Is it possible to pass the JLPT N2 in a year?

Hi guys!
I’m a beginner still, however not an absolute beginner, since I’ve had a little exposure here and there, and my reading speed has improved a lot, well… that’s what I say to myself. (I’m a self assessed N5)
On other sites they say it’s kinda impossible unless you spend like many many hours a week studying. The most I can give is like 15 hours a week, because I have a job.
Okay, I don’t just want to know if it’s possible but also if this goal is something achievable without almost killing myself and prob burning out.
Annnd I almost forgot, if you think it’s possible how do you think the schedule should be?

Thanks for your help!

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might be tight on your time budget. can you maybe utilize dead time (standing in line, commutig etc) by doing some studying on your phone?


So about 700/800 hours. With that amount of time, reaching N2 is almost impossible, I would say. But you may able to reach N3ish and around that time it become really possible to engage with all kind of native material (really difficult but possible) and have fun, so still a worthy goal ?


Doing WaniKani should be enough for kanji/vocab so you got that covered. Besides those I’d basically try to cover as much grammar as possible, which means studying, if using a textbook do the exercises in the associated workbook, if not you’ll need to find another way to practice the grammar points you’re learning. Maybe look into language exchange websites like HiNative. Using the grammar and finding natives to correct you is essential if you want to progress fast. it might be easier for you to find a tutor (there’s sites like italki for that if IRL is impossible where you live) to practice. For the listening section you absolutely need to hear and comprehend native level Japanese so a conversation partner is invaluable. You could maybe get by with watching Japanese media with Japanese subtitles to get your hearing comprehension up, but in my case a tutor helped a lot more.

It’s frantic, but if you’re a quick learner it might be possible. But more realistically, N3 level would probably be more doable. You have to go through N3 level content at some point so might as well try to go up to N2, and realign yourself along the way based on how you’re doing.


I’m about 18 months in. I study 2-4 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m now pretty far into N3 territory. I can read certain native things quite easily and can enjoy listening to certain native things while following along.

That is just my progress, to give you some numbers. ^^ Not saying what you can or cannot achieve.

Qualifiers: Never had any classes. Never had a tutor. Found my footing in grammar pretty late, because I’m really bad at it.

I’m about 300 days into BunPro, so it took me about a year to get deep into N3 grammar - I haven’t gone through all of it yet, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot of N3 vocab, so I’d fail an N3 test, I’m sure.

To do it, you’d have to work ceaselessly, very hard, and very effectively. Kanji, grammar, vocab and lots of listening all at the same time. And plenty of reading, lest you forget earlier vocab that you drilled.

If you want to go for it, go for it! :muscle: I would just advise to keep your eye out for burnout, as you said. Having to slow down and not reach N2 in a year would be a shame, but burning out, dropping Japanese for who knows how long and forgetting most of it because it’s not cemented yet would be an absolute tragedy.

And mentally prepare yourself for the fact that it won’t be much fun. You can’t really do hours a day without ever taking a break while expecting to always feel genki about doing it.

Good luck!


For me dead time = sleep because that’s the closest I get to death without being dead.


I don’t think you could go that far with that amount of free time to study.
You would most likely just burn out
I’ll suggest aiming for a N3 at best.
But don’t trust me. After all you must go through N3 to reach N2, right?
You’ll see yourself. With all the material out there you can self assess your progress. Be aware that there’s a huge difference between the amount of info needed to learn to pass the N5 than there is to pass the N4. And way more info to get to the N3 and way more to get to N2, so it’s not easy to quantify as blocks of study to determine just how much time you require.

If you can get to N3 in six months from now, maybe you’ll have a chance to get to N2 in a year


Is there a specific reason you want to get to N2 in a year? Even N3 in a year sounds tough to me.


I guess it’s unrealistic for me. Thank you guys!


I got from below N5 to N3 (well, we’ll see how the test goes this weekend but I feel prepared) in about 10 months with about 1 to 2 hours studying daily on average.

