You want to take AP Japanese, but your school doesn't offer it. So, you're considering self-studying the course, but aren't sure if you should go for it? In this post, we'll discuss the pros and cons of self-studying AP Japanese and everything you need to know before deciding to embark on your journey!
Because self-studying can be such a commitment, you must weigh both your pros and cons before making a final decision. Below, we listed some of the major ones:
Learn At Your Own Pace: Self-studying allows you to create your own schedule and move through the course at your own discretion. If you find you struggle with a certain concept, you have the flexibility to spend some extra time on it. If you're feeling confident with a topic, you can move onto the next.
Free Up an Extra Class Period: By self-studying AP Japanese, you will free up extra space in your in-school schedule. You can fill this empty spot with another class that with a class you will enjoy 😎
Learn About an Interest 🧠: If you have always had a passion for Japanese language and culture and are looking for a way to pursue it, then self-studying for AP Japanese may be the thing for you!
Great for Native Speakers 🎌: If you're already fluent in Japanese, self-studying for the AP test is a wonderful option for you! You get to use your already super sharp Japanese skills to earn college credit.
Lack of In-Person Instruction and Classroom Environment 👩🏼🏫 :
Self-studying does present a lack of connection with peers and a teacher. Luckily, Fiveable has you covered. If you decide to self-study and want the same peer interactions that occur in a classroom, check out Fiveable's community platform
where you can chat with other students and teachers!
Easy to Get Off Track 💭: You will have to manage your workflow and keep yourself on track. When things like TikTok and Netflix exist, this can be especially difficult. However, with a bit of discipline, you'll be just fine!
Time Commitment ⏰: Self-studying is a time-consuming task, especially when learning a language. Make sure you have the time in your daily schedule to devote to learning before you decide to self-study.
When you create a self-study plan, always start with the College Board Course and Exam Description
(CED). The CED details all of the content that will be on the exam and explains the skills used throughout the course. As you read the CED, you will find summaries with the most important content for each unit.
To register for an AP test if you are self-studying, get in touch with your school's AP Coordinator. If your school does not have an AP Coordinator, you can contact AP Services to register and find a nearby school where you can take the exam.
Contact Information for AP Services
AP services will connect you with AP Coordinators from schools near you who are willing to accept outside students for testing. You will need to get in touch with one of them to make testing arrangements.
Since you won't be given a textbook or practice assignments from a teacher, finding your own supplemental resources is essential. How do I find the best resources for me? Check out Best AP Japanese Textbooks and Prep Books and Best Quizlet Decks for AP Japanese for top-notch AP Japanese resources!
Aside from learning the required course content, it is a good idea to supplement your AP Japanese studies with some real-world materials. Watching anime, listening to Japanese music, listening to podcasts in Japanese, reading Japanese literature, and consuming Japanese media are all examples of ways to further your understanding of the language.
Hearing/reading how Japanese is spoken/written in real life will help you on the exam.
This is the poster for the Japanese drama Hana Yori Dango. Dramas like this one are an excellent tool for immersing yourself in the Japanese language and culture. Studying for AP Japanese while watching a juicy teen drama? Yes, please! Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
The best way to practice is by talking to someone else. If you are self-studying, you obviously will not have a class full of other Japanese speaking students to practice with. However, you can practice speaking to yourself in the mirror or with other AP Japanese students in the Fiveable community (see link above).
Time management is key for self-studying an AP class. Before you get started learning the course content, lay out a study plan for yourself, devoting a certain chunk of your day to AP Japanese. Within this designated study time, decide exactly what you're going to learn and set little goals for yourself to keep progress consistent.
Every student has a different schedule and different preferences when it comes to when or how long they like to study, so do what works best for you!