Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Japanese tests and my test results

Not sure I should even record this in a quasi-public place. Yeah, I passed, but it feels more like a humiliation than a success. In my early years in Japan, I sat for the Japanese Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験) every December. I was always sitting for the first level (一級), and actually felt like I wasn't too far from passing at my peak. That was probably around 15 years ago, close to the same time when I was working part time in Akihabara. However, it finally came to seem like an annual rite of pointless effort on the edge of torture.

Then there was a hiatus of a couple of years when I blew it off completely. Eventually I tried again, but at the second level (二級). I think I probably could have passed at my peak, but by this time my Japanese had faded to the point where I was always a pretty good ways below the passing level. I think it's only 60% for this one, in contrast to the 70% for the top test.

Last year I finally broke down and sat for the third level (三級), and though I passed, it does feel rather more like humiliation than success. However, I'm recording it mostly so that I'll be able to find the results in the future (and I'll also add my old results here if I stumble across them). My score on the first section of writing and vocabulary was actually quite good, 93 out of the 100 points, and I was somewhat surprised that my listening was as high as 83 out of 100. However, my performance on reading and grammar was only 121 out of 200 points. Maybe that would have been enough to pass anyway, since it's over 60%? However, my overall score was 297 out of 400, or just shy of 75%.

Beginning this year, they are finally starting to offer the test twice a year, so I'm probably going to sit for the next higher level again around July, and most probably again in December... Such is life in Japan?