Tonight, I went along to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London for a Japanese language assessment.
Even though I’ve been studying Japanese for five years, I know my level is really mixed up. Listening is definitely my best skill, having been in Japan for three years, but my knowledge of kanji and grammar really need a lot of work. Even though I passed JLPT 3 Kyuu (old level) when I took it in 2009, I’ve forgotten a lot of what I studied back then.
I was quite nervous about having my level judged, but I needn’t have been. The people at SOAS were very friendly and understanding about my situation. I guessed that I was probably about right for their Lower Intermediate course and, after a chat with the staff, they agreed that it sounded like the right level for me and sent me off to take a test.
I don’t test well, and of course I hadn’t studied either. The test was really tough, and I didn’t know the answers to half the questions (although I could read almost everything). However, when I took the test back to the SOAS guy he explained that that was the point. If I had done really well on the test, then I wouldn’t be right for the Lower Intermediate course. As it was, I was marked as being just the right level.
I’m so pleased with how this all worked out. I really wanted to study at SOAS as they have a great reputation, but I’m busy with work and can only attend on limited days. The days and times for the Lower Intermediate course suit me best, and it also means I can start at the beginning of a textbook. The textbook I’ll be using is Minna no Nihongo II. We’ll also be using Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1.
I’m really excited to start my course at the beginning of October, and just can’t wait to get back into studying Japanese.