18 In Japanese learning journey (:/ N3 Journey

1st JLPT experience

Took JLPT for the first time last weekend! ^^ Time really flies. Not too long ago I was talking about how I just signed up and now… the test is over. This was my first time taking JLPT and I went for the N3 level, which was in the afternoon, together with the higher N2 and N1 levels.

The test itself was okay and I think I did .. okay. I was quite surprised that I managed to do the paper as I consider myself having even less experience with the Japanese language compared to Korean and I definitely study it a lot less. Heck, I didn’t even prepare for the test and for the past few months, I studied Japanese by reading Japanese novels. Hence reading (the passages at least) was a breeze for me and there’s no 멘붕 상태 after the test lol. On the whole, my Japanese learning is definitely a lot less structured than the way I learnt Korean so I was relieved that I was still kinda able to do the questions.

When I think about it, I feel quite amazed. Just last year I will have never thought of being able to do a JLPT paper. I can actually read Japanese now!! (I’m still very horrible at it though) Korean and Japanese have so many similarities and being a learner of both, I can’t help but compare both every time, whether it’s a fair comparison or not. >< To be honest, I have no idea what an N3 really means. Being the middle number of 5 levels, I assume that it’s kinda… intermediate? So I’ll try to compare it to the TOPIK intermediate paper and I think TOPIK is a lot more challenging and there are more questions lol.

I have a habit (?) of finishing tests super early and JLPT was no different. I finished every section early enough to redo the whole thing again and check through. Not that it made a difference, what I dont know in the first time, I still don’t know lol.

I hope I pass.

hehe enough of the test. I think I’m more amazed at some of the things I see. There are A LOT of test takers, even at the highest level. Which I find really very … amazing since there’s only less than 20 people for the highest level of TOPIK every time and many are overseas Koreans. I cannot imagine the day that hundreds will take the TOPIK advanced paper here. hahahaha. omg the thought of it is so amazing and yet scary at the same time ><

hehe I’m also very used to seeing locals dressed in the Korean style so it was kinda amazing that most of the test takers either dress like locals or Japanese!!! SO COOL. hehehe I think once we learn a language, we will really be influenced on many levels and it shows in our dressing, the way we act and talk too. ㅎㅎ

Overall it was a cool experience 😀

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  • Reply
    Clayton Wong
    9 July, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I am glad the text went well for you. I heard that Japanese, Korean, and Mongolian were from the same language family. But me knowing very little Korean, and absolutely no Japanese or Korean, I would not know lol. Anyway, I’m glad you crossed still another milestone 🙂

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      hehe about the origin, it’s actually debatable. I’ve seen different theories, each claiming different origins lol. There are definitely similarities though, although it’s hard to trace them back to a single language family or simply just influences due to geographical proximity and long term interactions between the people. hehe it’s an interesting topic to read up on!

  • Reply
    9 July, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Wow Mongolian. I wish I could learn that, but I don’t know a single shred of mongolian!

    I was quite disappointed to hear that TOPIK is harder for the mid level. I’m reaching the 1 year self study mark this august (for korean), and compared to JLPT (which I’m much more familiar with), I have no idea which level to even begin targetting. And it’s not like TOPIK is affordable for you to anyhow take and see. I wanna be sure I can pass. Like you, I read novels for practice, and I really want to try TOPIK, but I’m like an ultra introvert. :/


    JLPT used to be 4 levels, but then the distance between Levels 2 and 3 were uneven compared to the rest of the level gaps, and N3 was born to bridge that gap. I took JLPT 3 before the N levels came about, and that was .. really easy. N2 though, almost did me in. Admittedly, I had already graduated uni at least 6mths before the N2 paper, so I couldn’t continue Japanese lessons. At least I passed. ㅜㅜ

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      I think you should try for the intermediate TOPIK! ^^ I did think that TOPIK intermediate was harder, but that might have been due to the fact that I was new to language learning then and the lack of experience made everything seemed more overwhelming! You already had experience learning Japanese and I think that’ll make a difference. In any case, you won’t know until you try!

      Why not go to the TOPIK website and download their past year papers (with answers) to try? In that way, you can kinda have a gauge of your abilities, without paying for the exam straightaway. ^^

      wow you passed N2? hehe for me that’s a goal that needs more work. A lot more work hehe

  • Reply
    9 July, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    I took the test too and it was my first JLPT as well ^^
    I have been self studying for err really long time but never do it in proper way like others do.
    No regular classes.No sensei.No practice based on exam format/scope.
    What I did is just referring to grammar books,browsing through random Japanese sites,heavy dose of Japanese dramas and reading Japanese novels.
    The exam was quite ok to me except the listening part XD
    Hopefully I can pass N3 coz I’m planning to proceed to N2 at the end of this year ^^

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Good luck to you! 😀 Is the gap difference between N3 and N2 big? I’ll probably not take any JLPT for the next one year or so!

