手伝ってください!
July 14, 2007 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I am planning to take the 4-kyuu JPLT exam this year, and have a few questions best answered by someone who has actually taken the test.

I've got kanji flashcards. I've got 3 years of scribbled notes and corrected homework and homemade vocabulary cards on 3x5 cards that take up a lot of room. I've got textbooks. I'm trying to follow the stuff on international TV. I've got a whole folder of study related bookmarks.

Needless to say I need a little help prioritizing.

Do you have any study tips? Things to do/not do, things that turned out to be/not be helpful?

Any ideas where to find level appropriate listening selections?

And how many kanji do I *really* need to know? looking through this vocabulary list, I am noticing words like あに written as 兄 and that is a 3-kyuu kanji (that's "Ani", or "older brother" for those who don't read Japanese). When I study these words, do I need to study them in hiragana, or do I need to rote-memorize the kanji usages? In many cases it's not a big deal -- I know a few more than the ones required for 4-kyuu -- but in other cases it's going to make study more difficult.

Any and all helpful advice is welcomed. ありがとう!
posted by ilsa to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Go to TheJapanesepage.Com and check out the JLPT discussion group threads there. Get a Jabber chat client like Pandion and join the JLPT 4級 study group. You'll also find links to past tests, other study sites, and lot's of help.

I think you'll do fine. I self studied for a little more than a year and took 3級 and if not for the listening section I would have passed. If you had a couple of years of classroom and conversation then 4級 will most likely pose no problem for you.

Seriously, visit the site and join the study group. I think everybody in the JLPT 4球 study group last year passed with flying colors...

My problem with 3級 was the classroom vocabulary that I never paid much attention to... cleaning the kitchen, watering the flowers, clothing items, giving directions, stuff that I think are taught in classroom situations.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:02 PM on July 14, 2007


I would say don't bother. If you want to attend classes that are instructed in Japanese or get any real sort of job in Japan, I've heard 1級 is necessary. Failing that, 2級 would just say that you're not a total spaz in the language. 3 and 4, though, don't really say anything. They are extremely watered down, and even using them as a study progression self-check is misleading. 2 is amazingly harder than 3, and 1 would probably require about the same amount of time/effort to go into it that went into going from knowing no Japanese to being able to pass 2.

Not to say that you shouldn't study Japanese, though. Just don't place so much value into arbitrary evaluations. I would propose that you further your skill by doing three things. Self-study, chatting, and taking up a Japanese art. Self study should consist of reading dialogues and stories that are tailored to your level to build vocabulary. Chatting on something like Yahoo Japan is super useful for becoming adept at employing the words you are learning by yourself in real-time conversation, as well as reading them at a more sophisticated pace. Chatting partners tend to be younger and in Japan, not older and having lived abroad for a long amount of time like many of your language instructors probably are. As far as an art goes, I take calligraphy classes and, more than just help me with writing my characters (which it doesn't all that much because I'm not very diligent), it gives me an opportunity to chat with my teacher, a native Japanese, about all kinds of interesting things having to do with Japan. There are other options available if you don't want to write characters, though, like 生け花 (Ikebana), 茶道 (Sadou), 墨絵 (Sumie), etc that would provide the same thing.

And it should go without saying, you should be going to the bars with your Japanese buddies on the weekends getting drunk and Japanesing. がんばってね。
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:39 AM on July 15, 2007


1st kyu is good for work, but not necessary. I have 2nd kyu and could pass 1st kyu but just don't feel like exerting myself. 2nd kyu has never stopped me from getting job offers. In fact, I think 2nd kyu is good enough depending on what kind of job you want to get.

Anyway, I studied for 3 years in college and that prepared me for 3rd kyu. I passed it by reviewing grammar and using my own flash cards made from the 3rd kyu kanji study books.


Also, I agree about drinking in Japanese. It's pretty much how I learned the language.
posted by m3thod4 at 11:54 PM on July 16, 2007


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