The Korean publisher Darakwon has an interesting series to practice the listening part of the JLPT. It is called 新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마. It exists for every level, but N4 and N5 are grouped in the same series. I only have the N2 book for listening, which is called: 新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마 -N2 대비-, this is the book I will present in this post.
Two weeks before the JLPT, I am mainly revising grammar points and doing practice tests. Even if the grammar is my weakest point, I am most worried about the listening part. I think that, concerning grammar and vocabulary, I will either know the answer or not. It’s more about knowledge than performance. But to me, listening is all about performance. There are almost no unknown words in the listening scripts of N2 to me, but sometimes, or even often, I just don’t recognise things that I know.
As a consequence, I feel like I need to do some extra practice concerning the listening part. This is where the Darakwon book comes in handy.
Contrary to Japanese series like the Shin Kanzen master series or the So-matome series, both structured in lessons, the Korean series published by Darakwon is focused on training. Concerning the listening book, both the Shin Kanzen and the So-matome books provide you with progressive lessons, exercises that focused on a particular skill, advice and so on. In the Darakwon book, you will only have a series of exercises as they appear in the JLPT. This is the structure of the book:
- Question type 1: 9 questions
- Question type 2: 9 questions
- Question type 3: 9 questions
- Question type 4: 29 questions
- Question type 5: 11 questions
- 2 complete listening tests (50 minutes each)
Of course, you are provided with the Japanese script of each audio. There is also a Korean translation of the script and some vocabulary Japanese-Korean.
The advantage of this book is to have so many exercises. It gives a lot of material to study, even for those who don’t prepare for the JLPT. Having both a dialogue and its script offers a lot of different ways to study, from listening to pronunciation exercises or even writing (listening to the audio and try to write down the dialogue).
If we exclude the questions from question type 4 (all very short), the book contains 76 dialogues or monologues (38 in the exercises and 19 in each test).
I am both studying this book for the JLPT and for general improvement. I am doing every question, but after having answered and corrected myself, I also use these audios to do some further exercises. I usually listen to it several times, until I am able to understand every single word. I also try to repeat each phrase without looking at the script. I am convinced that doing pronunciation exercises helps improving one’s listening skills. Many people say that learning to write kanji will help you recognise them. Well, I think that the same is true concerning what we hear. Actively producing something (either a kanji that we write or a sentence that we repeat) will higher the probability that we will recognise it later.
I don’t know if publishers from other countries have this kind of book, that is, a collection of exercises in a given field. In any case, this is a link to Darakwon website where you can see the series 新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마 for each level. This series also covers the other parts of the JLPT. There is a book for vocabulary, grammar, kanji and reading, too. But given that they are a little pricey for their contents (15000 won), I find that the listening book is the most worth it.
新일본어 능력시험 청해 콕콕 찍어주마 -N2 대비- (1 MP3 CD), 다락원 Darakwon publisher, 2010. 15000 won. ISBN: 9788927710165