JLPT N3 Study Group (July '19)

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I was searching the forums for info on the N3 and found a similar thread from the December test. I figured, now that applications are open for the July 2019 test (in Japan at least), it’s good time to start a new study group!

Feel free to post anything below—grammar or vocabulary questions, study materials, textbooks, online resources, etc.

Textbooks I’m using (so far):

  • 新完全マスターN3・読解 (Extremely helpful so far!)
  • 新完全マスターN3・文法
  • 新完全マスターN3・聴解
  • 日本語総まとめN3・語彙 (I like the organization of this series for learning vocabulary, but it seems like it would not be sufficient for learning brand-spankin’ new grammar)

I’m also trying to study grammar with BunPro and kanji with…er, WaniKani.

I’m most worried about grammar since I don’t encounter a big portion of it in the wild in my current living/working situation, and I don’t have much of an opportunity to use it either.

Also if anyone has a recommendation for learning Japanese onomatopoeia, I’d also be appreciative! I took a practice test and the questions about onomatopoeia went completely over my head…


Do you read much? I encounter N3 grammar fairly regularly when reading. I’ve yet to formally study most N3 grammar, but scrolling through Bunpro’s list I recognize a large number of them from seeing them in the wild.


N3 grammar is everywhere but the main ones to master would be という、わけ、ばかり, ところ, くらい /ぐらい and their usages and forms. N3 is the foundation for understanding daily spoken Japanese.


For 日本語総まとめN3・語彙, I would suggest getting this over the 6 weeks (I think is about 6) style book that they have. This one has has example sentences and audio recordings too.



Oh man this is also my biggest worry. I did a practice test the other day, and there were a couple on there. So frustrating, because I have almost no chance to get it right.

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Someone recommended the 日本語の森 YouTube channel and I’ve been watching their N3 series. I’ve watched the 2.5 hour tutorial on grammar points and started the 5.5 hour series but they seem to have more videos for N2. The moderator speaks very clearly and they use silly skits for real world examples. If you exercise often, you can watch the examples over and over and it has more study substance than say a drama or something. Please share if you have any good videos to recommend.


I haven’t properly read this yet, but it’s supposed to be good.


I’ve been reading Tobira and I like it so far. Any opinions on it?

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I really like how informative the book is on Japan in general. Like the chapter on geography, or the one on pop culture. But a lot if the chapters are kinda hit-or-miss (didn’t like the one about Japanese plays because i have no interest in them or their specific vocab). Because of that, i find some of the vocab to be too specialized for my use

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I skipped everything but the grammar points and loved it. Get the teacher’s guide if you can! It’ll explain most of the grammar points (as well as everything else, but again I skipped that) in more detail. It’s all in Japanese, so it was daunting at first but after a while it was a great feeling to stop and think “Woah, I’m reading these explanations no problem!” Good practice for the all Japanese resources for N2 and N1.


I got Tobira, but haven’t started it yet. I’ll probably start it around May I think, since I’m currently finishing my review of N4 grammar.

I didn’t get the teacher’s guide, but I suppose I could always order that last minute if I really wanted it. Of course, somehow it still costs 25% more on amazon.com compared to amazon.co.jp, even after taking shipping into account.

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I’m on chapter 14 of Tobira and have really liked it! I thinking it builds well, and keeps using grammar points that were learnt previously in higher chapters. If I were to compare it to the JLPT N3…

I feel that the readings at the end of Tobira are harder than the JLPT N3 readings. However, as it is not aim for JLPT preparations, one may need to supplement vocabulary/grammar from other sources.


I’m currently doing the advanced levels of Kumon for non-Japanese people which is almost entirely reading based, and I read anything I come in contact with in my daily life. But outside of that (i.e. literature), not so much. :confused:

Do you have any recommendations for books I should consider? One of my biggest trouble spots is that I feel like I’m right on the cusp of being capable of reading some works without a frustrating rate of having to look things up.

Lastly, re: the onomatopoeia book—gonna check this out! Thanks for the heads up!

Thanks for the recommendation! And I see the same familiar chipmunk is there.^^ Right now I’m basically just using the vocabulary book to confirm what kind of vocabulary is N3-appropriate since I already know the majority of it from my day-to-day life (and supplementing it with an SRS system). If I find I still have a lot of blind spots or difficulty nailing down the nuance of things, I’ll check this one out!

I also used Tobira for a while for self-study. Not sure why, but I ended up switching to other materials for a while and when I came back I already knew the majority of the content in the book. I’ll definitely take a look at the readings again though; I felt the material was both skill level-appropriate and not overly condescending towards the reader with regard to their prior knowledge of Japan.

Join one of the book clubs. We’re currently reading Kino’s Journey and will be for a couple more months. It’s episodic, so you could theoretically join in any time we’re starting a new chapter.

The beginner book club will also be start an easier book in May I think if you wanted to ease into reading more. Here’s the list of all book clubs:

Regarding specifically this, you’ll probably always be on the cusp of just being able to read something. Hopefully that’ll eventually be super complex material and you can read “normal” stuff with ease, but still. Basically what I’m saying is that at some point (sooner rather than later) you just need to jump in. The beginning will always be the most frustrating, but it gets easier over time.


Just wanted to share with @Saida, @seanblue, and anyone else interested that my copy of Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia arrived yesterday and I’m really enjoying it so far!

I haven’t delved too deeply into the scenarios or individual vocabulary explanations, but I’d say this book is worth it based on the introduction alone. It (loosely) categorizes Japanese expressions systematically such that you can get a feel for whether a new onomatopoetic expression represents something heavy or quiet, large or small, dense or hollow, etc. just by hearing it (or seeing it written).

Right now I’m just reading through it leisurely, but once I start wrapping up my studies of new material and move into mostly review, I’ll be incorporating this into my study plan!


Sounds handy. I think I heard something about this, like a year ago, but I didn’t remember the ‘rule’.

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