About 2 hours ago, I completed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
I had a completely different impression of the environment than what I actually experienced, as I thought the exam would be given in an auditorium setting. In actuality, it was broken down into groups based on the exam level one was taking, and each group assigned to a classroom.
Each test taker is sent a test voucher in the mail weeks prior to the exam, which must be brought to the testing location along with another valid form of ID, i.e., drivers license, passport, or student ID.
The level 2 group was assigned two classrooms because of the large number of test takers in that group.
For each exam level there were the following number of test takers scheduled:
Level 1 - 90
Level 2 - 133
Level 3 - 110
Level 4 - 69
I took the level 4 exam. At first I was surprised at the low number of test takers at my level, but I remembered throughout my language training being advised to skip level 4. I’m still glad I didn’t take that advice.
I was earlier advised that the level 4 exam would be 3 hours, however, it was actually 2 hours and 50 minutes, as the level 4 exam began at 1:00pm and ended at 3:50pm.
There are three parts of the exam, Vocab (approx. 45 minutes), Reading (approx. 90 minutes), and Listening (approx 45 minutes), with Listening being the most difficult, at least it was for me.
My advice for those considering taking level 4?
Learn the first 103 kanji, and all their usages, backwards and forwards. White Rabbit Press has a great product called ‘Japanese Kanji Flashcards 1’ , containing all the kanji covered in the level 3 and level 4 JLPT, that I found to be indispensable in my studies.
Do as much listening practice as you possibly can. There are many JLPT test prep products that contain CDs of the listening parts of past years’ exams. I used 4級日本語能力試験。試験問題と正解。*, published by the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) and The Japan Foundation. にほんごのうりょくしけん。しけんもんだいとせいかい。
Yon kyuu nihongo nou ryoku shiken. Shiken mondai to seikai.
Level 4 Japanese Proficiency Test. Exam Questions and Answers.3. Study, study, study. I found the reading part of the exam to be quite easy, but that didn’t stop me from second guessing my answers, especially on the trick questions. Please be clear that there ARE questions that are designed to trip you up, so pay close attention to what you’re reading.
Did I pass? I believe I did pretty well, but I won’t get my official score until late February - early March.
Time to get started on my level 3 studies.