How do you review old tests?and learn from mistakes

I posted it on the jlpt thread my results as if you saw I made a lot of mistakes do I just read the explanations and hope that I remember? Or is there another method please help me!

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See what you got wrong and study it.

ETA: If you have explanations on why you got it wrong, think how you came to the wrong answer and see if it’s an issue of how you’re looking at the question or your thinking process.


I haven’t taken the JLPT so I’m not sure how much this will help, but in general when I review old tests to study for another (e.g. reviewing midterms studying for finals) these are the general steps I take

  • note down everything you got wrong
  • go back and study it. try both your usual resources and looking up some new ones. for example if you use Genki for grammar explanations, try checking out Japanese Ammo with Misa or Bunpro. basically get a new perspective.
  • Make sure you take notes! And handwrite these notes. I’ve noticed my understanding is better when I handwrite. Of course you might retain info better when you type, everyone’s different, but that’s what works for me. This also might help if you struggled with kanji, since handwriting might help you with kanji retention
  • If you’re still having problems remembering, try a non-srs flashcard app (e.g. Quizlet). I’ve noticed SRS apps like Anki are better for long-term, but non-srs flashcard apps are better for if you have an exam coming up that you need to study a lot for. JLPT might be different though, not sure which is better for a test like that… so take this with a grain of salt
  • If the problem was something like not being able to read fast enough, I would try reading more. If you couldn’t understand the listening portions, try practicing listening more. Easier said than done, but in my experience those are things that you simply have to do to get better at

Hope this was helpful! Everyone studies / reviews differently but this is what helps me


Yeah, basically you have to look at the individual questions you got wrong and look at why you got each one wrong. You’re looking for whether there are patterns in what your mistakes are, and where your weak areas are so you can concentrate your revision efforts there.

If you’re getting questions wrong just because there are words you don’t know, I wouldn’t worry too much about that (unless it’s happening a lot) – there are so many words that might come up on the test that revising vocab is relatively low-return compared to other aspects.

If you got a question wrong because you mixed up two grammar points, study both of them together and make sure you understand the differences.

If you’re having trouble with listening questions, try to figure out if it’s because the actual listening bit is hard or because you wouldn’t have understood the dialogue even written down or because the confusing way JLPT listening questions are written tripped you up. See if another few listens to the audio help; then try looking at the transcript assuming you have one, then listen again.

If you don’t know why your answer was wrong then ask somebody (here, or a tutor, or whatever).

If you have past tests which give a time limit then do some under timed conditions so you get used to the pacing you need to go at. (This matters most for N2 and N1 where it’s very easy to run out of time if you don’t do the reading fast enough.)


I think there’s already plenty of good advice here, so I’ll just add two guiding questions I use personally for almost everything. For each question, there are really only two things I need to know:

  1. Why is the right answer right?
  2. Why are the wrong answers wrong?

If you can work these two things out, then you’re all set. That’s what I aim to understand every time, especially when I get something wrong.


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