And I’m planning to reach N2 by the next December with about the same amount of time spent daily.

So… I’d say N5->N2 in a year seems unrealistic to me

@SpookySpooks however, are you sure you are N5? I just noticed you’re almost halfway through WK. So at least the kanji and vocab should be between N4 and N3. And we can assume you’ll be lvl 50+ in a year.
How about grammar?


Not trying to brag, but I am doing N2 this weekend, after 2 years of Japanese study (from 0). My teacher says my progression has been the fastest he has seen of any student of Japanese. I have been taking 3-12 hours (most weeks 6 hours) of Japanese class, with a couple vacations in there as well. Self study as well, but that has been mostly WK and working ahead in the coursebooks.

Not sure whether I’ll pass this weekend (I passed N3 this summer), but just to give you another datapoint.


About grammar… I have neglected it for idk how long, but now that I picked it Genki 1 up, I realize that it’s super easy and I’m going through the pages really fast, but I’m at that level. Most of the grammar I know is from the N5 and a few from N4. I plan to at least reach N4 by december, because I have been on and off japanese for some years and that time, though little, adds up and makes me faster.

hey @Omun ! How have you found doing wanikani and bunpro at the same time ? I wasn’t sure whether two SRS systems was doable for me with limited time. or maybe the benefit of getting through the grammar would be worth it?


Honestly? I wanted to study there.

BunPro has made a huge difference for me personally! I find the SRS pretty forgiving, and a year in, I have only 30-40 reviews a day. A year into WK, I had 150-200 reviews a day.

I needed something that tested me on the things I learn. Before, I was watching grammar videos and taking copious notes. Useful, but I had no easy way to memorise it. Not saying it’s not possible, but I lacked the patience to turn those notes into flashcards or some such. So having a pre-made system like BP was great for me.

Around the time I started BP, and with some veeery basic fundamentals from KawaJappa CureDolly, I also started reading, because like you I was a bit up there in WK levels. I chose something I was familiar with in English, so that I knew the plot even when being lost on the grammar. It took me months to get through, but it was also very useful to be seeing the grammar that I was learning in context. It was really motivating to go from understanding 10% or less at the beginning, and 80-90% and more at the end. All thanks to BunPro. :+1:

If nothing else, consider giving the free trial a go. You don’t have to submit payment info to sign up, so you can use the 30 day trial without having to worry about an unwanted charge after forgetting to cancel.

Like WK, it made a huge difference because it is something I come back to every single day. It gets a big thumbs up from me! You couldn’t tell, I’m sure.


Not bad… for a hermit!


Right - I have subscribed.

I was actually on there about a year ago, but was finding it difficult to keep up with Wanikani and Bunpro. But I’ve slowed down on Wanikani, it might be more manageable ! and really need to level up my grammar. Thanks Omun ! :slight_smile:

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But it is thanks to shutting myself away from the world was I able to advance like this!


You definitely need some other source for vocab. WK is missing all the kana words and a lot of common daily words. WK is not a vocab app. Torii SRS can work, or any textbook (although I hate those).

Personally I got from a rusty N5 to N3 in about 5 months, but I was living in Japan, had classes almost everyday and also did self-study.


I reached from shaky N5 to shaky N2 (strong N2 in terms of listening/speaking/grammar, but would’ve failed due to kanji maybe) in a year, but my circumstances were kinda special, since I was doing a high school exchange with home stay and 100% immersion. (Seriously, there were no smartphones and didn’t have a laptop. I called home via landline twice a month for 10 minutes. Everything else was 100% Japanese, since my hostfamily, teachers nor friends spoke any English.) So yeah, it is possible, but in my case I lived fairly relaxed life with full immersion and people around me who were always happy to explain new things to me. I was also a teen, so I think I just absorbed things more easily as well.
In hindsight I wish I had spent more time on studying kanji back then… Because I honestly didn’t study, at all :'D

I don’t think I could reach same speed if I started now as an adult with other responsibilities. Even living in the country doesn’t give the same immersion that living in a family had :sweat: