Ever taken a class that was below your level?

This is something I’m sure a lot of people have thought about, but has anyone ever considered (or actually done) taking a Japanese class at a level that was below your actual level? Either by a little or by a lot.

I’m sure it’s not very practical, but if you have done it, did you actually get anything out of it other than showing up everyone else in the class? :thinking:

This isn’t Japanese, but I was practically forced to do a couple calculus classes in university that I already knew like the back of my hand, and my classmates (jokingly) were threatening to throw me out of the class for wrecking the curve (I was literally getting 100% on quizzes where the average score was under 50%). While it was very easy, I didn’t really enjoy the experience that much because I got practically nothing out of it.


In japan i went to a community Japanese class and even though i’d been studying for a few years the Japanese assessor, after talking to me (in Japanese) for a bit put me in the complete beginner’s class rather than the class above.

After two classes , because it was so basic, and although i should have just asked to have been moved into the higher group i felt discouraged and didnt go back.


I didn’t take a class but I did go through Minna No Nihongo 1 last year after finishing Quartet to brush up on beginner grammar I may have forgotten or needed a more nuanced understanding of.

To answer your question, I did get something out of it in that it helped me become more confident that I did in fact understand basic Japanese and wasn’t just believing it. lol

I think doing stuff that is easy is just as important as doing stuff that is difficult. I still watch Pokemon as a confidence booster when I hit those slumps.


I took N5 level Japanese classes a few years ago then stopped actively studying for a bit. When I started again, I went to a language school and started from 0. It was really helpful to make sure I 100% knew all of the crucial early grammar; if you misunderstand those parts early on, it’s harder to build onto with more advanced content later imo :slight_smile: I don’t regret it, it was worth it, but there were some classes that felt mind-numbingly easy (redoing all the kana especially). I got up to N3 with that class, and started wanikani specifically to revise those important early kanji that I thought I might have forgotten, which I totally did lol


Well, I work at a school and I sometimes sneak into other teachers’ classes.

Usually obviously doesn’t do much, but sometimes you just forget things because of not having used them a lot since you learned them, or maybe since you’re higher level than before, you imagine new situations where you could use some grammar/etc and can ask about it instead of worrying about understanding the base case.

I can imagine going through a whole class of things you already know to be pretty boring, unless you could get practice out of talking to the teacher or classmates or something like that.

So I usually don’t recommend even repeating classes for students who didn’t get everything the first time, but to keep going and just fill in the gaps with tutoring or self-study.

You can also get things out of explaining topics to your classmates, but that’s usually what the teacher is there for.


Yeah, I self-studied Japanese for a few years and then tested into Intermediate II in my uni but took Intermediate I instead. I knew about 90% of the grammar and vocabulary so the class was very easy, but it was still super helpful and allowed me to identify weaknesses in my ability.

Before taking the class, I basically hadn’t done any speaking practice, so it raised by speaking fluency by several levels. I also hadn’t practiced writing at all, and I realized how little writing ability I had, and how important sizing and placement of strokes and radicals, etc is to write the kanji “properly” and also how some characters differ from Chinese, which I had studied previously. And I also got some more insight into grammar nuances that I’d missed in self-study.

Overall super helpful class.

And I definitely didn’t “show everyone up” lol there were a couple ppl at a similar level to me.


Adding another voice to the “made me feel confident I know Japanese” response. When I took intensive summer classes as a study abroad program, when I came back to university I still had to continue where I left off, which gave me a very very easy 3 months of “Ha, I know this Japanese, I’ve never felt so confident in my life”

Although, the class easily continued past where I had just learned the new Japanese and it was still challenging for me in the long run. I don’t know about taking a whole class just to increase your confidence, just because of the amount of assignments that are still offered, which could be mindless work, or it can review basics for you. Also depends on how long you’ll be in that class as well, as a few months vs a year can have burnout of “this is too easy, I’m going to just stop” this also depends on just How easy of a class you want to take as well. If it’s just one level down from current then it can have many benefits imo

My opinion also changes if you have to pay a LOT of money for the class (idk if you’re American but…). Why spend lots of money for things you know? If it’s negligible then go for it!


Yeah, if you’re spending money on a class I can’t say that’s wise, just get a lower level textbook or something and go through it like I did.


Yes, I took a class at a college that used a different book so I was unsure of where to put myself because the curriculum was different. Even though I wasn’t that far ahead information wise, it was interesting to see the differences in what I learned vs they learned. Our class focused heavily on speaking and left writing to homework only and theirs was definitely less focused on speaking so when they heard me speak for the first time during an exercise, the other students were shocked I could speak so well (again, not because I was amazing, that’s just what we focused on)

Looking back, I can’t recall what/how much I learned but at the time I must have been learning some new things otherwise I would have dropped it to save money. The prof used a JLPT test for their final and I was apparently the only one that passed the exam lol. I met one of the students again later at a party and they drunkenly said “you were the only one that passed that stupid test!” :laughing:

Still had fun.

