When I first moved back to the States after my time in Japan, studying for the JLPT seemed like a great way to motivate myself to keep my hard-won skills from deteriorating. And in fact, it did just that: the year I spent studying for N3 was one of the most productive of my Japanese career. I learned a ton of new grammar by looking up things on the JLPT “should know” lists floating out there, vocab, and tons of kanji through WaniKani (this was before I had a baby and a three year break and ended up resetting my account in case you’re wondering why I’m so low level). And I passed the test! Woo hoo!
So now I’m thinking about studying for the next level.
But I have heard some people–most recently Paula from ShinpaiDeshou on the Tofugu podcast–say that unless you’re goal is to work in a Japanese company, JLPT isn’t necessarily the right path.
I’m curious to hear more about that. Why is JLPT only somewhat useful? How is it limited or ineffective? My goal is to get into translation; is there a better path to fluency?