Hi everyone! How was the big test today? Did everything go well? I just came back home half an hour ago, and boy, this was some experience. Before I tell you about my experience, I will tell you the story of my big day. I got up at around 5 o’clock, punctually, drank an espresso, made myself ready to leave, checked that I got everything, and when I was done, it was about high time to leave for my train. After arriving at my local station, the first shock, because the train would arrive 10 minutes late! And so it was. The time was ticking by, and I was nervous, unnecessarily so to be honest.
Once the train arrived, being late and all, I got into my first class compartment, and soon the two hour ride started. To distract myself a little, I continued reading Murakami Harukis 世界と終わりのワンダランド, but not for very long. I rather enjoyed the scenery, and then another bummer. I sat in the wrong compartment. Although it was first class, it was first class business, but I had luck. The controller, once seeing my ticket and noticing the mistake, asked me if I wanted to continue to sit there. Which would normally make 15€ extra on the bill, so I told him, if it was the wrong place I would just leave and go to the regular first class car. But he told me, you can stay, and I didn’t even have to pay for the extra. How cool is that? The service was very friendly, and before I knew it, I arrived at Meidling in Vienna.
I ordered a Taxi for the day, asked the driver to pick me up at the platform, but there was no one there. Well, no one except me, a huge crowd of people, and no one from the taxi company to be seen. Since I haven’t had any time to loose, it was close to 8:20 with the test going to start at 9 o’clock, I took my chances and left the station to look for a taxi myself. Not knowing where they are, this was a little problematic, with such a big station and all, but I found it, jumped into the taxi, gave the driver teh address, and I was on my way. One eye on my watch, one eye on the taxi-meter, and in between on the traffic situation. Vienna being a big city, even on Sunday there is lots of traffic at that early time, and many traffic lights have been turned red. Lucky me, I thought, here I sit in this taxi, and the time is running shorter and shorter. So I did all I could do in that situation, I said my prayer, and whatever might happen would happen anyway. Though, my driver was good, he knew his way around and even though it was a long drive, we made it and I had as much as 15 minutes time. Lucky!
All that was left to do was to pick up my voucher in the office, and to find my room, which was rather easy to be found I must say. For such a large building that the test was held in? Arriving in front of the door, I saw some of the other test-takers, and the test managers. It was 9, the doors were opened up, and closed again. That was when I learned that the test wouldn’t start at 9 o’clock, but at 9:30. Then … why the hell did they write on every paper, you have to be at the test center at 9:00, because this is when the test starts. Would I have known about it, another thing wouldn’t happen, which will cost me a little bit of money in the aftermath.
So, I was waiting there for the test to start, relaxed as if the last couple of hours just didn’t happen. We were called to hand out our Vouchers to the guide, a Japanese woman in my case, and to enter the room. Then it got serious pretty quickly. We were told about the procedures of the test, and we got our test papers handed out, along with the answer sheets for both the grammar and listening tests. This been done, we were to fill out the spaces with our names and Voucher numbers. Silly old me, of course started to fill out the answer sheet with the necessary information. Just a little fault, and the guide didn’t say anything, just told me. Some of the other test-takers in my room already sat another JLPT level, so they knew their way around things.
And the test began, finally, open up your test-paper, and the 105 minutes marathon started. Being 31 pages long, which isn’t very long at all, and even though having read what was tested, how many items there are, and that sort of information, I still was surprised. Even more so, that I had a surplus of time of about 20 minutes after the first part, to check and double-check some of my answers. Which was necessary in 3 to 4 cases, were the answers have been 50:50, and I had to decide which one’s the better option. After this very long first session, I thought by myself, this was it? This was, what I had been learning for, hours upon hours, day after day? Really? No joke? I mean to say that the amount of things I learned in the last 3 years, and up until the test, was enormous! You know how much it was if you read some of my older entries on here.
I don’t say that it was easy, the reading sections have been somewhat difficult, not to read or something. Just, well, there were three to four questions that were a bit difficult to pin down on just one option, so much so that either of 3 could be correct. The other difficulty for me was to stay concentrated, and you can imagine that it doesn’t help to get a text and questions being asked about it, that aren’t interesting at all. But I got done with it all in time, and no part left out, so there is a good chance of having a pass on the sections, needed for a pass on the overall test. Overall that section of the test wasn’t bad and I felt rather good for the most part.
Following was a short break of 30 minutes. Just enough time to get together on the street to smoke, and have a little chat with some other test-taker. Him having lived and been working in Japan for some time, had some interesting stories to tell. He studied Japanology, but, unfortunately in his company in Japan all they spoke was English. I told him about my plans of staying there for some time, to improve my Japanese overall, and he told me that it mustn’t necessarily work out that way. Of course I do believe someone who has stayed there for so long, but I still will have to see for myself, once the time has come. He has taken the N4 today.
Being back in the room, wheezing a little from walking three stories up, I was ready for the worst. Some test-takers didn’t show up for this part of the test, and some were a little late, but this was no problem. The listening comprehension part of the test. This one was a so-so case, and I don’t believe that all my answers were correct, but who knows? The one I found most difficult was the long texts, which involved taking memos on the test sheet, which I did. Even though I wrote in one of my latest entries I wouldn’t, and that I felt it wouldn’t be necessary I decided otherwise and kept writing shorthand to get the main points, and this worked out rather well. If anyone actually looks at it, and the pictures I drew for one or two of those questions, they wouldn’t get much I guess. The 50 minutes were over very fast, and with that, and a short instruction not to give away anything about the contents of the test, it all ended.
Yay! It was over, and it was an interesting experience, and not at all how I expected it would be. It will take some months until I know whether it is a pass or a fail, but I feel it in me bones that it is a pass, though maybe just short on or over. After the test I decided to eat in some restaurant, and do some sight-seeing. I ate Italian in a very good restaurant in Brigittenau, and it wasn’t even very expensive. Luckily this wasn’t an issue during the test, and no reason for being told to leave. The growling of an empty stomach, oh well. Then my sight-seeing tour started, and I got around quite a bit, an interesting city.
After about two hours I have had it, my legs were tired, and I was tired so I went to the next underground station. And from there, I reached the train station, the wrong one because the train home didn’t leave from there. So, hopping into a taxi, because I really had no plan which underground train I had to take from where I were, this was a save and cheap option to get to the right one. Then all that was left to do was booking a ticket, cancel the one I ordered online during the last week, and another 3 hour train ride began. And here I am now, glad that everything went well, that I didn’t get lost on the test, or in Vienna.
After writing so much, I would really love to hear your stories about the big day, so if you feel in the mood please share it with everyone!