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    So I've currently got Spanish, Latin, Economics, History, and Govt+ Pol on my A-Level choices, but I'm seriously considering self-teaching Japanese till AS Level. I passed the JLPT N5 in Dec 2014, and would be taking the AS exam in year 13, so I'd hopefully be past N3 by then... but how much content is on the AS Level course, and how fluent are you required to be?
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    So I've currently got Spanish, Latin, Economics, History, and Govt+ Pol on my A-Level choices, but I'm seriously considering self-teaching Japanese till AS Level. I passed the JLPT N5 in Dec 2014, and would be taking the AS exam in year 13, so I'd hopefully be past N3 by then... but how much content is on the AS Level course, and how fluent are you required to be?
    I can't help as i only know 11 words in Japanese, all taught to me by my grandfather who was a POW but here's the exam board page for it with the specfication http://qualifications.pearson.com/en...nese-2008.html which might help.
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    (Original post by Compost)
    I can't help as i only know 11 words in Japanese, all taught to me by my grandfather who was a POW but here's the exam board page for it with the specfication http://qualifications.pearson.com/en...nese-2008.html which might help.
    Thank you! Seeing the specification helps, but I really want to know what JLPT level it matches up to to see if I can just continue studying Japanese normally and get an extra AS out of it.
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    So I've currently got Spanish, Latin, Economics, History, and Govt+ Pol on my A-Level choices, but I'm seriously considering self-teaching Japanese till AS Level. I passed the JLPT N5 in Dec 2014, and would be taking the AS exam in year 13, so I'd hopefully be past N3 by then... but how much content is on the AS Level course, and how fluent are you required to be?
    Moved to our foreign languages study help forum :hat2:
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Thank you! Seeing the specification helps, but I really want to know what JLPT level it matches up to to see if I can just continue studying Japanese normally and get an extra AS out of it.
    Hi, like you I've been teaching myself Japanese. I had passed N3 (156/180) in December 2013 when I did AS Japanese in summer 2014. In December 2014 I passed N2 with 141/180. I didn't do any studying for the A level except having a look at some past papers and making sure I could write the kanji on the spec and got 94 UMS.

    So I think if you're somewhere close to N2 you can pass AS comfortably without any real work, and if you're near N3 a little bit of studying should be enough.

    Regarding the actual exam, the topics are pretty non-specialist, so as long as you have some common sense and basic knowledge about Japan you should be ok. The paper is entirely written (no listening either), so fluency isn't required per se. You just need to be able to score good marks on the essay section by getting content marks and using kanji.
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    (Original post by ronmcd)
    Hi, like you I've been teaching myself Japanese. I had passed N3 (156/180) in December 2013 when I did AS Japanese in summer 2014. In December 2014 I passed N2 with 141/180. I didn't do any studying for the A level except having a look at some past papers and making sure I could write the kanji on the spec and got 94 UMS.

    So I think if you're somewhere close to N2 you can pass AS comfortably without any real work, and if you're near N3 a little bit of studying should be enough.

    Regarding the actual exam, the topics are pretty non-specialist, so as long as you have some common sense and basic knowledge about Japan you should be ok. The paper is entirely written (no listening either), so fluency isn't required per se. You just need to be able to score good marks on the essay section by getting content marks and using kanji.
    Congratulations on your N2 pass! I hope I can do the same in a few years!! I'm hoping to take the AS at the end of Year 13 in 2 years, so I would have hopefully passed the N3 and be half way through the N2 work if I manage to do an exam a year. An entirely written exam makes me nervous (I tend to do best at listening with Japanese) but still sounds really doable.
    What sort of common knowledge would you say is needed? I know a little about traditions and festivals and food (thank you, manga) but I wouldn't know how to say anything in Japanese regarding them.
    Thank you very much for this answer; it's really useful!!
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Congratulations on your N2 pass! I hope I can do the same in a few years!! I'm hoping to take the AS at the end of Year 13 in 2 years, so I would have hopefully passed the N3 and be half way through the N2 work if I manage to do an exam a year. An entirely written exam makes me nervous (I tend to do best at listening with Japanese) but still sounds really doable.
    What sort of common knowledge would you say is needed? I know a little about traditions and festivals and food (thank you, manga) but I wouldn't know how to say anything in Japanese regarding them.
    Thank you very much for this answer; it's really useful!!
    Thanks! Talking purely in terms of language ability, I think being somewhere between N3 and N2 would be enough to get a good grade even at A2. The only hard part is being able to write kanji on the spot (since you probably don't do this in daily life), A2 is a bit harder because you need to have done some research on Japan for the essays. So I don't think you'll have any problems.

