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JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby farly » Fri 04.10.2009 11:57 pm

leonl wrote:
Conjecture? Perhaps, but it does get at the what I am talking about which is people equating passing the JLPT with being proficient in Japanese


I have still to meet the person, who thinks passing the JLPT says much about the proficiency in the language. Most that I meet who take it, are alot more critical towards it. Seems you meet other people than I do. Maybe I should add I am not in the US, but test taking is the same all over the world I guess. No test really prepares for reality, I am pretty sure, in no field at all. Though some tests are certainly doing better than others.

JLPT is for me just one of the "guidelines" to study the different areas asked in the test, so to speak. I do not learn Kanji for a test, for example, but since I have to follow *some* order, why not take the JLPT one. Same goes with grammar, I do not learn it for the JLPT, but since it so happens, that Minna no Nihongo I was about the scope of JLPT4, why not take it. Same now with MnNII and JLPT3. Does the test make me better at anything, apart of test taking? No. Does learning grammar, kanji etc. enhance my proficiency in the language? I certainly hope so. It is not like the test is different from actual language skills (at least at my level), it is just a limited selection of what proficiency in the language is.

If it is not for you, good for you. If one has fun taking tests, why not do it.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby Sairana » Sat 04.11.2009 6:35 pm

farly wrote:I have still to meet the person, who thinks passing the JLPT says much about the proficiency in the language.


Hang around this forum long enough, you'll see plenty of people who seem to think that the JLPT is the ultimate achievement, the way to prove that you know Japanese. They see the JLPT as a goal, and by way of reaching that goal they will BE good at Japanese.

Note also that I'd say at least half (being conservative) of the people who just start learning Japanese and join forums like these are in high school (or have just recently graduated high school) in the USA. My guess is that the way teachers here emphasize test taking has an impact on how these students think of tests, and what the results mean.

I don't think this is particularly detrimental, though. It gives them a goal to focus on, JLPT 4 is apparently stupidly easy, so if someone takes it and gets a confidence boost, great. The more someone learns, the clearer it becomes that the tests are not the goal. I've never seen anyone claim that they're about to take the JLPT1 and then they have mastered Japanese. Reality sets in long before then. :P
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby jcdoss » Mon 04.13.2009 3:13 pm

Sairana wrote:...you'll see plenty of people who seem to think that the JLPT is the ultimate achievement, the way to prove that you know Japanese.


Haha! I'd say being able to live in Japan might be better proof that one knows Japanese.

The more someone learns, the clearer it becomes that the tests are not the goal.


This is true for all topics, certificates, degrees, etc. I've been thinking about this lately, and I'm leaning towards the opinion that standardized tests and lengthy exams actually get in the way.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby astaroth » Mon 04.13.2009 4:57 pm

jcdoss wrote:Haha! I'd say being able to live in Japan might be better proof that one knows Japanese.

Not necessarily. I know plenty of people who work and live in Japan and don't speak Japanese. Though those are usually in Academia, where English is more than enough for anything. (And of course not knowing the language of the people around you could be a barrier towards having a life, but then one's in Academia anyway ...)

This is true for all topics, certificates, degrees, etc. I've been thinking about this lately, and I'm leaning towards the opinion that standardized tests and lengthy exams actually get in the way.

Absolutely true.
I believe smart students are those who learn how to crack the code, that is to learn (consciously or not) how a professor thinks and hence be able to study to pass the test written by said professor. On top of that, correcting exams is awfully time consuming and mistakes abound.
Once it took me one hour to find a mistake in one single exercise of one exam: it was very well hidden ... the result was correct, the procedure was obviously wrong. The student complained because after all her result was right and it wasn't fun to have to explain not only the mistake but also how the result was at the end right.
By the way that one was an open answer exam. If it were multiple choice, I would have never been able to find the mistake. Which is the reason I always tell my students to ask for multiple choice and not for open answer, but they are lured by the partial credit thing ...
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby jcdoss » Mon 04.13.2009 5:15 pm

astaroth wrote:...If it were multiple choice, I would have never been able to find the mistake...


