the estimated number of Kanji in the N1 test is 2000, here:
http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/aboutjlpt/

The resource also lists the specific Kanji that are needed for N1: http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt1/

Is that not true, and if so, do you have data to back up your claim that it is only 1000? 


(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote: Have you met any Japanese people?
I have met Japanese people, yes. But it's pretty irrelevant. I haven't met a random sample of at least a thousand Japanese people (which would be the smallest number to allow me to reach any statistically valid conclusions about the overall population). And neither have you.

So we both have to rely on other data, beyond personal experiences, to reach any valid conclusions about the subject at hand.
(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote: Yes, if you get some old lady with dementia she will fail it, but she is hardly the average Japanese person. The average Japanese person has tertiary education these days (80% enrollment rate).
I'm not talking about the average Japanese person. I'm talking about the 10-20% who, if we go by data available to us about the nature of government run education, is probably functionally illiterate. These aren't people would count as "the average" by any measure. They also aren't people you would be likely to hang out with as a foreign student in Japan.

Illiteracy is something that is very easy to miss. Feel free to ask any American who hasn't heard about the study I linked to below, they will tell you the same thing you're saying: they've never met any illiterate people in the US. That's not because the study above is false (it's an official government study that's been peer reviewed and confirmed by several other similar studies).
Edited: 2016-09-07, 10:29 am
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#66
(2016-09-07, 10:10 am)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote: Have you taken the N1? You can easily pass it knowing less than 1000 kanjis.
No, I haven't taken the N1. But I've read that the estimated number of Kanji in the N1 test is 2000, here:
http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/aboutjlpt/

The resource also lists the specific Kanji that are needed for N1: http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt1/

Is that not true, and if so, do you have data to back up your claim that it is only 1000? 

The actual test doesn't come close to testing students on the number of "recommended" kanji. (I'm unable to find exact counts online; would be interesting to pour through some past tests and calculate.) 

The trick is, however, that you don't know WHICH kanji you'll need. You may get lucky limping in on 1,000 kanji, but I wouldn't bank on it. So yes, knowing the full Jouyou (and a little beyond) is highly recommended. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go in with anything less. 

(2016-09-07, 10:10 am)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote: Yes, if you get some old lady with dementia she will fail it, but she is hardly the average Japanese person. The average Japanese person has tertiary education these days (80% enrollment rate). 
I'm not talking about the average Japanese person. I'm talking about the 10-20% who, if we go by data available to us about the nature of government run education, is probably functionally illiterate. 
Fair enough. I question whether this is because of "government-run education", or because compulsory education forces people who don't really want to be in school to attend. But that's another discussion.

The intent of this thread originally was to figure out whether the JLPT was tricky for natives or contained useless grammar. I think the average, educated Japanese is a fair standard by which to answer that question, and by that standard, the answer is a resounding "no". N1 kanji and grammatical structures are regularly used in news, op-eds, novels, etc., and aren't by any means obscure. The most you can say about N1 is it carries a preponderance of structures that are more likely to appear in more formal works as opposed to everyday conversation.
Edited: 2016-09-07, 1:28 pm
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#67
I think you're correct in saying that N1 grammar is used in news, books (...) and therefore should not be a problem for a native speaker.

That being said some of the study material for N1 grammar have all sort of variation of similar grammar / meaning. I've been told multiple time by a Japanese teacher that some of them are hardly ever used. So I could imagine Native Japanese speaker getting a bit surprised by this. It's likely only a small fraction of what my actually come out in the test.

BTW I did not pass N1 (only N2). Still some way to go.
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#68
(2016-08-29, 3:41 am)Zgarbas Wrote:
(2016-08-22, 6:42 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2016-08-20, 12:11 pm)CANUCK Wrote:
(2015-11-29, 12:46 pm)Tzadeck Wrote: I've seen a lot of 'N1 vocab' and 'N1 grammar points' in books written for elementary school kids.  People who say that 'no one uses this' are being untruthful in a way that's extremely common socially in Japan.

You are so right on the money. I have been finding these "sophisticated" words in grade 4 texts. For those that don't know, all elementary school vocabulary and kanji (kyoikukanji) which is comprised of 1006 kanji are pretty much "basic". Just because it seems sophisticated to us gaijin this does not make it so.
Are you guys making the claim that you can pass N1 by only knowing the 1006 basic Kanji and elementary school vocabulary?

