Things I Wish Somebody Told Me
About the Japanese SAT II
When I was studying for the Japanese SAT II, I wish someone had told me that in addition to being a tough test in a tough language, the SAT II is full of little landmines that threaten to hold you back…unless you can dodge them.
Prepping is a big problem, but these pointers I learned the hard way should save you from a much rockier road.
So What's The Problem?
Several. First of all, just save yourself a lot of time by NOT looking around to find a book full of Japanese SAT II practice tests...you won't find 'em. The College Board has a book with all SAT II subject tests in it. Though there are about 50 Biology practice tests in there, it only has ONE Japanese test.
As if that wasn't bad enough, it's a test from 1995 and doesn't have the CD you need for listening comprehension.
If you order from the College Board directly, they say they have a full Japanese SAT II practice test set that includes 20 full tests. Trouble is, they are all identical. If you buy this, they send you cassette tapes, so don't be fooled for a second into thinking the listening comprehension test is still given on a cassette tape. It's a CD.
Also, the test is only held once a year. Not only that, but it's in November. I wasted a lot of time on the phone trying to determine that that was in fact the case. It's sad but true.
How To Attack The Japanese SAT II
Here's something you wouldn't expect (I know I didn't): you can actually rewind the listening comp CD if you miss something. You can't go crazy with it, but because the test makers lump together all the people taking ANY language test that has listening, all listening sections are different lengths, so the proctors don't really know if your listening section happens to be a bit longer. However, if you take more than a minute or two after everyone else has finished, the proctors will move you along.
Here's a BIG thing you don't want to fall for:
On the Japanese SAT II grammar questions, there are three grammar styles that the questions are asked in. They are simply three different ways of asking you the same grammar question. One type is good old hiragana, one is romaji, and the other is some weird variation on hiragana. Just save some time and pick the romaji one!
Another thing is the reading comp questions are actually asked in the order that they show up. So if you are trying to answer the tenth question out of ten, look for it at the very end of the passage.
You're already a rare cut for knowing ANY Japanese while in high school, and I know what it's like to be someone being tested in an overlooked subject. With these tips, you'll be able to use all your cylinders on test day and not get hung up by the little things.
If you'd like even more info, see my answers to common questions about the test: Japanese SAT II: FAQs Answered
If you'd like even more tips and solutions, check out my guide:
"How To Nail The Japanese SAT II"