Good news. I finally managed to pass the N2 of Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). This was my second attempt. The first attempt went down horribly. This was also my last shot at it, so I am glad I could pass it.
The exam has several sections, namely Language Knowledge, Reading and Listening. We have to get 19/60 for every part at least to pass the exam. 57/180 doesn’t look that hard but you actually have to score 90/180 a well. The last time I only managed 79/180 and the biggest contributor to the failure was the reading part. I am too slow at reading Although I had the required marks for the Language Knowledge section, I had a bad start to the exam with not knowing answers to first five questions. To be honest, I didn’t study much the first time. I thought the Japanese knowledge that I have gained by working in Japan amongst Japanese people was enough to pass the exam. Obviously I was wrong.
So this time I studied a bit more. The biggest issue I had was that I could not find a proper syllabus for N2. So how did I study? I didn’t buy any books and definitely didn’t attend any classes.
The following is what I did.
1. Following free YouTube lessons
I came across a YouTube channel called Nihongo no mori which hosted lessons for JLPT. I followed all of their episodes for N2. But I only discovered it a month before the exam, so I could not do much revising.
2. Writing the words and grammar patterns in a book
I wrote what I learned in a book because if you don’t write them, you can not memorize them.
3. Play a memory game
I downloaded an app called Memrise to help me remember the Kanji. I learned about 10-20 words every day. It shows tips on how to remember the Kanji characters and their meanings. Furthermore, there are tests so that you do not forget what you learned previously. Sadly, I only found this app with about 10 days to go before the exam.
4. Reading articles and emails in Japanese
Sadly there weren’t any lessons for N2 students on Reading on that YouTube channel. So I read Japanese emails as much as I could at work, even the ones that had no relevance to me. Sometimes I read articles on Engadget Japan during the lunch break.
The month before the exam was quite tough, to be honest. Thanks to the Work-Life-Balance thing that started a week before the exam, we did not have any O/T and the work finished by 16:15. So I had more time for studies.
The exam was also on a familiar place: Meiji Campus in Ikuta. It’s only a few minutes away by train. And I faced it with more confidence. There was more tension because this was my last shot at it. I did not do the N3 exam, so if I failed, I would go back to my country as someone who only managed N4. And I had N4 even before coming to Japan.
The main reason why I wasn’t that keen on doing the exam was because the Salary increase would be very small. The opportunity cost of studying for it was high. That’s why I prioritized on passing Kihon Jouhou exam about 3 years ago as the salary increase was 5 times higher. But I finally decided to do the exam because if you don’t have at least N2, you are not considered as someone who knows Japanese.