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)

DSCN6270.JPG
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

Screenshot 2018-11-29 at 09.44.57

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.

Screenshot 2018-11-29 at 09.46.35

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! 🙂

Feeling demotivated with languages?

It’s human nature to feel like we don’t do enough. I feel the same way in many aspects of my life. If you’re struggling with this, think about it objectively and ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Do you have any proof or evidence that you aren’t doing enough? If your grades are going down, if you’re doing the bare minimum required and if you’re skipping class, then yes, you have reason to believe you are not doing enough. But if you’re putting in extra hours, reviewing your materials, engaging with materials, lecturers, online courses etc, then you have no reason to think you aren’t doing enough.

In our world of instant gratification and so-perceived overnight successes, it is becoming harder and harder to live and work with patience. You must understand that learning a language takes time and it requires a strong base and patience. Hold onto that. Language learning takes years, and nothing happens overnight.

Studying 24/7 is not effective for anyone. In fact, it will make you tired and de-motivated since your body needs rest and a break. Your brain cannot take in massive amounts of information at a small time. If that were the case, language learning wouldn’t be a journey or an exciting thing to add to one’s CV cause everyone in the world would be able to learn any language in minutes. Reward yourself for every little step you’ve taken and how far you’ve come, no matter if you feel progress is slow.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, and pat yourself on the back for what you’ve done so far. Can you see progress from a year ago to now? If so, you’re on the right track and you’ve done an excellent job. Keep going! It’s okay to slow down. Just don’t stop.

My friend Alex Rawlings said he once heard someone tell him that learning a language is like swimming in a river. If you stop swimming, you float back because of the current. If you keep swimming, no matter how slow, you’ll at the very least stay at the same place or move forward slowly.

You can do it, and I believe in you.

Check out this video I made on motivation and language learning.

 

 

What is a TCK?

TCK is short for Third Culture Kid. TCKs are people who grew up outside of the country or culture of their nationality. I grew up in Paris, Islamabad, Pretoria, Dubai and Japan, and moving around this much has had both positive and negative impacts on my life. This is the first time I cry on camera, which was a bit embarrassing, but I wanted to share my true feelings with you guys – also in the hope of meeting another TCK. Have you had similar experiences? Lots of love!