Any tips for JLPT N3?

Hello, I have just started using WaniKani, and I really hope this can help me get over my intermediate plateau. I took al the Japanese courses I could in College/Uni but even though I got through all the levels I’m not fluent and I’d like to change that. Recently I’ve been combining self-study plus weekly courses at a private institute.

But all of that was a just a lengthy self-introduction I feel like I need to make since I’m new to this site. Please excuse the verbosity. :pensive:

Now to the actual point. I hope to take the N3 exam in July. While I have been doing well in the old exam questions they have on the JLPT website, I keep struggling with the reading section. And kanji is the (primary) culprit.

What do you all do to help remember kanji for the JLPT? Any tips for differentiating the onomatopoeic words?

Words of wisdom for a JLPT newbie like myself are very much appreciated.

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I’m not anywhere near N3 myself but if kanji is the main culprit that’s holding you back, then it seems you’ve come to the right place! I plan to take the JLPT eventually and so far, just doing WaniKani has immensely improved my kanji recognition and reading ability.

That being said, if you want to take the JLPT in July, I’m not sure if you’ll reach a high enough level here on WaniKani to cover everything you need. So hopefully others can chime in with some suggestions.

Mostly, I just wanted to post to say welcome to WaniKani! I hope you like it here! =D


I have to leave for class in like 1 minute so I cant really link anything, but just coming across the words a bunch has begun to make them “feel” like the meaning they have. Mnemonics are possible for them, but you may be better off just taking a brute force approach.


If you have done well on the previous test on the page, I think you will do well on the current, but I think you will not get far enough in terms of levels here for N3 until the next test.

Do you want to pass the test to work in Japan or just for yourself?

To clarify @Rion’s “not get far enough”, WaniKani level 35 is approx 95% of N3 kanji, and even if you go as fast as possible (about 1 week/lvl), there’s not enough time before the July test to make it. You will learn some N3 kanji, but it’d likely be mostly kanji from N5 and N4.

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Sorry for not being clear enough.
I started in mid October and have a 6d 22h Level up time and am level 23 about 5 month later, so I guess you could achieve like level 14 or 15 if you just started (around 45% of N3)

But I don’t think you started from 0, so maybe that is enough after all

I have passed N4 and taken N3 in December, but I failed N3 by a slim margin. Kanji is my main issue as I did ‘ok’ on grammar/vocabulary and I totally slayed the listening section.

So as an intermediate/pre-advance student, I totally understand your frustration. I decided to use WaniKani after the last JLPT in December and I’m pretty happy so far. You just have to get through the slowness of the first two levels, but then you will start going fast. I’m doing a level a week right now. You may not have enough time to review all the N3 Kanji, but it won’t hurt you to spend a little time everyday on Wanikani.

Starting WaniKani made me realized that I really didn’t fully know (or forgotten) some basic Kanji (I just thought I did).

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WaniKani is a huge boon to this. That and reading a lot of native content with those Kanji basically cements it. At about level 35 you should know around 95% of the N3 Kanji and 73% of N2.

There is this article by Tofugu, the guys who helped create WaniKani, which has some information on onomatopoeia

As well as the book that @Syphus recommended to me called Jazzing up Your Japanese. It basically has taken me from not getting onomatopoeia at all to sort of being able to guess what an onomatopoeia means through how it sounds and guessing through context.

Combined with the intuition these two resources gave, I tend to use mnemonics to distinguish it for sure. I absolutely need both intuition and the mnemonics, but together I can memorize most onomatopoeia close to immediately.


With the time that you have, you could get a list of N3 Kanji, create a deck with them on an SRS flash card site, and use it side-by-side with WK. (I was doing something like that for a while). Once you understand the mnemonics and radicals method, it’s pssible to implement them on other words to learn specific things.

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Yeah, I did realize that WaniKani might be fast enough for my purposes here but I am hoping it can be a good tool that I can develop and use for future study.

And, thank you :blush: this community seems really open and supportive. It definitely makews me eager to continue.

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I passed the N3 in December, and honestly all my Kanji knowledge was thanks to Wani Kani. Best section and easiest section - but I was around level 35!

I recommend the soumatome N3 textbook series. They cover pretty much everything in one concise series.


Hmm. Gonna have to stick to my regular method I’m on right now in order to learn it all on time. But hey, once I get to Lvl 35 I’ll know I’m almost caught up.

Wow, such a kindred spirit. I even looked to check if you weren’t quoting me. :laughing:

And I am always worried about forgetting the basic Kanji I thought I knew so it’s good to hear that WK will nip that right in the bud.

These are amazing!! Thank you so much. I’ll be sure to read them.

Have you taken a JLPT exam before (like N5/N4)? N4->N3 was a quantum leap for me.
I also found that the online exams are useless and too easy compared to the real exam. The “So-matome” series really helped me out with my N4 and N3 studies. I use it in addition to the Minna No Nihongo serise that my tutor uses.

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I’ve been at level 11 for 1036 days (yes, that’s quite a break indeed) but got back into Wanikani and i’m now working my way through my (42+) reviews and hopefully out of level 11 someday.
N4/N3 have been in the back of my head for quite a while and you’re all motivating me to keep at it and sign up for N3 in December if I get around level 35 by then. And if not, I’ll wait until next July, no rush.
So thank you all for the motivation :slight_smile:


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