My results from last November

Listening - 44
Vocab - 73
Grammar - 79
Reading - 49
Total - 245

Quite an interesting gap between listening/reading and Vocab/Grammar. I've been trying to go all out with native material (reading, watching youtube vids), especially recently, so I feel like it'll have evened out a bit when I take it again.
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Previous score

(2015-05-18, 9:03 am)Splatted Wrote: セクション    スコア
Listening    52
Vocabulary 70
Grammar    57
Reading     77
合計          256

New score*:

セクション スコア
Listening 83
Vocabulary 62
Grammar 58
Reading 52
合計 255

I was expecting to get basically the same score so I'm really surprised by the large shifts in the sub-scores. It does kind of make sense though since I've let my reading habit slip but become an anime addict since last time.

*In the interests of full disclosure I should say that I took some of the listening twice because of internet problems. I don't really think it helped much but I did change my answer to one question I got twice so it's not nothing.
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Over 3 tests it's gone like
Code:
Listening   49  46  56
Vocabulary  45  16  47
Grammar     44  36  41
Reading     38  47  x
(something went wrong with the reading section this time)

I'm sure I've improved more than that really.
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I passed the N1 two years ago and essentially stopped studying, but I got a full-time translator gig last month, so I thought I'd use this to identify what to work on.

Listening     77
Vocabulary  66
Grammar    84
Reading      79
Total         306

I had to step away from the computer and couldn't answer three of the listening questions, which skewed it a bit. Very rusty with vocabulary. I probably got tricked by several of the "look at the underlined word in this sentence; now, which one of the very similar words in these four sentences is a synonym?" questions. Grammar was easy until I got to the end and it hit me with classical structures I don't remember studying at all, and reading was the same - mostly easy-to-skim article summaries until the end, when I was confronted with textual nightmares laden with unreadable place names. 
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I've taken the test three times so far:


2015 January
Listening     59
Vocabulary  63
Grammar     57
Reading       53
Total            232

2016 May
Listening     77 (+18)
Vocabulary  58 (-5)
Grammar     65 (+8)
Reading       68 (+15)
Total            268

2017 May
Listening     72 (-5)
Vocabulary  53 (-5)
Grammar     59 (-6)
Reading       72 (+4)
Total            256

I'm not sure how much I can trust this test, as my Japanese has been improving a lot over the past year (especially production now that I speak and write every day). Vocabulary dropping a bit was to be expected after having dropped Anki the past couple of months, but I've read and listened to more Japanese than I ever did in my life.

I wonder how well this will transfer to the JLPT N1 in December.
Edited: 2017-06-02, 10:30 pm
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Just took the jcat today. It is obvious that I have regressed since I took a break from my studies.

Code:
Listening   37  25  28
Vocabulary  11  15  7
Grammar     0  33  24
Reading     26  15  11

Total scores:
Code:
74  88  70

Here is a spreadsheet of my jcat history with charts.

The only thing that surprises me really is that my listening actually went up since the 2nd time I took the jcat. The only Japanese related thing I do these days is listen to jrock and podcasts so that might have something to do with it.
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So, I took the J-Cat again after half a year. I last took in on January 16th this year.

My scores:
Listening: 70 (+1)
Vocabulary: 49 (+4)
Grammar: 43 (+2)
Reading: 59 (+5)
-- Overall: 221 (+12)

Gonna post some thoughts in the intermediate thread soon, but I wanted to post the results here as well (so I'll have an easier time finding them next time around Smile )
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Code:
           2016-01 2016-07 2017-07
Listening   26      41      48
Vocabulary  40      45      45
Grammar     38      29      36
Reading     35      30      42
Total       139     145     171

I decided to write my J-CAT scores on this thread so that I have a convenient place to check them. 

