Question for Self Studiers

Hello! I have a general question for people who are studying on their own, which is how do you decide/ check your knowledge before continuing on in your textbooks? I’m early on in Genki and my Minna No Nihongo books are on their way, but I was wondering how people decide to continue to the next chapter? I’m currently doing a chapter a week, but don’t want to do the common self learner mistake of thinking I have learned the material only to find out later on that I didn’t. :sweat_smile: I’m working on refining my weekly plan right now and was hoping I might get some good tips from people with more experience! Thanks!

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I would sometimes translate certain Japanese phrases from the exercises into my native language, then a week or so later I would go back and try to translate those phrases back to Japanese. If they were pretty much similar to what the original was, I’d assume I got the grammar down. Works well also if you mix similar concepts from different chapters as well. Works great with Minna no Nihongo’s renshuu B. Also, Minna has a big review block, where you get quizzed on all the previous chapters, every five or six chapters iirc.

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That sounds like a great tip I think I will try it out! Also, I didn’t realize that the Minna no Nihongo books had review blocks like that I’m pretty excited for them to arrive since I think they fit my learning style better than Genki!

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I don’t, i move on. I can always check it when I encounter it in the wild. If you did the exercises(that have solutions), that’s more than enough.

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Here’s a couple of rules I follow:

  • Before continuing with a chapter the next day, I always go through the material from the previous day to make sure I learned/memorized everything. On weekdays there’s usually a good 20-hour gap between study sessions so enough to jog mid-term memory.
  • For more difficult grammar points I usually come up with extra example phrases and/or sentences beyond what’s in the textbook to make sure I understand that grammar point fully.
  • On Friday-Saturday (sometimes expanding to Thursday) I do word lists. Yesterday I started using Anki, because the lists were getting too long and repeating already well-known material is a little counter-productive.
  • Whenever I identify a weak point, like adjective conjugations or tenses, I practice them on paper with at least a good 1-2 pages of examples in addition to all above points.
  • Since I rely heavily on hearing for learning, I repeat all that’s written aloud until I feel that I managed to associate an emotion or range of emotions with a word, phrase, sentence, etc.
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I use BunPro as a supplement to any grammar points I’ve learnt. Their ‘paths’ like Genki, Minna no Nihongo and Tobira are also super useful so you can sync it up perfectly with your textbook learning.

As soon as I feel confident replicating the learning points in each chapter, its time to move on.

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I don’t assume I have the chapter down. After the reading and the exercises, I assume that I got most of it and move on. I can repeat later if it I encounter it ‘in the wild’ and didn’t manage to recognize it.

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Wow it seems like you have a really well organized study set up! I like the idea of coming up with the extra examples for grammar outside of the textbook. I think it’ll be useful I’m still early in my textbooks, so I find that the explanations are sometimes a bit simple or only part of the picture :sweat_smile: If you want extra practice on conjugations and tenses I recently found this app called Japanese conjugation city (its $ 0.99) it has both a verb and adjective section with pretty easy to follow explanations of each tense and conjugation and then you can do custom quizzes!

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I just recently started using Bunpo too! I currently have it on the N5 setting, but I think you’re right and it would be better to sync it up with my textbook!

Very true. Tae Kim, for instance, always uses the simplest adjectives and verbs to show how conjugations work, but that’s common practice even in programming - you’re supposed to get the picture more easily and then can go from there :slight_smile:

That sounds quite interesting! Maybe I’ll finally convince myself to use apps, because so far I’ve only been doing WaniKani and some free kanji quiz apps on my phone.

SRS is an amazing thing and supplementing WaniKani with Anki or a mobile SRS app is a good idea. There is apparently AnkiMobile in the Apple App Store. For on-the-go learning I use my trusty paper A4 notebook :sweat_smile: .

There’s also lots of websites to practice conjugations, see for example this forum post:

And the link to the site:
https://wkdonc.github.io/conjugation/drill.html

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I haven’t seen this one yet I’ll have to check it out later! Thanks

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Yeah I totally understand why they do it. I think it’s more of a me issue since I’m trying to read manga in Japanese though my grammar isn’t quiet up to par, so I end up encountering a bit more complicated stuff and end up confused :sweat_smile: I think apps can be really helpful, but it depends on the type of learner you are. I also still tend to prefer paper when it comes to note taking and configuring my thoughts.

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I usually just do the exercises in the textbook and workbook, and add the grammar points in Bunpro. Then I just move on. If I make a mistake in Bunpro that’s not just a typo because I wasn’t awake yet I sometimes review that grammar point. But other than that I think that encountering grammar in the wild will be more helpful anyway, so I don’t worry about it too much.

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This seems similar to what @rwesterhof and @yukine suggest too maybe I’ll be a bit more relaxed with how I go through the textbook and just review as needed when I do my reading practice. Thanks!

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