JLPT 2017 second test and beyond

Yesterday was finally the second JLPT test of the year. As I prepared a lot for it, I cannot but give my impressions on the test.

Disappointed 😫

To be honest, I went to the test with a decent amount of self-confidence. I was particularly afraid of the grammar part so I worked a lot on it and when the day of the test finally came, I felt ready. But sincerely, I am not even sure to have made a better performance than I did in July.

Surprisingly, the grammar part was not at all difficult. Of course, there were some tricky questions but I had the impression that the test was easier than the mock tests I had practised. On the contrary, the vocabulary part was quite difficult to me. But I guess that rather than saying that it was difficult, it’s better to say that I was unlucky. It’s hard to tell which words will come out and I feel that I just run out of luck.

The reading part was okay I would say. Not easier, not more difficult than what I had expected. It was the same level of difficulty than the mock tests I had made. The texts were not particularly challenging but as always, some questions are really tricky.

The big disappointment was the listening part. I worked a lot to improve my listening skills and I always had a good score on the listening part of the mock tests I have made. There were always 2 or 3 questions that I couldn’t answer because I didn’t understand the dialogue well enough but that was it. Yesterday, however, I found that there were a lot of very challenging dialogues or monologues. There was even one question where I could not figure out what they were talking about! This kind of thing usually never happens. There were also several questions were I had no clue what the answer was because the dialogues were filled with unknown words. Maybe I was just tired and couldn’t concentrate…?

Anyway, today I had the occasion to hear other people say that the listening part was difficult, in their opinion. I am a bit relieved. Maybe it really was so?

To sum up, I totally messed up with the listening part and the vocabulary part. I am not at all mad about the vocabulary part because I kept learning new words every single day for the past few months, and I feel that I gave my best. For the listening part, however, I am very disappointed. As for the grammar, I certainly have made some mistakes but overall, I am happy with what I did. And finally, I don’t think that I can reach the full mark with the reading section (as I did when I passed the test in July), but it should be okay.

But happy it’s over 😀

I have embarked on this JLPT journey and even though I am very glad that I did, I am also very glad that it is over.

My results at the test do not really matter because I don’t need to pass the JLPT, I am doing it just to evaluate my level and get some external source of motivation. Even if I am disappointed by my performance, what counts is that I studied hard for the past 4 months and it did bring me a lot. Not only have I increased the number of words I know but I also have reached a point where I feel more or less at ease with the N2 grammar. Not that I would be able to use it, but understand it is already a great step. This is not something that I would have been able to achieve without the perspective of the test.

Now that it is over, I feel free to do all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t because the JLPT preparation was taking all my time. I already posted about my future plan and since that, new ideas have come to my mind. For example, I thought I could add cooking to my list. I hate doing the everyday cooking stuff, but sometimes, I do enjoy spending a little more time, follow a recipe and cook something new. So I bought a very simple and basic cooking book in Japanese (it’s called いちばんやさしい料理のきほん, with the subtitle はじめて料理をする人でも、失敗なし! so I guess that even I can do it!). This is also a good opportunity to learn some cooking relative words and post about it.

I may open new categories on this blog like “cooking” and “films”. There could be an extra post on weekends concerning either a recipe with cooking-related words or a film review. I hope that I can watch at least two Japanese films a month.

Anyway, I am very excited by all the things that are to come, and I hope you’ll have an inspiring Winter too!


2 thoughts on “JLPT 2017 second test and beyond

  1. When it comes to listening to Japanese, in general, where do you stand? I ask because I’ve heard a lot of people say that the listening part is very difficult, but I never know how they are with listening to Japanese in general so that I can guess where I could stand. I listen to NHK podcasts, watch Japanese YouTubers, and I have many friends who I can only communicate with in Japanese. So I listen to Japanese regularly. However, my strategy in my daily life is that I usually only understand 60-80% of what I hear and I piece together what the conversation is about. I’d say 80% of the time this works for me in conversations, but there are a few occasions where my response is totally off topic and I end up blushing, putting my head down, and asking もう一度. lol! So I am curious about how I’d do with the listening speed on this exam.

    1. I see what you mean… to give a concrete example, I can understand everything characters say in an anime for children like Moomin but I can’t follow the news on NHK radio news, I know what they are talking about but that’s it. I can follow what Japanese YouTubers say, even if I don’t understand every word, but I can’t watch most films without subtitles. I can understand when a Japanese speaks to me, but I am lost when several Japanese speak together. As for the JLPT N2, I understand very well the listening parts that deal with everyday life but it is hard to follow when it comes to understanding the difference between a diesel engine and gasoline engine … What I found difficult in December’s test is that there were few casual daily life conversations compared to business conversations, which imply polite language and more difficult words. Also, I sometimes understand the dialogue perfectly but I miss the single one information we need to answer the question. Not because I didn’t understand it, but because I didn’t pay attention! If I remember correctly, in December’s test, a mother was talking about the cap her son had lost having been returned. She says “look, there is the address of …. written inside it”. At this point, I wasn’t paying attention because I thought the crucial information will come later. Then the other person says “oh, so someone sent it by post” or something like that. Among the answers there was “the cap was sent to the boy’s school” and “the cap was sent to the boy’s house”. As you can see, the difficulty was not to understand the dialogue but to pay attention to every detail. If it had been a real-life conversation, I would have said that I understood it well, because I had a global understanding of it. But the JLPT asked about a detail of the conversation, not the general meaning… I found that there were a lot of tricky questions like this in December’s test…

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