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JLPT N1, can it be done from scratch, or am I insane?

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.

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barthezz
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JLPT N1, can it be done from scratch, or am I insane?

Postby barthezz » April 20th, 2010 3:19 pm

Hey guys,

Im planing on doing my JLPT N1 in December, im starting from scratch (mostly), and i will be averaging 6¬7 hours minimum a day (not counting a few hours during work hours whenever possible depending on the work load) + 15 (or more) hours during weekends/holidays (2 days off a week, so about 30 to 40 hours during weekends, not counting public holidays/leave days off work)

i know this kinda sounds insane (i dont know... is it?), i will be starting in 5 days (i have a few things to take care of before i start), i will be studying on my own (as i do not think there are any institutes that can help me up at the pace i want to go on, especially that im starting from scratch).

I have alot of japanese anime and movies (to help with the listening practice), I can download/buy japanese manga to help with the reading ability, i have a few Kanji apps on my iphone (kanji list and a kanji dictionary), and i have access to Japanesepod101.

I do not live in japan (i live in Dubai, UAE), however i can emerse myself into japanese as much as possible (play jrock and jpop music in the car, and lsn to jpod101 when i go swimming), also i can ask 2 of my friends (who r japanese) to help me when possible/needed.

so, what do u guys think? is it doable? or impossible?

Javizy
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Postby Javizy » April 20th, 2010 6:35 pm

I did hear of one guy on RevTK who managed to pass the old Level 1 after about six months after studying a similar amount to what you're planning. I think the pass rate was 50%, whereas N1 is 70%, so I think it may well be impossible now.

Anyway, if you want to stand any chance, you need to order Heisig's Remembering the Kanji and get through it as quickly as possible. See my post here. You'll need some sort of beginner textbook to get you going with grammar. After that, you can use something like Kanzen Master to learn the higher levels. You'll find premade spreadsheets that you can import into anki to help you review grammar.

You might get some good advice if you post at the RevTK forum, but getting through Heisig should be your number one priority.

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barthezz
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Postby barthezz » April 20th, 2010 7:49 pm

thanks for the quick reply m8, I thought they havent announced the minimum acceptable scores just yet.

also, how do you think i should go about starting from scratch? like in what order should i do things? ex.:

1. do the kana
2. do basic Kanji
3. start with grammer and continue doing kanji
4. work on listening skills, more kanji and do previous (perhaps obselete) JLPT N1 test/examples
.... etc

im trying to stream line everything as much as possible, and will probably spend almost every waking hour studying (no messing around, no life (or so ppl would say so... lol)), also i might consider going back on uberman sleep (done it for 3 months and loved it during my final project @ uni a few years back) if needed, netting me about 15 hours or a bit more of study time during weekdays and 21¬22 hours during weekends (im kinda weird like that... when i put my mind into somthing, i have to go through with it... even if the success chances r very slim, still worth a try, cuz having a goal like doing the JLPT lv.1 will push me harder, and i tend to work better under pressure XD lol).

also please give me any tips that u think might help me up along the way (no matter how hard it is), like i need to learn X amount of basic Kanji a day and X amount of advanced Kanji a day, X amount of vocab, should i focus on Onyomi or Kunyomi or should i focus on both equally?... etc

another thing is, as far as i remember the Joyo Kanji r the important ones (1945?) or do we need to also learn the Jinmeiyo Kanji (2900+) aswell now? i dont see how they can make the N1 any harder than previous year, as it already had all the joyo kanji as a requirement along with 10,000 vocab, i might be wrong though, if any1 knows the answer, please let me know, as it ll help me up big time.

thanks in advance all.

PS. I apolagize in advance if im asking way too many questions, its just i want 2 go on the right path, instead of realizing a mistake/missed somthing important when its too late and when im almost out of time.

amost
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Postby amost » April 20th, 2010 10:08 pm

Do kana first. You'll find alot of programs online (or iphone apps I assume) for flash card things for that. Once you have kana down, study kanji and grammar at the same time. You could go all out on Kanji, but that's too tedious I think.

Along with the book remembering the kanji, sign up for this site:
http://kanji.koohii.com/

It's like a wiki-type page for remembering the kanji where people can upload their own kanji "stories" for remembering, and visitors can vote them up or down, so you'll always get the most memorable ones at the top.

Oh also, there has recently been an extension on the jouyou kanji set. I have a feeling the new NX tests will require those...

Javizy
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Postby Javizy » April 20th, 2010 11:45 pm

You learn how to write and recognise 2042 kanji with RTK. With the time you have, it can be done in a matter of weeks (the average is 3-6 months on a normal schedule). Then you learn to read with SRS vocabulary flashcards (no need to learn readings separately). I do 30 new cards a day, which totals over 10,000 words a year. With reviews included it takes about 30-40 minutes. If you spend 90-120 minutes SRSing you'll know more than enough words by December.