    Yeah listening is my best skill too, but the reading section isn't too bad. The exam is 2.5 hours though, which can be a bit tiring.

    The texts in the reading section are usually about food, sports, schoolkids doing unusual things and random stuff (Tokyo tower, online bank accounts etc.). So normally you don't need specialist vocab as you might in other language A levels. I think it helps a lot to be familiar with common Japanese place names in Kanji though. It seems like a lot of people get caught out when they see places Kansai or Kyuushuu written in Kanji without furigana.

    The essay is really general, and it doesn't need to be about Japan. In previous years the questions have been things like 'plan an event at your school' and 'talk about a business you would like to start at your school'. I think last year it was 'what do you do to relax?'. When I say common sense I mean being able to think of an answer to those sorts of questions.

    Japanese definitely needs less knowledge of things like the environment or health which you would cover in Spanish AS, and doesn't really have all that much to do with Japan.

    No problem, I'm glad I could help. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.
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    (Original post by ronmcd)
    Thanks! Talking purely in terms of language ability, I think being somewhere between N3 and N2 would be enough to get a good grade even at A2. The only hard part is being able to write kanji on the spot (since you probably don't do this in daily life), A2 is a bit harder because you need to have done some research on Japan for the essays. So I don't think you'll have any problems.

    Yeah listening is my best skill too, but the reading section isn't too bad. The exam is 2.5 hours though, which can be a bit tiring.

    The texts in the reading section are usually about food, sports, schoolkids doing unusual things and random stuff (Tokyo tower, online bank accounts etc.). So normally you don't need specialist vocab as you might in other language A levels. I think it helps a lot to be familiar with common Japanese place names in Kanji though. It seems like a lot of people get caught out when they see places Kansai or Kyuushuu written in Kanji without furigana.

    The essay is really general, and it doesn't need to be about Japan. In previous years the questions have been things like 'plan an event at your school' and 'talk about a business you would like to start at your school'. I think last year it was 'what do you do to relax?'. When I say common sense I mean being able to think of an answer to those sorts of questions.

    Japanese definitely needs less knowledge of things like the environment or health which you would cover in Spanish AS, and doesn't really have all that much to do with Japan.

    No problem, I'm glad I could help. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.
    I've started trying to learn kanji from the kodansha kanji course textbook since I figured that writing the characters would help me to read them better? And mean that I get them mixed up a lot less, too! I might actually go for the A2 then... if you get to write an essay on Japanese history or something then it'd probably be worth it since I'd tie it into history somehow. Is the essay coursework, do you know?

    2.5 hours?! That's terrifying! And the whole time is spent writing? (then again it's about as long as a university exam :/) Thanks very much for the place name tip, since... hah, I barely know how to read 東京 on a bad day >-<. I'll make sure to get the prefecture and major city names memorised! I'm guessing that I can just do the JLPT vocab and I'll be fine apart from that, if there's no specialist stuff

    Those topics don't look too bad, actually. I could probably just about do the last one (if it were a speaking exam and no kanji writing was required, lol) now! Again, thank you so much; you've been a huge help.
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    (Original post by roarchika)
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    Hi,

    I self-taught myself Japanese to GCSE then AS, and am doing A2 this year. I haven't taken any JLPT exams yet but am fully aware of how it works and plan to take N2 this year.

    GCSE is around N4/N5, so you would definitely need to work hard if you want to get up to AS (which I'd say is around N3) then A2 (around N3/N2). In terms of kanji, A level Japanese is quite easy. There are only 200 for AS and 200 for A2 (total of 400) plus the 200 kanji you're expected to know from GCSE. (By comparison, N2 requires 1,000 kanji). Since you'd be doing just AS, you will only need 400 kanji (AS: 200, GCSE: 200)

    The exam format for AS is very different to JLPT. It's all written, so you will need to have a good grasp of grammar and Japanese writing. The exam is very long (2hrs 45 minutes) and is made up of a reading section (kanji recognition, short questions, longer reading comprehension), translation section (Japanese to English) and writing. You get a very long time and I didn't find it time pressured at all (finished in just over 1 1/2 hrs).

