A question to people that have sat both the N2 and N1

Hello, some little questions! In your opinion…

How much of a jump is there from N2 to N1?
How much study time (roughly) did it take to get from N2 to N1?

Thanks in advance!

1 Like

I’m not sure I’m a typical example, but I did pass N2 and N1 in consecutive years. N2 was a pretty high score, while N1 was a very close shave. Maybe 1 point lower and I’d have failed.

During the period between N2 and N1 the studies I was doing were WaniKani (I was in the 40s when I took the N1, for reference), the videos from 日本語の森 channel (I watched the N1 playlists a few times during that year), and I was also doing practice questions from a Sou Matome book with my teacher once a week. I don’t think reading manga for fun counts as studying, but I was also doing that a few times a week for short periods of time.

Overall I wouldn’t say my level rose too much during this time, since I was slacking off a lot, especially with grammar and vocabulary, so it’s my personal opinion that I could have probably gotten a similar score had I taken the N1 the year before.

In terms of difficulty, I’d consider it was 2-3x as difficult as the N2 (personal subjective experience), it felt like there was a lot more content to go through and less time to cover everything, so I felt rushed every minute of it. I’m planning on taking it again this year just to see if I’ve improved at all since 2017, this time my studies are focused mainly on improving the speed of reading, hoping to get through the reading section faster this time.


You always hear the general rule of thumb that there’s about twice as much content on each level than the one that came before it.

This is easy to measure with kanji and vocab, like ~2000 kanji rather than ~1000 kanji. And 10000+ vocab versus ~6000 vocab. Or something like that.

I also think the standard that you get held to is always increasing a bit. Like, the vocab questions on N5 are just distinguishing between extremely clear concrete concepts. But once you’re at N1, you’re choosing between very fine shades of meaning.


@jneapan @Leebo

Cool! Thanks for the help :).

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.