Last Thursday I took the text for the next level in soroban proficiency, and – I passed the 5th Kyu test! But only just…

I made two division mistakes – together with the three exercises I did not have enough time for that means I only had ten correct results, which is the lower limit to pass the test. Multiplication and addition were better, although I could not finish them either – one exercise missing at each part. Anyway, I have passed, and it’s nice to be 5th Kyu now!

Sensei offered to put my name up with the other student’s – he has a *Wall of Fame* with the name and ranks of all his students – but I declined. It would look funny, my endless name with all the katakana among the sleek three or four kanji names of the kids…

In any case, I bought the new exercise book for 4th Kyu and I now have almost exactly two months time before the next level exam to – quite literally – get up to speed. The next exam is all about speed. The difficulty of the problems has not changed, except that there is a digit added to all the exercises (six digit numbers for division, five digit numbers for multiplication and addition), but that only means more time is needed for the exercises. As the timeframe for the exam will not change, it means one has to increase the speed considerably to finish all 15 exercises in 7 minutes.

Sensei has already shown me a way to speed up multiplication, but he says there is nothing to do about division – where I am notoriously slow. Well, actually he said there *was* a trick, but I should not employ it… I wonder if he’ll tell me eventually… Addition, while it appears the same has become a bit more difficult because the numbers have more variation in length (between 3 and 5 digits) and, as silly as it sounds, it is not so easy anymore to keep all the columns sorted out on the soroban… Sensei has taught me a little trick about that as well, we’ll see how it goes.