Planning for the JLPT? Learn about the new JLPT test levels N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5. The JLPT is a goal for many students of the Japanese language - whether for university entrance, a job in Japan, or just personal motivation.
I'm quite new here & I'm interested in taking the JLPT in Atlanta, Georgia eventually.
My question is in regards to how well this site alone can prepare you for the JLPT.
Theoretically, if I were to take every single lesson provided on this website from Newbie to Upper Intermediate, how prepared would I be to take the JLPT test?
Assume I complete Newbie, and the entire Beginner section - does that prepare me with enough knowledge to take the JLPT 4 test, etc, etc?
I'm just curious as to how much this site and the lessons provided will prepare me in my long-term goal of taking some of the JLPT tests before I pour my heart and soul into spending the time to study and absorb every single lesson (the lessons are brilliant, by the way). This site offers practice JLPT tests but is one of the goals of the site specifically for preparing you for the levels of the JLPT? Can it prepare you by itself for at least the JLPT 4, or should I be supplementing with something else?
Seeing as I live in Tennessee where no one's even heard of the word "Japanese" and Atlanta is many, many hours away, I don't exactly have classes to attend, but I do have an excellent work ethic assuming what I'm doing will help me obtain my goal realistically.
First of all greetings and welcome to JPod101. We're a small community here on the forum, but there are a few very knowledgeable (and active) people here who are glad to offer their time to help you. You've chosen an amazing language and I hope you're able to get a lot out of it!
As a rule of thumb, relying on any one single source exclusively is a bad plan for long term studies, however it is undeniable that JPod is a helpful resource-- I've practiced with listening comprehension questions from all four levels of the JLPT, and I can vouch that even some of the lower intermediate dialogues approach the complexity of recent JLPT 2 listening exams. However, there is a big gap between aural learning and the level of reading you are expected to have reached, so unless you're using the PDFs extensively, studying the writing system, and using additional grammar guides, you may still find the tests a bit out of your reach. I think it's a pretty safe bet to say if you were to work your way through the beginner and lower intermediate podcasts, you would have little trouble passing the JLPT4, and with some further reading practice (you'll likely be fine with listening/vocabulary), you shouldn't have too much difficulty with JLPT3. If you go above that, special study regimens are a must.
This is good news. I know for certain I'd like to get past the JLPT 4 & 3 tests. I'm taking a "lets see how it goes" approach to the last two tests. My big plan inevitably is to get out of here and move to Tokyo, and I have several English speaking friends in Tokyo, some of which who don't speak Japanese at all and are able to get by fine. Apparently Tokyo has so much English in it that it's possible to survive there without being 100% fluent in Japanese. But I wanted to do something better than that, and I wanted to avoid those tough situations where I might need the knowledge. Not to mention I feel it polite and proper to learn the language of the people if I'm going to be living in their country!
Seeing as it would be beneficial for me to supplement what I take in from this site with something else, my next question is if there are any products that can be recommended for me? As I said, there's no classes available around here. I've looked extensively. Finding resources in stores is also close to impossible, so perhaps someone out there has knowledge of some program I could find and purchase online that would accompany what JPod101 is offering.
Chizuru wrote:Seeing as it would be beneficial for me to supplement what I take in from this site with something else, my next question is if there are any products that can be recommended for me? As I said, there's no classes available around here. I've looked extensively. Finding resources in stores is also close to impossible, so perhaps someone out there has knowledge of some program I could find and purchase online that would accompany what JPod101 is offering.
Shadowing Great technique that will benefit your listening skills as well as train your accent and intonation. If you can make it a 10 minute a day habit, your accent will be impeccable by the time you think about taking JLPT2+.
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar This is pretty much the Japanese grammar bible. If you read a JPod PDF and get stuck on the grammar point, this book goes into a lot of depth, and also clarifies the confusion between similar expressions, which will soon be giving you a headache!
Heisig's Remembering the Kanji Arguably the best book to tear down the kanji barrier. You can read the reviews on Amazon or search the forum if you want to learn more about it.
Anki Hands down the most powerful tool I use for learning to read and remembering vocabulary. You can start adding sentences from the PDFs so you can learn vocabulary in context. You really start making leaps and bounds with this after finishing Heisig, since there is no limit to what kanji you can include.
