My JLPT N3 Results

So, turns out I forgot my password to access my JLPT results, and I had to email the Japanese embassy, to my embarrassment, to ask for my password. After a few excruciating hours of waiting, I was finally able to access my results.

I passed! 

However, I was expecting better results than I got, because the test felt easier than I expected at the time, but seems like I got quite a few questions wrong! I received an A for Grammar and a B for Vocabulary. Sounds about right, as Kanji was a tough one! I did expect a better mark in listening though, since it felt super easy! My 29/60 for Language Knowledge is laughable but super accurate. I really need to improve my vocabulary!

For a few weeks of cramming, I think this is a decent result. I could have done better if I worked harder from the start of the year, though. Whoops!

I won’t redo the N3, as apparently a score of 121/180 is pretty good according to international averages. According to Lindie’s average, that’s not fabulous though. Nevertheless, I am happy I passed, and I will aim for the N2 in about 2 years’ time. I’m going to see if I can do the HSK (Chinese exam) this year instead of the JLPT.

How did you guys do?

Here are my results:

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Tutoring a language: All you need to know

MY BACKGROUND IN TUTORING
I started tutoring when my mom, an English teacher, moved to Japan and passed her students on to me. I mostly learnt from watching her give lessons. It helps if you’re a language learner yourself – you’ll figure out what the best way to learn a language is, and then use that way to teach.

CAN YOU TUTOR A LANGUAGE THAT’S NOT YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE?
Of course. I’ve found that in South Africa, Korean schools and tutors are extremely sparse and difficult to find. For that reason, many people started approaching me personally and asking for lessons. When I realized the demand was there, I started selling myself as a tutor, but I always provided a disclaimer that I’m not a native speaker. In this case, always tutor BELOW the level you speak. Don’t attempt to tutor someone who’s as advanced as you are – you don’t want them to be correcting you! If you’re unsure about a topic before teaching it, be sure to do your research beforehand.

WAYS OF TUTORING & FINDING STUDENTS

  • You can register at a language company or school near you. You may need certifications, though.
  • You can start your own tutoring side business. You don’t need a degree or a physical location. You can either tutor at home, at the home of your student, or on Google Hangouts and Skype. I started a Facebook page for South Africans learning Korean and once the group grew, I started posting that I teach Korean too.
  • You can also register on websites like iTalki, but remember that the website will take a fee of your earnings. 
  • One-on-one tutoring is the easiest for me because I can focus all my attention on the student’s requirements. I’ve tutored a married couple before, and as much as it was wonderful to have them participate in games and discuss topics with each other, their levels were different and I often had to focus more time on one student.

YOUR FIRST LESSON
You might feel nervous for your first lesson. What if the the student’s level is higher or lower than you expected? What if they don’t talk? What if they don’t like you? All of these questions are normal, so don’t worry. Remember, your student is here to learn from you and they’re probably more intimidated than you are! Treat them like a friend. Get to know them and their language goals first before you dive into lessons. Give them equal time to talk and don’t jump in immediately to correct any mistakes they have. Be gentle when they do have a mistake, and try and allow them to fix the mistake themselves first.

For your first lesson, it’s a good idea to do a casual level test. You don’t need to prepare a difficult exam per se, but try and get a mix of speaking, reading, writing and listening to gauge where your student is at. You can be really creative with the activities. Don’t put pressure on them to perform – you can try having a conversation with them, have them tell you in their target language why they want to learn the language, and so forth.

TUTORING TIPS
Firstly, I don’t use lots of textbooks, but if you’re just starting out it can be beneficial to purchase (or have your student bring) a textbook that you can guide them through. Some students may interpret this as you not taking enough initiative, whereas others like the structure of working through a book.

Personally, I prefer to make weekly lessons, as I can adjust this to the student’s interests and levels. I use various sources, textbooks and games to compile my own lesson. I’ll include their name in example sentences as well, which is always a nice surprise for them to see and shows that you put effort in as an instructor. I’ll often reuse lessons for students and just change their names if I’ve included names in the example sentences.

My favorite activity for sentence building is to write different words on flashcards in various colors, and then have the student build sentences. For example, I’ll write verbs in red, nouns in green, locations in blue and time words in purple and they have to take one card from each pile and make a sentence with all of them. For more advanced learners, you can make them take 2 cards from each pile to create complex sentences. I also give them the flashcards to take home and keep.

