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2017 JLPT N2/N1 Thread

#1
JLPT dates 2017:
July 2, December 3

Post what level you intend to take and when, study plans and progress, along with general JLPT N2/N1 discussion. It's never too late to start. Let's do our best.

Level: N1
When: July
Past JLPT: Got N2 in December 2015 with a score around 110, took N1 in December 2016 mostly for the motivation boost.
V/G: 24/60 (both B)
R: 31/60
L: 33/60
Total 88/180

I barely studied after taking N2 because I had no motivation, yet this N1 somehow felt within reach. I'm in Japan until August so I'm trying to live as immersed as possible. I've already seen most of the words I didn't know in the vocabulary section of this N1.

Plan:
Vocabulary: Actively hunt the joyo I've missed (didn't do RTK), I feel illiterate.
Grammar: Work on using more advanced grammar in conversation, cram less common patterns for recognition.
Reading: Keep reading things I like (mostly novels and political essays/books), write my own reflections about the topics.
Listening: Actively watching tv and listening to radio/podcasts.

Books: I will use Zettai Goukaku for grammar and reading, and Kanzen Master + Mainichi Kikitori for listening.
I don't know if I'll use a book for vocabulary. I kind of think I should, yet I'm struggling to really grasp the meaning of words when they're presented one at a time, even when looking up example sentences. I think this is both a Japanese issue (a lot of synonyms/kind-of-similar-yet-not-words), and the fact that my native language isn't English.
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#2
(2017-01-24, 11:59 pm)kadena Wrote: JLPT dates 2017:
July 2, December 3

Post what level you intend to take and when, study plans and progress, along with general JLPT N2/N1 discussion. It's never too late to start. Let's do our best.

Level: N1
(I just N2. Barely. So I am 95% sure I won't pass N1 if I take it this year. It took my two years from N3 to N2 so I am expecting the same this time)

Plan: Even though my score for N2 was even across the boards for each section, I still believe reading is my absolute weakness. I got into a habit of skimming text without getting a good understanding of it. In my N2 study I got into a nice routine of studying vocab before diving into reading comprehension. The vocab I studied was a nice backdrop even though the reading was still tough and many words I didn't know. I guess just practice practice practice.

Books: for my class we use a book called TRY! JLPT N1 and I kind of like it for grammar.
In the past I have used Speed Master and Kanzen Master for grammar and vocab, so I will keep those as supplemental review books.
Edited: 2017-01-29, 8:21 am
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#3
angelneko Wrote:Books: for my class we use a book called TRY! JLPT N1 and I kind of like it for grammar.
I liked that book! The questions in it were too easy, in my opinion, but the grammar explanations and the passages (including the audio) were much nicer than other prep books I've used.


Taking N1 (for the third time...) in December (there isn't a July test here). I should be able to pass it, but I need to change how I study a few things.

Plan:
I'm going to be reading a lot more, since I realized that I can easily get 1000 pages (per Tadoku definition) in a month; going to be adding unknowns to Anki as I have been.
I recently found out that I still suck at using を in certain situations (which is fairly embarrassing on my seventh year of study), but I think the best way to tackle this (and hopefully improve my vocab and grammar scores on the JLPT) is to do more production.
Speaking of production, I'm learning to actually write kanji now (hope to finish adding cards by June); I've already noticed it changing how I recognize words, so I'm hoping this will help with some of the questions in the vocab section.

