December 2016 Challenge – Jabbing the JLPT

Join the next group of people trying to accomplish a major Japanese goal, set a reasonable but challenging time frame, and reach for a grand win together.



 The JLPT is coming up. Many of you are taking it. Your task is to do everything in your power to kick its ass. Win or lose. Pass or fail. Put your all into this battle.

Initial Instructions

Leave a comment by December 1st and include:
1. Your level
2. Resources you will use
3. Game plan/strategy

Completion Instructions

Reply to your comment by December 6th (or whenever your test ends) and include:
1. Did you use every skill you had and put up the best fight you could?
2. Your experience (issues, struggles, discoveries)

 Current Challengers

Dextra ● Matt V ● James

● See past challenges, attempt any that you missed, and make your way into the Hall of Honor...
● Remember to update your progress on the November Group Challenge!

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese. On a quest to become 日本語王 (king of the Japanese language).


December 2016 Challenge – Jabbing the JLPT — 19 Comments

  1. Ha ha, I wonder if it really counts as a challenge, since I am already doing that.

    Level: 60?

    Last year, I failed the N1 by a 3 points margin. However, I only got 20 points on listening (reminder: 19 points or less in any section is a failing, so I passed that section by the skin of my teeth), so there’s a lot of room for improvement there.

    So far, I have been doing the same as last time (reviewing grammar and kanji, reading stuff, etc.) but I realize it’s madness to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. So I should probably do some binge listening of the news/podcasts and so on.

    • You might also try your hand at the JCAT test if you haven’t already. It’s free online and you can take it once every…6 months I think?

      The questions are adaptive and ramp up in difficulty quickly, and the structure is very similar to the JLPT. In my case it showed that I really need to brush up on grammar a bit more, but for you maybe it’ll be a good listening warm-up? =)

    • Thank you both for your advice. The listening part felt much easier this time (and I was more prepared for the last questions, taking notes, etc.)

      On the other hand, grammar and vocab felt much harder this time… So it still feels like a toss up…

  2. I’m in. James had better be in, too =P (we’re both taking the N1 next month)

    Level: 64

    Thanks to another user introducing it to me, I tried the JCAT test a few months ago. It was great practice, and I was happy with my overall result, but I scored much lower on Grammar than any other section. Since then I’ve resolved to focus extra hard on grammar, and review the whole Kanzen N1 grammar deck before the test date.

    I’ve already seen a big improvement on practice tests from my grammar efforts, but I’m going to keep doing them right up until test day to try and identify any remaining weak spots. If I somehow don’t pass, at least it won’t be because I failed the grammar section =)

    • Ok wow that was tough. I can’t say for certain that I passed, but I do feel like my chances are good. Vocabulary ended up being the hardest section – there were a LOT of words I’ve never seen before. Grammar on the other hand went pretty well, so hooray for preparation. Now comes the wait…

      I’ll report back in February once I find out my score! =)

  3. I’m in toooooooo.

    Gonna ramp up the study come wednesday (been lazy lately) and the test is next sunday… help me.

    I’ll probably be doing practice exams from here on out.

    Listening sections are harder than I gave them credit for. Definitely going to be spotty marks, certain sections with a lot more love than others.

    If anyone has anki decks, I recommend avoiding my mistake and make the cards cloze delete. Recognition (jalup) style cards are great for immersion. As the test is multiple choice, clozed style cards really lend themselves to it.

    • When using cloze style cards are you still doing J-J? What kind of hints are you giving yourself or how do you use context to figure out the missing information? Are you using Japanese definitions of the grammar points as the hint? I am very curious because I will want to take the N2 next summer…

      • I have some that i can send you.

        I was silly enough to edit them into recognition cards. It’s too close to the exam now to reintroduce them as they were created.

        But I still have the originals intact

        Contact me on JALUP line group if interested, and anyone else for that matter.

        • I think I have to be part of the Jalup Chat group for that? (I haven’t done that yet, I will do that now, just in case.)

