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How to Study for the EJU: Advice from a former international student

I’m a former international student currently working in Japan. A few years ago, I took the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) in order to get a scholarship to study abroad. After studying and taking the exam, I was able to get a good enough score to get my scholarship. Here, I’d like to share my study methods with you!

Know what the EJU’s really about

The EJU measures Japanese language basic academic abilities required for admission to Japanese universities and other schools. In other words, it’s a test that focuses on what Japanese high school students are studying. In my experience, there were more than a few parts that overlapped with things I’d studied at high school in my home country, so it’s a good idea to think of the test as a Japanese version of what you studied in high school.

Because of this, the first thing I’d recommend is to make sure you understand the subjects aside from Japanese by replacing what you’ve studied in your native language with the same information in Japanese. It’s a good idea to improve your Japanese reading ability, right? Many people think so. Of course, there is no denying the importance of reading ability, but simply by grasping the keywords, you can vastly greater study results in a short period of time.

[Tip 1] Things you’ve already studied: Get an understanding of keywords in your native language

If you open a reference book for the the EJU, you’ll find a bunch of bolded technical terms and keywords you may never have seen before, and you may end up thinking you’ll have to memorize them all. What I recommend here is to look up the meaning of the keywords in your native language. If the topic is something you’ve already studied, if you just look up the keywords, you should be able to quickly remember what it’s about. In other words, rather than studying the whole thing solely in Japanese, I think it would be better to first bring back the memories you have of studying the topics in your native language, which can make the process of studying a bit more efficient.

When I was studying for the general subjects, that was how I went about it. For example, I had come across words like “ria inlet” and “world depression” in my studies before, so it was much easier and faster for me to understand these in my native language, rather than re-learning them in Japanese. It feels good to come across something and realize you’re actually just reviewing it, with that feeling of, “Wait, I know this already!”

On the other hand, I’m sure there will be some things you’ll come across that you haven’t studied in high school in your home country. You’ll have to study this kind of material from scratch. Of course, looking up the meaning of words in my native language and trying to study them in my native language is one way to handle this new material, but I used a different method here: for this, I studied with video lessons.

[Tip 2] Things you’ve never studied: Use video lessons on high school subjects

When you search for “___高校授業 (high school class)” on a video hosting site, (where ____ is the key topic you’re trying to find out about), you’ll actually find many videos about the topic you’ve searched for, aimed at Japanese high school students. Many of the videos have explanations with a blackboard and show simple diagrams and tables, so it feels like the teacher is doing the class right in front of you. Using this kind of video to study is helpful when it comes to topics that are tricky to understand just by using reference material alone.

This method was especially handy for me when I was studying math. For example, I didn’t understand the decimal system very well at first, even after reading reference books. But when I watched several lesson videos related to the decimal system and tried answering the practice questions the teacher in the video posed, the concept gradually became clear, and I was able to push through the issue. It’s a method that helped me a lot.

These are the two main study methods I used for the EJU. In reality, it’s actually not that difficult. It’s something anyone can do. I’m sure that if you work hard every day, you’re sure to succeed on the test. You’ve got this!