Student Story – Jeff : Passing the JLPT N2 with Coto Online Lessons

This week we have a student story from Jeff, one of our Coto Online students that have been taking Online Lessons to prepare for the JLPT N2
Jeff was kind enough to share his study habits with us and his experience in passing the JLPT N2
So without further Ado here is what Jeff-san had to say when we asked him about his experiences passing the JLPT N2

What is your experience with learning Japanese, studying at coto and passing the JLPT N2?

I began learning Japanese 5 years ago. At the time I was in the US Navy and stationed in Japan, at the Yokosuka naval base near Yokohama. My wife is Japanese and it was always my goal to be able to talk to her and her family in Japanese rather than English, so I began taking evening courses at Coto, and after I separated from the Navy I was able to take the intensive course at Coto for 8 weeks prior to moving back to the US.
This gave me a good foundation to continue studying Japanese with Coto online courses. Back in the US, I have been taking online lessons with Uehara-sensei roughly once a week. After I passed the N3 level, the only grammar study I did was through Coto online classes with Uehara-sensei, learning grammar from the “Natural and Fluent” worksheets.
On my own I tried to read Japanese novels, looking up all the Kanji and words I didn’t know and making Anki flashcards from them, which in the beginning could be 10-20 words a page, so great for vocabulary building. I slowly worked through the novels of Tsujimura Mizuki such as Asa ga Kuru and Kagami no Kojo, the travel books by Murakami Haruki (I love his travel books but I don’t really care for his novels), as well as the crime novels by Miyabe Miyuki which were difficult but accessible after passing N3. Initially, I also read all the daily articles on NHK News Web Easy, and was able to gradually transition to regular NHK News Web stories.
For listening, I would listen to Mook Study which is a Japanese history podcast, and the absolutely fantastic YouTube channel by Nakata Atsuhiko, which covers history, literature and current events. And of course, watching any and every Japanese language program on Netflix with Japanese language subtitles if available. I have seen all 58 episodes of Shingeki no Kyojin more than a few times. I don’t think to study primarily from native materials is a good strategy to maximize your score on the JLPT, but it is much more enjoyable than spending your free time doing drills from grammar or test prep books.
Fortunately, the Natural and Fluent worksheets and online lessons from Coto combined with studying from real books, videos and podcasts was enough to pass N2, and more importantly, when visiting Japan, Japanese rarely respond in English anymore when I start a conversation. And I can communicate with my wife and her family in Japanese about most topics!
-Jeff , Coto Student

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