The last 5 weeks, we broke down each JLPT level to give you an idea of where you should be in your studies.
Now that you have decided what level you are going to take for your exam; let’s review some basic study strategies to get you better prepared.
If you have not already started the review process as of yet, it would be best to start as soon as you can. You want to give yourself enough time to review all the material that could be on the exam. This means focusing more attention on the reviewing process while not learning a lot of new material as you don’t want to be cramming for the exam. Cramming in most cases, is only good for short-term memory but not good for long-term memorization which is not a good habit to have when learning another language.
Gather all your notes and material you have collected for the review. Organize your notes and start to read it over; once in your head and once out loud if you have the chance. This will help with memory retention.
Another comment about memory retention; if you need to review vocabulary and kanji compounds, use a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) such as Anki; to make electronic flashcards that will automatically display the material that you need to review for each day.
Find out more about Anki at the following link:
Some of you may be lucky enough to have access to the JLPT examination guides from the previous years. You can examine what vocabulary was on the previous exams, as well as take a practice exam to give you a better understanding of how you would perform. This way, you have a sense of your weaknesses at an early stage and can improve upon them before you take the actual exam in December.
Here is a simple method to review:
Study the material, test yourself, discover what areas need improvement, study the material again until it becomes familiar and then test yourself over again. Keep repeating this process until you can get the answers perfect.
Another way that you can review, is if you are learning from a textbook, do all of the exercises once again from every chapter. This is especially effective if you have an answer key to the questions from the textbook to ensure accuracy of the answers. (Some textbooks have the answer keys in the last pages of the textbook itself.)
The review process should not take too long, as you should already be familiar with most of the material at this point. Review as long as you like in the time before the exam, just keep in mind it’s best to take a break for 15 minutes for every hour of review time to keep you fresh and alert during your studies.
It’s good to keep consistent by studying for the same amount each day before the exam. I have mentioned this before and still feel strongly, that even 15 minutes a day is better than 2 hours a week with a long gap in-between with no studies. If you are consistent with your studies, you will find it easier to remember the material.
And last, it may seem minor but ensuring that you eat a healthy-balanced diet; drink plenty of water and getting at least 6 hours of sleep each day, can definitely help you stay focused on your review and it will keep you energized during your exam.
What are you doing to prepare yourself for the exam? Have any tips or strategies to share with fellow Japanese learners? Submit your comments; we would love to hear from you.
(Nihongo wo benkyou suru nowa ganbatte kudasai! Mata raishuu!)
(Good luck with your Japanese studies! See you next week!)
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