Japanese Placement Tests are kind of....not good?
Short story - Japanese placement tests are erratic and irregular, and it's annoying.
Long story - I joined to brush up on my Japanese. I took a year of Japanese (taught by native speakers) and aced everything. It was a while back, so I understand if I've forgotten some and won't place as high as I might have a year or two when it was fresher in my mind.
....but I was kind of surprised my initial placement test said, essentially, I knew nothing.
....annoying, but then I see I can try to place out of the checkpoint. OK! Maybe my grammar wasn't great, but I know my hiragana and greetings are pretty good! ....I try, like, five times, and can't pass. Seems if I get a single question wrong, it's FAIL.
Man! This instruction must be TOUGH! So I try the first lesson, expecting something big and complex....and yeah, I totally know this and it's super-slow.
I see you can "test-out" of the "sub-checkpoints". So I try that. I'm able to test out of hiragana 1, 2, 3, and 4, intro, intro 2, and greetings on the first try (without taking any lessons except the first one where I realized how basic it was). ....so I'm able to test out of every "sub-checkpoint" that composes a checkpoint easily, but I'm not proficient enough to test out of the "checkpoint" itself?
Can someone maybe please look into this? I'm really looking for something that can help me get "back on track" with my learning - not just start me back at the beginning. And I know, I know, many people are here for basic instruction....but if you're offering placement tests, they should work, consistently (if I can pass all the subcheckpoint tests, I should be able to pass the checkpoint test, or vice versa - I shouldn't be able to pass every subcheckpoint test if I can't pass the checkpoint test.)
After taking 7 eye-rollingly basic tests for checkpoint 1, I'm entering the same level of slowness for checkpoint 2 - again, I can't pass the "checkpoint test", but I'm able to pass the sub-checkpoint tests (without taking the lessons).
Seems like Japanese is in "beta" right now - if the placement test isn't accurate, perhaps you can suspend it, and let people place themselves if they choose to? Because if I have to take what looks like, 15 more sub-checkpoint tests before I actually start actually "learning" something....yeah, I'd rather just pull out "Genki" again and hit the literal books.....
It is still in beta and the program does expect the specific sentence structure and vocabulary usage that they have outlined in the individual lessons. Skipping ahead can be difficult without knowing 'how' they want you to say what they want you to say.
That being said, one year of Japanese, with time off, is probably not enough of a resume to justify skipping ahead. Think of it as both a refresher and as a way to learn alternative (read Duolingo) ways to use the Japanese language.
As the program improves and adds feedback from users it should gradually become less stressful to use. If you don't think you have it in you to wait or use it in its current form, maybe pulling out 'Genki' again might be the best course of action for you.
I think it would be better if the placement test were disabled while the course is in beta anyway. This way people would have to go through the skills one-by-one and might hopefully mean more unaccepted correct answers get reported. (Although the course doesn't seem to have enough contributors to deal with the sentence reports, for some reason, but in an ideal world...)
That said, I haven't noticed any issues with the placement test on other accounts I've tried it on. Seemed to work alright to me. On this account I didn't use the placement test. Doesn't take that long at all to get through all 185 lessons the course has. ^^
I once did the placement test for German, my mothertongue, and did not get the full score. As BJCUAl explained, sometimes specific vocabulary and wording is expected. Alternative translations are integrated over time as people suggest them. I had at least dozen new translations accepted over the years.