The Mixxer Easy way to find yourself a Japanese person learning English so you can start a language exchange. Perhaps something you'll want to start considering in the coming months when you can start constructing some sentences.
iPod touch Organise all your podcasts, Japanese videos and music, type Japanese, get an electronic dictionary app, iAnki, and all sorts of other useful beginner apps.
With the right attitude and the right resources, you can afford to set your sights a bit higher than what you think. JLPT4 might be a good way to give yourself direction, but I wouldn't let it completely dictate your studies. It only covers something like 90 kanji, which means a lot of learners end up spending a year becoming proficient with them, when you could spend six months memorising 2000 with Heisig, and the following six months learning to read hundreds of them with Anki. It's really not all that time-consuming either, in relative terms (30 minutes a day for decent progress, an hour and you'd be sailing). I'd definitely look into it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to organize that list of products for me. That was incredibly, incredibly kind of you - I certainly wasn't expecting anything like that. I'll look into all of them for sure! I want to ensure myself success, so I'll definitely be bookmarking and purchasing everything you've enlisted. If I have faith that I have the right tools then I'm certainly a lot more motivated to succeed and set my goal higher. If you recommend all these then I definitely trust your judgment enough to invest in them and give them a try!
The Mixxer looks very interesting - along with everything else you provided. I use Skype frequently and was actually recently looking for something like this. So I'll definitely be using it as well, I'm sure!
Thank you again. You all are awesome and very helpful!
Glad to help. You definitely seems you have the right attitude. As you progress, you'll find that keeping yourself motivated is one of the best ways to make progress. You'll also be happy to know that there are intermediate and advanced additions of the dictionary I mentioned to help you along the way. Another way to review that people have said good things about is smart.fm, so you might want to check that out as well. Remember, I've just given you my personal recommendations, so feel free to go and try whatever keeps you interested and helps you progress!
Chizuru wrote:Seeing as I live in Tennessee where no one's even heard of the word "Japanese" and Atlanta is many, many hours away, I don't exactly have classes to attend, but I do have an excellent work ethic assuming what I'm doing will help me obtain my goal realistically.
You're joking!!! I lived in Nashville for about 10 years and there's a lot of Japanese people near Vanderbilt. Also in Smrnya near the Nissan plant.
I've mentioned elsewhere on here that while I think japanesepod is a great resource for actually learning to understand and speak Japanese, I'm not sure it's structured that well for the JLPT (although I think the structure of more recent lessons has been oriented a little better towards the JLPT). And while the JLPT is a good framework to motivate and structure your own studies, I'm not sure it's necessarily the best way of learning to understand and speak Japanese.
Mind you, I haven't actually taken the JLPT. But I have taken a load of past papers and I would comfortably pass levels 4 and 3. I got to that stage by learning kana, then using Minna no Nihongo, and then the Kanzen Master series, using japanesepod to reinforce my learning while out jogging.
I only recently started using Heisig, but I wish I had done it from the start, and would definitely recommend it (and this site, which I don't think Javizy mentioned). And I'd also endorse Anki. I'd also love to give Shadowing a proper go, but I don't really have the time. I've given it a bit of a go - just trying to shadow the podcasts or any other Japanese I happen to hear and it really does feel like it's helping a lot.
Another free site I'd recommended for drilling kanji/vocab for JLPT is http://www.readthekanji.com. Although still in beta, it works very well, and the developer is making various tweaks to improve it all the time.
I use smart.fm and anki too, but I find readthekanji the most addictive of them all!
I saw that somebody just posted a link to Anki, which I think is a really neat program.
I would also recommend smart.fm, as a great place to build up a core vocabulary of Japanese words. The core 2000 and core 6000 (the 4000 after the first 2000) are very professionally done, with great voice acting. The site is completely free, and very user-friendly. It is the kind of site you find and wish you had known about several years earlier! (Kinda like this one)
Myself, I am going to try for lvl 1 this december, (with the assumption of failing in style), and hopefully passing the test a year after that.
As for other material,: I find David Vee's 'The Kanji Handbook' to offer an interesting system for coping with the Joyo Kanji.
I would also recommend any book by Kodansha for focusing on small, interesting topics. These books used to be published under the 'power Japanese' title.