I want to pass JLPT N2 on this July. Any advice? please

My Japanese skill is N3-ish. I’ve tried JLPT N3 mock test a few times. My Japanese is getting better and I managed to passed the last 2. (Of course, they are different tests) But not by a wide margin.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic they cancelled all 2021 JLPT test. I’ve never had a real JLPT test before.

Any advice if my goal is I want to pass JLPT N2 this july? And finger crossed they don’t cancel the test again this year.

*Edit Actually, it’s not “I want to” but “I need to” so I could start using Japanese in my career.


I can recommend the Shin Kanzen Master series of test prep books to start off with. I don’t know what your strong and weak points are, so I can’t guarantee my strategy would work for you as well, but when I started studying for the N2 last year I also had roughly N3 as a starting point, so I’m going to share my study routine, maybe it helps :smiley:

I started off by working through the Shin Kanzen Master grammar book. This took me a few months but was really effective. After that, I personally went with the Shin Kanzen Master listening book because that was my weakest section. Reading was my strong point as I was already doing that a lot as part of my immersion. Kanji was also easy thanks to WK, and vocab I mostly picked up along the way during my immersion and test prep.

Aside from the Shin Kanzen Master prep books, I’m also a fan of the Power Drill series. They have books for the kanji/vocab and grammar sections that are full of short mock tests for said sections. Taking a short test that’s meant to be done in 10 minutes takes much less time than a full mock JLPT, and it trains you to work through the questions at a certain speed that you need.

Disclaimer: thanks to certain pandemic developments I wasn’t able to take the N2 in December so I can’t 100% guarantee that I would’ve passed, but I usually passed my mock exams with a decent enough score that it wasn’t just barely a pass :smiley:

Good luck and fingers crossed the test won’t be canceled! :muscle:


Thanks I have that on my shelf. I’ll touch it next month. Hopefully, it’s not too late but I feel like my N3 grammar is still not good enough. So I don’t want to make the same mistake I made last year. I crammed too many grammar point at the same time on Bunpro and I need to reset all of my N3 grammar because it was too overwhelming for me.


I feel you, I was also pretty shaky on some parts of N3, and adding everything from Kanzen Master + N3 grammar I hadn’t covered yet at once into Bunpro was really overwhelming :sweat_smile: Personally I noticed that practice questions helped consoldiate the grammar much more than Bunpro and eventually used Bunpro less so I could focus on the Power Drill exercises. But everyone has different preferences and if Bunpro works for you that’s great, and I’m glad to hear you figured out what your limits are :blush:

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I would second this. But there is a “smol brain” option as well:

  • learn the remaining kanji you need for N2
  • learn the remaining grammar points for N2 (for instance, from jlptsensei)
  • read and listen a lot (like, non-stop :smiley: )

Also, high five, because I’m in a similar boat. I’m just vaguely finishing Tobira soon which puts me at around N3 as well, but would like to take the N2 this July.

The “smol brain” strategy above is actually something I’m going to follow. Let’s see!


I wish us the best of luck then.

I almost finish my Tobira as well. This is very heartwarming to know that someone is in a similar situation with the same goal as me. <3

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My advice don’t worry too much about it.
Expose yourself to enough real japanese.

Good luck :four_leaf_clover:
It is easier than people make it seem. :wink:


Looking at this wikipedia estimation and this one from a japanese language school, I would not underestimate the gap between N3 and N2. I’m not sure how they gather their data, it’s probably a big guessing game to some degree, but they both put going from bare N3 to N2 to take in average from 1000 to 1500 hours. (And at least in my case, I think it took me more than that…)

So yes it’s doable, but OP you will have to do a lot of Japanese all day everyday until July.



I’m keeping an eye out for updates on the jlpt site :eyes:
If it’s open entry (which wasn’t the case last year), then I’ll commit to it. Otherwise I’ll take a more relaxed approach.


Yeah I can’t help but agree, I honestly think getting from n5 to n3 was easier than n3 to n2 for me. I remember finishing off Tobira(N3ish) and being gobsmacked by the N2 Shin Kanzen Master grammar book, not only did the grammar/sentences seem like a huge jump, but the whole n2 & n1 series is completely taught in japanese without any English - compounding the gap even further. To any of the above commenters beginning to tackle n2, don’t be discouraged even if it seems a little too hard. If you need to, take a break before kanzen n2 and just solidify your tobira knowledge through native materials, light novels, manga, online blogs, whatever your preference.


