JLPT1 2008 Results

By Michael Gakuran | | Japan, Journal | 51 Comments |

Finally! They’re here! MY JLPT level 1 results! (Actually, they were a week ago, but Love Dolls took the limelight). Three months of trepidation. Of nervously waiting by the letterbox and checking every JLPT website for some semblance of news. I kid, right..? And they arrived, in an unceremoniously bent envelope last Friday…

So, how did I do? It must be obvious from the picture and my numerous Twitter ramblings last week. I only went and passed it, didn’t I!? JLPT1 is the highest level of the standardised Japanese Language Proficiency Test (I passed level 2 last year), so allow me to selfishly relish in my own achievement for just a moment more… Woooooooo!!!!!!!

*Phew* Okay, now let’s look at the reality of the result and what it actually means. The pass mark for JLPT1 is 70% (280 marks). Here’s my score report:

Vocabulary: 67/100 = Fail
Listening: 57/100 = Shock!! and Fail
Reading & Grammar: 185/200 = Utter disbelief and an Ultra Pass…

Total: 309/400 = Pass

My chousho (長所 strong point) is listening and speaking. It always has been, as I place the most importance on being able to communicate in Japanese through tongue. Reading comes second to that, as you need it to do pretty much anything in Japan and to really enjoy life fully. Writing is my lowest priority and my tansho (短所 weak point), and my kanji writing ability reflects this, as I rely too much on electronic dictionaries and word processors…

I was dismayed when I read my listening score. I obviously have a lot of work to do. I need to listen to the news more and learn more vocabulary. I shouldn’t be too surprised by this – all my preparation for these two sections was done in 2 months prior to the exam. I crammed the entire pink kanji book from the Kanzen Master series and did a few practice tests for listening and such.

Grammar, well, I memorised the entire yellow Kanzen Master book for level 1 grammar. This makes up a huge chunk of the mark, without being superbly useful in itself. The remaining reading section will probably forever remain a mystery. On the several practice tests I did, the reading section was always the hardest section for me. I would usually pass vocabulary and listening, but fall down on the reading because I would run out of time. For some unexplainable reason, I managed to completely ace it in the real exam…

I remember quite vividly. There was 2 minutes to go before the ‘pens down’ instruction and sharp conclusion to the exam. I had just frantically finished a major question on the reading and I had one more to do… the graph question. There’s always one of these and I personally always leave it to last. You basically analyse a graph and pick out the answer which best describes it. Of course, I don’t know if I got that question right, but from chatting with my friends afterwards, I think I did.

My eyes flew over the lines and symbols, flitting from kanji to kanji, from the graph key to the scales and back to the answers: A, B, C or D? Hmm… B. No wait, that point there contradicts it. Then, is it C? But it can’t be C because of this point here. But that’s vague. Maybe D then? Yes, D. Whichever answer I put, I blacked out the answer sheet with my answer half a second before the examiner at the front of the room sternly said ‘Pens down’. My heart was pounding and sweat was forming on my forehead. Too close for comfort. But I’d done it. For the first time in my life, I’d filled in every answer on a level 1 paper, in the real exam no less…


So, ultimately, a pass, but not a pass I can be happy with. I still cannot read Japanese newspapers with ease, or novels. I can’t follow television shows fully yet either, nor keep up in a heavy debate. My main problem is lack of vocab. It looks like the road to fluency still stretches ahead of me. It’s time to open up Anki once again and start sentence mining. This time, the goal is to be able to read newspapers and books with relative ease and fully understand everything around me. It’s the final hurdle to fluency. My reckoning is several years. Less, if I Anki-ise my life every day.

I can feel the fire buring again. It’s time to start 0級!

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