I am only in my third week of my soroban studies – okay, I have gone to class twice a month for much longer than that, but still – but yesterday my sensei has suggested that I’ll take my first test already.

It must have been because I did surprisingly well yesterday in class… Okay, I guess I’ll have to explain how a typical class is conducted: I have a book – level 6 – containing sets of exercises for multiplication, division, and addition and subtraction. Each set of exercises consists of 15 calculations that you have to solve, and you have 7 minutes in total for each set, that is about 30 seconds per calculation. You do as many as you can in the allotted time, and all the correct answers will score you one point. So, essentially what we do is to do all three sets of exercises – first multiplication, probably because it is most difficult, then division and finally the addition/subtraction – for seven minutes each. Then I finish the exercises I could not get to during the 7 minutes, and finally I get to grade myself (the book contains the solutions in the back).

Somehow I had an exceptionally good day yesterday – I could finish almost all the multiplication and addition exercises – and not only did I solve as many exercises as never before, but I even solved most of them correctly! My sensei was quite surprised – as was I – and then he asked me if I wanted to try the test.

There is an official test scheduled every two months, and people can take it in their own school. Sensei will register my name, and on the test day he will receive a test booklet with the exercises I have to solve. It will be the same level of calculations and I’ll have to do them in the same amount of time; and I need to solve more than 10 correctly on each set of exercises to pass the test.

It seems that sensei is hopeful that I can do it, otherwise he would not have asked I am sure, so I will try. There’s nothing lost if I don’t pass – except for 1000 YEN – but it will be fun to try. I just hope I’ll have as good a day as yesterday…