How to Study for the Reading Comprehension Section of the JLPT and Get a Score of 19 or Higher!

Even if a teacher does his/her best to teach one how to solve a puzzle, if the student does not understand and practice solving it, they will not be able to develop their ability properly.

There are two opportunities to develop your reading comprehension skills: during class time and during study time at home.

Answering problems in class is like preparation for the real thing.
Homework and drills done at home are practice for developing reading comprehension skills by practicing how to solve the problems, just like puzzle solving.

The following method is one we have done with most of our classes of non-Kanji students and has produced results. If students practice this 100% of the time, they will always gain strength and get results.

On the JLPT, if you score less than 19 in any one of the three subjects (Language Knowledge, Reading Comprehension, and Listening Comprehension), you will fail the test. And the most likely section to get less than 19 points is in Reading Comprehension.

Just keep believing that you can always get more than a 19, depending on how you study!

Incorrect assumptions for studying reading comprehension

More than studying grammar, kanji, and vocabulary, preparation and review are important for reading comprehension, and the individual student’s effort will lead to a high score.

Students from Kanji-speaking countries often say that they can get the meaning of a sentence by the meaning of the Kanji characters, but the JLPT questions are getting more advanced every year, and the question writers are also making them with Kanji-using students in mind. Therefore, it is no longer acceptable to say that students from Kanji-using countries can get points in reading comprehension just because they are from Kanji-speaking countries.

(1) There are regular reading comprehension homework assignments and reading comprehension problem books at home.
If you don’t have homework every time you are in a reading comprehension class, or if you don’t have the opportunity to solve a small number of problems, you will not be able to build up your skills.
(2) I only need to study other subjects such as grammar, vocabulary, Kanji, etc. for a set amount of time in my school classes (and private lessons). Or, in other subjects, I am at a level where I can always get a score of 19 or higher on the JLPT.
It is difficult to gain strength by studying only reading comprehension. Since reading comprehension requires comprehensive skills, we recommend that you study other subjects together.
If you are going to study only reading comprehension, you should already have achieved considerable results in other subjects.

A winning study method for JLPT reading comprehension questions

Now, let us explain how exactly students should proceed with their studies.

The flow of the study process is simple.

STEP1
Solve (at home or for homework)

STEP2
Research (home and homework)

STEP3
Listen to the explanation (school, class)

That’s all.

Step 1 – The Solution

1) Time your answers according to the problem.
When the time is up, it does not matter if you have not solved the problem, stop there.
*Make a notebook for your answers. Do not write the answers in the textbook or printouts.

2) Look at the answers and check if they are correct or incorrect.
→You only need to use X and O. You do not need to read the explanations.

Make sure to set a time limit.
→ Always time and answer one question at a time, not 5 questions in 15 minutes because there are 5 short sentences.

[Supplementary information: Time allocation guidelines
→ 3 minutes for one short text, 6-8 minutes for one medium text, and 10 minutes for one long text.

Step 2 – Research


(1) Look up everything you did not understand when answering the questions. Check all kanji, vocabulary, and grammar.
(2) Write down all the things you looked up in your answer notebook. This is so that you can see what you didn’t understand. Why did I make a mistake? What is different from the correct answer? Think about it. In some cases, the reason for the correct answer may not be clear. Ask questions about it in class.
(3) Try to answer the questions again.

Step 3 – Listening to the explanation

Up to this point, “answer the questions then look them up” is what students do at home. Then, students ask the teacher during or after class if they do not understand the reason for a correct answer or the meaning of grammar or vocabulary in what they have investigated by themselves at home. Listen to the explanations and retain them. Practice the correct way over and over and make sure not to lose motivation, you can do it!

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