The JLPT is nearly a month away, and if you’re smart you’re already hitting those books and studying up a storm. Panic mode generally sets in about now for all of us, but there are some simple ways to study at least a little every day in order to facilitate a better learning experience, as in helping you remember all of the things you’ve read and tried to memorize.
Here are 5 ways to help you!
5: Watch Japanese TV/Dramas/Movies
Keeping yourself immersed in Japanese even at home is a great way to improve quickly. Don’t let yourself rely on the crutch of your native language. The more Japanese you hear and see in action the better. Right now I’m watching Tokyo Ghoul with the subtitles in Japanese, and I’ll watch an NHK special or two on YouTube, the variety shows will generally put up some Japanese subtitles on there without any prompting.
4: Use Games to Help You Study
Before I talked about websites and study books to help you prepare for the JLPT. However, there are quiz games out there that can help you increase your vocabulary fluency. Memrise is a great tool to help you get all of your vocab input, and you can also make your own games. It uses pictures and word association in order to connect the words in your mind to things you already know. You can also get the app for your phone!
Then, there are also standard Japanese games such as Final Fantasy or Ace Attorney. These games are fun to play and have some really interesting kanji to learn. Basically, you can play video games and learn something at the same time!
3: Watch YouTube Videos for Your Level
There are so many videos online available for Japanese learners. I’m a fan of Nihongomori, a YouTube channel specifically designed to help learners of Japanese. They have playlists that correspond to each level of the JLPT, and they’re tailor made to help you study in time for the test.
2: Reverse Testing
While taking all those practice tests can be useful, I recommend an old study tip I learned in high school, which at the time was called “reverse testing.” It’s when you take something you learned and design it into your own test style.
For example, the test on the JLPT is multiple choice. I know according to the practice tests that the kanji part of the exam will have four different options based on the hiragana writing, and only one of the options available is the right kanji. So I write out the question for myself and put an A, B, C, or D option. I make a whole test for myself. I go back and do the test just like I would for an exam, timer and all.
By making your own test, you’re getting your brain practice for the real things but also deconstructing how the test itself is designed for you to pass or fail. It helps, trust me.
1: Study Groups
Studying with people is always a great way to help remember what you’ve learned. Teaching and pushing each other to remember things helps form memories of people instead of just words and definitions. True, some people prefer to learn alone, but active learning generally helps the most people overall.
One of the things I used to do in university is get with a friend or two and we’d put snacks or candy in the middle. If you got 5 answers right, you could eat something. If you got the answers wrong, you starved! It was effective for me, and we also made songs to go with certain grammar points or shared different tricks we’d stumbled upon. With other people you can gain different ways of looking at the material, and that’s important in order to make the information go into long term memory instead of just short term.