I started at the beginning of August to study for the JLPT N2 which will take place on December 3rd. Today, the registration opened and I have just applied! It makes things more concrete to be registered.
If you are not familiar with the JLPT, have a look at this post by Kotobites, it explains everything you need to know to get started.
It’s already been a month now since I have started to work with the Shin Kanzen series and I think that one month is a good time to do a little recap of how I have been doing so far. I will focus on regularity.
To be honest, I haven’t been studying according to my plan. At the end of the month, I have done what I had planned to do, but I can’t say that I have studied every single day. First, I have been ill and unable to open a book for some days and there also were days when I didn’t feel like studying at all.
It is not a catastrophe to miss a day or two, but one should absolutely study hard to make up the late schedule, even if it means sacrificing a whole Sunday for the sake of Japanese learning. At least, you will be able to attack the next week with conviction.
There is a subtle equilibrium to find when preparing for the JLPT without any other motivation than testing oneself. On the one hand, if you study Japanese as a hobby, it should remain pleasant and it would be sad to suffer from stress because of the JLPT, but, on the other, passing the test requires a lot of study hours, and you can’t allow yourself to fall behind schedule.
I try to find this equilibrium by analysing why I don’t feel like studying on certain days. Is it just laziness? In this case, I will encourage myself to study anyway. At the end, I will feel relieved and proud to have stuck to my schedule. But some days, I don’t have the motivation at all to study.
Even if I enjoy doing things in Japanese (reading, watching films, etc.), those JLPT preparatory books are just studying material. One has to concentrate, take notes, memorize, do exercises… It can be enjoyable but it can be laborious too. In those days when I feel bored with vocabulary/grammar/kanji ingestion, I don’t open my books and take time to read my novel in Japanese instead. By doing this, I am confronted with a lot of unknown words, unfamiliar structures or on the contrary, familiar ones that I know because I learnt them while studying for the JLPT. This is a great motivation booster. Studying can be arduous, but I must admit that everything I did to prepare the JLPT, helps me considerably to enjoy “real” Japanese. The more I study, the more comfortable I will be to read novels. This in mind, I usually go back to my study the following day, with a new motivation.
At the end of the first month, I am where I wanted to be, even if I did make some minor changes to my first schedule.
Well, I hope I will be studious in September!