I do have some issues with the JCAT exam. But as long as it keeps on telling me that I'm improving, I'll keep on taking it Big Grin
Edited: 2017-07-23, 1:13 pm
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Code:
            03/20    09/04
Listening    50    45 (-5)
Vocab        40    57 (+17)
Grammar        38    54 (+16)
Reading        48    40 (-8)
Total        176    196 (+20)

For whatever reason they allowed me to take the test (with the same e-mail) 5 months, 14 days after the first go.  In those 167 days I spent between 2 and 4 hours per day studying or engaging with Japanese for purpose of learning, including 2 months leading up to today having one italki hour-long casual conversation per day.  The first time I was level Wanikani level 22, today I'm 39.  I've read almost every day, and listened to podcasts 5-days/week on my way to work.  I only missed 1 week of conversation group.

This sucks...

probably 200 hours of conversation, and another 100 of listening to spoken Japanese and my score went backwards five points.  I would definitely understand that my focus on reading is somewhat less than it was before the first test, but I'm still doing *some* reading every day.  I don't know what happened and I'm losing some faith in this test...

So I was considering skipping N3 and going straight for N2 this year.  I still have 90 days of studying left until the test, do y'all think I can make it?  Is there anything else I should consider before making that decision?
Edited: 2017-09-03, 12:51 pm
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(2017-09-03, 12:49 pm)StellaTerra Wrote: So I was considering skipping N3 and going straight for N2 this year.  I still have 90 days of studying left until the test, do y'all think I can make it?  Is there anything else I should consider before making that decision?

I would say you should try a mock exam for N2 (and N3, for that matter) and see how you do on them. I like the ゼッタイ合格! books for good (and multiple) mock exams. There are also the official mock exams, but there's only one for each level.

Anyway, try a mock exam for N2 and see how you do on it; if you don't pass or aren't close to passing, and you really want to pass whichever test you decide to go for, I'd say go for the N3.
You could also take an N3 mock exam and see how easy it is to decide whether it's worth sitting that test or if you'd rather take the N2 and have lower chances / more work ahead of you for the next three months.

As for your JCAT scores, judging by my own experiences and what others have said, it doesn't take a large change in the number of questions you get right to cause a big score decrease (5 to 8 points less); you might have only missed one question for those. This is probably a problem with adaptive test in general, and since the length of the test is somewhat short for this kind of test (considering the number of categories it's testing), the accuracy of the score (ability to reliably give the same measure multiple times) is probably lower than you'd expect.
If you're seeing results in real life, then it's fine.
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(2017-09-03, 1:45 pm)sholum Wrote:
(2017-09-03, 12:49 pm)StellaTerra Wrote: So I was considering skipping N3 and going straight for N2 this year.  I still have 90 days of studying left until the test, do y'all think I can make it?  Is there anything else I should consider before making that decision?

I would say you should try a mock exam for N2 (and N3, for that matter) and see how you do on them. I like the ゼッタイ合格! books for good (and multiple) mock exams. There are also the official mock exams, but there's only one for each level.

Anyway, try a mock exam for N2 and see how you do on it; if you don't pass or aren't close to passing, and you really want to pass whichever test you decide to go for, I'd say go for the N3.
You could also take an N3 mock exam and see how easy it is to decide whether it's worth sitting that test or if you'd rather take the N2 and have lower chances / more work ahead of you for the next three months.

As for your JCAT scores, judging by my own experiences and what others have said, it doesn't take a large change in the number of questions you get right to cause a big score decrease (5 to 8 points less); you might have only missed one question for those. This is probably a problem with adaptive test in general, and since the length of the test is somewhat short for this kind of test (considering the number of categories it's testing), the accuracy of the score (ability to reliably give the same measure multiple times) is probably lower than you'd expect.
If you're seeing results in real life, then it's fine.

The JLPT also offers sample questions for each level here: http://www.jlpt.jp/e/samples/forlearners.html.

I would start by assessing how easy (or not) N3 is for you right now. My understanding is that there's a big jump in difficulty between N3 and N2.
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(2017-09-03, 12:49 pm)StellaTerra Wrote: This sucks...

probably 200 hours of conversation, and another 100 of listening to spoken Japanese and my score went backwards five points.  I would definitely understand that my focus on reading is somewhat less than it was before the first test, but I'm still doing *some* reading every day.  I don't know what happened and I'm losing some faith in this test...

