How to best use the Shinkanzen N2 books (Grammar and Reading)

So I have the Shinkanzen Grammar and Reading books and I am taking the JLPT N2 in summer this year. I already took it once and failed (mainly the reading), so I’m wondering if anyone has any effective ways for me to go through these books in order to make sure I learn as much as I can.

Thank you!!!


Tagging @Thud as they seem to have a good approach to the books and also aim for N2.

While I’m going for N2 this Summer, too, I decided to skip SKM and instead focus on reading and listening online, and doing mock tests later.


For reading, I would say there is nothing special to do with this book. I mean, you read the text, answer the question. Then, if you failed there is an explanation about why your answer is wrong, like “This is not written in the text” or “the author did say that but that’s not all”. Also, at the beginning they give tips to read the text efficiently. They say you need to search for keywords so you can find the theme. If you need more tips, maybe you should have a look at Shinkanzen Master for N3 they had a lot ! They gave tips for each type of text (essays, letters, email…).
For grammar, I don’t use Shinkanzen Master but Soumatome with an Italki teacher. It is very efficient for me as I get explanation and context in full Japanese. I also have to do my own example to make sure I understand. So maybe, what you could do, for each grammar point try to make one or two sentences with them and find someone who could check that for you.
Good luck !


There’s a lot of grammar points which they group in sets of about 5 at the start of the book and after explanations they’ll test you with one type of questions. It takes me about 30 minutes to go over one section, after that I add the points to bunpro for reviewing. After 5 sections they’ll quiz you again over those 5 sections. Can be pretty tricky to grasp the different nuances, but it is all there. Read the examples and the note at the bottom of each point. Those notes give some extra info on what to watch out for. There’s an answer keyvin the back, but there’s no explanations, you’ll have to think up one yourself after checking your work.

After that part, there’s two more parts to cover the other type of questions. I haven’t gotten to that yet.

I think the best advice is to split it up in chunks and do a bit every day. Even on grammar I had seen before, there’s always more to it than I thought, so it pays to look at it at least.