How I passed N2-Phillipa

Phillipa Symington

This was my second time of taking 2 kyuu so I knew my weaknesses and felt
more comfortable with taking the exam. After the first attempt, I realised
that I hadn’t appreciated the length of the exam, so this time I did timed
sections of the paper. This was particularly relevant for the reading section,
which I had guessed most of at first attempt.
While practising these, I made lists of the many kanji I couldn’t read, which
slowly became more familiar.

I did the same for the grammar section, for which I practised using books
published by the examining board.
I knew the grammar rules well and also the types of questions likely to appear
by the time the exam came. Since these questions can be answered quicker,
in section three I answered the second half of the paper first, giving me
the confidence to tackle the beginning. Even then, my reading was too slow
to get through more than one and a half passages. I should have read some
Japanese daily before the exam to improve my speed.

I was very lucky to pass.
My knowledge of kanji would not be described as perfect but from the lists
I’d made, my recognition was not bad. I hadn’t paid enough attention to how
the kanji is read however, and long or short ‘o’s for example was still mystery
in the exam. With the slowness of my reading preventing me from completing
the third paper, I therefore only got just over half marks in the first and
third papers.

Thankfully, the listening section compensated. This was the most enjoyable
part of the exam, also the easiest to practise for; watching Japanese videos,
chatting to Japanese friends and listening to tapes of Japanese stories.

To scrape through like I did, I’d recommend concentrating on your strengths.
To have a solid base, there’s no substitute for daily revision of old papers.

Paper 1: 54/100
Paper 2:90/100
Paper 3: 105/200
Total:249/400 (62%) Pass