How I passed N2-Charles

Charles Coyne Your Japanese Achilles heel – advice for passing the Level 2 Japanese Proficiency

My advice for getting your hands on the level 2 certificate is to spend some
time analysing the equivalent of your Japanese Achilles heel. It may seem
obvious but concentrating on your weakest area will have the greatest impact
on improving your overall score.

As most of you are well aware the exam is broken into 3 distinct sections
– Writing-Vocabulary, Listening and Reading-Grammar with an overall percentage
of 60% required to pass. Although we all have a weak points you can’t afford
to have a section where you really have a disaster.
I was very lucky to have
spent some years working for a software company in Tokyo and although I haven’t
spent as much time studying Japanese formally I picked the language up step
by step while I was over there, through lessons at my company, private study
and communicating with my colleagues.

Consequently it was clear to my teacher, Kazuo Sensei, back in the UK that my listening skills
were relatively strong and it would be the Reading-Grammar section that would
decide whether I passed or failed.

Identifying your weaknesses is a great way to help you focus and concentrate
on the task in mind and each week we practised and practised previous Reading-Grammar
section exam papers. I would go through one section each weekend, making conditions
as close to exam conditions as possible, ie. no looking up vocabulary and
equally importantly strictly timed.

It soon became apparent that reading Japanese quickly which you need to do
and understanding the subtlety of the expressions was where my teacher and
I needed to concentrate our efforts.

Luckily for me I had a teacher who was able to identify this area of weakness
and we both managed to overcome it sufficiently enough to pass the exam, it
is the area that will need even more effort for Level 1.

Paper 1: 70/100
Paper 2: 90/100
Paper 3: 97/100
Total: 257/400 (65%) Pass