~ JLPT 2020 ~

As for resources so far I’ve worked through 日本語初級1大地 (nihongo shokyu 1 daichi) and Almost finished 初級 2 (shokyu 2), will be finished mid march. These books are similar to みんなの日本語 1+2

I’ve ordered several N4 revision books:

-「Try 日本語能力試験N4」
-「にほんごチャレンジ 文法と読む練習」

A past paper set:

「日本語能力試験公式問題集 N4」

Some level readers
「レベル別日本語多読ライブラリー レベル2 vol. 3」

And lastly joining the absolute beginner bookclub on here and we’ll be reading:
「なぜ?どうして?科学のお話 2年生」

I’m also aiming to hit level 18 with WK and do the Jtalkonline.com N4 vocabulary and N4 Kanji decks on memrise. (Currently going through their N5 vocab+Kanji as a review).

Also going to go through both N5 + N4 on bunpro.

Hopefully that will be enough to help me pass, so long as I actually do the work :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:


Planning to take N4 in July and N3 in December. I think having these goals will really push me to study hard and consistently. Right now, I’m making my way through Genki 2 which I think I will finish within a month. Then the plan is to revise vocab and grammar via Memrise decks, and test grammar via Bunpro. I have the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar if I need to cross-check something. I’m also trying to improve my listening via a great podcast I found on Spotify - Nihongo Con Teppei if anyone’s interested. Also improving my reading comprehension via the White Rabbit graded readers. Hopefully this should get me to a solid N4.

Then in the second half of the year I plan to use “An Integrated Approach To Intermediate Japanese” and possibly Tobira and follow a similar study pattern to prepare for N3. If anyone has any suggestions or resources I’m all ears :slight_smile:


I am planning to retake N4 in Hamburg cause I think I tanked my previous N4 attempt. Do you know if the starting time for Hamburg’s JLPT is going to be around 1 pm (same like other places in Germany)? Planning to just take one day trip from Berlin there. I didn’t know that they used to offer JLPT in Berlin - what a pity they don’t do it anymore :disappointed:

No one takes the plane from Helsinki to Stockholm, though. There are so many cruisers. Although then you are subject to a literal boatload of teens partying inside the ship… It’s a popular weekend trip to do.

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I don’t have my voucher anymore but I think it started around 1 pm in Hamburg, too.

Yeah, I took my first JLPT in December 2014 in Berlin. Last year, when I tried the JLPT for the second time, I noticed that Berlin is not a testing location anymore. I don’t know why they decided to not offer the test anymore but according to this site it seems to be the case since 2017.

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You might be surprised. I was 100% sure I failed the December 2018 N4 and was absolutely surprised that I passed. I didn’t pass well, but I passed.
I made a post after thinking that I failed asking for advice which might be interesting or perhaps even helpful for you.
Good luck.


How’s the studying going everyone?
Somebody on reddit was talking about their JLPT N3 resources, so I thought I’d copy my answer to them here as well.


  1. Genki II - just finishing it off now as there is some N3 in there apparently
  2. Tobira - just arrived, I only got the textbook though since my Kanji is fine and Bunpro might be enough, but I may pick up the grammar work book later
  3. 500問 - used this for the N4 and absolutely loved it. I plan to go through it a few times and make notes on it
  4. TRY! N3 - This was a pretty great resource for when I passed the N4
  5. Nihngo Sou Matome N3 - Used this for N4 and I absolutely love it to pieces
  6. Kanzen Master Series - It’s much more intensive than Sou Matome and it’s good at filling in anything I missed with Sou Matome
  7. Dictionary of Basic Grammar/Dictionary of Intermediate Grammar - If I ever am unsure or not 100% clear on a grammar point, this is super useful for examples

My current plan for books is to finish Genki II, and, once I’m done, work through a bit of Tobira and Try! N3 every day. Currently I’m going through my first run of 500問 and taking notes, I’ve been getting mainly the grammar questions incorrect as I’ve not actually really touched on much N3 content, but it’s a good little bit of practice before I completely dive into N3 stuff (which I’ll probably do more next month).

