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    Hello everyone! I have a question about Japanese language courses at SOAS. Just out of curiosity, are you expected to actually handwrite N3 or above Kanji?
    I already have an N3, but I'm a little concerned as I'm not quite confident with that D:
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    I'm assuming you're planning to enroll to SOAS? For the Japanese course, unless you're highly skilled, you will learn Japanese from the very beginning so you'll go through everything you need to know for the course with the class. And yes, we handwrite the kanji. But it's not a problem due to what I've mentioned.
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    (Original post by distantcrushes)
    I'm assuming you're planning to enroll to SOAS? For the Japanese course, unless you're highly skilled, you will learn Japanese from the very beginning so you'll go through everything you need to know for the course with the class. And yes, we handwrite the kanji. But it's not a problem due to what I've mentioned.
    So am I considered a beginner even if I already have a N3? D:
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    Well you're definitely not a beginner but there'll be a placement test prior to the commencement of classes and the teachers are very well-versed in the syllabus so they'll know exactly where you'll fit. Regardless, yes, we handwrite our kanji. If you want to save time (like skip Elementary Japanese/Accelerated Japanese, which is what the first years usually take), then you should brush up on your kanji skills before the test.
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    Got it, thank you a lot c:
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    All new students will have to take the placement test but my advice since you're at N3, is to not let them push you into starting with too easy a test. A year ago I was studying at N2 level (I'm currently in the N2/beginning N1 ballpark) but when I took my test the teacher didn't quite believe me so she made me start on a much lower level paper with the advice that I try a higher one when I felt that I managed to finish it easily. Unfortunately the placement test is timed and so though I finished two papers easily, I didn't have time to move onto the paper I wanted to do in the first place.

    I ended up being placed in Intermediate Japanese 2, which I accepted as I thought I could relax on that subject a little whilst I acclimatised to the other half of my joint degree which was completely new to me. A bad decision as the IJ2 class ended up being a boring year of revision for me. If you've passed N3, then it's likely you could skip the J1 and J2 classes. I know the teacher for Intermediate Japanese 1 is very nice, and explains grammar very clearly so I'd recommend that one if you're nervous about going higher.

    One thing that is very different about the higher classes is you have much fewer contact hours for your course. All the different skills: grammar, kanji, translation, reading, speaking etc, are squeezed into just three hours per week (instead of 10 hours per week the beginners have). The consequence of this, for my class, was that things were very relaxed. Our grammar homework, for example, was set once a fortnight, and even then it was on a 'do it if you have the time' kind of basis.

    There was also no immense pressure in class to remember how to write all the kanji's you'd ever learnt either (we were free to whip out our phones if we wanted to check strokes/spelling etc) just the ones that came up in the weekly tests. Instead the focus is on oral eloquence, translation and the ability to read and understand kanji compounds in various texts. You do improve over the year, as the number of occasions that you need to write increases however.

    The pressure to learn kanji through writing is only placed on the beginner classes as they think the only way people can memorise how to read kanji is if they learn the same way they did back when they were school children in Japan. This practice definitely has it's benefits, but in reality you'll fall far behind if you rely only on that method like they suggest you do, simply for the fact that Second Language Acquisition in the adult brain is extremely different to First Language Acquisition in the child brain.

    At level N3 and up, since they believe that you must have learnt the ability to quickly memorise new kanji/kanji compounds by then (regardless of the method you use) you're given the freedom to work on kanji for your own sake! Funnily enough, as with all people who reach this level, the freedom actually spurs you on to study beyond what is sensible. It's like an addiction.

    I hope this far too long reply was able to help you somewhat.
 
 
 
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