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Japanese Proficiency Exam

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Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby Shibakoen » Wed 01.11.2006 12:11 am

Basically, I'm wondering how long and how seriously you study Japanese for each level on the scale of the Japanese Proficiency Exams.

For example, let me know the following:

What's you level on the Exam?
How many years of formal study (in school) do you have?
How many years of informal study (by yourself/outside of school) do you have?
Have you lived in Japan? If so, how long did you live there? While there did you attend Japanese school/serve in the military/teach english/etc...

Anyway, just curious. Thanks...
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 01.11.2006 3:14 am

You can pass level 4 after one year and level 3 after two years, but an actual JLPT website will help answer your questions better. Personally, I've studied Japanese for a couple of years off and on, but until recently, not very seriously. Let me just put it this way: I've had to learn the kana alphabets at least three times - don't be like me. But after living in Tokyo with my ex-girlfriend over the summer, all of my casual interests in Japanese language and culture were completely solidified. I can only say I've never had so much fun in my life - I definitely left my heart in the place. I major in Japanese at my university and plan to study abroad next year. Afterwards, I'll probably try my hand at the JET gig.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Wed 01.11.2006 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby CAPiTUL » Wed 01.11.2006 12:05 pm

Hmm, I don't really think this is a fair question to ask. I would think it would depend on each persons capabilities. What might take one person 5 years of independent study may take another person 3 years.

The school I'm lining up to go takes one year of study, and at that point you'll be able to pass Level 1, usually. Between taking formal lessons all day focused solely on the language, and by living there, most can pass the level 1. It seems quick, but I've actually seen courses that are quicker. The American CIA, for instance, has immersion classes (as does the U of Maryland) that will have you fluent in 3-4 months).

Having said that all of that, you need to have passed the Level 4 OR, or, have 90 hours of Japanese study under your belt (pretty much what I've taken from the literature is, you have to be able to pass the Visa exam), to be accepted to the school *unless you have connections.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby spank » Wed 01.11.2006 2:27 pm

CAPiTUL wrote:

The American CIA, for instance, has immersion classes (as does the U of Maryland) that will have you fluent in 3-4 months).


whoa, are you serious?
doesn't the JPLT level 1 require the knowledge of over 2000 kanji? is it possible to learn all these within a year?

impressive.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby IkimashoZ » Wed 01.11.2006 10:47 pm

I think the immersion class would probably make you fluent in terms of speech communication. I doubt it is physically possible to gain fluent reading and writing skills in Japanese in less than a year, unless you're insanely intelligent.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby AJBryant » Thu 01.12.2006 1:30 am

I doubt it is physically possible to gain fluent reading and writing skills in Japanese in less than a year, unless you're insanely intelligent.


I have to agree. Officially, the Level One test requires 900 hours of study, and about 10,000 words in one's working vocabulary -- as well as 2,000 kanji. That's a metric buttload of Japanese study. ;)


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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby ko_kun » Thu 01.12.2006 1:45 am

CAPiTUL wrote:
Hmm, I don't really think this is a fair question to ask. I would think it would depend on each persons capabilities. What might take one person 5 years of independent study may take another person 3 years.

The school I'm lining up to go takes one year of study, and at that point you'll be able to pass Level 1, usually. Between taking formal lessons all day focused solely on the language, and by living there, most can pass the level 1. It seems quick, but I've actually seen courses that are quicker. The American CIA, for instance, has immersion classes (as does the U of Maryland) that will have you fluent in 3-4 months).

Having said that all of that, you need to have passed the Level 4 OR, or, have 90 hours of Japanese study under your belt (pretty much what I've taken from the literature is, you have to be able to pass the Visa exam), to be accepted to the school *unless you have connections.


Yea, there are some Japanese students that go to the University of Maryland and comes and visits my highschool Japanese class. They help us with our classwork and such whenever they come in. (they're really nice girls...also nice to look at too ;P)
Last edited by ko_kun on Thu 01.12.2006 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby IkimashoZ » Thu 01.12.2006 8:13 am

Well, like Tony said, the 一級 (level 1) test would require complete mastery of 2,000 kanji characters, knowledge over 10,000 words and a comprehensive understanding of Japanese grammar.

If you meet anyone who can go from zilch to that kind of skill in a year, let me know. I'd like to talk to him/her.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby redfoxer » Thu 01.12.2006 8:16 am

CAPiTUL wrote:
Hmm, I don't really think this is a fair question to ask. I would think it would depend on each persons capabilities. What might take one person 5 years of independent study may take another person 3 years.

The school I'm lining up to go takes one year of study, and at that point you'll be able to pass Level 1, usually. Between taking formal lessons all day focused solely on the language, and by living there, most can pass the level 1. It seems quick, but I've actually seen courses that are quicker. The American CIA, for instance, has immersion classes (as does the U of Maryland) that will have you fluent in 3-4 months).