I taught general biology and anatomy/physiology for a couple of years. The first year, I used the college's canned exams, but the second year I tried to write my own multiple choice exams. I HATED IT. It took an unbelievable amount of time, and was extraordinarily difficult to do well. And based on my own experience, I was convinced that the students would come away with little retained knowledge a week after the exam.

So my solution was to give them mini-research essays, about 10 one-page or less answers to complete and be prepared to present in the next class period. I had a lot more fun grading them, less effort writing them, I even learned a few things from my students (imagine that!), and I think it was a fair test of their knowledge or (more importantly) their ability to find, understand, and use it.

I'm a veterinarian, so my entire livelihood is based largely on my performance on multiple choice exams. Same goes for the medical doctors. Unless something's changed, both our licensure requirements (in the USA) are based mostly on multiple choice exams. Scary, huh?
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby astaroth » Mon 04.13.2009 5:48 pm

jcdoss wrote:I taught general biology and anatomy/physiology for a couple of years. The first year, I used the college's canned exams, but the second year I tried to write my own multiple choice exams. I HATED IT. It took an unbelievable amount of time, and was extraordinarily difficult to do well. And based on my own experience, I was convinced that the students would come away with little retained knowledge a week after the exam.

What I said was a suggestion for my students not for us who write the exams ... that is I was simply telling them that (in Physics) it's much easier to get a good grade with a multiple choice exam than open answer. Also it was a matter of grade not understanding or retaining knowledge ... The reason this all conversation with me and my students came up was that they were complaining of the opposite and so I showed them why it wasn't true.

That being said. I prefer open answer exams, the only problem is how to partial grade. In Physics partial grading is kinda tricky because I had a lot of students who wanted --claiming it was their own right-- to have a point or two if they just write the right question. But then I said that even a monkey can write all the equations it learned without understanding them and get at least one right.
After all given the right amount of time, one can write the Divine Comedy by just randomly selecting letters ...

I'm a veterinarian, so my entire livelihood is based largely on my performance on multiple choice exams. Same goes for the medical doctors. Unless something's changed, both our licensure requirements (in the USA) are based mostly on multiple choice exams. Scary, huh?

My undergrad was in Italy and we have no knowledge of multiple choice exams in Physics. I learned them once in US.
In Italy it works that the exam is three problem max and lasts three hours, because of this is always closed books and the problems are usually non-trivial. It's more fun in a way, but rather stressful. Also in Italy we always have an oral exam if you pass the written test. (Also there is no major and minor, so once one decides their "major" they are doing only that ... no Italian literature or stuff like that in undergrad -- it's closer to grad school in this way.)
I don't know how it works in Medicine and Veterinary, but I believe they have multiple choice plus few open answer ones ... but I really don't know.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby jcdoss » Mon 04.13.2009 6:57 pm

...and to get this back on topic... what is the format of the JLPT, anyway?
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby becki_kanou » Mon 04.13.2009 10:42 pm

Multiple choice, unless they've changed it.
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby fielle » Wed 04.15.2009 7:24 am

Coming in late, here, I think that the JLPT served for me as a useful goal with a good set of books and other materials created for it. I could get something and read it, and feel that I was making progress in a concrete way. Before I was just trying to get through books, and, honestly, it wasn't working for me. I never felt like I was making progress, and it went slowly and frustratingly.

If you can make good progress on your own, the JLPT is probably not worth it. But I was happy to have it.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby Igirisu_gaz » Thu 04.16.2009 2:52 am

The JLPT is a mixed bag of tricks really.

Is it a perfect evaluator of ones all round Japanese ability? No. Do you have to be relatively proficient in Japanese to pass the higher levels. Yes. To say someone can pass 1級 and not have a solid knowledge Japanese is ludicrous. However, skilled and fluency are worlds apart.

It is and always will be multiple choice with no free writing or interview tests like the trickier 英検"Eiken" tests that Japanese take to evaluate their English. As has been mentioned the JLPT doesn't have many practical applications, if anything it is a yardstick to measure how much you "know about" Japanese, rather than your ability to use it.