So I was considering skipping N3 and going straight for N2 this year.  I still have 90 days of studying left until the test, do y'all think I can make it?  Is there anything else I should consider before making that decision?

J-CAT's scores are a little fuzzy because it's an adaptive test. It tries to maximize its understanding of where you are, skill-wise, in the fewest questions possible.

All four times I took the J-CAT, except for the third time, my listening and grammar scores with basically right under 50/100, despite the fact that those aspects of my understanding of Japanese were getting much more fluent. In both cases it got a lot easier to hit that 50% every time I took the test, so barely improving on listening/grammar on the J-CAT near the 50% level doesn't mean a lot, what really matters is how easy it was to get that score.

Vocabulary knowledge also basically controls how well you'll maximally be able to do in the other categories, so...
Edited: 2017-09-03, 11:36 pm
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(2017-09-03, 1:45 pm)sholum Wrote: I would say you should try a mock exam for N2 (and N3, for that matter) and see how you do on them. I like the ゼッタイ合格! books for good (and multiple) mock exams. There are also the official mock exams, but there's only one for each level.

Anyway, try a mock exam for N2 and see how you do on it; if you don't pass or aren't close to passing, and you really want to pass whichever test you decide to go for, I'd say go for the N3.
You could also take an N3 mock exam and see how easy it is to decide whether it's worth sitting that test or if you'd rather take the N2 and have lower chances / more work ahead of you for the next three months.

As for your JCAT scores, judging by my own experiences and what others have said, it doesn't take a large change in the number of questions you get right to cause a big score decrease (5 to 8 points less); you might have only missed one question for those. This is probably a problem with adaptive test in general, and since the length of the test is somewhat short for this kind of test (considering the number of categories it's testing), the accuracy of the score (ability to reliably give the same measure multiple times) is probably lower than you'd expect.
If you're seeing results in real life, then it's fine.


The problem that I run into a lot with the mock exams is how to grade them.  Because of the uber complicated way the actual test is graded (each question is individually curved) I can find out how many of the questions I got right on the practice exam, but I have no idea what that correlates to in terms of score on the real thing.  My idea up to now was do use that J-CAT to do that assessment for me... ;_;

Real life results are obviously the end-goal, but it's incredibly hard to use them to identify capacity in terms of the JLPT.

Thanks for the encouragement and feedback!

(2017-09-03, 11:35 pm)wareya Wrote: J-CAT's scores are a little fuzzy because it's an adaptive test. It tries to maximize its understanding of where you are, skill-wise, in the fewest questions possible.

All four times I took the J-CAT, except for the third time, my listening and grammar scores with basically right under 50/100, despite the fact that those aspects of my understanding of Japanese were getting much more fluent. In both cases it got a lot easier to hit that 50% every time I took the test, so barely improving on listening/grammar on the J-CAT near the 50% level doesn't mean a lot, what really matters is how easy it was to get that score.

Vocabulary knowledge also basically controls how well you'll maximally be able to do in the other categories, so...

I studied grammar pretty directly, pretty hard, so it wasn't a surprise to me that I gained so much in that category.  It's encouraging to hear that other's listening didn't budge either.  Maybe this is some limitation of the test, like there's one or two maybe misgraded questions that are blocking our way or something...

Well... I had the biggest gains in vocabulary, and little wonder with how much time I've put into Wanikani.  Are you saying you think the vocab grade is the most salient to JLPT performance?  I'm thinking about dumping a bunch of time into novel reading... is that a bad idea, I wonder...

It's really hard to know what to do with this information and other people's thoughts/opinions.  Do you think this tells me anything about what/how to study?
Edited: 2017-09-04, 10:23 am
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(2017-09-04, 10:18 am)StellaTerra Wrote: The problem that I run into a lot with the mock exams is how to grade them. Because of the uber complicated way the actual test is graded (each question is individually curved) I can find out how many of the questions I got right on the practice exam, but I have no idea what that correlates to in terms of score on the real thing. My idea up to now was do use that J-CAT to do that assessment for me... ;_;

Another reason I recommend the ゼッタイ合格! books; they include a rubric which, while not being the actual 'how many people got this question right' rubric of the test, gives a pretty good approximation by assigning different point levels to each question type. They provide a table for you to fill in to make calculations a little quicker.