  • Reply
    9 July, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    I read somewhere that number of Korean TOPIK test takers has increased drastically over the years. I’m surprised that there are still so few people taking it.

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      hehe it did increase drastically over the years. 😀 We are a small country to begin with and we don’t place much emphasis on foreign language learning in the first place, so the numbers are actually pretty decent! There are hundreds taking the beginner and intermediate exams though!

  • Reply
    9 July, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I hope you did well! ^.^

    I had no idea that once you get around to the higher levels in TOPIK, there’s very few taking it. I knew it would be less as the level goes up, but 20?! I wonder how many people in NYC take the TOPIK and JLPT… O.o

    This reminds me that I need to resume my Japanese study. XD I banned myself from Japanese at the end of May to study more Korean and now that my ban is up (July 1st), I’m still studying Korean. I have a placement exam at the end of the year and I’m aiming for JLPT 3 next year. We’re in the same boat when it comes to studying the wrong language. TOPIK? *studies Japanese* JLPT? *studies Korean*

    • Reply
      9 July, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      hehe Korean is still a relatively new language in Singapore despite the Hallyu craze while learning Japanese has been going on for many many years. If someone here says he/she is learning a foreign language, most people will ask “Japanese?” hahaha well it used to be that way but the situation has somewhat changed and Korean is becoming increasingly popular that it’s now the “default” if you say you are starting to learn a foreign language these days lolol. Most people here are either at the beginner/intermediate level for Korean now so probably it’ll take another year or so for more people to reach the advanced level. Then again Singapore is not known to put emphasis on foreign languages. Unlike Japanese and other languages where you can actually study them as a full subject in school up to high school level, that system is not available for Korean. So I guess there may be less people at the advanced level here.

      hehehe I’m glad I’m not the only one studying the “wrong”languages hehe. All the best for that placement exam!!!

  • Reply
    William Peregoy
    9 July, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Good stuff mate. I was considering taking the N3 this time around – but skipped out on it figuring I needed more studying.

    Best of luck with the score!

    As far the N3 being intermediate or in the middle – yeah, it is. It’s actually a new test. There used to be 4 JLPT tests, but the rumor was level 4 and 3 were really easy, but 1 and 2 were difficult… and there was a huge gap between 3 and 2. So, the created the N3, stuck it in the middle and changed the others to N1, N2, N4, and N5.

    • Reply
      9 July, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      Thanks William! ^^ Yeah heard that the difficulty level increase quite drastically in the old system! To be honest I think I’ll prefer that, N3 is really in the middle of nowhere that passing it doesn’t seem to say much too. It’s not beginner but yet I don’t place it in the intermediate level too.

  • Reply
    9 July, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I took the N3 level sunday as well, but I actually found it quite hard ><
    I have been studying hard for the past year for it, but I just find tests difficult.
    I hope I have passed but I am really not sure..
    Good luck to you too!

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      Thanks!! Good luck to you too 😀

  • Reply
    10 July, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Amazing! My Japanese is back to nowhere after a few months of not studying. I can’t read the kana again! 🙁

    I’m also guilty of comparing Japanese and Korean – unfairly most of the time. ㅋㅋ

    There are also more takers of JLPT here than TOPIK. But TOPIk takers are getting plentier by the year. I remember on my first TOPIK it was only about less than 10 of us from the same university and same class who took the beginner exam for the entire country (plus one kyopo). But now it looks like they need more than 1 classroom to fit all the beginner takers. Intermediate takers were only 5 then but we were almost 20 last time. Advanced takers are still very few (just Zara and a couple of kyopos actually hehe).

    Good luck! Hope you’ll get good results.

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      woah that’s even lesser than what we see here. >< But I guess give it a few years and the numbers will double or triple!

  • Reply
    Charles Vought
    10 July, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    I’m glad you got to have some time check over your work! I’m sure you’ll pass just fine. For me, I had picked up a book about Japanese I found the symbolism and kanji to be very confusing. At this point in time I still prefer to study Korean. Perhaps one day ill develop an interest in Japanese. It’s the Korean language, people, entertainment, and government that I’m into right now myself. Keep going and don’t stop mastering Jap.

    • Reply
      10 July, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Yeah, the writing system can be really confusing at first too, and kanji is always a problem for people who have no prior knowledge of the characters. But it’s an amazing language in its own way too ^^

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