Aug 6, 2019
Recommendation please for Effective JLPT study resources
Good day and happy summer to everyone! Please spare a moment to share your recommendations for effective JLPT preparation resources. I have been invited to work part time as an Assistant English Teacher even they knew I am not fluent in their language both written and verbal, but it was fun and I made it through. Since then, I came to appreciate teaching here but I was advised that I will be more effective and well compensated if I have an JLPT Certification. Please, would appreciate your recommendation as to where and how to map a successful study and preparation path. Also, I have a plan to volunteer and start up a reading and practice your everyday English in my community which is going to be once or twice a month program. Thank you in advance.
Most books especially for JLPT preparation you find in the bookstore are helpful. They cover the grammar, kanji, and vocab that is necessary for each level and usually come with practice questions. Just look at a few and get the ones you like best. For Kanji pratice, I found using flashcards and using the software Anki helpful. Rabit press sells flash cars, especially for JLPT.
You didn’t indicate what your current level of Japanese comprehension and communication is. Some grammar books I recommend for just starting are Systematic Japanese by Gene Nishi, Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar by Nishiguchi Koichi. If you’ve already got a foundation, increase your input through reading. See my blog post about rodoku - https://www.city-cost.com/blogs/TonetoEdo/z3Zy9-living_education
If you're starting from scratch and are looking for a cheap and relaxed way to get into studying Japanese in Japan I would recommend finding a nihongo kyoshitsu -- relaxed classes run by volunteers at a local community center. I my experience these classes will get you to grips with the basics of grammar, hiragana / katakana, and conversation. For more specific JLPT-target study it's all about hitting the books, of which there are plenty. For me, for each level of JLPT I was attempting I got a grammar book and an all-round example questions book suited to each level. The grammar book came on the train with me every day on the way to work. The practice questions became a nightly routine. About 6 months prior to each test I took I went to a school and took a series of private lessons to get ready for the test. This was key for me in a number of ways -- I had a great teacher which helped me to stay motivated, they would set homework and make special work sheets so that I got a break from the books, I enjoyed having a class to go to and a chance to get out of the house and stretch the legs on the way to / from class, and I also felt like I had someone cheering for me. In terms of the content of the test itself I always struggled with the reading -- I found the passages insanely boring. In the end I think I was able to pass because of strengths in other areas and kind of gave up on the reading. In hindsight, if I could have put more energy into the reading, then maybe I could have gotten better scores (not that anyone really cares about what score you get, just that you pass). Another thing to note is the speed at which you have to answer questions during the test -- you basically read the questions, scan the options, answer it, and move on...without looking back. There's just not time for it. To this end I found it useful to get some books that give example tests. As far as I am aware they don't publish past tests, but I may be wrong about that. I guess it depends on the level as to how far in advance you need to start studying. I find that there isn't the consistency in how the difficulty increases in each level. For example, I think you could perhaps race through N5, 4, and 3 but the gap between N3 and 2 is huge (at least it was for me). And N1 seems like a different language altogether.
I think textbooks are a great option, but I tend to get bored and quit easily if it is only textbooks. I recommend studying foundations with the textbooks and then using additional resources such as Japanesepod101, TV shows, and just practice with friends. If you do not have an opportunity to use it, it is much harder to remember and retain.