The correct answers are also listed in a table just before the answer explanations for each test (which also includes transcripts for the audio portion), which makes grading your mock exam a lot quicker as well. The answer explanations aren't the best in the world, but they're really nice for a mock exam book.


"Now, after the initial pitch, I'd love to do an in-home demonstration of this miracle product; won't take ten minutes. After you see how much this amazing product frees up your day, you won't be able to imagine a world without it. The husband will be happy to spend this small asking price, I'm sure, if it's to help out the lovely housewife."
Oh wait, I'm a few years off there:
"But wait! There's more! Order now and you could get TWO of this amazing product for just $19.99 (just add s&h)! Call in the next ten minutes and we'll throw in a special bonus gift!"

Quote:Do you think this tells me anything about what/how to study?
Usually the scores that are the lowest are the one you'd want to focus on, IMO, but you certainly wouldn't be wasting your time if you were to do some reading. I'd recommend reading material that's similar to what will be on the test, but I don't exactly do that myself (and I've failed the N1 twice, so take that whichever way you'd like); if you can read quickly enough so that you have plenty of time to answer each question, it'll help you avoid missing questions you otherwise could have gotten.

The listening portion of the test is generally the easiest; less vocab, less complicated grammar, generally very steady, unrealistic speech. Considering your current and previous scores along with that, I'd suggest you spend the least time on listening. This doesn't mean none at all, though; I think you should spend enough time on it that you don't get caught unawares.

The vocab and grammar portions of the test are more a matter of answering the types of questions they're going to throw at you; so again, I wouldn't completely ignore them. You can decide how much you need to practice these question types based on how difficult you find them.

And again, the reading portion is the killer for N2 and N1 (IIRC it's still separate at N3). If you can't read quickly enough to finish the test, that's a whole bunch of bubbles you'll just have to guess on. I'd suggest being able to comfortably finish the test so that you have time to go back to any earlier questions you might have rushed past. Some people even suggest doing the reading portion first, then going back to the language knowledge portion.

I know that doesn't really answer your question directly, but I hope this can push you towards figuring out what you need on your own. I don't think anyone except you (and maybe your teacher, if you have one) can know these things beyond your test scores.
Edited: 2017-09-04, 12:00 pm
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(2017-09-04, 10:18 am)StellaTerra Wrote: I'm thinking about dumping a bunch of time into novel reading... is that a bad idea, I wonder...
Like sholum says, at N2 and N1 the reading test is generally the most significant part (it's a lot of points, and if you can handle reading you pretty much have to have enough grammar and vocab ability to cope with the other sections; reading practice will reinforce vocab and grammar too). I think for JLPT reading practice comes in two parts. First, you want enough extensive reading practice to be generally fast and fluent at it. By 'extensive' here I mean aiming to be able to read at a reasonable rate with good understanding, ie without having to stop to look things up, and developing comfort with the idea of the occasional educated guess. For this I think you just want whatever you enjoy reading enough to keep putting the time in, so novels are fine. Secondly you want some practice with the sort of non-fiction essay that the JLPT focuses on, so some newpaper opinion columns and some JPLT practice book work, but you don't need to put in too many hours on this if editorials aren't what you enjoy reading. The allotted time in the JLPT is not generous, so you do need that speed. (I got 60/60 on the JPLT N1 reading section, so this method worked for me, although the time I spent on the "just general reading" phase was admittedly about five years...)

I second the ゼッタイ合格 recommendation for mock test books.
Edited: 2017-09-04, 2:38 pm
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I have taken J-CAT three times.  The first two times were six months apart, and I definitely remembered some of the content from the prior attempt.  So I waited a year to take it the third time.