So learn kana and get through Heisig as quick as you can so kanji is essentially out of the way.

amost
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Postby amost » April 21st, 2010 12:56 am

Also, learn to love smart.fm
Core 2000 series and Core 6000 series goals.

barthezz
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Postby barthezz » April 21st, 2010 5:50 am

thanks guys, u r gr8, i donno wat i would do without u :), if u have anymore stuff plz just add it up whenever u can think of it :)

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Postby lazer85 » April 23rd, 2010 12:30 pm

I don't want to say its impossible, but your going to have to combine a natural talent for languages with insane concentration and efficiency. The fact that you would even consider watching anime makes me think you aren't going to pull it off. If you wanted to take 2 years maybe it would help but its going to be useless at this pace. It only helps retain stuff you learn, you won't learn a damn thing that way. You are going to have to not speak English from now until the time you take the test. Starting right now.


I think you should go for it by all means but it's not going to be as easy as you think, even if you realize it will be hard. I studied 75% as hard as that for 4 years (2 years immersion) and I'm just about ready to take the JLPT N1 in July. But I do have a terrible memory so you could probably beat me. Just don't feel discouraged if you fail and also realize that if you study alllll that material so fast, its going to fall right out of your head if you don't review it intensely afterwards as well.

Javizy
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Postby Javizy » April 23rd, 2010 8:11 pm

lazer85 wrote:I don't want to say its impossible, but your going to have to combine a natural talent for languages with insane concentration and efficiency. The fact that you would even consider watching anime makes me think you aren't going to pull it off. If you wanted to take 2 years maybe it would help but its going to be useless at this pace. It only helps retain stuff you learn, you won't learn a damn thing that way. You are going to have to not speak English from now until the time you take the test. Starting right now.

You mean now or later? He's going to need to practice listening, and anime is as good as anything else, assuming he sticks to something using language likely to be seen on the test (e.g. Death Note). Exposure in general is very valuable, but anime would be pretty useless without some sort of vocabulary and grammar base.

lazer85 wrote:I think you should go for it by all means but it's not going to be as easy as you think, even if you realize it will be hard. I studied 75% as hard as that for 4 years (2 years immersion) and I'm just about ready to take the JLPT N1 in July. But I do have a terrible memory so you could probably beat me. Just don't feel discouraged if you fail and also realize that if you study alllll that material so fast, its going to fall right out of your head if you don't review it intensely afterwards as well.

Anki will take care of the memory thing for just about anyone. I've done 4200 vocabulary cards since the start of November, and my retention rate is 93.8%. I took some breaks what with Christmas and all, and I'm generally not very consistent with reviewing. This means I lost time and failed cards that I left too long to remember, so it could potentially be a lot better with consistency.


I still think it's going to be near impossible. Even if you get all the grammar and vocabulary into your head with Anki, it still takes a lot of exposure until you're able to process the meaning of difficult sentences, especially during listening. If it actually tested any production, I'd say it would be impossible for sure.

There's also more to Japanese than N1. Even if you can pass the exam, if you don't learn everyday language, you'll still struggle to understand simple dialogue, and sound horribly unnatural in conversation (if you can converse at all). Anime is likely to still sound foreign to you at the end. I suppose with all of the grammar out of the way, you can learn at your leisure then.

katafei
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Postby katafei » August 12th, 2010 5:13 pm

How are things going so far?
If you PM me, I can give you a link to a site with all the old tests and MP3 files for the listening section.

pinkgrapefruit697347
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Postby pinkgrapefruit697347 » August 23rd, 2010 10:37 pm

It doesn't matter how much you use Anki, it's not going to help you with doukai. You will not pass the doukai section. Sorry to break it to you but it just takes time, reading comprehension can't be forced, read everything you can in Japanese and then try to write the test in 2014 and you might pass. BTW How come none of you ever comment in Japanese. :!: :?:

taffeta1067
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Postby taffeta1067 » September 20th, 2010 8:31 am

lazer85 wrote:I don't want to say its impossible, but your going to have to combine a natural talent for languages with insane concentration and efficiency. The fact that you would even consider watching anime makes me think you aren't going to pull it off.


Liking anime has nothing to do with your ability or otherwise to learn nor does it say whether or not you're serious about studying the language, the history or anything else. Anyone who's studied languages in a formal environment knows that ANY listening material in the native tongue is beneficial in many, many respects. If that happens to be anime, so be it. Balancing it with a range of other sources is best, of course - you can't just learn Japanese from watching anime. But you CAN use anime as a study aid to consolidate and to tune in your ear to speed and accent and if it helps, then it SHOULD be used, not discarded out of hand. Remember you can't learn this language simply from studying strictly for JLPT exams either...right?

