JLPT Listening Tips
For a lot of people, the JLPT listening section can be the most intimidating part of the test. To look at something written down and figure out what it means is one thing, but to listen to actual spoken Japanese can be quite a challenge.
The majority of the questions are structured like so:
You are told that there are two people having a conversation. Then they will ask you the question. You will then hear the short conversation. Finally, you will be asked the question a second time.
Make sure you pay attention to the question when it is asked before the conversation. If you know what you are listening for, you’ll get the answers much more easily.
Here are some more tips for the JLPT Listening part of the test:
First, just answer the question as best you can and move on. A lot of people I’ve spoken to about the JLPT test tell me that they really suffered in the listening section because they were too caught up wondering if they answered the last question correctly that they weren’t listening to the current question. You have around 10 seconds to answer each question, so make sure you’re on your toes and ready for rapid-fire answering.
Secondly, before you go in and take the test, it helps to “shift gears” in your mind and get yourself into Japanese mode. Load up your iPod or MP3 player with a bunch of Japanese podcasts or audio and listen to it before you take the JLPT listening test. This gets your ears used to hearing Japanese and you’ll understand the Japanese a lot better too.
There are some questions that involve graphs and charts too. These can be challenging if you’re not prepared. Look at the graph and try to notice the basic trends and jot down any important numbers. This will save you time later on while you are listening to the audio.
Make sure you get really good at listening to the order that things happen in too. There was an infamous question on the JLPT listening test for several years about various things that a new employee was supposed to do on his first day of work. They listed out all of the steps, then at the very end they said “Oh you’re new, so wait here after filling out some paperwork first and I’ll explain everything.” Make sure you know this very well. There are often tricky questions like this.
To make sure that you do well on the JLPT listening test, start studying early. Hopefully month before your test. Listen to audio of spoken Japanese as much as you can. If possible listen to actual conversational Japanese, not instructional audio, which is often much slower than actual spoken Japanese. Go over it several times and really get accustomed to listening to the Japanese language. Take note of where your weakness are and put in the effort to improving those areas and you will do fine.