Prep for JLPT N3

I had made some practice N4 and N5 tests last year and was comfortable with my scores (>80% most of the time) so I decided, on a whim, to register for the upcoming December 2023 JLPT N3 - I mean, I’m in WK level 42, had covered all Bunpro N3 grammar points, so how hard could it be?.. well, I just did an N3 practice test and got a good ole’whoopin’. Vocab/kanji part was OK (I just need to improve my kana-only vocabulary), listening comprehension was iffy but I think I just need to practice more… but I was destroyed in grammar and barely scored better than if I had just guessed at random. Which was especially disappointing since I’ve made a conscious effort to study Bunpro, plus going over AIAIJ grammar textbook points…
So, I was wondering what other resources, books, etc. have people used for the JLPT, beyond Bunpro, especially for grammar and reading/listening comprehension? Luckily I still have 2.5 months but I am unnerved by the prospect.



I am using 日本語総まとめ for grammar - the book is organised as a 6 weeks program and covers a few grammar points + exercises daily for a consistent ~15 min daily practice. I’d recommend something similar to help with the exam prep, especially since it seems you’re struggling with grammar in particular (the book series has different books for vocabulary, grammar, listening and reading though). In my experience so far, the book is good at consistency and forcing you to learn how to do JLPT-style exercises, in which similar grammar points are usually tested. The only downside so far is that I find the explanation of the grammar points lacking sometimes, but I also use Bunpro and Tobira, so I don’t mind much.

And good luck! I’m also registered for the N3 in December and feel like I still need to do quite a bit of studying to be prepared, but I’m sure we can manage it!


I use SKM 3 with a grammar dictionary as I am shit with grammar. I am also using a reading textbook to see the grammar used in context.


You haven’t mentioned how much you’ve been using your Japanese outside of textbook study, so perhaps I’m off the mark here, but to me it sounds like you might just need to read and listen a bunch. With what you’ve done you should have plenty of theoretical understanding, more of the same doesn’t seem like the answer.
Nothing better than reading a bunch of books, listening to a bunch of audiobooks/podcasts, watching a lot of shows, …, to improve your reading and listening comprehension and while you’re at it you’ll get to see all those grammar points you studied being used over and over again.


I am mostly commenting because I am in the same boat (December N3 hopeful!!) but I will say for me the biggest help in learning grammar was actually speaking practice. It’s hard for me to remember grammatical rules unless they come naturally, and the only way to achieve that (for me) was a lot of time speaking with natives who would gently correct me until I got a feel for it.
That may be a bit hard if you’re outside of Japan, but I know there are apps out there for this purpose… I think I used hellotalk with mixed success before I moved. I would learn new grammar and try and make up sentences and post them on that app. People were pretty generous with corrections.
As others suggested, IMO language learning is just exposure exposure exposure. As a human you’re a language learning machine, you just need to give your brain the chance to work it’s magic :japanese_goblin:


Oh, also, LingQ is a website you can use to import any media you like and study from it. I used it to turn my love for cheesy romcom anime into something productive. It takes some time to set up (you need to mark words you already know since everything starts as unknown) but if you get through that part it is a very useful tool to tack on to any exposure learning you’re already doing.

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When I was studying for the N3 I did Shin Kanzen Master Bunpou and I got 60/60 in the grammar and vocab section. I highly recommend that book.

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