Friday, July 26, 2013
Japanese Proficiency Test: study one level ABOVE the level you are taking
My advice for all the people taking the Japanese Proficiency Test: stay ahead of the curve and study one level ABOVE the level you are taking. For example, if you are taking the N5, study for the N4, if you are taking the N4, study for the N3, and so on.
Or in other words, take one level BELOW your present level. Even if you think you are good enough for the N1, take the N2, and so on.
It is too naive to study exactly for the level you are taking. You run the risk of being ill-prepared and fail the test. Most books available on bookstores DON'T COVER everything that can be asked on the test. They are based on tests from previous years, but there is no guarantee that the test will be limited to that material.
Some days ago I read the Test Guidebook (http://www.jlpt.jp/e/reference/materials.html) and there is nothing saying they will adhere strictly to a certain material. So they have the freedom to change or add anything in the test.
So don't throw your money away by failing the test. If you are going to pay anyway, be sure you can pass the test by taking one below your own level. Get the certificate as fast as possible so you can attach it to your resume immediately and use it at school or work.
Some people may argue that it is a waste of time to study something that will not be asked on the test. But the problem is that there is no way to know what can or cannot be asked. Some questions will be easy, others will certainly be difficult. By limiting yourself and studying only what you think may be asked, you run the risk of being ill-prepared and fail the test.
All the tests include the lower ones. Everything that is asked at N5 will also be asked at N4, and so on. So if your ultimate goal is the N1, there is no waste in studying more than necessary. On the other hand it is dangerous to study only the strictly necessary. Because it certainly will not be enough.