I also make board games for my students. These make excellent warm-up activities. I’ll either write in English or in their language, and have simple prompts for conversations. It works kind of like snakes and ladders, so just a basic game with a die and place markers. I’ll add stuff like “what are you afraid of?” “tell me about your best holiday” “who’s your best friend?” “pretend you’re at a cafe ordering a coffee with me” and so forth. This gets them comfortable to talk and you can teach grammar and vocabulary at the same time without actually having to go into detail preparing a lesson.

I also don’t give my students lots of tests, but you can choose to do that as well. The only time I did test my students was when I was doing an intensive JLPT bootcamp to prepare for the JLPT exam.

Finally, be open with your student and allow your teaching methods to change and adapt over time based on what you experience with your students. Let them give you feedback on your teaching style so that it’s a mutual positive experience for you and your student.

ADDING PERSONAL TOUCH
Branding: It’s not necessary, but you can brand your worksheets by adding a footer with your website or contact details. This helps get new students if your student ever lends their worksheets to someone else.
Snacks: If you tutor in person, provide your student with tea and cookies! It warms up the atmosphere shows your student that you care about them not just as a student but as a person.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TEACH?
It’s best to check with your student what their requirements are. I’ve had students who want lessons 3 times a week, whereas others were more than happy to casually have 2 or 3 lessons a month. Chat to your student about their needs. Do they have an exam coming up? If so, more intensives lessons are necessary. Remember to give them homework and assignments so that you can check their progress and keep them studying when you’re away.

KEEPING AND LOSING STUDENTS
Manage your students’ expectations in terms of pricing and hours. You might be more comfortable having your student book and pay for a month in advance, whereas I prefer payment after each lesson to avoid having to pay a student back for a cancelled lesson. Remember to treat your student like a friend and a learner. Being warm and helpful goes a long way and will ensure your student will come back to you. Finally, don’t be upset when your student decides to end lessons. It might not be a reflection on your tutoring style – it could just be that they have other priorities or troubles with finances.

All the best with your tutoring activities!

Love,
Lindie

Questions to ask yourself before 2019 starts

As we approach the end of the year and reflect on 2018, we also think ahead to the new year. I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask myself so I can prepare for 2019, and I thought I’d share them with you here too. These are personal to me and my faith, so feel free to leave some out if you’re asking yourself. Happy new year, friends!

01 | What kind of person do I want to become?
Reflect on how you perceive yourself and what others have said about you this year. Are you proud of it? What would you change? Is there anyone that inspires you that you want to be more like next year?

02 | What kind of people do I want in my life?
Surround yourself with people who bring the best out in you, who are healthy and driven, and people who you can lift up and celebrate too.

03 | How can I honour God and make Jesus known through my life?
As a Christian, this is what I live for. I want to work harder on bringing glory to God and not to myself. I wasn’t born to bring attention to myself, but I was born to share God’s love and glory with the world.

04 | What do I want to achieve in the field of design?
You can ask yourself this question specific to your field of work or study. It can be anything from entering/winning a competition to publishing a paper or learning more about a specific skill.

05 | What do I want to achieve in language study?
Self-explanatory for us language learners!

06 | Where do I want to go?
Near or far, travel feeds the soul! Since I’ll be moving to Singapore, it may be easier for me to travel to my beloved Asia now. That is, if I can fit it into my limited amount of work leave days! I took 23 leave days for granted here in South Africa. In Singapore, I’ll have 14 leave days. That being said, living in Singapore will probably feel like a long holiday in itself… I am so excited!

07 | Where can I work well with finances and invest wisely?
Set up a basic budget for yourself or get a financial planner.

08 | What can I cut out of my life?
Sugar? Toxic friends? Social media?

09 | What new habits can I bring into my life?
Mindfulness? Morning pages? A glass of lemon and honey water in the morning? Less TV? Calling grandma more?

10 | How can I make other people around me feel loved and special?
This will make you not only feel like you have a purpose, but bring people towards you because of your warmth and generosity. Start small – leave a warm comment on someone’s post, share someone’s story, talk to the person looking lonely, call your parents more, write a letter to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, compliment someone on the bus…

11 | How can I be more humble and have more empathy?
Something I want to work on this year!

12 | How do I want to dress?
A fun one if you’re feeling ready to change up your look for the year. Check out my style board on Pinterest for my ideas! I’m also going to be making a capsule wardrobe before my move to Singapore so I can move with as little as possible.

12 | What unnecessary expenses can I cut down on?
Similar to the finance question above

13 | What negative characteristics do I want to change?
Do you complain or are you always late? Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself.

14 | What is my theme for the year?
My theme for 2018 was patience. My themes for 2019 are joy and giving.

Lots of love,
Lindie

Here’s a free printable if you want to ask yourself similar questions and have a bucket list for the year too!

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How I set up my planner for 2019

With 2019 around the corner, it’s time to sort out our lives for a fresh start. Have you been consistent in using a bullet journal or planner this year? I used 3 planners this year – each book is for 4 months. It was a great feeling to finish one and start afresh in another one! For this new year, I’m going a lot more minimal and simple with my planner.

Here are things I have in my planner:

  1. Goals for the year
    1. Categorized into faith, interpersonal, personal, health, languages and work
  2. Mood tracker for the year
    1. An arrow pointing up for a good day, straight line for an average day, and down arrow for a bad day
  3. Language log for each month
    1. I’ve selected a few languages to focus on. Each language is indicated by a color dot, and next to it I’ll indicate with a symbol whether that day was passive or active studying. I haven’t made this a year view because on one day I can learn more than one language, so it makes sense to do it monthly because there’s more space on the page.
  4. Habit tracker for each month
    1. Using symbols to indicate to myself what the habits are 🙂
  5. Monthly overview
    1. A simple calendar, with 15 days on the left of a line and 16 days on the right of a line.
  6. Weekly spreads
  7. Bible verses for each month
  8. Gratitude log for each month
  9. YouTube subscriber graph

Here’s a video of my journal-making process!

I’m using color very minimally – color for meaning.
Pink is used for things like the days of the week (next to the dates in black), or a small crown on 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, heh. Each language also has a color, as mentioned above.

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What I like about having your own planner that you create is the fluidity and openness to change. If I am not happy with my weekly spread one week, I have total freedom to change it the next week! Here’s my weekly spread for the first week of January. Usually, I like to have a full page a day, but we’ll see how this goes!

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If you’re a journaler or blogger who’s interested in bujos, please let me know in the comments so we can connect!

Happy new year in advance!

Love, Lindie

How I take notes (cram) for JLPT N3

So it’s only a few days before the big test, everyone! I made a video yesterday about how I take notes and pretty much cram for the test. I’m not focusing on listening as in all my practice tests, listening is the best aspect, but I really do need to work on vocabulary and Kanji. As I’ve mentioned many times before, just making lists of words won’t help, but learning the vocabulary word or Kanji in context of its meaning is very useful.

For that reason, I’ve made a color coding system for my notebook and it helps me easily distinguish between the words, their meanings, and example sentences.

Notebooks
1. Kakao Friends Neo Garden ring bound notebook (vocabulary)
2. Thin Muji A5 brown notebook (from a pack of 5 with different colored spines)

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The Nihongo 500-mon book, and my Kakao Friends notebook for vocab

Stationery & Color coding system
Black pens (Muji 0.35, 0.5 and Daiso pens) = Kanji and kana
Blue pens (Muji 0.35 and 0.5) = Word meanings
Pink pen (Muji Sarasara click pen) = Example sentences
Yellow marker = Highlighting words I still need to memorize after reviewing once

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Process
1. Do the example test in the 日本語500問 book
2. Turn the page and see if I did it right
3. Check if there are any new words, especially if I got the question wrong
4. Highlight or underline the word in the book
5. If there are grammar explanations, write the grammar in a separate notebook
6. If there are new vocab words, write them using the system above into a larger vocabulary notebook
7. Review regularly and highlight using yellow if I still need to get the word in my long-term memory

Other notes
I mark the pages in my test practice book with sticky notes. One note is for where I need to summarize from (meaning put new words or grammar explanations into my notebooks), and the other note means I still need to highlight words to be put into the book later.

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That’s about it for now, because I should probably get back to studying.
Good luck to all of you taking the exam this Sunday! 🙂