I'm currently studying for the Japanese Langauge Proficiency Test, Level 1.. There are 4 levels, 1 being the most difficult. The test is only offered once a year (in December), and this year I'll be able to take the test in Seattle.
Here's a brief overview of the test:
First grade (1kyuu):
Total score: 400 points--passing score 280 (70%)
Vocabulary 10,000 words
Generally requires about 900 hours of classroom study
To give you a sample, here's a list of some of the vocab I should know by December: (EUC encoding)
A friend of mine took the test last year and was able to pass it. I asked him how much he studied a day, and he told me he studied 3 hours a day (and he's starting from a much higher level than I'm at) I am trying to keep up with that pace, but there's only so much I can study before falling asleep. I don't have particularly high hopes about passing the test, but I'm hoping that if I continue to study daily, I'll at least have a shot.
This could mean that I won't be joining the rest of you on Nov. 9th. Have fun fragging each other without me!