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Study for the JLPT
Manga-assisted Japanese Study
Choosing The Test Level 
21st-Apr-2010 07:53 am
I'm hoping to take the JLPT in Chicago this December, but I have no idea what level to test at. I've been studying on my own since late 2000. I'm mostly self-taught, with one community ed class and a few months of auditing a community college class. I consistently did well on the tests. (Real life [e.g., my job] got in the way of the class, though, so I had to stop attending.) Recently I started using Japanesepod101 intermediate level. It's got enough I can understand and enough new material to make it challenging.

I haven't started looking at it yet, but I have the level 3 questions and answers book for 2004-2006.

Thanks for any suggestions anyone can offer about what level I should choose.
21st-Apr-2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
As someone who also has yet to take the JLPT, my best advice is to take a look at sample tests/old tests and see where about you feel like you fit. I've concluded that I would probably pass level 3, so I think I should be studying level 2. I don't have links to past tests, unfortunately, but at one point I found them and that is how I determined where I should be.
21st-Apr-2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That'll help.
21st-Apr-2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
My favorite JLPT site is here:


It's undergone a lot of changes over the years, and I used to use it a while back, but I think all of the essential info is still there, it just keeps shifting around.

The lists in Section 3: Materials are especially helpful. You could also try the "Level Check" tests, though in the past I've been more inclined to just look through the lists of kanji/vocab/grammar and assess how many of the items I know.

Gauging levels is getting a little trickier with the new JLPT, because reportedly, the examiners want to focus less on lists of items to memorize and more on the test-taker's ability to use Japanese in functional situations. How much this will affect the look of the test is anyone's guess. However, I feel like you still can't go wrong with the "lists", especially if you're self-studying.

Good luck!
21st-Apr-2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the test is moving toward the ability to use Japanese in real life. I don't want to study "examine Japanese" just to be able to pass the test.

I realize the test is still a long ways off (registration won't open for months yet), but I figure the more time I have to prepare, the more confident I'll be when I get to Chicago in December!
21st-Apr-2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Sending icon love your way also! (Forgot to say that in my first response.)
21st-Apr-2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
I'd say go for lvl 3. Lvl 4 isn't worth your time and lvl 2 is quite difficult still. So go for three and if you ace it start learning for 2. That way you'll have something in your hands. If you try for 2 and are unsure and don't pass, you'll have nothing to show for your troubles.
22nd-Apr-2010 08:16 am (UTC)
You should remember that starting this year there are going to be 5 levels rather than 4.... since the whole system is changing it is a difficult time to really know where to start. You will probably be too advanced for 5 (formerly known as 4) but might want to shoot for 3 or 4 (3 is a totally newly created level and 4 is about the same as the old level 3).
30th-Aug-2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
You should seriously check it out the new system. The new leve 3 is totally different from the old one. I was going to try for it, but then my teacher showed me the tests and I was "fuck."
The new level 4 e is the old level 3, but I really haven't seen it in the new way. But the old level 3 seemed to be pretty much acceptable. :D
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