Sunday, July 5, 2009

Japanese 2nd level Proficiency Exam

1186692268986 I majored in Japanese language when I was an undergraduate at SDSU. I even managed to spend a year as an exchange student but I never really challenged myself when it came to how much I actually know let alone even used it for any real practical purpose. So Yuko pushed me to take the Japanese 2nd level proficiency test.
The 2nd level test is 1 level away from the highest, “mastery” level 1 test. There are 4 levels in all; 4 being lowest and 1 being the most advanced/highest level test. I feel I am somewhere between levels 2 and 3 but closer to 2. My listening comprehension has grown by leaps and bounds but my reading literacy has completely suffered and my test scores will probably really hurt because of it.
I’ve been “studying” for the 2nd level Japanese test since mid-March. I really didn’t give myself enough time or took it seriously enough because I am so easily caught up in distractions of my daily life (VIDEOGAMES and internet.) I regret not taking more time to really focus on my studies but that time has passed and now all I have to look forward to are my results that should come in sometime mid September.
While my family and friends were barbecuing and celebrating America’s Independence Day, I was stuck in a stuffy college lecture hall. I took the test at the sciences campus of Tokyo University. It was weird going back to college, even if I was only there for most of one day. Sitting in a tiny cramped lecture hall surrounded by other foreigners mostly from other Asian countries. I barely saw any western looking foreigners that may have come from English speaking countries so I really didn’t get a chance to talk with anybody. I was so nervous anyway, I doubt I would have even tried if the opportunity revealed its self to me.
The test is made up of 3 sections, Chinese characters and vocabulary, listening, and reading. Of all the three sections I think I did really good on the listening portion although I tripped myself up on two questions over thinking. I may have bubbled in the wrong answers on accident. My weakest of all three subjects would have to be the reading section which is also the biggest section with the most time and points possible.
The reading section is made up mostly of page long excerpts from essays and books that you are required to analyze and answer questions about their contents. I have a horrible attention span when it comes to reading in any language so I really suffer there. I found myself guessing a lot just to get through the reading section so I could get to the other half of reading which was more fill in the blanks which I do better at.
If I remember correctly, the lowest possible score you can get for a passing grade is 60 percent (although it may be 70 I have to recheck this later.) Either way, a passing grade for this test is incredibly low compared to most other standardized test. Its low for good reason too, IT’S HARD. I may or may not have reached this grade but if I did it will save me another trip to the testing center in December to try it all over again. In the meantime, I’ll be focusing more on beefing up my vocabulary for my own personal benefit and for future tests I will probably end up taking in order to find a better job.

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