Post-N2

So I got home after the JLPT a few days ago. Haven’t really studied since the N2 and decided this month will be mining month. A bit more explanation on that in a later post, maybe.

  • Organization

The event was more poorly organized than in previous years and the supervisors were kinda bitchy. Only 30 people were taking the N2, as opposed to the dozens at the lower levels. Maybe we were expected to have taken the test before so they were not willing to be more ok with mistakes? Dunno. Either way, they left a poor impression and a few people were taking the JLPT for the first time so it must’ve been that much harder on them. The audio was low quality and it kept vibrating badly at every syllable from the さしすせそ line, which didn’t help. I really hate how whenever I go to the JLPT people make us feel like criminals; they even went though my napkins to make sure I didn’t have any notes on them, and someone lost their sim card with the whole “remove your battery” affair…

  • 語彙

Ugh. I made at least a few  mistakes. One was out of sheer exam anxiety (I’ve seen 収穫 so many times, how could I forget the kanji?) one was a word I had encountered enough to sound familiar but I’d completely forgotten its use (as much as I love onomatopoeia it’s always hard to tell them apart. ). A few questions made me scratch my head as I was sure that more than a few results would’ve worked(especially on the “choose the sentence that is most fitting with this word” part, but that might be my lack of training with with subtle differences. For the most part, ok, either way. Exam anxiety was my worst enemy with this one (and the fact that I had to do everything quickly).

  • 文法

Surprisingly OK. I’m still not sure why. Grammar is one of my weaker points (not grammar per se; I can understand the grammar points, but having to choose between them based on a theoretical analysis gets to me. ). Aside from the scrambled sentences. God I hate the scrambled sentences. I’ll never get the hang of those. Maybe if I work more on my production?

  • 読解

I have mixed feelings. Reading the texts was surprisingly easy and quick. I had little issue grasping the main points and with a few exceptions I didn’t have issues with any individual sentences either. It was a pleasant surprise. My reading speed was also really good and I ended up finishing 15-20 minutes early. Unfortunately, I don’t think it went so well with answering the questions, and with at least 2-3 I couldn’t even make an educated guess; they all felt wrong, or too many answers felt acceptable. All in all, waaay better than i would’ve thought. Unfortunately since I tend to doubt myself too much I didn’t go through my answers, as I tend to erase the correct answer due to doubt and replace it with the wrong one. Kind of a bummer since the moment I left the room a few correct answers hit me…

  • 聴解

Ugh. I knew this was my greatest weakness but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. Everything with 社長 in it was an instant fail I think. I actually took notes for all the questions, but when the answer came on I’d realize I took notes of the wrong things. Due to the bad audio quality I couldn’t focus on individual sounds too well so I didn’t understand what they were saying. Aside from audio quality, often the speech was simply to quick and abrupt for me. As in previous years it was hard to concentrate and had a few moments of spacing out, but it wasn’t as bad as the N4, where I spaced out for 15 minutes at least. I did like the fact that they mentioned which point number it was before every sentence (e.g. part 2, question 7), which I don’t recall happening in previous years (definitely didn’t happen at the N5 where I accidentally skipped a question on the answer sheet which messed up the entire section). I definitely need more work with this.

  • Overall

Most failures came from my own exam anxiety + rush + not practicing enough JLPT type questions. It really showed that I focused more on learning than on practicing. I think I need to hit the workbooks, as boring as that is. I’ve spent very little time with textbooks, and what time I did spend with a textbook was mostly reading it. Maybe I should go to school every now and then and do boring workbook exercises. I never feel as if they do much for me, but it’s clear that I need to work on this aspect.

I need more listening practice, cleaaarly. And more concentration practice (笑), but I already knew that. Jpod 101 lessons just aren’t cutting it. I really have no idea where to begin on this one… I worked on sub2srs and jpod 101, I tend to space out during all podcasts, especially all-Japanese ones, I dunno. I’ll have to think about this.

I also need to find a way to figure out the scrambled words part. Production might help? I have no idea how to go about it.

What I did like: I knew almost all the words on the written test. Aside from that one problematic one in the vocab section, and things when it came to nuance&context, I didn’t stop once throughout the whole exam to wonder what a word might mean. Not once. I consider that an uber-win. Same goes for the listening part, at least where I managed to understand what they were saying.

I did breeze through the reading section. Last year I couldn’t focus on individual lines, couldn’t grasp the meanings from seeing the words, etc. Sure, the questions got to me but the texts themselves were fairly easy. I rarely even had to double-read a sentence to get it. I did lose concentration towards the end, but it wasn’t the Japanese so much as my low attention span (笑). Great ego boost here as well.

I didn’t expect the grammar section to be so easy (scrambled words aside), especially since I consider grammar my weakest point aside from listening.

So yeah, all in all though I’m not sure if I pass I feel pretty good about myself.

  • The Future

I really should hit the workbooks and more school-like tests. Must find some way to get motivated enough to do that (no matter how much I say I’ll hit the textbooks I have a really hard time getting to that for some reason…). I think I should also find a way to figure out the nuances for words, but I’m not sure how to do that yet. When I encounter them in native material or in SRS sentences it’s hard to remember that feel, and though I get it when I read it, it’s hard to point it out in a crowd, and probably even harder in production.

I really should get to working on production.

I should read more. If reading a single book in its entirety has helped me this much with the reading, I really should motivate myself to go through a few more. And maybe aim higher than graphic novels.

Either way, N2 was a personal success for me, though it might turn out to be a fail on paper. I think I’m going to aim for the N1 now. But for now, it’s mining time. I recently started reading Haruki Murakami’s Underground 2, and I encounter lots of unknown words on the very first page. Unfortunately I’ve yet to manage to find a dictionary that has those words =/. So maybe finding a better dictionary should also be on my list.

Either way. This was an ok year.

Edit: Got my hand on some answer sheets. As far as I can remeber I think I did mostly ok, but with some rather expected mistakes. Can’t remember most of it though. I haaaaate the wait till the results come in >.<

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