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How long will it take to learn and how much will my Japanese improve?

2023/12/11

How long will it take to learn and how much will my Japanese improve?

How long it takes for your Japanese to improve depends on the curriculum that matches your level and the amount of time you are able to spend studying.

Many of our students who contact us say that their conversational ability does not improve.

Some may have questions about how long or how much learning is required to reach the target level.

In many cases, the reason for this is that the learning content is not planned to match the learner’s level, or that the amount of learning is not sufficient for the learning period.

Today, we would like to introduce the “how much improvement can be achieved by how long and how much study is needed to reach the target level” with specific figures.

What methods are available for measuring level?
Do you know that the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and the BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test are commonly used to measure the level of Japanese language proficiency?

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is designed to “measure and certify the proficiency of the Japanese language” for non-native speakers of Japanese, and is administered not only in Japan but also throughout the world. There are five levels (N1~N5), and questions cover language knowledge (letters, vocabulary, and grammar), reading comprehension, and listening comprehension.

The BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test assesses communication skills such as language use and behavior used in business, but both tests focus on skills other than conversation, which is a spoken skill.

The fact that the BJT test targets skills other than conversation means that even foreign employees with N1 or N2 scores may not be able to hold a good conversation.

In order to accurately measure conversational skills, our school uses our own “10 conversation levels” with below as an indicator to conduct pre-, mid-, and final level checks before and after the course, so that we can monitor the effectiveness of the course before and after the course.

Conversation Level12345678910
0→11→22→33→44→55→66→77→88→99→10
Lesson hours required 36H50~75H50~75H50~75H50~75H50~75H50~75H75~100H75~100HN/A
Schedule 6~12month6month6month6month6month6month6monthN/A

Conversation checks based on this 10-level index will take 50-75 hours for beginner and intermediate levels, and 75-100 hours (about 6 months) for advanced levels, but we will conduct a level assessment before implementing the training and calculate the required duration and cost based on the level.

Although the target setting varies from student to student, in many cases, the final target is conversation level 7 or 8 if want to work in Japan. (equivalent to JLPT N2 or higher).

In the case of the JLPT, if student wants to move from N3 to N2, or from N2 to N1, the training program will take 75 to 100 hours (about 6 months).

JLPTN5N4N3N2N1
0→N5N5→N4N4→N3N3→N2N2→N1
Lesson hours required 75H75H75H75~100H75~100H
Schedule6month6month6month6month6month

Generally, at least 200 hours are included in the curriculum when preparing for N3 to N2 in a class setting like a Japanese language school, and about 150 hours in a small group. Some students may feel that the study hours are shorter than at a Japanese language school.

Our school asks students to submit homework assignments worth 2 hours per lesson hour, so it is possible to achieve results in a shorter time than at a Japanese language school.

Next, we will introduce a video of the actual conversation level of the students who take lessons at our school. Please listen to the actual audio to see what level you should aim for.

Conversation Level 4, Construction Site Technician (Vietnamese)

He can speak and answer questions in sentence units on a variety of questions. However, when trying to answer in detail, he is unable to complete the story and cut off in the middle except for limited familiar topics. Also, pronunciation shows the influence of his native language.

Conversation Level 6, IT system development engineer (Chinese)

Understands a variety of situations in response to questions and can answer clearly with specific examples. Speaks coherently throughout, but fluency is reduced when content becomes complex or sentences become long.

Conversation Level 8, IT system development engineer (Chinese)

She is able to speak in detail about her thoughts and the background of a topic, to take ideas one step further, and her speech volume is stable. She is able to speak and use expressions at an advanced level.

Improvement of Japanese language skills depends on how much you can turn the cycle of “input and output”.

Through training and self-learning, you will learn content directly related to your work and increase opportunities to “write and speak” onsite.

Writer for this article :

Principal, Kotaro Muramoto

After working in sales and planning at an IT company for 3 years, he became an online Japanese instructor. For about 2 years, he has been teaching N2 and N1 level Chinese IT engineers and PMs who need to conduct corporate sales activities to improve their Japanese language skills for presentations and proposals. He has designed an individualized curriculum based on the Japanese required for the students’ work, and is conscious of making the classes speech-centered in order to train the students’ speaking skills. The school has received favorable feedback from foreign students involved in sales activities that their presentation skills have improved.

We try to make the lessons mainly focused on students’ speech, with students speaking the main part, the instructor giving feedback pointers, and the students correcting the mistakes.

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