Experiences with Shin Nihongo 500mon

Good morning/evening/night/day,

I’ve recently acquired shin nihongo 500mon (N5/N4) in order to prepare for N5 and N4 this year.

I mainly bought it because it was recommended here and elsewhere as a great ressource for practice questions, which it is. But when first opening it I also realized that the book is designed as a four week course, in which you’re meant to do 15 practice questions a day and learn from your mistakes as you go.

Has anyone used this book (the N5/N4 version or others) in the way it was intended for a full 4-week cycle?

This seems like a great way to maintain a daily routine, but I’m worried it might make me go too fast and not spend enough time studying the weak points I identify.

So far i’ve done about 40 questions, and my weakness is clearly vocabulary. I’m thinking I could probably through the whole book, and once I’m done and go over it again, I’ll just see what actually stuck. Four weeks is not that long after all!
I haven’t found any feedback on the forum on how people have used the book apart from this topic.

1 Like

I love this series. I used it to pass the N3 and six months later N2. After finishing the Sou Matome books for both test levels (though your prep beforehand could be anything), I used them for daily review leading up to the tests. Just make sure you have a separate notebook to write answers into so you can actually do the second (and if you have time, third) trip through the books that they encourage.

They absolutely flagged weak points and even introduced or clarified a few important subjects for me prior to both tests. They get my heaviest recommendation.

Don’t worry about drilling yourself too hard on missed questions as you go. That’s what the review prior to day seven each week (a review of the previous six days) is for, as well as the second and third passes. Start it around two months before your tests and hey, you’ll be able to get two full passes in. I did make flashcards or additional notes as I went if I felt I was really having trouble with something, but I definitely didn’t do a ton of drilling with either book beyond just using it as designed.

Vocab also hit me hardest in both books, but I was surprised how well words had stuck on my second time through. Having looked around, I genuinely think this is the best JLPT-oriented daily review series there is. Just don’t shortchange reading full passages and doing listening problems before your exams.


I finished the book in two weeks and what I got out of that was knowing the bits of grammar and vocabulary that I needed to work on. The reason why I went so fast is because I’ve lived in Japan a while and wanted to see where I placed on the N5-4 level.

If you’re like me and need detailed grammar explanations and more sample sentences, I recommend using it alongside Tae Kim or other resources. But it really is a handy little book and will continue to use the series as I progress with Japanese.

1 Like

I’m actually considering these or Shin kanzen Master for N4. Right now I’m just catching up on things I used to know a while ago, and if I just practice enough N5 should be fine. Thus I don’t want to purchase too many specific N5 books. I have my old genki and minna no nihongo from university, but I don’t really enjoy them as self study books. I’ll need more dedicated material for N4.

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