Other Resources

  1. Podcasts - LearnJapanesePod, LearnJapanese101, Nihongo Con Teppei, Let’s Learn Japanese With Small Talk
  2. WaniKani - I’m already level 60, so I’ve learnt all the Kanji and Vocab available, but I still have some reviews everyday
  3. Bunpro - My grammar is so bad, so a grammar version of WaniKani was a no-brainer for me.
  4. Memrise - There’s a course for N3 Grammar, N3 Vocab, and Tobira
  5. Generic listening - I’ve been watching episodes of the latest Pokemon series in raw Japanese and I’ve been watching episodes of Pokenchi on YouTube, I’ve also been watching Rilakkuma and Kaoru on Netflix without subtitles and Terrace House with subtitles. Also there’s a lot of listening stuff on YouTube for N3.
  6. Reading - I have a lot of Japanese light novels and manga that I’ve been reading independently or in bookclubs on the WaniKani community forums. I’m currently reading Kitchen and The Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist.
  7. Video games - Pokemon Shield (finished Sword in English), and Digimon Sunburst
  8. I have a boring list of N3 Vocab and Grammar which I’m working through
  9. HelloTalk, HiNative, Real life meetups - Just started these but help me be more confident

Listening really hurt when I sat the N4, so I’m making sure to focus on that part more!

What resources is everyone else using and what’s everyone’s study plan looking like currently?


Thanks for the suggestions! I need more podcasts/listening material.
I also found one called Thinking in Japanese which seems nice as listening practice for JLPT.
Though he seems to pause for a bit after a few words, so it’s probably rather beginner practice, and at JLPT it may be spoken faster.



I’m using Tae Kim, Jisho, WK, and the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series to push me along. I also read basic Japanese stuff for pleasure, so that helps. It seems to be working so far!

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@Saimin Ooh that one looks good, I’ll check it out. My listening is pretty not great, so I need all the resources I can get.
@Haiena Best of luck! I have two of the Grammar Dictionaries since I finally started not being able to find grammar points in the first one. They’re SO helpful, especially for when I’m reading for fun.

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Yeah, just don’t get used to slow speech too much, always also listen to fast native speech, just to get your ears accustomed in the beginning.
Another nice listening resource is JapaNews24, a 24/7 news video stream, though they use lots of proper names, and sometimes english interviews, so it’s not ideal, but still nice for passive practice. It just repeats after a few news stories, which often gets on my nerves eventually, though repetition is often helpful. Just be aware it’s very hard to understand for beginners (like me) :grin:


I’m a big fan of polls, so here’s another several because I’m curious.
What books are you using for your JLPT study?

  • Kanzen Master
  • Speed Master
  • Mimi Kara
  • Power Drill
  • Sou Matome
  • Try!
  • Genki I/II
  • Tobira
  • Other (Please comment)
  • None

0 voters

What apps are you using?

  • WaniKani
  • Duolingo
  • LingoDeer
  • Bunpro
  • Memrise
  • Other (Please comment)
  • Nothing

0 voters

Apps, books, or both

  • Apps
  • Books
  • Both

0 voters

What do you use for listening?

  • JLPT specific YouTube videos
  • JLPT specific Listening books
  • JLPT specific podcasts
  • YouTube
  • Listening in Textbooks
  • Podcasts
  • Video Games
  • TV/Netflix
  • Real people
  • Other (Please comment)
  • None

0 voters

What do you do to practice reading?

  • JLPT specific textbook
  • Textbook
  • Book club readings
  • Solo readings
  • HelloTalk or other Reading exchange
  • Internet
  • Other (please comment)
  • None

0 voters


I have an electronic dictionary on my phone that I use to look up words when I don’t have Jisho at hand. I do a lot of passive listening, but basically no active listening, which I am trying to remedy. The problem is, I have issues hearing to begin with (even in English, my native language), so it’s the hardest thing for me. That’s why I’ve never understood why people think kanji is the hardest thing in Japanese.


Kanji LOOKS like the hardest thing in Japanese when you are at level 0 in terms of knowledge.

imo listening and speaking are probably the hardest parts, I’d say Grammar too, but that’s just cuz I kind of neglected it for a bit.


Same here. I ask people so often what they said in my native language, haha. I used to think kanji was the hardest, since i know WK i agree listening is the hardest (and size of active vocab).


Any individual kanji, or word written in kanji, isn’t hard. It’s the totality of it.

Not that listening or speaking aren’t hard.

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I speak like a caveman reading a particularly bad roumaji interpretation. “Wahtahshee noh nawmai wah…”

I just forget every bit of vocab and grammar I’ve ever learnt when under the pressure.
To be fair, it’s lack of practising, my speaking did improve when I went to Japan last and I plan to go to Japanese speaking meet ups in my home city when I’m free when they’re on.

Apparently my accent and pronunciation is good, at least.


Will this be the year where I finally sit the jlpt? Who knows. I do know, however, that the n3 is no longer the goal, especially since I’ve started reading native materials on my own.

You’re no longer James anymore!!! :tada: