The JLPT is finally over! You’ve slogged for months and months (or at least weeks and weeks?) studying vocabulary, kanji, grammar. You challenged yourself and whether you pass or failed you did it! Now it’s the winter holidays, your life is getting busy and your brain wants to rest.
It’s so tempting to just stop studying for a few weeks! And you should! But also shouldn’t! Here’s why and what you can do to stop your Japanese getting dull.
Stop Studying (But Only for a Bit!)
If you’re suffering from burn out it’s sometimes healthier for your brain to stop studying for a while. At least stop studying intensly!
When I took the JLPT N1 the first time I studied everyday for 3 months to the point where my brain had turned to mush. That’s NOT good! This burn-out caused me to stop studying for 7 months. That’s also NOT good! It’s important to avoid study burnout!
Giving yourself a break and/or toning down how much you study is a good idea. But it’s best to not stop altogether otherwise you might get too rusty and begin to lose your skills. Then you have to re-learn a lot of things later. Even after a week your memory starts to slip, and you will find yourself forgetting a LOT by the time January rolls around, only a month after the exam.
So take a break if you want, but don’t stop using your Japanese!
An Alternative to Post-JLPT Studying – Have Fun With Japanese Again!
When you’re studying intensely and then take an incredibly hard exam, it’s often hard to remember why you started learning in the first place. Intensive study takes all the fun out of Japanese. If the exam was particularly hard for you then that might make it even worse!
It’s time to find what you enjoy doing with Japanese and do it!
Put away your textbooks and your apps, and instead crack open YouTube or an anime and watch something in Japanese (without subtitles!). It’s almost Christmas, why don’t you ask your family to get you a manga or novel in Japanese from Kinokuniya? Or just get one for yourself! Then read it!
I’ve been having a great time turning off my computer, finding a corner to sit in and reading my Japanese light novel.
It may be slow and hard at first, but keep taking small steps and you’ll slowly get through and feel a great sense of achievement!
It’s great to use Japanese with something you enjoy for a number of reasons:
- Still use your Japanese (reducing the chance that you’ll forget something).
- Learn new vocabulary and kanji.
- Have fun with the language (boosts motivation).
Try not to pick anything that’s too hard, such as a philosophical novel with lots of weird cultural references (like Bakemonogatari). If it’s too hard then you’ll probably find yourself getting frustrated.
Pick something easy that you think you will enjoy. Even if you think it will be ‘too’ easy, you might still be surprised by what you learn.
But try not to pick more than one thing otherwise you’ll get a pile of unread/unwatched things that you feel you “need” to get through. That turns something that should be enjoyable into a chore, and no one wants that.
Start Studying Again
I would give yourself a month to have a rest and enjoy some media. Try not to put off studying for too long because you will still find yourself forgetting certain things you’d learned before.
I’m not saying jump into intensive study again either. Go at a pace that feels right for you, even if it’s just 5 words a day, it’s still better than nothing.
But also keep enjoying the media you were enjoying before. You’ll often find that as you study words, kanji etc., that you’ve been studying will appear in the media you’re consuming.
Also, Try Quizzing Yourself – Keeps Those JLPT Skills Sharp!
I mentioned previously how JPDrills is a great online resource for doing practice questions for the JLPT. But you can also crack out JLPT practice exams every now and then.
Doing practice questions for the JLPT, even if it’s just once a week, can be great in the long run!
It keeps your JLPT testing skills sharp and helps you practice what you’ve been studying. These quizzes aren’t just for the week before the exam!
Some Media Suggestions:
Here are some other posts that look at some native Japanese media that you might enjoy.