Today I sat the Japan External Trade Organization’s (JETRO) 16th BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test. My examination center was Jochi (AKA Sophia) University in Tokyo’s Yotsuya district.
I already have Grade 1 (i.e the top grade) of the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and, on the strength of that, plus the four years I have worked as a translator in a business environment, imagined I would not find today’s exam particularly difficult.
How wrong I was! Three hours of my life, between 1.25 and 3.30pm, whizzed by in a blur as I strained my ears, refocused my eyes, and turned every part of my being to the task of getting through that test in time.
To revert a little, the first section was deceptively easy: looking at a photograph of a situation and choosing the most appropriate words being exchanged. However, after that, apart from a few easy ones thrown in to keep me from completely throwing up my hands, it was a tricky landscape that had to be navigated often at a pace I often found next to impossible. The last reading comprehension section comprising no less than 15 texts that had to be scoured for information was too much for me to finish in time, and I ended up assigning the last four problems completely random answers as the invigilator called “Pencils down”.
While I’m confident that I got more than half of them right, it will be a miracle if I make the 530 needed to progress to the second stage of the examination: the oral test.
Check out the BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test website.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007