All About Japan

5 Reasons Taking the JLPT is a Good Idea

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How’s it going everybody? How’s the JLPT prep coming?

Anybody out there taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in December? If so, this guy is rooting for you! Heck, you might even see me at your testing center!

The JLPT is called the Nihongo Noryoku Shiken (日本語能力試験) in Japanese. This exam is the gold standard when it comes seeing just how well you know your stuff (well, everything except speaking… which I find a bit odd, but anyway… ).

If you’ve never thought about taking the exam, here are five reasons why I think you should think about it:

1. The JLPT Helps You Measure Your Strengths & Pinpoint Your Weaknesses

1. The JLPT Helps You Measure Your Strengths & Pinpoint Your Weaknesses

Nobody wants to hear “You suck!” We all enjoy having our egos stroked and feeling good about ourselves. Anybody out there enjoy having their arses handed to them on an exam? Show of hands? Nobody?

The good news is “failure” is perception-based. When you use the Japanese Language Proficiency Test as a benchmark for your Japanese studies as opposed to this big, scary, make-or-break, all-or-nothing, have-to-pass-it-or-the-world-ends exam, it can take some serious weight off your shoulders! Mindset matters.

For every JLPT I’ve ever taken, I take comfort in knowing that I’m not doing the test for a company and I’m not doing it for school. I’m taking the test for me. I enjoy learning Japanese. I do like challenging myself and yes, I did felt that sting of disappointment when I fell short on my N3, but the disappointment was short-lived because of my mindset. It was that same mindset that made me go back into that test center and show that N3 who’s boss when I took it again.

I had to ask myself why I was taking the test. Part of the reason was not only to see how good I was, but to find out what my Japanese weaknesses were. I think failure sometimes makes us forget to see the big picture. While i can’t claim to be a JLPT master. I do appreciate the how it can be a great tool for improvement.

For your old-school game fans, maybe I can put it into other terms. Imagine playing Final Fantasy VII for a moment. You, Biggs, Wedge, Jessie and Barrett jump off that train and instead of going on the initial bombing mission, you head straight to the Northern Cave to fight Sephiroth. You already know how that turns out. Cloud didn’t start off being strong enough to beat the baddest video game villain of all time.

We all start somewhere. Yes, even with Japanese.

You have a chance to become amazing over time (just like Cloud did) through consistent action. And you won’t even need a gigantic buster sword to do it: a mechanical pencil and eraser will work just fine. Whether the results you get back from your exam are pass or fail, look at them with an objective, open mind. We can all improve if we’re open to doing so.

QUESTION: What’s your greatest Japanese strength? What’s your greatest Japanese weakness?

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