Progress Report 5

I registered for the JLPT! (yay!) I have been studying for it! (yay) I am aware that I will not pass! (…yay…??)

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JLPT

Yeah, it may sound pessimistic, but I know for a fact that I am not prepared for the N2. The reason I say this is because from taking practice tests, I realized that my (extremely) weak spot is vocabulary. When it comes to the N2, specifically, I don’t know enough vocabulary to pass. However, by accepting the fact that I probably won’t pass, I don’t feel as much stress or anxiety that I was feeling before. I will continue to study at the pace that I was already going on, continue studying using practice-test-like methods, and now I can direct more of my attention to memorizing new vocabulary. (yay!) Taking N2 this year will be like the ultimate practice exam and preparation to pass it next year.

A Minor Setback

For the month of September, I hardly studied. I was doing OK at the beginning, but by mid-month I lost track. I blame my time-management skills. So, I made some October goals to get myself back on track. The most important goal is to study more frequently (in short bursts) and to be sure that I’m learning at least 60 new vocab per month. Since I’m focusing on vocabulary, I figured it’s the perfect excuse to read more often.

Overall Progress

Speaking

My speaking ability has improved greatly..! I met my language partner for the first time recently and I noticed that I engage him more in the conversation than I used to. In the past, although I would understand what was being said to me, I would always just nod and say うん during any conversation because I lacked natural responses. I attribute my improved speaking ability to the fact that I’ve been speaking more. Nothing else. Sure, vocabulary has helped, but I genuinely think that nothing has helped more than the fact that my language partner has been talking to me. I think meeting helped a lot too because it made me feel a little more comfortable, thus I now feel more comfortable with speaking with him in general.

Reading

I am reading (out loud) much faster and much more fluidly than I was before. So, reading the news helps! I noticed that I am having those moments where I see a kanji and I know it, but can’t remember it in the moment. Personally, this is always the first step to something permanently sticking in my mind. My language partner and I have started reading together, which helps tremendously. In Japanese, he will read something to me naturally, then slowly, then listen to me read and give me feedback.

Future Direction

With the JLPT less than 2 months away, I will continue studying using workbooks that review in a test-like manner. (Are they called quiz books?)  I will no longer be using multiple (expensive) books (that I already paid for) to study because it’s just plain exhausting. Over the past few months, I’ve learned that much of the vocabulary, grammar, and kanji is repeated in reading and quiz books. Kanji books usually use kanji that go with (or include) the vocabulary being studied too. So now, I’m using the “New 500 question” mini-book from the Sou Matome series. [Side note: I didn’t realize that there’s “days” marked at the top of the pages to help guide me on how many pages I should study in a day… so useful! Yet I wasn’t using it at all and going far too slow.] I’m pretty sure that I have a vocabulary book too, but if I don’t, then I will just pull vocabulary from reading books/news and whatever vocabulary I don’t know in the quiz books.

Specifically, since vocabulary is my weakest point, I plan to use the next 50-something days to learn as much vocabulary as I can.

Also! I will be trying my hand (pun intended, if that’s a pun… idk) at making/using physical flashcards because it takes me way too long to make those nifty quizlet/memrize sets. When I’m not using physical flashcards, I’ll be simply re-writing the vocabulary in a drill-format.

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