A language proficiency test helps you to assess your competence in a foreign language. The results that the test fetches can be used to derive several benefits in the foreign country. If you are interested in testing your Japanese language proficiency, you need to appear for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).
There is no better way to test your fluency in Japanese than taking the JLPT. Preparing for the test itself is a rigorous process that will entail dedication and practice. But being JLPT qualified will not only look good on your resume but will also give open up plenty of career opportunities for you.
If you intend to sit for this language proficiency test, you need to be thorough with your reading, listening, and conversing skills. Your knowledge of grammar and the ability to apply it while communicating in Japanese will have to be spot on. If you want to learn the language and pass the test, you may consider taking help from a private tutor. Going ahead, we will discuss the things you need to do to be thoroughly prepared for the exam.
Benefits of JLPT Exam
The JLPT started in 1984 as a test to measure and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of those whose native language is not Japanese. It was organized jointly by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services. The JLPT is currently offered twice a year, in July and December. In India, JLPT test centers are located in the cities of New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Santiniketan, and Karur. For exam dates and the application process, you need to visit the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) website.
There are 5 levels in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5. The N5 exam is the easiest to crack while N1 is the toughest. All the exams are structured to assess the ability of a student to comprehend Japanese by testing their reading and listening skills. As the levels progress, the questions become increasingly difficult. The JLPT exam therefore measures competence in Japanese language communication through these elements:
- Language knowledge in terms of vocabulary and grammar
- Reading and listening skills in terms of the student's ability to use the knowledge in actual communication
If you pass the JLPT exam you are entitled to many privileges in Japan, the most important of which is, you can earn points for preferential treatment in case you wish to immigrate to Japan. This apart, you also become eligible to teach Japanese anywhere in the world. Schools and language institutes always prefer to hire JLPT-qualified teachers.
Aside from teaching, if you wish to work as a translator for a company like Google or even as a freelancer, being JLPT qualified will give a huge boost to your chances of getting hired. Even if you offer online or private tutorials, you will be deemed more credible by prospective students if you have passed this test. But before you can enjoy the benefits, you will yourself need help to crack the exams. Let's explore ways by which you can do it.
Hiring a Private Tutor
To successfully crack the JLPT exam you need to be thoroughly prepared. Unless you study in a language institute where along with teaching the Japanese language course, students are also trained to crack the JLPT exam, you may find it difficult to pass the test on your own. So it's recommended that you take paid private classes from a certified JLPT teacher.
There are many advantages of studying Japanese with a private tutor, especially if you are planning to take the language proficiency test. Since the test will be an assessment of your overall ability to comprehend and use the language to communicate, you need to work on perfecting your reading, writing, and listening skills. You need to practice on a daily basis. With the help of a private tutor, you will be able to organize your timetable better and become fully prepared when the day of the test arrives. Here are the benefits of taking private lessons:
- Organized approach: Since you need to build your knowledge in multiple areas, it can get quite overwhelming. The Japanese language tutor will help to organize your schedule, diving the syllabus into bits that will help you to focus better and maintain steady progress.
- Expert guidance: Since your tutor has already cracked the JLPT exam, his or her expertise in the matter will help you to be better prepared. You will get learn from the teacher's own experience and the tips are bound to be useful.
- Improved fluency: When you are studying with a tutor, you can converse in Japanese. This will significantly improve your communication skills, both speaking and listening. Also, pronouncing every word correctly can be tricky. When you practice with the teacher, he or she will rectify your errors then and there.
- Building confidence: With a tutor to guide you and motivate you, preparing for the test will be less stressful. The tutor will give you proper learning resources to help you correctly read and write Japanese and also practice exercises to make you exam-ready.
- Saving time: The entire process of learning and preparing for a foreign language test can be exhausting. There are certain aspects of reading and writing Japanese that can be tricky. It's always easier to get your doubts clarified from a tutor than spending hours looking for the answer on the net or in the textbook.
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Tips for JLPT Preparation
Whichever level of the exam you want to pass, JLPT prep will require dedication. Whether you are studying the language is a school, university, at home, online, or under a private tutor, it's the regular practice that's going to help you pass the tests. You have to thoroughly go through all the learning resources that you are using. Apart from textbooks, quality content is also available online. Here are some tips to improve your preparation.
Focus on the Fundamentals
While level n5 requires students to read and understand basic sentences in hiragana, katakana, and kanji, things get more complicated as you progress to the intermediate and higher levels of the test. There you will be asked to read and understand writings that are logically and structurally complex. Depending on which level you want to pass, you should be thorough with the hiragana, katakana, and kanji that are required for you to know.
Use Memorizing Tools and Techniques
Prepare theme-based flashcards and worksheets while you are building your vocabulary and learning sentences. Processing and retaining information becomes much easier when you break them up into parts. There are also a host of mobile applications that are dedicated to language learning. You can try using Japanese language learning apps like Hiranaga Quest, Jsho, Hello Talk, and others to take interactive quizzes and practice exercises to make learning interesting.
As the saying goes, there's no alternative to hard work. You need to work on the subject on a daily basis. Plan from beforehand whether you want to sit for the proficiency test in July or December. Accordingly, plan your studies. See to it that there's enough time to prepare and revise before sitting for the test. Examinees tend to feel stressed as the date of the examination comes closer. To avoid last-minute preparation and undue stress, begin your preparation with enough time in hand.
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Know the Test Pattern
Examinees should be aware of the kind of questions that will be a part of JLPT. You can look online for information regarding the same. the official JLPT website has helpful resources. Also, try to find out the kind of knowledge that you are expected to acquire at your level. These are some of the areas you need to work on:
- Ability to understand spoken Japanese and identify what is being said in short spoken dialogues and narratives about everyday topics.
- Ability to complete sentences in a way that is appropriate in terms of structure (grammar), vocabulary, and contexts.
- Identify usage that is both structurally correct and contextually appropriate.
- Understand such points as the main and supporting ideas. Selections are taken from materials you might encounter in everyday situations, such as notes, menus, newspaper articles, advertisements, and letters.
Learning foreign languages is not only good for your CV but does wonders for your social life as well. You can connect and interact with people whose native language is different from yours. You can end up having friends all over the world. But if you are keen to learn a foreign language to multiply your career options, it's definitely worth it. And, learning the Japanese language can most certainly open up many opportunities for you.
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