Last-Minute Tips for the JLPT

We’re now less than one week away from the December 2013 JLPT.  At this point, it’s too late to discuss study habits or long-term goals.  Right now, it’s time for last-minute prep.  We asked a few JETs and JET Alums what their advice was for taking the test.  What can you expect when you sit down to test your Japanese mettle?  What should you know for the morning of the test?  Where are the nearest fire escapes in case you need to bolt from the room before the listening section starts?  We hope these tips will help your JLPT-taking experience go smoothly and successfully.


Daniel’s Dashing Test Tips

Test Level: N4

My main advice for the day-of is to bring a watch and know the directions.  Firstly, they cover up the clock in the room with a piece of paper (randomly… it’s not like there are any kanji or anything helpful written on the clock to begin with) so it’s really helpful if you have a watch to keep time… just make sure you silence any chimes, as they’re really strict about it.

Secondly, know what the directions are.  This is especially important for those of you who, like me, are still at the beginner level (N5 and N4).  I think the directions were the hardest part of the exam, so try to learn ahead of time what the proctor will say and what the different questions are asking for (pay close attention to whether they’re asking for the synonym or antonym!)

Oh and lastly, for the kanji part of the test, don’t second-guess yourself.  Go with your gut.  Often, they’ll throw in two kanji that are one tiny stroke apart from one another.  Every time I changed my answer, I got it wrong…


Melissa’s Magnificent Advice

Test Level: N1

I found that doing a couple of the practice papers the day before really helpful. If you have the test format down pat, it is a lot less stressful getting through it all. They recycle the question format so it makes it a lot easier to pinpoint the traps and find your way to the right answer.
Anyone who has taken the practice tests or past papers will know that they try to trip you up a lot. The reading can seem a little long and wear you down. Just make sure to read the question carefully and try not to spend too long on each one. When in doubt, just go with your gut so you don’t run out of time. You can always go back over things if you have time left over at the end.


Joanna’s Jozu Input

Test Level: N3, N2, and N1

I have one tip and one tip only: stop second-guessing yourself. Whatever level you decided to take you decided to take for a reason. You did not wake up and decide to throw away your money and one day of your life to take a test that you can’t pass. Whether you studied every day and expect to pass with a perfect score or whether this last week is the first time you’ve bothered picking up a book, be confident in your abilities. You might fail if you picked a test above your previous level as a reach goal, but psyching yourself out is guaranteed to trip you up.


For more helpful tips and tricks, check out the JLPT Bootcamp Website (their most recent post is especially helpful.)

Good luck, and happy test-taking next week!


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