Same. And it’s more than an impression in my case because up to that point I could pass the jlpt every 6 months, so 1 year and half to N3… but then it took me two years just for N3 → N2 :sweat_smile:

The limiting factor for me was not Kanji (WK is fine for that) nor grammar but reading speed. The first time I failed N2 I didn’t even had the time to read half of the reading exercises. At that level just “studying” didn’t cut it anymore, I also had to spend thousands of hours reading native material, game, manga, VN to up my reading speed. But it’s the fun part anyway!


I am actually planning to do the same. I’m pretty good grammar wise, but I’m quite worried about my kanji knowledge (fingers crossed I can hit level 50 in time).
As far as grammar goes, if you are currently N3, I suggest you to go through the TRY N2 before diving into the Shin Kanzen Master series, as the nuances between grammar point can be difficult to grasp in there (they are grouped by common meaning, plus the explanation is usually too short). The TRY N2 has explanation in both Japanese and English, and uses much friendlier Vocab in their example sentences for someone fresh out of N3.
This being said, once you are done with TRY N2 I would definitely go through Shin Kanzen Master. They consolidate your knowledge by grouping points by meaning, and some of their exercises are even beyond the difficulty of the real JLPT test.
Also, make sure to look up any word you are not 100% sure about its meaning: Jisho works great, but also Weblio and EOW do a better job in showing you the word in context.
Lastly, I personally would avoid the Sou Matome series. I bought it for my N3 and they give you very little content for your buck, not to mention exercises being too easy


This is the first time I ever see anyone recommend TRY! series here.

I finished TRY! N3 and I really like it but I also wonder why nobody ever discuss about them here. Yeah that sounds like a good idea to try to finish Try N2 first then move one to Shinkansen Master N2


The N2 version was excellent in my opinion. It also helped a lot in picking up new vocab, as they usually have one or two N2 specific word per sentance, so that you are not totally lost. At the end of it, I could go through SKM no problem, both grammar and to an extent the 読解 volume

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I’m also going to try to pass N2 this year! (If it’s not cancelled). I’m in the states so I have until December. I’m a big fan of practice tests, what resources do y’all recommend for that?

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I’ve used try for n2 and n1 and it’s actually probably my favourite (in terms of the learning experience) grammar book, It seems more approachable and nowhere near as dry as kanzen master, and also more apt for a self-learner than most other textbooks. so, I would also just lilke to add my reccomendation to the try series!
However, and perhaps this is why it isn’t recommended as much, I just don’t think the try books are comprehensive enough (as a sole resource) to pass the corresponding jlpt exams. Assuming people don’t mind spending money on more textbooks, my best advice would be to use try as a primer, then go through kanzen master (or perhaps a jlpt drill book) to polish off grammar and take the jlpt test with confidence

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For everyone who used TRY, what are the exercises like? Are they like actual JLPT questions, such as multiple choice and matching? Or are there open ended questions too? I tried using Tobira a while ago, but the open ended classroom-style questions were awful.

I probably won’t actually take the JLPT again (took N3 in 2019), but I need to consolidate my N3 grammar and fill in a lot of gaps in N2 grammar.

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As someone who can’t focus on a text book or class, this sounds fun and good :+1:


they are far less open ended than tobira, imo better suited to self learning than tobira (in regards to JLPT specifically, i prefer tobira for it’s cultural learning).
You can see some sample pages here with examples of the kind of multiple choice questions you will get:

with that said, while i did really enjoy the try book and it’s question style – particularly for fresh learning – as a sole resource, I do not think it’s comprehensive enough to expect to pass the jlpt. you would likely need to supplement it with either kanzen master (far more monotonous but inarguably comprehensive), or a jlpt drill book.
I know you said you’re not really interested in jlpt regardless, so perhaps Try on it’s own will be more than sufficient for your needs.


Thanks. I did see some open ended questions from the sample (I found the samples after posting my question), but it’s hard to know the proportion just from samples. The books are cheap enough that I could always just buy them and find out.

Yeah, and I already have Shin Kanzen Master N3 and N2. I just feel like it’s meant more for review than for learning grammar points from scratch. I do plenty of reading, so I’m sure I’d be fine jumping right into the N3 review without much explanation. But I would probably benefit from proper explanations for the N2 grammar points that I don’t expect to get from Shin Kanzen Master.