Having said that all of that, you need to have passed the Level 4 OR, or, have 90 hours of Japanese study under your belt (pretty much what I've taken from the literature is, you have to be able to pass the Visa exam), to be accepted to the school *unless you have connections.


:O no way...that sounds impossible. or near enough to that. unless...are they like in the classes like constantly in these immersion classes? It would be easier to learn japanese if, say you was in japan, and was forced to not fall back on english. so i assume thats what you mean by total immersion? that they learn quick because they are constantly surrounded by japanese and learning material? and even then im sure you can only master enough to get you by in everyday life in japanese. im pretty sure you cant be fluent in the sense most people think you mean.

its really intresting...i wana go there too now....

[What is 'insanely intelligent'?>>Ikimashoz

"someone with the IQ of 1,000,000"]
Last edited by redfoxer on Thu 01.12.2006 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby CAPiTUL » Thu 01.12.2006 3:56 pm

You know. . . 2000 kanji really isn't TOO TOO bad if you are doing nothing but studying most of the time. You have to think, thats only 5.5 a day if you put in a full 365. Now, you also have to think, some of them are easy to remember. Also, it helps to figure things out if you know the radicals, you can sometimes learn them in groups. I'm sure there are other strategies, as well. Not too mention, there is some lee-way on the exam. You don't have to get every question right. It can be done.

As for the immersion programs, the CIA has its methods. And University of Maryland, I believe they have you surrounded with language all day. Specialized housing, increased study hours, lessons, etc. It was a summer program. I remember they had sent me a flier about it a few years ago. Right before I xferred to University of Florida! B)

The language school in Nagoya has a website. I'll check my catalog at home and see if I can find the link and post it.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby Sachi » Thu 01.12.2006 5:04 pm

Somehow, mastering a language in a year seems hard to beleive. I'm sure you would learn a lot from that program, but fluency in a year? I mean, I'm 13 and have been learning English all my life, and continue studying hard and learning new concepts and vocabulary every day! So even total immersion I doubt would make you fluent in that amount of time.

Do you mean you could be *perhaps* fluent, but only in simple things? Not like an award-winning author's complex understanding of the language, right?

*shrugs* That's just my opinion, anyways.... ^^;
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 01.12.2006 8:03 pm

5.5 Kanji a day sound pretty simple, until you get up into alot of high stroke count kanji. The problem isn't as much that you have to learn 5 kanji a day, but you also have to remember the kanji you learned yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, etc. When you're getting to the point of knowing around 1000 kanji, and you have to review all those, as well as learn your new 5 kanji, it can get kind of hectic.

You could probably learn 2000 kanji in a year. I wouldn't think that you could also learn speaking, listening, grammar and vocabulary in that time, but you could probably learn Kanji.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby Shibakoen » Fri 01.13.2006 12:00 am

Hahaha! Amazing. Nobody answered the question. I know it will take me forever to learn Japanese. I'm interested in YOUR actual experiences. I'm aware that everybody has different learning capabilities/situations, and that's what I'm interested in. I also know that some people may not want to post that here (maybe embarrassed that after 8 years of study only being able to pass level 4, or something) so if you don't want to do that, just drop me a PM. I'm just interested in the data. I don't want to say exactly what my hypothesis is because that may lead to a skewing of your responses, but I am very interested in how most people learn Japanese. If I get a large enough sample, I might be able to draw some meaningful conclusions. I do appreciate the interest and the responces that my question has received and you all do have some very valid points. I might have to try the 5.5 kanji per day. As it is, however, I'm much more distracted by my classwork. I was hoping to perhaps combine the two with this little informal poll, but I also realized that the chances that enough of you would respond were rather remote.

Anyway, if you guys do wish to answer the questions, I promise to let you all know any conclusions I make, but of course I won't reveal data if you don't want me to.
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby AJBryant » Fri 01.13.2006 1:12 am

Well, I took my first Japanese language class as a freshman in college in 1978 (oy...). I *still* am learning.

After four years of college classes, though (classes five days a week), I eventually went to Japan and spent a year of intensive classes (c. six-sevven hours a day, five days a week in class) at Takushoku University in Tokyo.

I've been a translator on and off since then, but it's always been more of a hobby than anything else. I still run across things I never knew, or forgot that I'd studied or learned.

Tony
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RE: Japanese Proficiency Exam

Postby natemb » Fri 01.13.2006 4:43 am

After studying on my own for about a year and living in Japan for 9 months I took a diagnostic test online for the level 3 test. It was not the real test, but it predicted I would pass it with a score of around 75% (60% is passing). I also looked at the level 2 test and it looks very far away.

In Japan I teach English at work and usually speak English at home, so I'm not really immersed, but I do continue to study here, and have learned most of the level 3 kanji from this website.
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