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Like others have noted, I’ve had a patchwork of classes, individual tutoring, and self-study over the years, with a variety of textbooks and learning materials, which has left me with some “holes” in my knowledge that I’m not completely sure how to best fill.

The thought of going back to beginner-level textbooks to try and fill those holes is not very appealing, as I’m sure that I would quickly become too bored to continue with it.

Those ‘holes’ are mostly grammar-related (including sentence patterns), and so maybe a healthy dose of Tae Kim, Cure Dolly, and Bunpro will give me the ‘tough love’ that I need :smile:

BTW, of all of the textbooks that people mention in the forum posts that I’ve seen, I can’t recall seeing anyone who used Japanese for Busy People for their classroom learning - I started my Japanese language learning with JBP volume 1 (in romaji only), proceeded to the kana version of volume 2, and did some self-study of volume 3 - I’m quite sure that I did not internalize all of the content that I supposedly ‘learned’ through the dialogs and exercises in those volumes, hence my dilemma - not sure that I want to subject myself to reviewing all of that to figure out what I missed.

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I started out in a class that used the romaji Japanese for Busy People, although I only took a semester of it and never bought the book. Immediately after I switched to the Human Japanese app so I have no idea what JBP is actually like. All I know is that I wasn’t a great student in that class :sweat_smile:.

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I’ve never taken any Japanese classes, period, but I am currently reading through A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar with the book club here, and I’d say that I know at least 90% of the information we’ve read about so far. But it has been excellent for filling in some of the holes, and just helping me figure out more of the nuance that I hadn’t realized when initially learning the material, because the stuff I’m noticing now is totally different than what stood out to me when I was first trying to internalize all of these grammar concepts.

So I don’t know if I’d recommend taking an entire class, per say, but I think revisiting beginner material can be valuable if you’re coming at it from a slightly different direction. I guess in the book club, we have the benefit of having a lot of advanced and intermediate learners, which means that our conversations are often focused on above-beginner-level topics. That might not be the case in a proper class.

I did sort of take a Spanish class that was below my level, since I took an intermediate conversational Spanish class last year that was offered for free. I’m not sure if I would have taken it if I’d had to pay, but since it was free, I thought I might as well. A lot of the material was indeed too easy for me, but it gave me the massive benefit of getting to actually practice speaking and listening to other people in Spanish, which is something I wasn’t really getting on my own through self-study.

So if your speaking skills are lagging far behind your reading and/or listening level, I think you can actually get quite a lot out of a class that is below your level, since it’ll give you a chance to practice speaking in a more lower stakes environment. Taking that conversational Spanish class did give me a lot of confidence there. But if speaking isn’t valuable to you, then you might get more use out of reviewing on your own through self-study instead.


I took a class once that was one level below me. They told me, “Bro, your class is on 2nd floor, this is 3rd floor.”


I did in college. For backstory, my high school in America offered Japanese as an actual class, so I studied Japanese for all 4 years. During my last year or so of college, they offered Japanese. I took the 101 class, and it was insanely easy. Like I could barely show up and get an A. The professor was also really confused about why I would want to test out of classes too. I ended up testing into the 4th semester class.

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I’m not sure this really counts, but in evening classes in the UK I’d worked through all of the first 2 Minna no Nihongo books; then when I went to Japan the language school placed me in a class that started about halfway through the second book. I say I don’t think it really counts because I think they correctly assessed that I was a bit shaky on some of those ‘high end of beginner grammar’ things and (like most of my classmates I suspect) needed the refresher. So in that sense it wasn’t really below my level.

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I signed up for a couple online group classes a while back with a new school that I hadn’t taken classes with before and so it was hard to guess the correct level.

1 class was just about right, another a little too hard for me and the third was definitely below my level. I still feel like I was able to pick up new things in that class (we spent a good amount of time watching short drama comedy skits and then practicing the dialogues together, and there were always a least 1 or 2 phrases that were new to me). The teacher tried to make the class challenging, so my main frustration was mostly the lower level of the other students especially in the times when we were split up into pairs or small groups to work dialogues. But I tried to use that as a chance to help teach others words or phrases they might not know and help them improve.

It can definitely be a bit irritating to be in a class where the material is mostly things you already know and everyone else is at a lower level and I wouldn’t recommend it as a first choice, but if it’s the only class available to you it’s definitely better than nothing from an exposure standpoint.


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