Last Friday was the dreaded Leeds exam for all the students on their Year Abroad in Japan. I think I nearly killed myself revising for it - every day during the three weeks before the day I spent around 12 hours studying for it.
We were using Kanji in Context, a very well-organised textbook that takes you through the kanji and vocab by using example sentences for each one. We were expected to know 1,003 kanji and the vocab that goes with them. And the idea was that we could work through the textbook throughout our year abroad, and know it inside-out by the time the exam arrived. But with the workload from ICU, I just didn't have the time. The blessing was that there was a lot of overlap between the two syllabuses, and we had our six week holiday and then the Golden Week public holiday in the two months before the Leeds exam, so we had more time to study.
The exam itself was not as hard as I was expecting it to be, but I'm sure that's because I was in the Intermediate class at Leeds last year. The beginners who have only been studying for a year and a half found it quite hellish, and a lot of people I've spoken to are convinced they failed. If people do fail, then they get one more chance to pass in September, and if they fail that one then they can't continue with their degrees. It's so strict! And a lot of people aren't happy at all with the system, as students from other British Universities don't have to do anything on their year abroad except pass their programmes of study in the host University.
The exam was made up of four sections - kanji reading (20%), kanji writing (20%), Japanese to English translation (30%) and an essay (30%). The hardest section for me was the Translation, and the easiest was the kanji reading.
I'm really glad the exam is over. ICU's workload seems so much more bearable without the extra responsibility. And we should get the results at the end of May or the beginning of June. So until then I can live in ignorant bliss, and then deal with the reality of my result when it comes!