Tag Archives: N2

JLPT December 2012 Results Overview

14 Feb

Yesterday the Japan Foundation released its statistics for the JLPT held in December 2012. For those of you who are interested, the official data can be found here, but we are going to give you a quick run down of the results right here.

The first thing we noticed in the data was the much lower certification rate across all levels when compared to the July 2012 and December 2011 exams. This gives us the impression that this time the exam was much harder than previous exams, because strictly speaking, the percentage of certified applicants should be similar each time the exam is held. The greatest difference is in N1 – only 24.1% of all applicants (Japan and overseas) passed, compared to 37.4% in July 2012 and 31.6% in December 2011. That’s a pretty significant drop from last time, nearly 15% in fact.

The number of N2 applicants who passed also dropped from 44.0% in July 2012 to 37.5% in December 2012. This is likely because there is a higher ratio of test takers in Japan and Asian countries for the July exam. However the December 2012 figure was higher than in 2011, though only by 2% or so. For N3, N4 and N5 the situation is basically the same – all levels had a drop in certified applicants from the previous two exams. The total number of applicants who passed the exam was 33.7% (a third of all test takers) while in July 42.9% passed and 38.0% in December the year before.

Since the July JLPT isn’t held in some countries we compared the number of examinees who sat the December 2011 and 2012 exams. Last year 313,322 examinees sat the exam while in December 2011 numbers were about 10% higher at 346,023 examinees. We’d be interested to hear the reason why the number was down in 2012 compared to 2011 but unfortunately the Japan Foundation doesn’t shed much light on this.

In-depth data and charts aren’t available at the moment either, so there isn’t much we can do but wait until these are published. The average score and distribution of scores on the bell-curve chart are always great to look at because it gives you a good idea of how well you did compared to the other examinees. Even if you didn’t pass your exam you might have scored well above the average, which will definitely give you a nice confidence boost!

Let us know your thoughts on the exam statistics and why you think there was such a big drop in the pass rate this time. If you sat the exam in December did you think it was a lot harder than you expected? Or if you sat the exam previously was it easier that time than in December? We’d love to hear what you think!

Review: JLPT N2 Grammar Drills

6 Feb

Level: Upper intermediate, N2
Format: App (Android)
Publisher: Sanshusha Publishing Co. Ltd.
Site: http://www.sanshusha.co.jp/np/index.do

N2 Grammar Drills 1

JLPT N2 Grammar Drills is exactly that – an app designed to drill all the grammar that appears in level N2 of the JLPT. Developed and published by Sanshusha, this app is currently only available for Android devices and can be downloaded for free. The app is very user friendly and navigation requires no knowledge of Japanese.

There are nine units, each of which contains around 30 questions. Each unit focuses on grammar that is similar in either meaning or structure. Generally, around 20 grammar structures are included per unit, so given the limited number of questions you should only expect to see one or two questions per structure.

The questions themselves are multiple choice and require you to choose the correct answer from four options (and on the rare occasion from five). If you answer a question incorrectly you are given the right answer on the next screen.  A nice little addition is the kanji button in the top corner. When you press this button the app displays the readings of the kanji in the question. Though for some reason not all the kanji in the question are included, which we feel makes it a bit pointless. Once you’ve completed the unit you are shown an overview of your answers. Three quizzes that cover all nine units are also included so that you can review grammar terms from all units at once.

JLPT N2 Grammar Drills isn’t the prettiest app we have ever seen but the fonts are easy to read and it is nice to see a free app with no advertising. Throughout the test phase we didn’t experience any crashing on our Android device running ICS either.

If you are looking for an app that will teach you N2 grammar, then you should give this one a miss. Since there aren’t any grammar explanations this app is only really useful if you have previously studied the grammar from some other source (such as Kanzen Master N2 Grammar). It might be useful for doing a quick revision while on the bus to your exam site or in the days leading up to the JLPT, but overall the app’s use is rather limited.

SCORE: 4/10

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Review: Nihongo Kanzen Master Level 2 Grammar

30 Jan

Japanese: 完全マスター2級日本語能力試験文法問題対策
Level: Upper intermediate, JLPT N2
Format: Textbook/Exercise book
Publisher: 3anetwork
Site: http://www.3anet.co.jp

Please note this publication has since been updated to reflect the new JLPT exam levels.

Nihongo Kanzen Master Level 2 Grammar has been written to familiarize learners with grammar that is likely to appear on Level 2 of the JLPT. This volume covers a total of 173 grammar points, though a number of these have two entries, so the total number of individual points is closer to 180. It should be noted that the whole book is published in Japanese, so learners without a sound grasp of Japanese vocabulary and grammar (read: intermediate or N3 level) are likely to struggle with understanding.

Each grammar entry is complete with its meaning in a simplified form, or paired with grammar from an earlier level that shares the same or similar meaning. Construction of the grammar is explained clearly showing whether, for example, the dictionary, past, or -te form of the verb is used, or whether extra particles, such as の, must be used between a noun and the grammar. There are also three to four example sentences per grammar structure that demonstrate various contexts the grammar is used in.

The overall layout of Nihongo Kanzen Master Level 2 grammar has been well planned, with related grammar generally presented in the same unit, although the units themselves are not labelled with the theme they relate to, such as time, comparisons or opinions. At the end of each unit is a review with approximately 30 questions to test your understanding of the grammar presented in that unit.

As would be expected from a book aimed at learners with N3-N2 understanding, there is a significant amount of kanji, however most have furigana unless they are rudimentary (雨,学生,来週 etc.). In that sense it will also help with kanji and vocabulary revision.

Studying this book alone is unlikely to be sufficient to pass the grammar section of the JLPT N2 exam comfortably. Ideally it should be used in conjunction with a textbook devoted to grammar questions as the review questions at the end of each unit are varied, but limited. And as with all language learning, seeing the grammar in a real-world context will help with acquisition and understanding.

Nihongo Kanzen Master Level 2 Grammar presents its content in a logical, thorough manner, which most learners at this level will find easy to follow and comprehend. It is definitely one of the more ‘vital’ resources to be used when studying for N2 and one that all learners will gain from.

SCORE: 8/10