Code:
        3/2016    9/2016    8/2017
Listening    54    ?    71
Vocabulary    47    ?    50
Grammar        34    ?    59
Reading        52    ?    55
Total        187    203    235

(Somehow I lost my score report from last year.  I only remember the total.)

I took JLPT N2 in December 2016 and failed.  My score was a 73.  I will try again this year.
Edited: 2017-09-04, 2:45 pm
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(2017-09-04, 10:18 am)StellaTerra Wrote: Well... I had the biggest gains in vocabulary, and little wonder with how much time I've put into Wanikani.  Are you saying you think the vocab grade is the most salient to JLPT performance?  I'm thinking about dumping a bunch of time into novel reading... is that a bad idea, I wonder...

It's really hard to know what to do with this information and other people's thoughts/opinions.  Do you think this tells me anything about what/how to study?

I wouldn't say that. These tests don't have the time to test for thousands of words. They normally filter out "important" vocabulary words from different increasingly advanced levels and test those instead. These become what represent "textbook vocabulary".

引用, 引退, and 衛星 are not "top 10000" common words in the grand scheme of everyday conversations and fiction writing, but to someone learning Japanese in the highly methodical news-focused or commerce-focused way that these tests are biased towards, they're words they're going to learn naturally long before you reach N1.

What matters vocabulary wise is that your comprehension of everything in a test is limited by your vocabulary. Your listening comprehension, reading comprehension, ability to understand grammar examples (less, but still), etc. This is probably most critical for listening comprehension.

If the listening comprehension questions get more difficult both in complexity and subject matter, then you need to improve both verbal awareness and vocabulary to get higher listening scores. And because these are tests, if you're not fluent, reading a lot might not be enough, because it's not measuring your vocabulary in general, it's measuring how much of its vocabulary you know.
Edited: 2017-09-09, 3:56 am
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(2017-09-09, 3:55 am)wareya Wrote: [quote pid='246850' dateline='1504538294']
What matters vocabulary wise is that your comprehension of everything in a test is limited by your vocabulary. Your listening comprehension, reading comprehension, ability to understand grammar examples (less, but still), etc. This is probably most critical for listening comprehension.

[/quote]

This^.  I'm studying for the December 2017 N4, and I realized long ago that the single most important thing is vocabulary, especially in the listening part.  That's why I'm focusing a lot of my study time on studying vocabulary.
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wareya Wrote:What matters vocabulary wise is that your comprehension of everything in a test is limited by your vocabulary. Your listening comprehension, reading comprehension, ability to understand grammar examples (less, but still), etc. This is probably most critical for listening comprehension.

phil321 Wrote:This^.  I'm studying for the December 2017 N4, and I realized long ago that the single most important thing is vocabulary, especially in the listening part.  That's why I'm focusing a lot of my study time on studying vocabulary.

I just want to throw out my own experience with this. I passed N4 in 2014 (I think). All that I remember is that I breezed through the vocabulary and kanji sections and got an "A". And then I think it was all downhill from there. I think got a "B" on grammar, and felt like I only squeaked through listening and reading.

I failed N3 the next year (I think). My experience was similar in that vocabulary was my best score, and then "it all went downhill from there" again. Although this time I only got a "B" on vocabulary, and was utterly clueless when it came to reading and listening.

Around that time I switched from JLPT to J-CAT. J-CAT also pointed out a big difference in my language skills between vocabulary on the one hand, and listening / reading on the other hand.

The tests showed me that I had difficulty processing large blocks of text, or following a spoken conversation between natives. There was some magic going on there besides just pulling out individual words that I was missing.

I started consciously trying to reduce the vocabulary I add to anki, and instead spend more time reading and listening. I did this for a year, and was able to increase my reading and listening scores quite a bit. 

So while I agree that "if you don't have the vocabulary, you're screwed", I also recommend making time for reading and listening as well. In my case, for listening I made it a point to watch one episode of anime a week on crunchyroll. (I watched it first without subtitles, and then a second time with subtitles). I then also read the manga that corresponded to the anime for reading practice. (And I also continued to read NHK Easy News).

Hope this helps.
Edited: 2017-09-10, 10:07 am
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