This year I took 4 tests, all of them in the Japanese language, and I would like to share the results with you. Not all of the outcomes were necessarily good. In fact, one of them is embarrassing, but I won't omit it because I am not sharing the results to say that I am good at Japanese or any such thing. Those who have been following me know that I am not like that and I am very critical of my abilities. I am my 2nd biggest critic!
The first test I took this year was in February. I took the 7th level of the Japan Kanji Proficiency Test. This level is the fourth from the bottom. I started from level 8. Basically, level seven includes all the Kanji characters learned in the 4th grade of an elementary school in Japan. I scored 190 out of 200 points, missing a total of 5 problems. Ninety-five percent is not bad. I wrote a post about it here.
The next 2 tests I took were for an IT database developer certification. I took the Oracle 11g SQL fundamentals test and the Oracle PL/SQL developer test. I studied for both tests using study books published in Japanese. I took the first test in August. Then I bought the book for the second test and took that test about 6 weeks later, at the end of September. Yes, I could have taken the test in English, but I didn't. I chose to do them in Japanese. The tests are multiple choice tests taken on a computer at a testing center, so as soon as I finished, my answers were scored and the computer displayed that I had passed. I am now a certified Oracle PL/SQL developer. All I have to do now is get a job using PL/SQL.
The last test I took this year was the J.Test. I took this test in November, just like I did last year. So approximately 1 year had passed. This test is the one that was the big disappointment. I scored less this year than last year. Last year my score was 613 points. This year I got 584 points. That's about a 5 percent decrease. Maybe I'll record a discussion about it with somebody on Skype and post it to YouTube.
This year I was expecting to get about 650 points. It's a good thing I hadn't studied for the test, otherwise I'd be much more disappointed! Well, as readers of my blog probably know, I've been focusing on getting my input for Chinese, not Japanese. But still, I expected my score would increase somewhat due to the fact that I am living and working in Japan. This kind of shows how someone can live in a foreign country, surrounded by the language they need to learn and still not make the big improvements in language skill that you might expect.
I can work in Japanese and get by alright, but that won't get me where I want to be. Next year I'll be focusing on Japanese. I will read a lot and watch a lot of TV shows. I will learn a lot, naturally. I know what to do so I'll make big improvements in all areas of language development.