  4. I’m probably going to screw up bad but we’ll see :P

    I’ll be taking JLPT N3. I’ve mostly been messing around and studying whatever I felt like studying… which resulted in not very consistent study overall. oops. Well I’ll try to focus on prep materials these last few days and on the test day listen to my immersion podcast the whole morning to get into “Japanese mode” ;)

    • Sooo, I’m not sure, it could have gone either way, but I think I probably failed the moji/goi section. The rest was okay.

      I did get some good last minute grammar study and listening practice in using the kanzen master series. It definitely helped me out during the test, especially on the keigo parts. I should make some flash cards for that, as I tend to read up on that and forget it the next day…

      Sadly my plan to immerse myself on the test day morning didn’t work out. I met up with a friend who lives in the city where I took the test but who sadly doesn’t know any Japanese :/ I really enjoyed the meetup, so no regrets there, but I did feel like my Japanese understanding was a bit more sluggish and I had a hard time blending out the native tongue in my head. Probably didn’t help much either that I spend the breaks discussing stuff in non-Japanese with my seat neighbours. Oh well :) I guess on N2 we could just try using Japanese? :P

      I think I did best on the reading comprehension, followed by listening comprehension. I feel like I’m just better at getting stuff in context and immersion has probably helped a lot with that… But when it comes to the language details (which of these similar kanji is the right one? which grammar pattern fits here?) I’m getting into trouble. It’s probably because I’ve been too content with “kinda understanding” stuff, glossing over words too many times and slacking off on study overall ;) I believe that the combination of immersion and study is a great way of learning and definitely what would benefit me the most, but I’ve been a bit too lazy on the study part *oops*

      The test has been good motivation anyway and also pointed out some weaknesses I still have. And there’s still a tiny little bit of hope left that I just mayyyyybeee have passed as well. We’ll see sometime next year, I guess :)

  5. I’m in :)

    1. Level = 9
    2. Resources = JLUP Intermediate Package + Genki textbooks + lots of targeted listening practice (and passive) and reading manga + RTK SRS
    3. Use the “filler” moments in my corporate job to blast the SRS and use lunch breaks for textbook exercises.

    Good luck everyone :)

  6. A bit late to the party as usual these days :p but I’m in.

    1. Level: 30-ish
    2. Resources: I have bought the official test booklet with a try-out test but have been way way too busy to get to go through it. I also bought a listening practice book aimed for JLPT but have only gone through the first couple exercises.
    3. I finished Jalup Advanced and have started Jalup Expert. My plan was to use November for immersing a lot but that simply did not happen. Way too much other stuff to do. I do not expect to pass at all, but I will use this test to try it out and get a feel for what the test is like. Then I will absolutely blast it away next year and pass with flying colors :D

    • As expected it went badly. But it was an interesting experience. The listening section was not as bad as I expected. The other sections were worse though. So I’ll be better prepared next year.

  7. Missed the initial “post by” date by a couple days, but I’m taking the N2 tomorrow so I’ll pretend I’m doing the challenge either way :D

    1. Level: 40-something? (Listening is probably much lower…)

    2. Resources: I bought the Shin Kanzen Master reading, grammar, and listening books a few months back, but have been neglecting them pretty heavily until recently. They’re really good books though!

    3. Game plan: My biggest problems with the N3 were: I read too slowly and my listening skills are terrible. Aside from occasionally dipping my toes in the JLPT-specific books mentioned above I’ve just been trying to do a lot more reading (novels!) and watching/listening unsubbed native materials. I passed the N3 last year by the skin of my teeth, so am not super optimistic about the N2, buuuuut… no reason not to take it!

    • Listening was my weakest again, by far. I really need to step up my listening game! I was still a bit too slow with the reading section too, but not as bad as I was with the N3. (Only had to hurriedly fill in a few bubbles when time ran out.)

      As with the N3, I honestly have no idea whether I passed or not. But I gave it my all, even while fighting a nasty cold :D And now all that’s left is to wait a few months for the results… sigh. (The waiting really is the hardest part. Especially considering it’s a computer-graded multiple choice test that could be graded instantly, in theory.)

      I think I’ll plan on taking the N1 next year regardless of whether I pass the N2 this year, though. We shall see!

      Hope it went well for everyone else…

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