Thursday, July 10, 2014


The EIKEN is a standardized test that many Japanese take to evaluate their English ability.  The tests cover reading, writing, speaking and listening and have many elements to contend with including grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation. 

My junior high students have asked me to prepare materials and content to study for the EIKEN test in Japan.  I was asked to prepare test booklets, study resources and materials that will help them achieve good results.  I have about 9 students who are studying for it and they are all looking to target different levels.  4 are going for the 3rd level exam, 3 are going for the pre-2nd level, and 1 is going for the 2nd-level exam and one for the pre-1st level.

So I spent about 2-3 hours yesterday during my free time printing up loads of materials for the kids to study.  I got them all the past year's tests as well as speaking activity, booklets, and a word list of 2000 commonly used English vocabulary that kids should know by the time they graduate.  For the pre-1st, he'll need to know about 8000-9000 vocabulary words so I plan on upping his to a level more appropriate next week.
I also am going to assign each kid reading material, specifically graded readers from the penguin and Cambridge reader selections to be completed over the holidays.  I have about 2600 readers that  have gathered over my many years as a teacher and will assign them books to read based on their levels.  I plan to give them a CD with the PDF books to read on their computers, tablets or smartphones over the summer holiday.
I hope that by giving them good quality, interesting stories that use the 95/5 principle to get them excelling in reading as well as prepping them to tackle the EIKEN. The 95/5 rule is basically that children should know 95 percent of the vocabulary in a text with 5 percent unknown to grow and excel.  Any less than that and it is too difficult, any more and it is too easy and children will lose interest.  Of course I also plan to tackle the speaking and listening parts as well.  We will have a mock test in August to assess their weaknesses and strengths.  Preparing for the EIKEN is a tough job.  I hope they do well.

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