Going to watch more anime and YouTube, and find some more audio dramas to listen to. I'm also going to find some podcasts to listen to, so that I can have more stuff that doesn't rely on visual cues.
Further (this is the part that changes), I'm going to listen to as much as possible without headphones. Being unprepared for the terrible audio quality of the actual test (concrete room, crappy speakers, volume too high) has caused me to lose easy points twice in a row now. I've consistently gotten about 2/3 of the listening points in my mock exams, but got less than half on both tries (22 and 26).
Actually, I might intentionally make the audio quality terrible just to make it that much more like the test Tongue

Books:
ドリル&ドリル (already have the grammar one; gonna get the other two as well)
I want at least two mock exams, but I've already used all three of the tests in ゼッタイ合格!日本語能力試験完全模試N1 twice, so I need to find some other good ones. I'm going to do the first half of one of the N2 ones from that same series (I already have it) for fun in a couple of months; I should blow it out of the water, but if I do bad on a section of that, I'll know what to really study for.
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#4
Level: N1
When: Dec

I passed the most recent N1, but with a score of 120/180, I'm already looking forward to taking it again with the hope of improving my score. Taking exams at regular intervals seems to help me to stay focused. Thinking about taking the JCAT sometime soon as well, to give me more mid-point scores.

Big goals for this year are to drastically increase both the amount of vocabulary I know and the amount of extensive reading I do. I'm keeping track of my stats in my weekly-ish study journal thread.

I will probably revisit a bunch of my study books (mostly Kanzen Master) in the summer. Until then, I'm mainly learning vocabulary from light novels. I'd like to add more reading of news articles as well.

Need lots and lots of listening practice, it's by far my weakest area. I will be following this thread and others for ideas. Learning more vocabulary and reading more fluently should help - I've noticed that I lose the thread of a conversation almost immediately when an unknown word is used, and then it can take me several sentences to get it back, if I can get it back at all.
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#5
Speaking of tests, has anybody tried the Business Japanese Proficiency Test ? I vaguely recall seeing flyers for it around the language school I was at a decade ago, so it's been around a fair while, and these days it seems to be administered by the Kanken people. I guess it has less name recognition than the JLPT, but on the other hand rather than giving you just a pass/fail at various levels, it gives you a score out of 800 that covers the whole range from beginner to "higher than JLPT1":
[Image: about_feature_pic_test.jpg]
(that's a graph of BJPT scores achieved by people who'd previously passed JLPT level 1 or 2.)
Looks like the major problem is that the test is only held in Japan and a handful of other east asian countries, though.
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#6
One of my tutor's other students is planning on taking the BJPT, but from what I understand, there's not much point in taking it unless you need to. I can't remember what this student was planning on doing in Japan to need that test (obviously something about working in Japan), I just remember that they had a really absurd time frame to get the score they needed...

But yeah, that test goes beyond N1; I looked at some of their samples before, but all I remember thinking is "that student is going to have a heck of a time getting to this level".
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#7
Level: N1

Plan:
Passed the N2 with marks only off on reading (44/60) so will continue my process I used for vocab and grammar which is just going through 完全マスター語彙 and 文法 and entering in everything to Anki. Hope to finish 語彙 by end of Feb and 文法 by May. This leaves me a good 5 months to just practice my reading. Will focus on reading a couple novels I have and reading 社説 and news articles. I didn't use the 完全マスター読解 book last time so might go through that to see if it will boost my reading score. Listening is one of my strong points and I don't really actively practice this. I bought a proxy last year so I can watch Japanese content on Netflix and it's really forced me to go cold turkey on using Japanese subs. Once I hit October/November will dive in to practice tests to shore up any weaknesses I see. Will most likely take the J-CAT over the weekend to see how much i've progressed since last time and then again in the middle of the year.
Edited: 2017-01-26, 10:18 pm
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#8
(2017-01-26, 9:35 pm)sholum Wrote: One of my tutor's other students is planning on taking the BJPT, but from what I understand, there's not much point in taking it unless you need to.
Well, you could say the same thing about the JPLT, right? :-) I was wondering if the BJPT would be more useful structurally if you're a higher level learner who's just taking the tests as a personal goal and way of assessing progress.
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#9
Level: N2
When: Not yet sure, might just sit for the July exam, because there's one in my city (and none in December) I don't expect to pass though
Past JLPT: Passed N3 in December 2016 (Language Knowledge 36, Reading 45, Listening 51, Overall 132/180)
Last JCAT as of January 16th: Listening 69 (+9), Vocabulary 45 (+2), Grammar 41 (+16), Reading 54 (+5), Overall 209 (+32)


After taking N3 in December I thought I failed the language knowledge part, but luckily I didn't! However, I think I still want to get a better grasp on the N3 stuff before moving on. My biggest weakness is probably grammar, followed by lack of kanji knowledge and vocabulary in general. My biggest strength is my listening (though it might not be enough to pass N2 just yet, mostly because of missing vocab).

