N2 in four months? Help!

My understanding is that Japanese is considered harder because Japanese and Mandarin/Cantonese have similarly difficult writing systems but Mandarin/Cantonese grammar is much easier for native English speakers get comfortable with than Japanese grammar.

At least if you learn Japanese any subsequent language will probably be easier? Assuming you are a native English speaker.

I’m studying for the N2 now and the main two books I’m using are:

After passing up to the N3 (so far) I’ve learned its more about the test prep than about general language proficiency. You gotta do as many practice questions as possible. Best of luck!


I think there is only one sample test there, divided up into the different sections. Do them all in one sitting, but with appropriate breaks between sections. You can use it familiarise yourself with the way questions are asked on the test. On N2 there is only one break, right before listening, which, aside from difficulty/presumed knowledge, is the only real difference between N3 and N2 (as far as I remember). I would just count the mistakes on each section and check to see where the problem is.

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If the company is not really strict with their application, I would suggest applying for N3 and passing with a good grade. If you think really are at N4, N3 + N2 grammar might come a little overwhelming. I also think am somewhere near N4 (60% done on bunpro), yet will aim for N3.

Gotta say even though, I don’t put much hours aside wk/bunpro reviews and 8 hour lectures per week (university and language school), the burn is real. Though I must say I still didn’t graduate yet and have other things going on. If you think you won’t get burned halfway through, go for it. :smile:


What about next test? in 10 months?


Yeap, that one. Not sure if it’s cumulative, but what I did is copied the list to my own google sheet and started deleting words I for sure added or maybe which are already on WK (some got added recently).

Kitsun allows you to push words to your lesson queue, which is a really cool feature. So you can search for a word in a list and then add it to your lessons immediately (don’t forget to add a sentence for that word too, if you end up using it). You can also send suggestions, which is a thing that made that 10k better imo, than others. And it’s all in one place, if you end up wanting to study a word that’s not on 10k, adding it in 3 clicks from jisho.


One thing that nobody in here has mentioned yet is how much of the JLPT is about knowing HOW to take the test. There will be no clock in the room, so you will have to be in charge of your time management. Don’t forget a wristwatch (can’t be a smartwatch). Then, maybe do some practice tests. These are full length tests (EDIT: Oh, they’ve changed it…don’t seem like full tests anymore)(EDIT2: FOUND IT! These are actual tests.). Time yourself. If you can’t get through the test, you can’t pass, after all.

Other than that, I used Sou Matome and Shin Kanzen, like you mentioned. Sou Matome was more everyday useful, and in my opinion a bit simpler. Very good at explanation. Shin Kanzen, though, was more applicable to the test. Only Japanese explanation of grammar points, often with very very subtle differences, but with example sentences that I could swear were pulled directly from the evening news.

That’s about all I’ve got for you. Four months is a VERY tight timeline. Be careful not to burn yourself out. Good luck.


You gonna die.

Although here would be my suggestions:

  1. Wanikani isn’t fast enough. You probably need Heisig + kanji koohii or something
  2. You need to practice a ton of reading and grammar, probably enough to the point where you won’t be able to dedicate huge amounts of time to SRS’s.
  3. You’d have to do quantity over quality because there’s so many grammar points to cover.
  4. You’ll need a tutor to clear things up for you because you won’t have time to research things yourself

I nearly passed N2 after 13 months 1.5-2.5 hrs/day (started studying grammar in the fourth month) but nearly is not passing.

I guess your one salvation is the listening section. Learn good test taking strategies and it’ll boost your score dramatically because half the questions only have 3 answers lmao.

You only need a ~50% average on all sections to pass the test so if you can narrow down questions you don’t know to 2 possible answers you’ll be good most of the time.

Also just like… connections are really important you know? If your professor vouched for you you might be able to get in with an N3. As long as you were proficient in speaking (which you wouldn’t be if all you did was study for N2) then that + the recommendation would probably be enough to impress them, but idk


how much do you really want this job. start by asking yourself that. Is this your dream job, or just one that would be nice to have.

If it is indeed your dream job, then go for it, go hard, and pray.

If it is simply a job you would like to have, stop, slow down. aim for N3, and try to pass that. Let the company know you are putting in effort to learning (requirements are rarely hard requirements when it comes to job employment). If you can show the aptitude, and willingness to learn, it will get you far. Show them you know the company, and that you are prepared for what will come.

If you do intend to Pass N2 in 4 months (very difficult, not impossible), then you need to stop practicing Japanese, and by that I mean, start practicing for the test, and only the test. Get a list of the kanji and grammar points on the test, and drill the living hell out of them. don’t worry about SRS, that’s too slow. If you still want to use SRS, then find one like anki or kitsune where you can adjust the intervals, to be quicker. Learn what will be on the test, and focus on that.

Study test taking tips, learn the patterns, and what they try to go for with their answers. Focus on the key components that will help you understand context. the details don’t matter as much.

But most importantly, limit yourself to how much you “learn” a day. Make sure you eat right, and get plenty of sleep. those two things will help you more than anything else. make sure you aren’t studying for more than 8-12 hours a day, let your mind rest, and absorb the information. if you want, watch some anime, or j-drama, or youtubers. something that can be entertaining as well, to ease your stress.



For me, the hardest part was listening comprehension. Don’t underestimate that section! I figured because I had lived and worked in Japan for two years by the time of the exam, I’d be fine. Had I studied that section every day, though, I would have passed. The kanji section isn’t very large, so don’t focus your energies there. Focus on reading fluency (i.e. gathering the gist of a story in a short amount of time); I would second the Kanzen reading book for that part. Read NHK for vocabulary, too. But do not forget to study listening comprehension!

By the way… I LOVE japanesetests4you! So, as you can probably tell by my username, I’m a huge Tolkien fan, and the best thing about the aforementioned website is that there is almost always a LOTR sentence used as an example grammar sentence for N2. I actually super pride myself in the fact that I can always recognize them, even with names/places removed/replaced. : D

So (of course) another I study (passively and sometimes actively) for the N2 exam is by watching LOTR with Japanese subtitles. I even made a Quizlet for the first movie’s vocabulary/phrases that I didn’t know. It was surprisingly useful in the exam!

Lastly, I second what some of the others are saying: N3 passed looks better than N2 failed. Maybe try for that first, and try for N2 in December of this year? That way, you’ll have achieved something sooner and also appear to be consistently self-ameliorating.


So I went to the site and just randomly clicked on a few N2 grammar points, and automatically found example sentences from LOTR on most of them. Here’s a few of the ones I happened across.

They walked on the grass or sat under a green tree together, now in silence, now in speech.

I will help you bear this burden, as long as it is yours to bear.

We have other errands and other cares that seem to us more urgent than hunting for you. Say rather that you are overtaken by good fortune, for now you have a last chance.

(this one is one of the variants, but still definitely from LOTR, altered from “water we must have”)
We must find some water, or we’ll get no further.


Considering that ねばならない is archaic, I think “water we must have” fits pretty well. Probably just tweaked to be more clear from an English perspective? That’s pretty cool. I love LotR too and I’d love to try reading it in Japanese sometime – I already picked up the Chronicles of Narnia since they were some of my first books in English, but I put them on hold because I’ve been told that it’s best to learn (early on) from native media as opposed to media that’s been translated into Japanese.


On the other hand, reading a story you are already familiar with, will help you not get stuck as much. I am ‘reading’ (not picking the book up quite as often as I should) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the umpteenth time, but in Japanese instead of Dutch or English. It’s fun, and extra props for making me read katakana, with all of those names.


Absolutely. When I first started reading I would watch anime with English subtitles, and then read the original manga a little later. Knowing the story ahead of time helped keep me motivated when I came across stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise understood. I still think that native material is best in the beginning so you can be sure you’re building on a solid foundation. It’s super common for translated media to use unnatural Japanese that you might not realize is weird when you first start out.


Any update on your progress? I live in Japan and our JLPTs were cancelled this summer due to 'rona. But I hope you were able to improve whether you were able to take the test or not!

I’m ギリギリ N3ish right now and hoping to take the N2 this winter (if it isn’t cancelled) so I’m rooting around the forums for inspiration lol

All JLPT tests everywhere were cancelled.

Have you tried doing a practice test? Have you been tested on N3, or is that selfassessed, or by a teacher?

I’m a full time language student living in Tokyo and we’ve been using N3 level books for about five months now, so it’s a cautious guess! I haven’t been as disciplined as I would like to have been lately and am re-doubling my efforts now to reach the stretch goal of N2 this winter. It’s purely a personal goal though, I have no academic or professional outcomes riding on whether I pass or fail.

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From what I remember the plane got shot down pretty much within a few days after I made this post sad to say. I figured my professor was saying it’s not going to happen, just being Japanese and all he wasn’t able to say it directly. I was still determined to learn some Japanese and managed to buy three books of the sou matome series (kanji, grammar, reading) just before lockdown happened and corona really got cracking. I went with sou matome in the end because they had english sentences and when I was looking through the books in the bookstore I just felt so overwhelmed with the Japanese that was there it suddenly dawned on me “there’s no fucking way I can read all this can I? What have I gotten myself into…” and so the english I thought would help act as a crutch if I really couldn’t read what was on the page and spent more time trying to figure out what they’re saying than actually doing the lesson.

They felt quite expensive to me at ~$30AUD each when it was like 1200 yen retail price to start with so that didn’t feel good. I ended up only going through one of the books and that was the kanji one. I put all the vocab I learnt in torii/houhou and at one point was learning 70 new words a day (20 lessons in wk and 50 in torii). I managed to keep that up for a month but after jlpt was cancelled I started losing motivation and eventually (very fortunate in these times) found a job in my home country so I cut back to just wk and whatever came up in torii/houhou. Now that you’ve reminded me of this post perhaps you’ve motivated me to finally go through the other two books I bought and spend more time learning Japanese again.


In what way is it full of errors ? I would have like to train on exercices of N2 grammar too :confused:

I don’t know what book to buy to train on that level, seems like there’s ton of beginner books but didn’t find Minna no nihongo 高級 on amazon.

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