At Last, I Have A Shot at Passing the N1

While I’ve been blogging a lot recently about Buddhism, Japanese history and Ukrainian language, etc, I have been quietly studying for the JLPT exam in the background. 😎

As of writing, the 2022 JLPT exam in the US will be held in early December (as is usually the case), and so with only 4 and one-half months left, I’ve decided to switch gears and focus on taking practice tests instead. The two most difficult sections of the JLPT are (depending on your background) reading comprehension (dokkai 読解) and listening (chōkai 聴解).

The last time I tried the N1 level of the exam, I wanted to see if I could pass without practicing. I wanted to see if I had attained enough exposure to Japanese language by then to simply pass it naturally. I didn’t. The JLPT exam, starting with N2 and especially the N1 aren’t normal conversational Japanese. You’re being tested on various subjects such your comprehension of business, government, education, even philosophy.1 Day to day exposure to Japanese language helps to some degree, but you as these are specialty topics you need to also practice and study them.

In any case, I broke out my practice exams for reading and listening, both available from OMGJapan and other fine Japanese goods stores, and started taking practice tests.

My mind initially panicked when tyring to read the Japanese essays. Some of the words that I had studied had been forgotten, some words were unfamiliar. However, I fought my initial panic, and worked my way through the practice essays one after another. To my surprise, when I checked my answers, I got 75% correct, which is a passing score.

I was thrilled. I realized that with further practice, I have a genuine shot at passing the JLPT exam, level N1. The reading that I have been doing over the year almost certainly helped, as did the vocabulary study (even if I haven’t even finished half the study book).

However, I also realized that I still have further preparation to do: learn the words I didn’t know, get smoother at reading, and learn NOT TO PANIC. That will come with repeated practice, I believe.

1 I was surprised to find an essay on what defines a peaceful death in the mock exam (I doubt this is in the real exam, btw). Clearly the author hadn’t watched Conan the Barbarian:

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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