N1 Grammar Study Tips

Hey guys!
I know there are a few similar threads regarding this but I wanted to ask a little more specifically.

So, I passed N2 a while ago but I have a confession to make.
I don’t study grammar. I would say 90% of my studying comes from real life and talking to people.

After pushing it off for a long time, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge. I would like to pass N1. Unfortunately, most of the grammar is not used in daily life and I’m having a hard time retaining it. I have Kanzen master and am trying to go through but honestly? It’s just not sticking.

What type of study techinques do you guys use for grammar?
I’m looking for specific as possible, what colors do you use, what kind of notebooks, etc etc

Halp. :sob: :sob: :sob:
Any pictures of notebooks/study materials welcome.
Thanks in advance!!!


I’m glad someone else is also doing the "I don’t study grammar " thing :smiley: Well, I dabbled in Bunpro a bit but most of my “grammar” comes from consumption of media/print and sometimes talking. I think it’s the best way for it to stick naturally. It worked for me in English so I figured it would work in JP, too.

Do the N1 points appear in books? How about just reading a ton and watching something? I kind of would want to see how you would do in N1 just from reading a lot. Can you be my experiment and keep not studying grammar? :joy:

P.S Maybe gonna take the N2 in the future so glad to know it’s possible to pass it without studying grammar explicitly ^^


Hahahahah I am thinking of just taking it this summer and winging it to see how it goes.
I watch a lot of stuff but I feel like I never see N1 grammar on TV… or Terrace house. lol

I did start reading more but I tend to skip over the stuff I don’t understand lol :joy:

I will let you know how it goes if I’m completely lazy about it and just… don’t… study… lol


If you are worried about grammar for JLPTN2 and below, Bunpro.jp is the way to go, but you probably already knew this. They are only 10% done with N1-specific stuff, but it’s still extremely useful to build good habits in speaking in my opinion.

For N1 coverage this time:

  • Maggie Sensei releases some explanations for a lot of grammar points. There is a section for N1, but it’s far from being comprehensive.


  • The JTest4You website has examples, breakdowns and flashcards for every JLPT grammar point.
  • Other than that you might want to check the Nihongo no Mori YT channel playlists, more specifically the one for N1 grammar. If you’re not into books, maybe a youtube vid and good old pen and paper can do the trick ?

The N1 playlist :

As for techniques, I’m a pen-and-paper person - I like to write things. A lot.
Therefore I simply take notes (a lot of them), and highlight / underline / square the grammar point after writing examples sentences. It helps me stay focused, and not having my mind sway to something else while I’m studying.

Now I’m nowhere near N1, so you might want to take this with a grain of salt.

Good luck on your way to N1 ! I’ll give it a shot this year as well.


Thanks for the recommendation of JTest4You. Also, I just discovered Nihongo no Mori 2 days ago and was watching N3 videos… very nice! I wish they had more N2 videos, though.


Read a bunch of high brow stuff, maybe join a club that discusses that sort of thing? Am I right to assume you live in Japan?

I hear N1 covers some classical grammar points as well, so read more classical works.

Also a lot of it is written language, I think, so you won’t find it at your local grocer. Maybe attend lectures, read official documents?

I am just trying to think of places and ways you can come by this by experience and osmosis, rather than studying textbooks and individual grammar points.


I didn’t study absolutely any grammar between N2 and N1, other than watching this channel’s videos, and it was enough for me to pass it. As a resource, it’s awesome. They cover absolutely every grammar point, give examples, and if you watch some of the older videos, you’ll find some very cute teachers (if that helps in any way).


I agree with the other comments about where you’ll be exposed to higher level grammar, mainly formal texts and not really spoken Japanese unless it’s a super formal context.

Here’s an idea, if you like: do a Wikipedia search on a topic that interests you, then see if there’s a Japanese version of the same article and read both. It’ll probably be especially helpful if it’s related to academic subjects, but I guess almost any subject could be “academic” if it’s presented a certain way.