However there is value to taking it, for some that value may not present itself in any form other than satisfaction in knowing you are proficient in Japanese, for many it is the prospects of employment. Many firms employing foreigners in positions requiring the use of Japanese will not consider you for an interview if you don't have some kind of accredited certification in Japanese, and the JLPT is by far and away the most well known and thus has the most saleable value, with JETRO coming in a possible second. There are dozens or other testing agencies out there who will take your money and test you, but at the end of the day the goal is endless, if one is serious about improving their Japanese then JLPT1 is far from the roof.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby Sairana » Thu 04.16.2009 4:00 am

I don't think anyone was asking why someone would TAKE the JLPT, but why people so adamantly study specifically FOR the JLPT. Two completely different concepts at work.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby farly » Thu 04.16.2009 7:48 am

leonl wrote:Not to be rude or anything but what do you gain from the jlpt? Excluding those who take it so they can work or go to school what do you gain from it? The number of people on this forum and in general who obsess about the jlpt seem very disproportionate to the number of people who would actually have any legitimate use for it.


"What do you gain from the test" sounds to my ears like why do I take the test. "Legitimate use" of the test also points towards why take it, (legitimate as the OP defines it, of course).

Even when you ask why does someone study for the test, I consider this legitimate, according to my definition. Always talking my level: the books that supposedly should prepare for the JLPT present the grammar points I already learned in a different way than my normal textbook. For me it is very interesting to have the same grammatical structures presented from another point of view, and I am learning alot. This leads me to researching certain structures more thoroughly than with just my textbook.

Seeing some adolescents "obsess" about the JLPT, as someone mentioned earlier, I find this rather cute, than anything else. Self-overestimating, and complexity of the world underestimating seem quite likely to happen in that age group. May their passion last a long time in their lives :)

Again, the more I know, the more I know that I don't know. The JLPT doesn't make me breakfast, to get back to the OP's title, neither does my PhD. So, as mentioned several times in this thread, it is a matter of test making/taking in general.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby ss » Sun 04.19.2009 9:33 pm

My opinion is not against anyone, just feel like adding something, that's all.

When I took L4 in 2006, the test was not at all easy for me, probably I was sooo new to the language and I had only studied less than a year.

When trying questions online, I always took my own sweet time to figure out the answers. In the test centre, the actual test gave me full surprises. Time was the main challenge, I came to realize that I couldn’t afford to spend more than 5 mins on one question, hence on the spot I was forced to guess on many questions. On top of that, there were actually many words or perhaps a lot of grammar I just hadn’t drilled enough or familiar enough well.
I got better and better understanding and adjustment of differences as I continued to study those basic grammars. I was glad with the progress, anyway.

Since TJP is a Japanese learning site, I’m not surprised to see people anticipate in studying for JLPT. To some people, getting a cert is probably not the main objective of this event, I suppose. This is all about having a good time and testing your own understanding after a period of study. And, especially with so many advance Japanese speakers here, you can enjoy reading their comments or the questions they posted, if you had good grip of most basic stuff.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby ILuvEire » Wed 04.22.2009 1:47 am

I don't study specifically for the JLPT, but it is useful to give you some sort of plan to learn to. I think for many it's just a learning aid (well, the numerous resources at least!)

For example, there are tons of kanji lists broken up by JLPT level, so you have structure to learning the jōyō kanji, instead of just learning them at a random speed.
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Re: JLPT, Does it make you breakfast?

Postby Koyota » Thu 04.23.2009 8:29 am

Yeah, I'm going with the JLPT is a great study outline if you like structure.

When I got into the intermediate stages of Japanese / using real sources, I had a horrible time choosing what vocab to memorize, I'm not very good at noticing how frequent words are used that I don't know. I would just pick 40 words a day I saw in stuff and memorized them, only to be told sometimes by Japanese native speakers they had no idea what that word was and had never heard it before.

I got a jlpt vocab book and putting in flashcards/going through it just to study for the test, and was amazed to start finding all the words I learned showing up everywhere else, and found that my ability to understand things grew by leaps and bounds in a month of going through that book then it did in the past 4 months combined(same amount of vocab a day).
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