Because you can't. You need pretty much everything taught in Japanese schools, all the way through high school. I'm sure there are plenty of Japanese people who haven't learned every Kanji that was taught to them, and would struggle with a written test that requires them.

And even with the primary school (grades 1 to 6) Kanji: odds are, a significant portion of the population doesn't know them all. I don't know of any Japanese studies, but in the US, 21% of adults read below the 5th grade level (and are therefor classified as functionally illiterate). I'm sure Japan has functional illiterates too (people who meet the very basic standards the government uses to achieve 99% literacy rates, but couldn't pass a more comprehensive test, like the JLPT N1).
(2016-07-28, 7:48 pm)mickal555 Wrote: Some Japanese people took the JLPT1 in July with us non native speakers in Brisbane (they needed to due to some stupid job requirement), they finished in about 25 minutes and spend the rest of the test staring around the room.

Yes, but if a Japanese person is getting a job in Brisbane, odds are it's not at Mickey D's. Odds are these are mostly college educated, well read, high IQ people, not exactly a random sample. It doesn't prove that uneducated Japanese people could also pass the test.

Have you taken the N1?
You can easily pass it knowing less than 1000 kanjis. It is not at all comprehensive, especially when compared to the language certificates for English (like CAE/CPE/IELTS), Spanish (DELE), German (Goethe zertifikats), etc. If you can sort of read an article in your newspaper and have the time to struggle, then you can pass the JLPT. I think I was pretty much functionally illiterate when I took the N1 and I still passed it. They don't really test you on anything but reading an editorial, some light vocab and reading, and incredibly basic grammar.

Have you met any Japanese people?
Yeah, they will mess up writing Kanjis on a whiteboard or ask for the reading of a placename, but no one really has problems understanding kanjis in context, like the JLPT.
Yes, if you get some old lady with dementia she will fail it, but she is hardly the average Japanese person. The average Japanese person has tertiary education these days (80% enrollment rate). IQ has little to do with language or job requirements, fortunately.

NO WAY dude... When did you last take it?
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#69
2013. IIRC it only used actual articles, editorials and op-eds from newspapers. And they weren't the most difficult articles that I've seen. They were nowhere near using the entire list of joyo kanjis, since many kanjis on it are restricted to legislative, business, economic, trade, etc. domains which would be considered 'too complicated' to show up in the general-audience articles that are used on the N1 (unlike the articles that are used in, say, English language proficiency tests, which are almost always taken from scientific or niche domains).

Stansfield, why would a functionally illiterate person even enter the discussion here?
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#70
I would agree that someone with an adult native-level understanding of Japanese, and around 1000 of the most common kanji, could probably pass N1. That doesn't mean that a foreign learner who has learned 1000 kanji will be OK. Most foreigners, especially self-studiers, rely a lot more on kanji to cover weaknesses in their Japanese than native speakers do. You could replace kanji in a reading passage with black boxes and native speakers would still probably be able to know many of the words just through context and the knowledge of one kanji of the compound, but that doesn't work as well for intermediate foreign learners.

Quote:I've been told multiple time by a Japanese teacher that some of them are hardly ever used

It's sad that teachers are still spreading this myth. Hardly ever used in everyday speech? Yes. But N1 is not testing everyday speech. Nothing in N1 is rare or obscure if you're looking at advanced-level writing. If you give me any N1 grammar I can find uses of it on Wikipedia, for instance. (Also "hardly ever used" is relative; the more advanced you get, the more you need to know these rarer grammar patterns.)
Edited: 2016-09-27, 9:21 am
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#71
Here are some Yahoo! answers (which are not very reliable because it's Yahoo), saying "N1 is much easier than the SAT-equiv's Japanese section, and so good high school students would have no struggle but bad-grade junior high school students can never pass.
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#72
One thing that I've seen cause miscommunication from Japanese people to foreigners about the difficulty of the JLPT, is that the JLPT is not as widely known as the 日本語検定, so it's often mistaken for that test (eg: the top of the JLPT wikipedia page in Japanese says, "This is not about the nihongo kentei"). The 日本語検定 is a Japanese test for mainly 帰国子女, who actually have their education and career riding on the Japanese language rather than most JLPT test-takers. I've never taken the test, but if you've passed JLPT N1, I would guess that 本語検定3級 or 2級 would be a challenge for you. So if an average Japanese person misunderstands that you are trying the 日本語検定1級, they'll definitely be impressed or say that it's hard.
Edited: 2016-09-29, 2:53 am
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