N3 by next year?

I’m planning to take the N3 next year in December. I wanted to know how many hours a day I should study from now to pass N3 by next year. I’m currently studying using An integrated approach to intermediate Japanese.

And what books do you recommend I use to study for the JLPT?


It’s a little difficult to quantify in hours per day since that’s largely dependent on your acquisition speed. Try some practice tests/questions for the N3 to see how much of it you might already know, what your strengths/weaknesses are, etc. General study tip is to read stuff. A lot of stuff.

For grammar, I see a lot of people on here recommending BunPro. I’d also consider maybe taking a look at “Japanese: A Comprehensive Grammar” or the somewhat well-known Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Grammar dictionaries.

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Took it this year and would recommend Shinkanzen master. Its pretty thorough and if you take it chunk by chunk it will be useful. It covers a lot of ground for the N3. But because there really isn’t much official documentation in what the N3 will cover you won’t much that will make you feel confident you’ve studied for every possibility on the test.

As for hours a day, I think you’d be better setting mile stones than hours and then studying the amount you need to achieve each milestone. Things like “learn 5 new grammar points this week” probably will benefit more than hours a day. but idk. I studied anywhere from 4 to 6 hours a day last year for the n3 but I had a lot of time and think I did reasonably well.


I second that! I went through N4 grammar and then used all other books in the N3 series.

Regarding hours per day, I would spend at least an hour on WK learnining kanji + I would get ~3 hours of online tutoring on iTalki per week. I would spend a few hours per week preparing for the tutoring sessions. Ideally I’d sepnd 2 hours on homework for each hour of tutoring.

And in my case I have hobbies related to Japanese language, such as anime. So I would start watching anime with Japanese subtitiles or without any subtitles to get some practice out of my leisure time.

So, overall, per week:
~7-10 hours studying kanji on WK
~9 hours textbooks/grammar/tutoring

How you split it is up to you. In my case I’d study for about 2 hours on workdays and 3-4 on weekends.


Btw, what have you studied so far? Having a strong foundation is very crucial. All the best in your studies. I think there’s a website that suggests the ‘supposed’ hours needed for study but as @MagicHour stated, giving specific hours isn’t easy as we all learn differently and when it comes down to the T (or tea?), it’s the amount of exposure that you’ve gotten that’ll make a huge difference. Seeing and hearing the points being used in various styles


Yay it’s time for this website again: https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/JLPT_Guide/About_JLPT

Scroll down and you can see the estimated study hours needed. If you have no prior kanji knowledge, they estimate 950 to 1700 hours for the N3. Taking the average of 1300, that is 3.5 hours of studying for 365 days.


Should I get all 5 books? (kanji, vocabulary, grammar, listening and reading comprehension)

Honestly, I think if you plan on using wanikani you don’t really need any other materials to study kanji. Do some introduction to kanji courses that teach you the basic system and practice some writing as well in the beginning, then just do wanikani until level 35 or so which should be doable until the next jlpt.

Does the N3 write more in kanji as opposed to the katakana in N4? I hope so.

My road to N3 level went like this:
WaniKani (around 8 days per level after level 3 when the level up times are normal)
Genki I and II, along with their respective audio and workbooks (N5 and N4 grammar)
Tobira (N3+ Grammar)

I started wanikani around the same time as I started the grammar books. I think Genki I and II in all were around 24 lessons, and Tobira was like 15 lessons. So going with around 1 lesson a week and you would have plenty of time to use other resources, or go a bit slower.

Now I am just waiting for my Wanikani level to go up as I learn more kanji, so that when my school studies lessen a bit I can continue to the N2 book, New Authentic Japanese, along with a reading speed helper book called Rapid Reading Japanese. And after that I plan on using Shinkanzen Master N1 series to wrap up my JLPT studies.

There are tons of resources out there, even free ones like Tae Kim’s grammar which I think sets you from 0 to around N4 level. Also sites for grammar like bunpro, and bunpo. Good luck finding your best method!


Thanks everyone for your responses! With all the advice I’ve received I’m sure I’ll pass N3 next year. :slight_smile:

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If you’re already diving into the start of intermediate Japanese? Definitely; easily. Could even pass it by summer.

Pick up either the Nihongo Sou Matome or Kanzen Master line of N3 books, pick two at a time to go through–they’re already broken nicely into a section a day–and take notes. (I personally felt vocab+grammar, reading+listening, then kanji to check gaps from WK made sense, but you do you.)

If you like WK, keep going with it, though if you don’t have a lot of kanji-study under your belt already, you may need to make up the gaps prior to the test on your own. You can use the kanji book of either of the two book lines mentioned above as a reference, going through before your test date to see which ones you don’t know/would need to make flashcards for.

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