I took the level 3 JLPT in Dec 2006 and passed with an 86%. At this time, I was working for an eikaiwa and was not using Japanese at all work. After changing jobs and working for public schools as an AET, I noticed a huge jump in my Japanese ability. Working in a Japanese environment is much better than just studying or using it in your personal life. Using a language at work and doing presentations can formalize your language.
I took the exam at Nagoya Keizai University. There were so many Chinese people there! To be honest, my exam room was probably 80% Chinese, 15% non-Chinese Asian, and 5% white or mixed-looking. Obviously the Chinese have a major advantage with Japanese thanks to their native writing system.
From what I saw in the level 2 room, a lot of the Chinese had trouble with basic listening and instructions in Japanese. Speaking posed another problem for some. There is no speaking on the exam, but during break times when I was talking to a few people. I noticed they were far from fluent, with even basic conversation.
For the last section, Reading & Grammar, I skipped the reading and did grammar first to ensure easy points quickly. I saved reading for last but ended didn’t have enough time. I just read the questions and guessed accordingly.
For every other section, I’m happy that I could confidently answer a lot of questions. I’m predicting a pass, so I’m looking forward to the results in Feb. I’m guessing I got around a 65 to 75%.