N1 questions

Well, it’s my job. I cannot not publish the things I think about.

Both, probably. I found the original book at my local library. I just checked the introduction (which is available as part of the preview of the ebook, by the way) and it’s so much clearer than the extract they gave. Basically, the author is an old university professor complaining that nowadays we are expected to have teaching on par with the “global level” (世界的; which is why he is talking about that in the extract). Having context helps a lot, which is why the people making the test removed it on purpose. That’s how you artificially increase difficulty (also using 学問, one of the major point in the text, with a different nuance in the questions fits the definition of trolling, I guess).

As I mentioned, this one is from a book. I guess it depends on you. In “preparation” for the N1, I just read whatever books I wanted (mostly novels and essays) and ended up with 40+/60 in the reading section the first time around (forgot the exact number; only 3 books read) and low 50s, like 51~53, 6 months later (somewhere around 10 books read, I also forced myself to read 3 newspaper articles a day for a month, but I hated it so I stopped). I was kinda meh on the other sections, but that’s more than half the points I needed to pass, so it was enough :joy: I failed by 3 points the first time around, by the way; putting some efforts in listening (got 19/60 that time) could have saved me time.

On the other hand, if you don’t like reading, it sounds more efficient to use a prep tool like Shinkanzen Master for 読解, like @Amimononohitsuji said.


You did that?! Thank you that’s brilliant :rofl:
I was following my husband yesterday through the house when he was not sleeping because he was sick with the print in hand and inquired about this text until he turned at me and declared he doesn’t think it is a good text, he doesn’t like the text and he has no idea what they mean with 世界的 :innocent:
At this point I had to realize the only chance would be to read the book which I thought would make me something like a freak, but it really was a good idea!
Now I now why the Jlpt questions sometimes are difficult and it has nothing to do with grammar or vocabulary knowledge (not saying this couldn’t be a problem sometimes), thank you, this information is taking a big burden from me :cherry_blossom:


Isn’t that like the whole JLPT :sweat_smile: Reason why I really hate the test… Or all language exams for that matter. 50% of it is mental gymnastics irrelevant to language knowledge :stuck_out_tongue:


My husband said that these type of texts are totally standard for university entrance exams. :sweat_smile:

I actually like reading in japanese but books are still hard, and just sitting and reading feels like I’m just wasting time.

In my case I’m not as awesome as my senpais on this forum here. So I want to be overprepared when sitting the test. My problem is that I always seem to choose the wrong answers when doing mock tests. :sweat_smile:

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And you’re preparing for the N1? Or did I misread that? Because if you’ve already studied for / passed the N2 you should be able to read books (with a dictionary of course) without a crazy amount of effort. It shouldn’t feel like you’re just wasting time. I don’t think N1 grammar shows up all that much in a typical book, so you should be fine without it for most books. I’m just saying this from my personal experience since I haven’t formally studied N2 or N1 grammar and I can more or less read books (even if slower than I’d like). At a certain point it’s just a matter of taking the leap.

Feel free to ignore me if I misunderstood your background or if what I said simply doesn’t apply.


How about reading while listening to the audiobook? That forces you to go at a good pace while allowing you to practice listening at the same time. (It can get a bit expensive though :sweat_smile:)

That’s because they artificially make things confusing.

In the listening section too! Especially the last questions where they discuss four options, talk about the last one forever, then go “nah, actually let’s pick the red one” which is a reference to the second option without reminding you (or each other) of what it was. If you didn’t take notes, it’s almost impossible to answer correctly, even if you managed to follow 100% of the conversation.

That depends. Just after N2, it took me way too much efforts to read the children edition of (the first half of) 獣の奏者 1. And that took me 3 months or so. I guess speed would have built up if I had kept reading, though.
Around the time I felt confident to attempt the N1, though, I could read pretty much any 300 pages book in ~2 weeks. That’s not crazy fast, but that’s not so slow that it’s annoying.

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I mean, you’re right that it depends. I can only speak to my personal experience, where I read my first book having read only two volumes of Yotsubato and not even knowing all N4 grammar. (And for the record, yes that absolutely sucked and was incredibly painful.) I would ask you though, what else did you do between taking the N2 and N1? Because I highly doubt that learning N1 grammar is the thing that made you able to read books.


In my impression it might be worth to analyze why you make one answer wrong in depth rather than learning a lot of amount. Because in my, and it seems also in others impression, there is a certain logic behind these questions and if you get used to how they try to ‘confuse’ you, you are better able to ‘smell the trap’.


I didn’t learn N1 grammar at all. I did read a book of grammar points over the week before my first attempt and found out it was mostly stuff I knew already (or stuff that seemed to just be the logical combination of their components, with only few exceptions). I still did terrible on the test, since they were asking me to chose between 3 constructions with a similar meaning (plus a completely different thing that I assume is there to check if you are answering randomly) and I had no idea because I only practiced recognition, not production :sweat_smile:

What I did between N2 and N1

In the time between N2 and N1, specifically, I did flash cards with reckless abandon. I went through an RTK-like deck with ~3000 kanji, half of a 10k vocab deck, then I found Jalup and followed their recommendation to make a Japanese only anki deck. I added at least 20 words a day for about a year, reaching ~9000 cards about one month (or was it two?) before my first attempt at the N1. That’s when, following a challenge from the Jalup website, I cracked open a novel again (1Q84) and found out I could read comfortably with a dictionary. It was so exhilarating that I just dropped everything else (well, that’s just anki, but that was taking a bunch of time per day) and I mostly just read from there on.
Unrelated, but I came back to WK a few years later when the reading only method didn’t help me improve anymore. Especially kanji, since I could understand the words, but the lack of furigana meant that I never learned the actual reading (or even worse, subvocalized and thus reinforced the wrong reading). I tried a couple of times to restart my anki kanji deck, but I never managed to stick to it. Somehow WK worked.

TL;DR: I learned kanji and vocab. A lot.


Yes indeed I’m slowly preparing for the JLPT. I would like to do the N1 next year.

I started doing the JLPT N1 lessons from Nihongo no Mori I’m on lesson 102 of 130 right now. Also every day I add ten words from the Nihongo no Mori 4000 essential words for N1 pdf into a SRS. Even though I’m not even near N1 level yet that approach seems to have improved my understanding of japanese by a great amount.

I can read books with some look up from a dictionary but I still get exhausted after half an hour or so. Sometimes I need to read a sentence more than once to understand it. It’s just that reading books feels like I actually make up excuses as not to study. Reading books feels more like having fun instead of learning. :joy:

I may try that but I don’t know if the books I read are even available as audiobooks.

I am doing japanesepod101 and they trained me already a little bit on the listening questions. That part seems more like listening for codewords instead of understanding what they talk about.

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