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

Yeah I totally understand that. If it helps to give you an idea of the books layout, each chapter is split into 3 parts: first is a short sample text (closer to genki length than tobira) to show upcoming grammar, no comprehension questions for the text IIRC; second are the grammar points, as can be seen on the samples on page 44, usually a brief explanation – followed by a やってみよう: usually 4-5 sentences with 2 multiple choices for each grammar point; last are the review questions(まとめの問題), usually 3-4 pages worth [edit: all multiple choice with 4 options for each question]. Some chapters are split into two parts, e.g. 9-1 & 9-2, and in this case only the second part of the chapter will have the review questions.

I do like the Try series and am perhaps biased, but I do absolutely recommend it for JLPT study, or for someone looking for traditional textbook learning that follows on from Tobira. However, since you’re already reading native material, own SKM, and perhaps arn’t set on JLPT specific study, it may not be ‘essential’ as such. Though I’m sure it’ll be useful the cost/benefit factor is obviously something only you can decide.
I guess some other alternatives would just be a traditional grammar dictionary(or free online resources) to learn from before reviewing with SKM? I personally really like ‘A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners’ or if you’re brave you could even get the monolingual version ‘Nihongo Bunkei Ziten’. Both of these are a single volume – as opposed to the Japan Times Grammar Dictionary’s which that are split into 3: basic, intermediate, advanced – and seem to me way easier to navigate within a single volume, though of course YMMV.


My advice? Watch a lot of Netflix. I believe that most shows and movies now have a japanese voice over. At least the new ones. Japanese subtitles are also available. I like to watch South Park and Rick and Morty in japanese.

Apart from the official mock tests and the section specific ones in the Kanzen Master and Power Drill books, I’ve also used the mock tests included in the Todai app - I didn’t really like doing multiple choice in the app instead of on paper, but they have a decent number of mock tests, some of them available for free :smiley:

My experience with the Try! and SKM N1 grammar books is that Try! is much less detailed, but includes explanations in English (unlike SKM, which is completely in Japanese), so it’s probably easier to follow. My personal recommendation would be to go straight to SKM if you feel you can handle it, because it’s probably going to cover the same things as Try!, but in more detail. However, if you need more support and a sort of introduction to what might be covered in the N2, then yes, please go ahead with doing Try! N2 first before moving on to SKM. You’ll probably go through the SKM N2 book faster in that case anyway.

And so…

Yeah, another vote for SKM. Its main advantage is that it gives you very specific information about each thing you need to learn, and designs questions to trip you up if you haven’t remembered the features it identifies. It’s full of reinforcing strategies like that.

Maybe I’m overestimating Tobira, but considering that it was designed to prepare people for JLPT Level 2, which existed before the introduction of the N5-N1 system in 2009/2010, it should actually cover some of the N3 plus some of the N2, because the N2 is supposed to be as hard as Level 2, and the N3 is supposed to be halfway between Level 3 and Level 2. I didn’t finish all of Tobira because it felt unproductive for me towards the end, but I think it covers at least some of the basics of N2 grammar in the final chapters. I’d say that someone coming out of Tobira is probably more ‘deficient’ in the vocabulary and kanji department of the N2 than in the grammar department. ‘Don’t sell yourself short’ is what I’m trying to say, I guess? I mean, I thought I was probably a half-baked low N1 at best, but I got 31/40 on the JLPT N1 sample question collection from 2009 less than a week ago, and I haven’t even done much of my SKM books yet.

Honestly, this is what I would do as well unless I find that I’m having a lot of trouble parsing sentences. I’d say that everything from N3 and below is the foundation of everyday Japanese, so you’re basically guaranteed to encourage structures from that level as long as you consume content for natives. I mean, like I’ve said before, I learnt almost all the Tobira and JLPT N2 grammar points from anime and reading while using a dictionary and the internet, let alone the JLPT N3 stuff…

The one thing I would change/improve on would be using a grammar book for the grammar points, like something from Try! or SKM (which I prefer). JLPT prep sites aren’t detailed enough to allow people to differentiate similar grammar points. The only free substitute that I consider ot be about as good as grammar books are JLPT prep sites in Japanese, like https://www.edewakaru.com, http://jn1et.com/ and http://nihongonosensei.net.


I already have that as well. It’s a great resource, though I don’t utilize it nearly as much as I should. I could certainly use it to learn grammar points so long as I had a list of what to learn. (Not about to read a grammar dictionary cover to cover. :laughing:) So I suppose one approach would be to read a chapter of SKM, read the Handbook explanations for all those grammar points, then do the SKM exercises for that chapter.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

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From what I noticed so far, Tobira does delve into N2 and even N1 grammar points occasionally, but 1) they’re usually the simpler, less nuanced grammar points and 2) they’re very useful and help with overall language production. But yes, vocabulary is a pretty big weakness of Tobira as they purposely rely only on the most common words and it kind of shows :slight_smile: .

But thank you for confirming on the overall level of Tobira, that’s very encouraging. I have 2 chapters to go, but after that I will proceed with the Grand Immersion Instrumentation Project (:joy: ).

For anime I think it would depend on what the target audience is, because the lower end shounen shows are usually maybe N4-N3? Much heavier on vocab and casual expressions, of course, so my impression might also be very biased. For more mature shows definitely N3+. But even from the books I touched so far I would learn several N2 grammar points which I am just now seeing in Tobira :smiley: .

Massive thanks for the input! :pray:

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True, but most of the anime we know outside Japan air late at night, so it’s very much for adults and perhaps teenagers. The anime I’ve watched and studied the most are probably… The Rising of the Shield Hero, Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor and Konosuba, in that order. I also studied Quintessential Quintuplets (Season 1) a little. Then there’s all the other stuff I watched without really studying, like How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?, Cells at Work and As Ms Beelzebub Likes It. (A lot of rom-com and isekai in there, I know.) I know Shield Hero taught me the most because I repeated it the most, and it’s the first anime I attempted to no-sub in full. (Not that successful, and I had to stop around the 80% mark because I ran out of study time, but it was a good experience. I also tried Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, but there was too much world-specific vocabulary.) It also contains quite a lot of keigo. Akashic Records contains at least one N1 grammar point (余儀なくされる). I don’t remember what I learnt from Konosuba as well, aside from 片鱗〜ない and Megumin’s 見るがいい + incantations. Oh yeah, Oregairu is also actually really good for language study, in my opinion. The logic and plot are kinda hard to understand though… Still, point is, even if most of the dialogue in certain anime is simple, there’s actually quite a lot of N3-N2 level stuff that pops up, and I think the best proof is how much I learnt despite only studying 2-4 anime (Shield Hero and Akashic Records the most, then Quintuplets and Oregairu) fairly intensively and only checking the words that piqued my interest for the rest. It adds up, really.


Chiming in here on the coverage of JLPT grammar points in Tobira, which I finished and would highly recommend for any study purposes. I’m personally a fan of textbook learning.

I know it’s not an exact science, but after adding all the Tobira grammar points on BunPro (plus a handful of extraneous items I added via self study) according to BunPro’s metrics I have 59 out of what they identify as the 210 N2-level grammar points in my SRS. In fact, it says I am at 154/219 N3 grammar, although I would consider myself N3 level at this point.

So if Tobira is getting me to only 59/210 N2 grammar points, I am definitely planning to supplement with something like SKM N2 in the future.


Big thanks for bringing up the examples :slight_smile: . I was thinking about this a little today and decided to re-watch Death Note with bigger focus on listening and vocabulary and incorporate this in my schedule, since my listening comprehension lags behind a little.