My hiragana test went by without a problem. I studied the night before by reviewing the practice tests and studying the spelling of tricky words. The upshot to this is that I learned a few new words at the same time. Emi was kind enough to help me out by speaking sentences and then checking my work. Towards the end of our practice I was able to get the sentence down on paper even though she would only say the sentence twice. I think this helped a lot on the actual test, along with the teacher giving enough time between sentences. Going into the test, I thought that I was the slowest in class, but although I was sitting in the front row during the test, I could hear frantic writing behind me well after I finished writing each word.
Now that the hiragana unit is complete, we have moved on to katakana. Katakana is a different set of characters for the same phonetic sounds covered in hiragana. The Japanese use these two different writing systems, which are phonetically identical, to represent domestic (hiragana) and foreign (katakana) words. The good news is that I now have an advantage because most of the foreign words are borrowed from English.
Up until now, the students with the greatest advantage have been the South Koreans, whose language has a very similar grammar. These students have been able to get by only learning new vocabulary. This time, I have the advantage because remembering the names for these words, like the word for handsome (ハンサム – hansamu) is really easy.