How to study for JLPT (or not) after very long break?

Hey guys, I need some advice please!

I studied up to lower-intermediate during my time in university, had a pretty balanced knowledge in speaking, reading, listening, rammar, vocab, kanji, etc. I would say my level was probably between N4 and N3 in terms of stuff I knew very comfortably. Though I did manage to get a passing grade (barely!) in a N2 practice exam I did for fun. I’ve never officially written any JLPT exam.

Fast-forward a few years of 0 studying, I have no idea how much I’ve retained from the past. Ideally, I would like to take the N2 exam this summer, but I’m not sure how realistic it would be.

How do you guys think I should proceed? We used a textbook series called Nakama, with a lot of supplemental material given by the teachers at the university, so I have no experience with any of the popular textbook resources I’ve seen here so far.

Please help! And if you’ve been in a similar situation, please share your experience as well! Thank you!

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I haven’t been in your situation so I can’t give too much advice. That being said, you could maybe take the j-cat test to help assess your current level If you’re not familiar with the j-cat, it’s a computer adaptive test for Japanese that you can take for free once every 6 months. It matches it’s scores to the old four levels of the JLPT so it could be a good place to start. Also there are a lot of good JLPT prep books (I personally like the 新完全マスター series), so you could use those to refresh yourself on stuff you already learned.

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Thank you for replying! I’m worried that if I get, let’s say, N2 prep books, I might be missing out on easier grammar I might have forgotten. Kind of like, “You don’t know what you don’t know” type of situation. Not sure if I’ve expressed myself right.

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Yeah, that’s why I thought the j-cat might help. If you score well enough there, you could probably go straight for N2 books, but if it doesn’t go as well then you could work on reviewing N3 or earlier stuff

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I’ve always been a textbook + notebook type of learner, but do you think it’s efficient? This is my first time using SRS, do people review or learn grammar using a similar system?

use, just add all the grammar and have the srs see if you know it or not


Does it come with preset grammar already? If you do it yourself, do you guys usually just slap on sentences with the grammar or something? I apologize for the noob questions, but I looked through some of the resources but I’m still unsure about how to use it efficiently.

each grammar point has separate lessons that have an ‘add to reviews’ button. If you go throigh the lesson (this will take a while cause there is a lot! but you can probably just skip the super basic n5 stuff) and add them to your review pile, then you can do grammar reviews just like wk reviews every day


Oooook, I think I’m getting a better picture of how it works. I’ll check out the bunpro stuff, hope they have a community like this one as well!

Thanks for your advice! I guess it’s one step at a time hahahaha. I keep wanting this magic button that would give me back all the skillz I had! :nerd_face:

Edit: fixed typo

bunpro community is basically this community! ot was made by a WK user and they post updates here all the time, respond to feesback and are just generally awesome

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Oh wow! Even better then! Thank you!

I would say get a general practise book like this just to review fundamentals.

i would also get N3 version to make sure you are good there and then, if you are comfortable with everything, go ahead and buy the n2 prep books. I really enjoyed these books and would do them on buses, in the bath or anywhere really as you don’t need to write, just answer. There are also apps that can test you in a similar way.

Personally, I would go for N3 first as you said that is what you learned before. Yes, you could just pass the N2 (as you said you did with the practise) but does that mean you know all the content? If it was me, I would give myself time to learn everything properly for it because, at the end of the day, it isn’t the test that is important, it is the knowledge and the ability to use it in real life. Does that make sense? Only me though.

Also, bunpro is definitely amazing.

Hi! I also used Nakama in college; we got most of the way through book 2, and then I took ~10 years off after graduating…

I haven’t ever taken a JLPT test, so I don’t really have any advice there. I was thinking about when to take N3 myself (maybe this year? I don’t have a lot of time for studying…)

There are JLPT practice tests here, if you want to try another practice one now:

Thanks for the advice!
I only mentioned the N2 practice test to give an idea of what I used to know hahaha :slight_smile:

Awesome! It’s the first time someone else has heard of Nakama! I really enjoyed using it! It’s so hard getting back to studying after so long though. I feel unbalanced in my knowledge, knowing some advanced stuff but forgetting some basic ones. What a mess hahaha!

I just got through Bunpro’s N5 stuff and it has been a breeze so far! A few technicalities I forgot but I remembered all the grammar points. Thanks for the suggestion!

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