Plan: Review N4/N3 grammar (using Minna no Nihongo Shokyuu II and Kanzen Master N3) and read some more N3 level stuff (I'll see if I can grab a copy of Tobira somewhere, mostly for the readings). Then move on to build some N2 knowledge (not yet sure about resources). For vocab I'm still using iknow but I'm not super diligent. I should probably try to fix that...
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#10
(2017-01-27, 4:07 am)pm215 Wrote:
(2017-01-26, 9:35 pm)sholum Wrote: One of my tutor's other students is planning on taking the BJPT, but from what I understand, there's not much point in taking it unless you need to.
Well, you could say the same thing about the JPLT, right? :-)  I was wondering if the BJPT would be more useful structurally if you're a higher level learner who's just taking the tests as a personal goal and way of assessing progress.

That's very true Big Grin
I guess it would be worth it for people who live in Japan that like taking tests, since it covers a much higher level, but wouldn't Kanken be a better goal for general Japanese learners? From my understanding, the BJPT is, as its name suggests, much more oriented to business-y language.
I might be wrong, of course.

I'm not trying to persuade people away from it, just putting in my cheapskate opinion of 'for a test that has even less practical purpose than the JLPT, why would you take it if you don't need to?'.
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#11
Level: N1
When: Dec 2017

Passed N2 two+ years ago. Registered for N1 last year but skipped, as it butted up against an insanely busy work trip. I'll have a week this coming year between that annual trip and the JLPT, and plan to take it off to prep. Study strategy is mainlining a TON of vocab via Anki and massive exposure to comprehensive input, reading and listening every day, and writing a couple of times a week.
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#12
Update:
I said I was going to go for ドリル&ドリル, but I've decided to go through 新完全マスター first. I'll postpone ドリル&ドリル until after I finish those. I want to finish the 新完全マスター books (may not do the kanji one) before September, since that'll be my next chance to take the J-CAT. Then I can drill (and do other things) until the exam.
Speaking of the J-CAT, I'll be taking that near the beginning of March, I think. I'm pretty sure I can take it sometime in February, but I don't remember for sure.

I'm also going to challenge myself to read at least three articles a week (mandatory on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, since I have no excuse not to on those days). This is because the 'one article per day' challenge last November caused me to burn out on reading those kinds of things, but it's still the kind of thing I have trouble reading and the kind of thing that shows up on the JLPT. I think three per week will allow plenty of interesting things to show up so I don't burn out.

I'm also thinking I'll record my reading outside of Tadoku (so, every month), since I like watching numbers change favorably (RPG and simulation game habit, I guess). Those things will be recorded in my study log thread instead of here. Of course, there will be a visual representation of some kind. I think I want to get to about 3000 pages per month by the end of the year; my experience this Tadoku round has taught me that I can probably get 2000 in a month if I read every day. I want to try reading one hour per day, but I'm not going to record this.
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#13
I'm thinking of being particularly crazy and flying to Tokyo in July for the N1. I need a goal for the next six-seven months, and that sounds like a fun one (my definition of "fun" is, I will admit, a little warped). I could use a vacation around that time anyway, so I might come early, do some last minute prep/immersion, and then enjoy a few local haunts (read: drink a shitload of nihonshu) once the ordeal is complete. I figure after taking N1 I can justify dropping some cash at the 古酒 bar near 品川駅.

I'm assuming it's legit to come to the country just for the test - anyone else ever done this?

Also, anyone had any issues with multiple entry, so long as you fly below the 90 day mark? I'm going to Tokyo twice for work this year, so going back again in July will be my third return.
Edited: 2017-01-29, 10:01 pm
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#14
(2017-01-29, 9:59 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: I'm assuming it's legit to come to the country just for the test - anyone else ever done this?

Also, anyone had any issues with multiple entry, so long as you fly below the 90 day mark? I'm going to Tokyo twice for work this year, so going back again in July will be my third return.

What are you planning on using as an address for your entry? As they will mail you the voucher. I have a feeling you cannot input a foreign address there and expect them to assign you to a test in Japan? Of course if you have an office address in Japan you can use ...

It is 90 days for each visit, so it is not a problem to come multiple times. We have co-workers flying in and out every month.
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#15
(2017-01-30, 7:09 am)kanttuvei Wrote:
(2017-01-29, 9:59 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: I'm assuming it's legit to come to the country just for the test - anyone else ever done this?

Also, anyone had any issues with multiple entry, so long as you fly below the 90 day mark? I'm going to Tokyo twice for work this year, so going back again in July will be my third return.

What are you planning on using as an address for your entry? As they will mail you the voucher. I have a feeling you cannot input a foreign address there and expect them to assign you to a test in Japan? Of course if you have an office address in Japan you can use ...

Hadn't thought about that. I can just have it sent to my in-laws.
Edited: 2017-01-30, 8:25 am
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#16
Wait, do you mean you can't take a test in Japan if you don't live there? I live in Belgium and want to take level pre-1 of the kanji kentei during my next trip but if you say it's not possible I might just stop studying for it.
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#17
(2017-01-30, 12:34 pm)Kanken Wrote: Wait, do you mean you can't take a test in Japan if you don't live there? I live in Belgium and want to take level pre-1 of the kanji kentei during my next trip but if you say it's not possible I might just stop studying for it.

For JLPT you have to provide a Japanese address and they will send the test voucher there. If you can somehow organize one (in a way that the test voucher will reach you on time), you can take it, even if your usual country of residence is different.
Edited: 2017-02-16, 7:21 am
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#18
I passed N1 on my first try without any particular study, but I do want to take it again because the score was pretty low and borderline.
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#19
Level: N2
When: July (and again in December if don`t pas….)
Past JLPT: N3 in July 2015 and two failed attempts at N2 in July 2016 (84/180) and December 2016 (82/180)

Overall my problem is that for a lot of stuff I “kind of get it” but don`t have a firm grasp.
- I have studied a lot of grammar points, but the finer details often elude me, the differences between points are getting blurry and I have no idea about the rules for connecting each grammar point to the rest of the sentence (i.e. “this one only goes with nouns, etc.)
- I have a lot of vocab in my Anki deck that I might recognize in the given example sentence, but that I struggle to recall when I see it in the wild. It impedes my reading comprehension and speed.
- In connection with the point above I struggle to recall the precise spelling of words I do know, have a bad influence on my scoring in the vocabulary part.

At least my listening is kind of ok. I managed to get above 30 in both my previous attempts at N2.

Plan
Basically: continue to do anki, read native material, do drills and maybe some additional grammar study.

Reading: These days I try to read 4,000 characters of native media a day (from sources such as LifeHacker, AllAbout, BusinessInsider, etc.) I then hope to nudge that number up as my reading speed hopefully increases. These days I`m blessed with not being very busy at work, but that might change and thus impede my plan.
When reading I`m trying to get out of the habit of instantly looking up anything I don`t immediately recognize. Too many times I look up words I`m supposed to know. By not looking up I try to force myself to look at the word more in detail. I hope this will make my existing vocabulary more solid and also condition me to better read and grasp stuff where I don`t know all the words.
Right now I mine those resources for any word I don`t understand. But reading 4,000 characters gives me in the region of 20-30 words I don`t know. If I have that amount of new cards a day my Anki reviews will get out of control. My Anki deck for vocabulary is in the region of 8,000 but there is still so much vocabulary to be learnt for the long term.

Drills: I got the Drill & Drill books for all of the sections and plan to go through them. I haven`t decided on a structure, but my friend suggested me to do one thing each day. So grammar Monday, vocabulary Tuesday, reading Thursday and so on. I think I might try to follow that in some way.

Additional grammar: I might find the time to go through the grammar points again. If so I plan to make an Anki deck that test meaning, connection rules and any notes I might put in. Right now I have a deck with all the example sentences in Kanzen Master, but they don`t give me that firm grasp of the point I would like to have for the test.
Edited: 2017-02-16, 12:07 am
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#20
Certificates just arrived in the mail so it finally feels real Big Grin 

Now I just have to get back into gear for N1!

I am about to spend one month in Japan so hopefully I can benefit from the immersion.
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#21
Revised plans: Going to take a week off in the summer to study intensely, and then going to take the test in Seattle in December 2017. (My wife balked at my plans to return to Japan a *fourth* time this year. The nerve!)

I reaaaaaally feel like I need to dive back into the listening exercises in ドリル&ドリル. I told myself I'd start making a habit of it, and have yet to crack the book. :-(
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#22
Hey guys. A while since I've been to this forum now!

Aiming for: N2

Currently I'm just aimlessly cramming the hell out of Anki. I have been aiming to learn 10 new Kanji every day for the last few weeks, but I'm realizing it's just increasing the number of daily Anki repititions so much that I don't have time to practice grammar. I realize that I don't know many of the grammar points for N2, and my reading speed is not the best.

I wonder if you guys have any tips on how to go about learning the new grammar. I mean, some of it, in my impression is almost never used. For example I have almost never seen or heard "に通して" or "にかけては" before I saw it in my grammar books. If I don't get exposed to such grammar, I can't see how I'm going to learn it.
Another problem that I have is that I can read myself up on some grammar point, e.g. がち、ぎみ and っぽい, and then make a lang-8 post with example sentences. Then a whole month passes and I completely forget their meanings. I remember ぎみ because a friend used it. But がち I haven't heard in 2 whole months even though I'm living in Japan (I'll admit I don't have too many chances to interact with local people though...)
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#23
What I've done is input example sentances into Anki with the grammar point underlined. If I recognize and remember the structure, then I mark it as good. If not. I just fail the card.

Won't help with practicing fill in the blank multiple choice but will help retain meaning.
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#24
(2017-05-31, 6:45 am)Northern_Lord Wrote: I wonder if you guys have any tips on how to go about learning the new grammar. I mean, some of it, in my impression is almost never used.
Well, it's definitely not used as much as the really basic grammar, but nothing in N2 is that obscure I think. What I think does tend to happen as you move into N2 and N1 is that the patterns are more often used in writing and less likely to turn up in conversational speech, so if your input doesn't include a bunch of newspaper articles, editorials and similar nonfiction writing then you might see them less often than if it does.

For JLPT2 grammar I did the classic drill-like-Kanzen-Master stuff. For N1 I did a bit of going through the meanings and then used Anki on a premade fill-in-the-blanks deck. I dunno that I'd recommend that except that using premade decks is easier IME. I don't think Anki works for *learning* the grammar (where you need to think a bit about the meaning and how the words fit together and the nuances and differences from similar points) but it's not too bad for giving you the spaced repetition if your input isn't naturally providing it to you.
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#25
Thanks for the tips guys!
I've tried using the Jtest4you-N2 and N3 cards, and I guess maybe they can be good for getting the spaced repitition of grammar points, but right now I feel I should look more into actually learning grammar points I don't know. I didn't know about the Kanzen series. I took a look on the internet and it seems pretty good. I'm going to pop over to a bookstore and take a look at 読解 and 文法.
For my reviews, I decided I might have to set a cap of 100 Anki reviews per day. I only have an hour or two per day to study japanese, so really need to distribute my time as well as possible.
Edited: 2017-05-31, 9:03 pm
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