I’ve just finished my first year of Japanese in high school but recently found out that several positions are being cut from my school next year, so I decided to look for online solutions. After a year of Japanese, I’m not an absolute beginner but could hold a basic conversation with the Japanese exchange students. I have read Tae Kim’s guide to grammar, but my kanji is quite lacking. So, I turned to WaniKani as I have enjoyed reading Tofugu articles in the past. The mnemonics give me a good laugh and I’m having a lot of fun so far. As I wait for my next review, are there any tips or anything I should watch out for? Is the JLPT N5 a realistic goal by December?
Absolutely! If you put time in each day (and not even an insane amount of time), N5 in 6 months is definitely doable. According to this stats site (which you’ll see referenced quite a bit here), by level 10 you’ll know nearly all the N5 kanji. So long as you also spend some time learning vocab and grammar, and practicing reading and listening, you should be fine.
Wow! Wasn’t expecting such a quick response (from a level 60 especially). Thank you for the information!
Welcome to WK!!
You’ll find everyone in here quite friendly.
There’s lots of resources to help you with your studies, as well as motivate you or just spaces to talk.
Sorry to hear about your teacher!
You can definitely prep for the N5 in 6 months, especially if you keep up to date on your Wanikani reviews. For grammar, I would recommend getting a copy of the Genki textbooks alongside using Tae Kim. Also the Bunpo app is really good for reviewing JLPT grammar.
I would also recommend downloading Anki and a pre-made N5 vocabulary deck (or one of the Core sets) to really practise your vocabulary as early as possible.
For reading, there are plenty of graded readers available but a free resource is NHK Easy News (https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/). It might look a bit overwhelming at first but it has a lot of furigana and generally a video/audio recording to listen to as well. Install Rikai-chan or Rikai-kun to hover over the words as you go along.
For listening, the textbooks can cover a lot of the N5 level exercises. Also just try and listen along if you’re watching anime or dramas and parse any words or grammar that you can hear. It might seem futile early on but if you’re really thinking about what you’re trying to hear then it can help. Also listening to native speed Japanese (as well as slow speech like in Genki) is generally helpful for your listening/pronunciation.
As Lids said, everyone here is really friendly so feel free to ask any questions or just chat!
A good approach to NHK news easy is to use Th ‘Tango Risto’ app which takes NHK News Site and applies Furigana which is selectable by JLPT level. It also has folktales and a few other resources.
Hm, if you have read Tae Kim’s guide in its entirety, I feel N5 would be way too easy for you.
If you go to the JLPT website, there’s a section with sample questions from the different exams (I would put a link, but I’m on my phone at the moment).
I think you can definitely go for N4. Maybe even N3, but that would probably require a lot more work.
You’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the application deadline, though - it’s several months before the test.
Haha I tried some of the sample questions for the N5 and my grammar is quite lacking, thanks for the confidence though.
Where would I find this application?
Thank you for the detailed response! I don’t learn well using textbooks, so I want to avoid genki if possible, but this Bunpo app looks really good!
Would it be helpful for me to do this without knowing the N5 vocab? If not, what level should I start this at?
NHK easy news seems very at my level, but also useful for words I don’t know with Rikai-kun. Much easier than looking up individual words on Jisho.
I usually don’t have a problem with listening as I’ve been listening to anime and other Japanese television for a long time and can pick out what people are saying without ever knowing the meaning.
For kana only words, will I have to learn those outside of WK? Also, how do I get new lessons on WK? It said 26 next day, but I’m just reviewing the 26 radicals from yesterday.
When you get those items to guru level (after 4 correct reviews), they will unlock any associated items. For radicals, that means unlocking kanji. For kanji, they unlock vocab. If you guru 90% of the kanji for a given level, you level up and get the fresh items for that level.
Now it makes sense why I haven’t unlocked the first set of kanji yet. Almost guru’d the radicals though.
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