Personally, I think studying for JLPT1 from scratch is difficult. I don't think it's impossible to learn all of the things you need to pass. However, it won't be stored in your long term memory. Like cramming for a test, you'll forget everything you've crammed in a short space of time.

When I took my Spanish A-level, I did it in a year - I don't remember most of my Spanish now, because it wasn't as deeply ingrained as my French. I did French for 9 years and can still read/write/understand/speak it (although it's been pushed to the back by my Japanese) because it's more in my long-term memory and therefore hasn't been forgotten.

Ironically that was actually useful to me recently since I can't read classical Japanese yet (I can only pick out bits of my copy of Heike Monogatari, and there isn't an English translation of the Hougen and Heiji Monogatari...>.>)

I'm not really bothered about N1 and even if I pass N2 this winter I'm not for sure going to take N1. I think JLPT provides a good framework for study, especially when you're mostly doing it by yourself, but that's really all it can do. I'm rather hoping more to return to university and do something more wide-ranging than a multiple choice test, since I want to be able to use the language properly.

Going back on point, if you do do it, good luck - but I think you'll find in the long run that it's a waste of your time and your money doing it that way. Also you lose the fun and interest of learning Japanese if you're just trying to absorb it all in a short space of time. Learning a language is about enjoying yourself and about branching out into other areas - such as the history, the culture, and yes, if you so wish, the anime and manga and TV dramas. Think why you're studying the subject in the first place...taking the exam should be a product of your interest and hard work, not the entire focus of your study plans.

There are no short cuts to learning a language fully and in depths - so take your time and have fun with it instead :)

choneb9359
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Re: JLPT N1, can it be done from scratch, or am I insane?

Postby choneb9359 » October 2nd, 2012 1:03 pm

Wow! That was a very intersting thread to read. Does anyone know what happened to him? I'm thinking of doing something similar but not as extreme. I tried learning the stuff really quickly as well (got through Minna no Nihongo 1 & 2 with a teacher), but then came back to study my masters in engineering and now forgotten a lot of stuff. I do agree that if you learn too fast and don't use it, you will definitely forget.
However, I will be completing my masters degree at the end of this, so I guess I'll have more time to study Japanese next year, perhaps try shoot for N2 at the end of next year. This is not my main aim though. I want to be able to use it like I use english (it's my second lanuage by the way, which is much better than Thai, my first language).
At the moment I am following the Nihongo Dojo from the very beginning to recapitulate on the grammar that I'd forgotten. I'm learning about 7-10 kanjis per day, along with my university work. Right now, I can read and write about 85 kanjis. I think the rate will increase after I finish my uni exam.

By the way, thanks to all of the information about the revision resources you guys mentioned above. I will have a look at them

Regards,
Chone

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Re: JLPT N1, can it be done from scratch, or am I insane?

Postby computergurujp3753 » January 17th, 2013 11:56 am

im going to be trying to pass the same test as you i see it this way why pass JLPT N5 when you can pass JLPT N1 and have even better chances of getting a job in Japan.....

lucky for me i live in Hawaii so i have easy access to Japanese speaking people :) and i can also take the test here and another good thing is Hopefully i can find a job here at a Japanese store....

i hope i can pass this test good luck to everyone else who is taking it and thanks for the tips

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Re: JLPT N1, can it be done from scratch, or am I insane?

Postby Ogemaniac » February 16th, 2013 3:07 pm

There are no short-cuts. Learning Japanese is hard and doing it right is harder. It always amazes me to think that people believe you can just cram and anki your way through the JLPT tests. No, a native English speaker cannot pass N1 in a year from scratch in a year, unless they have super-human ability, are immersed, and possess and a puritan work ethic.

It's not that anki, the Hersig kanji memorization system, or similar tools won't get you into the ballpark of a meaning. It is that the JLPT expects you to really know the meaning and how actual Japanese use the word. "Somewhere in the ballpark" just ain't going to cut it. For example, one of my anki words, "解釈, かいしゃく" just appeared on a practice JLPT-2 test I was working on. I knew instantly what the word "meant", or so I thought. The anki list it appeared on translated it as "explanation", and the couple times I have encountered it in the wild seemed to confirm this. So what were the four options the test takers gave me to choose from?

The manager kaishaku'd how to use the equipment to the customer.

Can you kaishaku what was written on today's signboard?

I kaishaku'd why I was returning the defective car.

Legal words are difficult to kaishaku.

Hmmmm....wait...all of the answers seem to match the word "explain". So why is only the last one right? Because kaishaku means something closer to "interpretion" than "explaination", and certainly doesn't mean "tell" or "teach". It is an internally-focused word, not external. I wasn't able to get this from a dictionary but had to ask a native. This is how you learn, and it is PRECISELY the kind of stuff the JLPT tests are going to ask.


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