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The New JLPT Registration Process

After last year’s debacle with stolen credit card numbers, the Japan Foundation has decided against use of online resources to pay for registration. They are only accepting the completed registration form and either money order or personal check as payment for the registration. How terribly low-tech! While I understand their apprehension, it is an unavoidable fact that:

1) Checks are passe. I don’t remember the last time I wrote a check from my account, easily 3 to 4 years ago, AND,
2) It will be an administrative nightmare just to process all those paper registrations and checks. I foresee a lot of registrations and/or payments going missing.

This is the electronic era, one defined by its technological advances on all fronts, including payments. I’m a little beside myself that I have to do this, to tell you the truth. Either way, the test will once again be at Lehman College here in NYC, with a person limit of 500. That shouldn’t be too bad.

Visit the Japan Foundation site to get more information on the JLPT test for 2011:
[/alert-info]I plan on taking N2 for the 2nd time. Last year, I thought I would be okay after some study, that my years of knowledge would come rising up from the hole of time and rush forth. No such thing happened. I believe I scored a 55% on the test. Yeah, it’s rather embarrassing. This time around, I did a lot more study and applied myself all year long, between lots of Japanese reading (via tadoku, among other methodologies) and my many cram books. The conclusion that I’ve drawn though is that some of the cram books I have aren’t very good at teaching me. They are very dense and not approachable AT ALL. What I did a few weeks back was pull out every single Japanese language book from my library and came up with 18 books. Yes, 18. And I’d venture that maybe 7 or 8 of them are actually useful.

This brings up my point: just because a study book you pick up promises stronger proficiency with grammar or vocabulary or listening skills, doesn’t mean that it will actually be effective for your way of learning. Everyone learns language differently; some need it experientially, others are more comfortable in a classroom, textbook setting. You have to have an understanding of the most effective and efficient way for you to learn and from there, you can determine with tools will be useful in that process.

I’m definitely experiential — I learn a lot more when it is in my face, when I hear it, speak it, live it… where it is a part of my everyday life. That’s one of the reasons why I know physically being in Japan would be a boon to my Japanese language skills. What better circumstances would enable you to learn a language than to be confronted with it directly?

What’s your learning style? How do you learn your language of choice? Do the tools you use support your efforts? And lastly, who is taking the 日本語能力試験? What is your plan of attack?