JLPT N5/N4 Prep - is it worth continuing with Japanese for Busy People?

Hi everyone

So, I hope to take the JLPT N5 or N4 exam next summer and have a few questions about study resources.

I had a Japanese tutor a couple of years ago, and we completed Japanese for Busy People 1.

I also bought JfBP 2, but only got to the first chapter or two before I stopped my lessons with my tutor because I got too busy with work. Since then I’ve dipped in and out of my Japanese studies, but very casually.

I would like to take the JLPT next year and having a goal to focus on helps keep me, well, focused :smile:
So far I’ve been using a combo of online resources such as Anki decks, WaniKani since this summer (level 9), Human Japanese, as well as JfBP 1 but I’ve been considering getting some new books, particularly to give some structure to my studies.

I’ve seen that people have mixed thoughts about JfBP, so I’m reconsidering my study materials.

  1. Is it worth switching to Genki or Minna no Nihongo or would it be enough to stick with JfBP 1 & 2?
  2. Which of Genki or MnN would you recommend for someone in my position who is self-studying?
  3. Since I’ve completed JFBP 1, will there be a lot of overlap with Genki 1? Would switching books be more disruptive than helpful?

At the moment, I feel pretty close to N5 already, but I want to do this right and not cut corners (plus i haven’t taken a formal exam in years. :sweat_smile: ) .

Any tips would be great, thanks!


In my opinion pretty much all japanese starter learning books are not that great. There are lots of good books for intermediate students. It’s not really worth switching books. If you already bought the second Japanese for Busy People book finish that first. After you are done consider getting the Tobira book.

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Thanks for the replies.

My concern is, if JfBP isn’t good / has lots of gaps, even if i finish book 2, will i end up having to go back and start from the beginning with a different resource because I’ve missed out so many steps that I’ll need for JLPT 5 / 4?

I’m trying to avoid investing a lot of time in JfBP 2 only to get halfway through and find out i should have spent my time differently. :sweat_smile:

But if they’re solid then i can just power through :blush:

too be completely honest i have yet to meet a single japanese textbook that comes close to fullfilling my expextations

i might look like a level 20 but thjats just because i reset, i am more or less N1.

i really like this website for grammar:

and if you want to study grammar with a book i think the nihongo so-matome series is the best i have seen

also: bunpro.jp


For your information it should exist a third look in the Japanese for busy people. And the grammar in JFB does not cover all grammar in genki.

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I am pretty sure the Genki books also don’t teach you all N4 grammar points. I think the first two Mina no Nihongo books probably do. @Saida 先輩 may know
The difference between all the beginners books isn’t that great anyway. I also recommend the Bunpro site it’s great for beginners and lower intermediates.

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Hi everyone, thanks again for the helpful responses!

Some really great resources have been mentioned here.

I now also don’t feel like i’ve wasted my time with JfBP :sweat_smile:


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