    Personally I think the most important thing for AS is being able to write Japanese well and a high level of vocab. The writing section is only one question but is out of 46 which makes up over half of the total marks (90), so it's vital that you have a good grasp on the Japanese language and can convey ideas well.

    I've attached a link to the Edexcel sample AS paper in case you haven't already seen it, and the specification too.

    http://qualifications.pearson.com/co...8-Japanese.pdf

    http://qualifications.pearson.com/en...nese-2008.html

    If you have any questions feel free to ask. Japanese was pretty much all self taught for me with little help at school until this year for A2, so I understand the whole having to teach yourself business!
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
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    That's really impressive! How old were you when you started teaching yourself?

    I passed the N5 pretty easily so y'know what, I might decide to do the GCSE during Year 12 and then AS Level in Year 13. It'd be a good way to keep me on top of my learning! I can currently write around 75 kanji and read 150 and assuming that the GCSE kanji are some of the most common ones it shouldn't be too hard

    My grammar is still a little iffy (I haven't been able to see a lot of it used in context) but I should be good after I sit down with it this summer. Are language exams always too long? I'm finishing Latin mock papers in about 30 of 60 minutes, and I finished my Spanish exam with about 25 minutes to spare. I'm noticing a pattern here!

    46 marks.... QAQ hah, that's really long. Reallllly long. Do you get marked for number of words and content or is it like history where you'd have to have at least 44 points?

    Thank you very much for your help!! I feel a lot better about taking Japanese now
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    Awww, I'd have loved to have been able to study Japanese at GCSE/AS/A2! Our school was only interested in the standard French/German/Spanish (well... those and Latin).

    I'm hoping to study it properly at uni, though... and take a year abroad there, too...
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    (Original post by sjgriffiths)
    Awww, I'd have loved to have been able to study Japanese at GCSE/AS/A2! Our school was only interested in the standard French/German/Spanish (well... those and Latin).

    I'm hoping to study it properly at uni, though... and take a year abroad there, too...
    I took Spanish and am taking Latin at school - though before I moved schools I was doing the Mandarin Chinese GCSE too. My school was also solely interested in the usual languages (well. And Mandarin.)

    If you want to get a head-start on the uni course then Tae Kim's Japanese grammar guide is online and free and pretty amazing, and the memrise courses for JLPT N5 are incredibly useful too! As is JLPTbootcamp to be honest. The JLPT isn't too expensive to register for and N5 is easy enough that you should be able to pass the July one this year if you have the free-time to study for it - or there's always the one in December! がんばってね!

    Are you looking at the JET program for your year abroad, btw? I like the idea of being able to teach English whilst improving your Japanese and getting paid whilst receiving subsidised housing
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    Are you looking at the JET program for your year abroad, btw? I like the idea of being able to teach English whilst improving your Japanese and getting paid whilst receiving subsidised housing
    Yeah, I have been looking at Tae Kim's stuff already! Haven't heard of the JET programme before but it sure seems interesting - I think the industrial placement still has to be primarily linked with my computer science course, though, but it's worth a look.
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    (Original post by sjgriffiths)
    I think the industrial placement still has to be primarily linked with my computer science course, though, but it's worth a look.
    You could take a year out after the course and go teaching? JET only requires you to be like, conversant in Japanese and can provide training so it's a nice opportunity
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    That's really impressive! How old were you when you started teaching yourself?

    I passed the N5 pretty easily so y'know what, I might decide to do the GCSE during Year 12 and then AS Level in Year 13. It'd be a good way to keep me on top of my learning! I can currently write around 75 kanji and read 150 and assuming that the GCSE kanji are some of the most common ones it shouldn't be too hard

    My grammar is still a little iffy (I haven't been able to see a lot of it used in context) but I should be good after I sit down with it this summer. Are language exams always too long? I'm finishing Latin mock papers in about 30 of 60 minutes, and I finished my Spanish exam with about 25 minutes to spare. I'm noticing a pattern here!

    46 marks.... QAQ hah, that's really long. Reallllly long. Do you get marked for number of words and content or is it like history where you'd have to have at least 44 points?

    Thank you very much for your help!! I feel a lot better about taking Japanese now
    I started in when I was 14 (year 10) and am 17 now, so just over 3 1/2 years ago. I did get some lessons at school last year for AS though and this year have a few lessons per week, but the majority of it is still self-taught as I picked it up too late to have if properly timetabled.

    From my experience language exams are long for A level. My German A2 exam is 2 1/2 hours. Japanese this year is 3 hours

    For the AS writing you get given one question and are given about 5 points to write on. Content is out of 28 and quality of language is out of 18. If you don't answer all bullet points, the total number of marks you can get for content is capped. For my AS last year I spent an hour on the writing, used all of AS grammar and got 18 for quality of language, but only 20 for content because I didn't understand a point properly, so because the writing is such a huge part of the exam you have to be really confident with it. Do loads of practice and it will be fine
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    I've started trying to learn kanji from the kodansha kanji course textbook since I figured that writing the characters would help me to read them better? And mean that I get them mixed up a lot less, too! I might actually go for the A2 then... if you get to write an essay on Japanese history or something then it'd probably be worth it since I'd tie it into history somehow. Is the essay coursework, do you know?

    2.5 hours?! That's terrifying! And the whole time is spent writing? (then again it's about as long as a university exam :/) Thanks very much for the place name tip, since... hah, I barely know how to read 東京 on a bad day >-<. I'll make sure to get the prefecture and major city names memorised! I'm guessing that I can just do the JLPT vocab and I'll be fine apart from that, if there's no specialist stuff

    Those topics don't look too bad, actually. I could probably just about do the last one (if it were a speaking exam and no kanji writing was required, lol) now! Again, thank you so much; you've been a huge help.
    Writing kanji by hand is definitely a good habit, I'm just too lazy to do it.
    The A2 essay topics are the same every year I think - various short stories by Ryuunosuke Akutagawa, Kaori Ekuni and another guy, a certain area in Japan, modern Japanese society (2013 had the effect of technology on young and old people's lives / what do recent graduates in Japan think about work compared to their parents) and 日本の一年 (2013 had questions on marriage in Japan and autumn).

    Place names always show up in the translation. I think the worst was 瀬戸内海, which seemed to throw everyone (I'm still not sure what a 内海/inland sea is.)

    You need to do research beforehand, but you write the actual essay during the exam. I'm not sure if anything to do with history would turn up.

    I think thetechn explained what the exam is like well, but yeah, JLPT vocab lists worked fine for me.

    As an aside, I probably wouldn't recommend Japanese GCSE if your school doesn't offer it, unless you're desperate for an easy A*. Organising the coursework on your own will add more pressure at a time when you need to focus on your other A levels, and tbh GCSEs aren't very important once you have A levels.
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    That's really impressive! Lucky; neither of the schools I'm applying for for 6th form have Japanese. (I have no idea how I'd do the speaking part of the exam uhh)

    Those exams are disgustingly long and it's terrifying to think that uni exams will be even longer.

    Okay, that doesn't sound awful... I guess you just have to answer each point in detail? And I can do practice! I am good at practising. Mainly because I use it as an excuse to write dramatic letters or watch Japanese TV.
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    (Original post by ronmcd)
    \(^O^
    I'm determined to become semi-fluent in at least 2 other languages apart from English, so I guess I have no choice...? I also always over-prepare because my default reaction when I don't know something is to panic and stop thinking :/ it's not a super helpful thing to do!

    Hmm getting hold of the texts etc sounds like a task, and I'd have nobody to help me prep for the essay, so I might stop at AS then. I'm always desperate for an easy A* (I really want to go to Oxford) and need to make up for my lack of strength in the sciences, so.... ugh, the coursework could be a huge pain though - as could the speaking portion. I'm probably going to talk to somebody about it at my 6th form interview tomorrow.
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    (Original post by roarchika)
    That's really impressive! Lucky; neither of the schools I'm applying for for 6th form have Japanese. (I have no idea how I'd do the speaking part of the exam uhh)

    Those exams are disgustingly long and it's terrifying to think that uni exams will be even longer.

    Okay, that doesn't sound awful... I guess you just have to answer each point in detail? And I can do practice! I am good at practising. Mainly because I use it as an excuse to write dramatic letters or watch Japanese TV.
    there's no speaking exam for A level Japanese, only GCSE. And yes, practice loads and it'll be fine!
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    there's no speaking exam for A level Japanese, only GCSE. And yes, practice loads and it'll be fine!
    Considering taking the GCSE next year because by that point it should be an easy A*. I talked to my school about it and they said they could probably get someone in from the local university to do speaking practice which is great!!
 
 
 
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