FAQ » Courses
On the placement test I will take the day after, is the emphasis on kanji or is it more grammar and vocabulary?
All three skills are important.
The placement test doesn’t include an independent kanji test, but since the test questions (and your answers) are in kanji, you will need to know some kanji.
Grammar and vocabulary of course tested. For you to understand each question, you need to have both grammar and vocabulary. If you have enough kanji and vocabulary skills to read the questions, you will have the grammatical skills to answer questions properly. You will also have listening tests and an interview with a teacher.
And, after all, we’re trying to determine what you understand. If you don’t respond perfectly to the entire test, we probably won’t place you in the most advanced level.
For best results, study all three—kanji, grammar, and vocabulary. Brush up on both written and oral skills.
What is the class schedule like?
Your class consists of about 20 students. You will take either morning or afternoon class, based on the result of your placement test. However, most often, new students are placed in afternoon sessions. For afternoon students, extra-curricular activities are usually offered before class. Typically, a student arrives at school before noon and stays in class until about 4:45–5:00 pm. Saturday Culture Class excursions may involve an entire day. Students are usually asked to meet at the school and depart from there. Sometimes a different meeting place is selected.
Intermediate-advanced students, and advanced students are generally placed in the morning, though this varies by enrollment.
What is the coursework like (papers, projects, testing)?
The work load at KCP encompasses a variety of after-class and in-class work. Depending on the level, this can include papers, projects, pair work, drill practice, speech contests, quizzes, and tests. Virtually all forms of media are used to help you achieve a greater proficiency in the language.
What kind of things would we do in one day of class?
This depends greatly on the class level. In general, first we do the test for the day if there is one. Next we study kanji, vocabulary, and grammar. This may happen in drills, games, pair or group work, or other methods.
The higher levels have more to cover, such as reading comprehension and compositions. In these levels, we focus on different skills each day (one day for reading comprehension, one for grammar, one for essays, and so on). In every class, we distribute a weekly class schedule to students.
What kind of tests, tasks, and projects are held during a term?
In addition to the mid-term exam and final exam, we have about one kanji or grammar test per week. We also have about two conversation tests per term. Tasks differ depending on the level. For example, in the more basic levels, we have presentations using dialogs, and in intermediate levels we have debates. They are all designed to evaluate whether students are successful or not in using what they have studied in their classes. In more advanced classes, Kanji quizzes are given each class day.
Are all students American, or is KCP an international school?
KCP is truly an international school. You will be taking class with other students from Asia—China and Korea—and they are in the majority. Students from Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and so on, may also be in the class. You may also have a Canadian, Australian, or European student or two in your class, as well as other Americans.
Is instruction in Japanese, English, or a mixture?
Since students come from many other countries besides English, all class instruction is in Japanese. This is a main reason all classes are taught in Japanese—there truly is no other common language. The other, more important reason is that to speak Japanese you must learn to think in Japanese, with its decidedly different grammar structure. The effort of translating back and forth between Japanese and English gains you nothing; in fact, it’s counterproductive.
Many of your classmates might not speak English very well, providing an outstanding opportunity for you to practice your Japanese with them. Supplementary instruction may take place partly in English if needed. The English support sessions are for U.S. students and are held in English to encourage your good understanding of grammatical explanations.
Is attendance mandatory?
Yes, of course! For classes missed, a certain amount of points are deducted from your final grade. This is a rigorous program. Showing up every day is extremely important, since the classes progress steadily. The guidelines for attendance, including sickness exemptions, will be available to you once you’ve been accepted into the program.
What are the professors like (supportive, exigent, grouchy)?
Fortunately, in a program that is so intense, the professors are very, very supportive. On evaluations, students overwhelmingly give the highest marks to their teachers. Students have several teachers; the teachers are highly motivated and very lively; and there is plenty of opportunity for supplementary help if needed. There is of course a lot of work to do; but your teachers want you to succeed and do literally everything in their power to help you do so. They go out of their way to help students who need it; but at the same time, they expect students to be open to advice and work to help themselves too. The faculty and staff are one of the KCP program’s strongest points!
It sounds like there is a heavy workload. What support is available for students?
The English support session always helps and is especially advised for beginners who need to catch up with their class. If you make an appointment with your class teachers, you can also ask questions and get advice from them outside class. We also have some outstanding student support folks who help with any issues you have regarding class, life in Japan, or getting the most out of your time in Tokyo.
Is there a study lounge? What is it like?
Yes. The self-study room is a regular classroom open for anyone to use for study. It is equipped like all classrooms.. There are also lounge areas where students can buy food and drinks, and socialize or study. Many nice coffee shops, parks, and restaurants are near the KCP campus as well where students sometimes meet and study.
Are classes graded on a four-point scale like at my home university?
When KCP reports grades to our sponsor or affiliate universities, or if you arrange ahead of time to receive a KCP grade report after your program is completed, we will report grades on a 4-point system (A+, A, B, C, F). Each American university transcripts these differently, so see each sponsor-affiliate school’s academic credit section to determine how these courses will appear on a transcript. Any student applying through one of our sponsor or affiliate schools can later request a KCP grade report. Again, we use a 4-point scale. After class has begun, students will have 1 week to decide whether they want to take the course for pass/fail, grade (4-point), or audit.
About how many KCP students actually take the EJU (Examination for Japanese University)? How do they do on the test?
About 20% of the entire student body here takes the EJU. Japanese is one of the subjects students take in the EJU, and a perfect score is 400.
On average, level 3 students score about 200 in it, level 4 and 5 score about 250, and level 6 score about 300. KCP students have consistently had the highest scores in the nation.
How many semesters of Japanese are recommended to be able to pass the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level 2 and above?
Many students in our more advanced classes, levels 5 and 6, are able to pass level 2 of the JPLT.
What cultural activities make up the culture course?
KCP offers weekly cultural class activities and excursions that might include Kabuki, popular museums, or trips outside Tokyo for a day or overnight. To keep the course lively, these change almost every semester. Past excursions have included Kamakura, Hokone, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, Nikko, Asakusa Temple, the Imperial Palace, NHK Broadcasting Company, a Sumo beya, and Kabuki and Bunraku theaters, as well as opportunities to explore traditional Japanese art forms.
What optional extracurricular activities are arranged during the year?
The optional activities are even more changeable than the Culture Course ones. Here’s a selection from the summer 2011 term: visit to the University of Tokyo, Futsal (mini-soccer), cooking class, calligraphy, job hunting prep, fine arts club, volunteering, Yosakoi dancing, singing Japanese songs, manga/animé club, tea ceremony, Koto (Japanese traditional music) class.
What is KCP's policy on attendance?
You are expected to attend every class; we take attendance four times a day. School excursions are also considered classes, and you should plan on taking part in them. Points will be taken off a students grade for missed class and tardiness. Repeated absence will cause you to fall behind in class work and do poorly on exams and class assignments. Missing one day at KCP could be the equivalent of missing 1-week at a regular university program, so your attendance is important.
How long do I have to change my grading option?
If you are enrolled through a sponsor or affiliate university, you can change your academic credit registration only during the first week of the program (first seven days). This includes taking the classes for a grade, pass/fail, or audit.
After successful completion of the KCP program, your grades are forwarded to the sponsoring institution. If you have any outstanding program-related expenses, KCP will hold your grades until they are paid.
Tanaka-san and Michiko-san are awesome! Everyone else is really friendly too. If you ever have a question, go see them!