When studying Japanese it’s pretty common to be asked questions like “What JLPT level are you?” or “Approximately how many college semesters of Japanese do you know?” I totally get why people ask these questions. They’re great benchmarks, and make approximating someone’s language level a little easier than just sitting down and asking EXACTLY what they know. I use them to talk to people too.
However, these questions are very difficult for me to answer.
Naturally, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the four basic language skills (or five, if you break speaking down into presentational speaking and conversational speaking). People are unique and some people are better at things than others. It’s also affected by what type of study you’re consistently able to do. But I wanted to hear from people who are at very separate ability levels.
I’ve read offhand comments on the forums before about people better at some skills than others, so I wanted to start a thread to talk to some of the people in the same situation I was (and sort of still am)! What are your strengths, and why do you think they got that way? What are your weaknesses, and what are you doing to improve them? If you want to describe your different areas with different benchmarks you’re free to do so.
In Japanese, I am significantly better at speaking and listening than I am at reading and writing. I took the N3 exam in December and passed, but the only reason I took N3 is because my weakest point (kanji) was at an N3 level. The listening section was a SNOOZE. I got barely passing scores in the Language Knowledge sections (a little better at the Grammar/Reading than the Vocabulary), but a wicked high score in listening. My listening score carried me to passing. I’ve tried doing N2 level listening and those I can also consistently pass, though not with quite as high a score.
I majored in Japanese (3 years of study), but the kanji learning pace was so fast I was never actually able to learn them before we moved on to newer kanji, so I was basically only learning to take the test and then dumping the info out of my brain. Because kanji was my weak point, I started WaniKani when I came to Japan last year, and I’ve gotten so much better! I might need to start actively studying other areas again.
If I had to estimate right now [edited to split writing into two categories]:
Reading - N3/N2
Writing (Characters) - N4
Writing (Composition) - N3/2
Speaking - N2/N1(?)
Listening - N2/N1(?)
Also, I didn’t know if I should put this in the Japanese Language category or not, so let me know if I messed up!