You’ll be able to pick up grammar, vocabulary, and kanji while delving into an interesting topic. You can also practice reading it aloud for extra language acquisition. :slightly_smiling_face:


タケパン先生 :flushed:

Thanks, I can feel my motivation rising.


Yeah, I loved her lessons, she was great :grin:


It’s a shame she left the company. She also has some videos in other sections, not just JLPT, like “Anime Japanese” (or something like that).

Did you know she used to be in a minor idol group as well? - YouTube


I’m not sure I have a ton to offer, as I just used Kanzen Master and diligently retyped most of its grammar explanations and example sentences into a massive Word document, supplementing them with my own explanations and examples as needed.

I can recommend 日本語の森 (YouTube channel) for review, and I guess possibly a main source if video explanations work better for you.

The 新にほんご500問 series is really good if raw-quizzing strikes you better, although I used them for review. (N2 and N3; I actually didn’t get around to the N1 book before passing.)

Otherwise just read heavily. To be honest, you can get by N1 without focusing too much on “N1-specific grammar” as long as your listening is okay and your reading speed and comprehension with formal writing are high enough. As far as practicality, the N1 grammar patterns you need from a book like Kanzen Master are mostly things you’ll get just by reading formal writing, and the ones you wouldn’t pick up from that are the ones so niche you can just look them up on the fly, or even intuit based on other language experience.


Just naming something that hasn’t been mentioned yet–Italki, or similar services. I’m no where near N1, but using Italki has 100% helped lead me to pass N4 and N3. Having someone to discuss the grammar with directly, who understands it, can explain it specifically for you, etc., can be a great asset. Worth the time/money if you have the opportunity. :slight_smile:


Barely passed N2 this December, simply cramming Bunpro (and… nothing more) did the trick for me.
Good luck on your way to N2 !



As someone who likes to logically process everything step by step, I would love to know, HOW THE HELL did you reach N2 level without studying grammar!? aha

I am genuinely interested as I’ve recently started to feel like there must be a more effective study method out there for me but I’m never really sure what to try next. Could you give a little be more detail on your general study plan? Thanks :slight_smile:


I hate to say this, but unfortunately language is only logical up to a point :sweat_smile: Languages are always evolving. Every language (including sign languages) has so many dialects and accents within it, and technically every speaker/user has an individual style (idiolect). The more another person’s style matches our own, the less we notice differences in pronunciation, intonation, lexicon, grammar, etc. and would be more likely to believe our mutual language usage has some logic to it. Conversely, the more different someone else’s idiolect/dialect/language is, the less intelligible it is, and the more difficult it is to understand the logic behind it.

I find when I’m just learning a language, it’s easier to find logical points because we deal with the basics of the basics and patterns are more salient. But as I advance to learn more, although the basic patterns remain the same as a sort of foundation, the more variants arise in which it is difficult to find logic. I think part of the reason is that in order to process a foreign language, particularly at an intermediate-advanced level, one needs to be able to process IN that language. Once one is able to ‘let go’ of relying on the logic of their native language, it’s almost as if there’s a feeling of breaking through an invisible wall in the brain… and somehow the foreign language starts to make sense on its own.

I’m watching sumo on tv while writing this, so I’m not sure if it makes sense :laughing:


Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of their videos way back when but might be a good time to revisit them! Thanks for the suggestion!

I had a unique situation where I spent a year abroad in Japan at a normal high school, lived with host families, and didn’t know any English speakers in my area.
Of course I studied a little, but it was more a sink or swim kind of learning situation and I learned a lot of what I know through listening and speaking.

Before coming back as an adult I used Italki a lot and stayed in touch with friends.
Now, I’ve been here for about 4 years now and still don’t study that often tbh (apart from kanji)
But I am fairly social and pick up a lot from just daily life and friends (and relationships). Luckily for me N2 wasn’t super difficult just because it’s mostly stuff I encounter on a daily basis.

No special tricks or tips unfortunately, I just got lucky when I was younger lol
And now- just speaking as much as possible and involving myself in as many community events and activities as I can


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