Passing the JLPT N5: How to Answer JLPT Questions Quickly

Many students preparing for the JLPT N5, become overwhelmed with all the materiasl they need to study and tend to overlook the other skills necessary to pass the JLPT. One such skill is the ability to answer questions quickly.

If in your studies you have settled into a comfortable pace, rather than an appropriate pace, you will find running out of time on exam day. To avoid this, you need to focus not only on mastering the JLPT N5 curriculum, but also on how fast you can recall the material.

How does this affect your studies?  First it is very important to know the appropriate pace for each section of the JLPT N5, and second you need to keep this pace in mind when you are studying. The way to do this is to calculate just how many minutes you will have on average to answer one question on the kanji, vocabulary and grammar sections of the actual JLPT N5 exam. The next step is to time yourself to see how many questions you are able to answer within the same amount of time that will be allotted on the real exam. 

For example:
Time allotted on the real exam: 60 minutes

Number of questions: 40

Average time to answer each question: 1.5 minutes

So, if you are studying at home and you are doing a group of say 10 sample questions, it means you should try to finish them within 15 minutes.  If you are exceeding this time limit in your studies at home, it means that you will run out of time on the actual JLPT N5 exam. 

To improve your timing, you need to be very familiar and comfortable with the exam curriculum. As you learn new JLPT N5 kanji, grammar, or vocabulary frequently review the ones you have already studied.  This study and review cycle needs to be a constant habit or you may find yourself forgetting the things you studied earlier on.

Other ways to answer the JLPT questions quickly? Use a timer. When doing sample questions, count the number of questions you will be doing and calculate the maximum time you can allot yourself based on the real exam time.  It is best to have a set of at least 10 questions to work with.  Set a timer and begin.  When the timer goes off, stop and count how many questions you were able to complete and write down you average time per question. If you didn't answer all the questions, simply continue without the timer, or add more questions to make a new set of ten and try again.

In the beginning, it may take you a lot of time to answer each question, but that is OK since you will be working on increasing your speed.  The more you review and test yourself on the JLPT N5 kanji and vocabulary, the easier it will be to answer the questions quickly.

 A note of caution, in order to pass the JLPT N5, you need to answer the questions correctly, not just quickly.  Therefore, do not sacrifice accuracy for speed.  In your studies and on exam day, the ultimate goal is to answer the questions correctly within the time allotted per question.

For each study session, when you are through checking your answers, make a note of your score in the form of a percentage.For example, if you answered 7 of 12 questions in 15 minutes, your average time would be 2.14 minutes with a score of 58%. In your future studies, the goal is to reduce your time while increasing your score.

If you implement the tips above, you will get used to answering questions at a pace that will allow you to maximize both speed and accuracy on exam day. This will in return increase you chance of passing the JLPT N5.