Today we interviewed three students who successfully passed the JLPT N2 test held in December 2016, and they unveiled their experiences. We hope this can be a reference for you all.
Students (when they took the test, they were one level down):
Ezequiel (Spain), now in level 8
Charlotte (UK), now in level 8
Mayeul (France), now in level 7
Main contents discussed
1. How was the test?
The listening was pretty difficult. Rather than daily conversation there were many conversations based on working situations, and it was hard to catch the formal speech. In the last exercise, called "synthetic comprehension", the conversation is long, therefore it's fundamental to take notes.
When did you actually start to prepare for the N2?
The actual preparation for the test started three months before it, but it was stressful. It would have been better to start to study for it half a year before, in level 5. Especially concerning learning the vocabulary, starting three months before is too late.
3. How did you study?
Preparing lists of vocabulary and grammar rules reviewable everywhere, at any time. As it is obvious that kanji we never studied will appear in the test, it's nice to practice guessing the meaning. It's also recommended to buy and study from other books, added to the textbooks we use during classes.
4. Do you have any tip to deal with the reading comprehension, a weak point for those students who don't use kanji in their languages?
First of all, properly understand the questions. In the short texts, search for where the reply is written. In medium-long texts, the order of the questions corresponds to the text's paragraphs, so you can look for answers one after the other. Anyway, it's important to get used to solving several reading comprehension exercises.
5. How did you find N2 classes at KAI?
They were useful, but I'd like them to be offered to students all year round. I liked the fact that the contents of the afternoon optional classes were different from the morning classes. This was probably the time in which we got used to the patterns of the exercises, and to guess the meaning of kanji and vocabulary.
6. Any advise for students in the intermediate levels (if I could go back to level 4-5...)
Vocabulary is the key point. You had better start learning it early on. Not only kanji classes, but also the vocabulary in the textbooks is fundamental. Even studying 15 minutes a day is ok, so just start. Then, you may want to try the N2 test ahead of time. Doing so you can look at the day of the real test without feeling stressed (it really was like this). You know, you don't get nervous for the practice tests in class.