Resources for JLPT N5 (Especially Listening)

Recently I went throught the JLPT N5 sample questions on their page and I was surprised by their difficulty. Kanji was easy (Thanks WK! :stuck_out_tongue: ) Grammar was ok. But listening was difficult for me. I had to pause it and listen to it multiple times before I could answer them. The other difficult thing were the instructions. Sometimes I felt like one had to be at N4 level to properly understand them. But if I took my time and looked things up I was able to answer all the questions. But time is restricted with the real JLPT and you can’t look things up.

Now I already went through Genki I & II and recently even started with Tobira, which is way I am quite shocked that I faced some difficulty with those questions.

So now I looked into books to prepare specifically for N5. There doesn’t seem to be any Shin Kanzen for that? I found quite a few others on white rabbit, though. Do any of you guys have recommendations for me, which one to pick? Or any experience with the mentioned ones?

Listening one: JLPT Preparation Book Speed Master - Quick Mastery of N5 Listening – OMG Japan
Offical Workbook: JLPT N5 Official Practice Workbook – OMG Japan



There is quite a bit online. These are all free and roughly at the level you’re looking for. You can also Google around and find sample JLPT5 listening tests, but they’re pretty slow going compared to these.




ETA: I agree that the JLPT listening, and Japanese listening in general, tends to be harder than the other skills. For example, the last link above is called “Japanese Listening for Absolute Beginners”, but I wouldn’t call someone at that level an absolute beginner.
I also notice that, at least in my case, my listening ability progresses in bursts. I’ll remain at the same level for a long time, then suddenly jump up a bit to a higher level. Good luck!

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Based on your WK level and the fact that you’ve done Genki II think you’d be fine for N4. Just a thought, I’m not sure how I’d advise for listening since that’s an area I’m also struggling with.

Thanks for your response and the material. The first ones from mykikitori seem rather easy, but higher levels there and the other two links seem about right.

N4 is a bit scary though^^. Kanji shouldn’t be too difficult. But if I’m already having trouble with N5 listening…

In case you hadn’t noticed. The second and third links above also have similar sets for the next level of listening, once you’re ready to move up from Absolute Beginner to Beginner. :slight_smile: They go all the way up to advanced levels. Also, if you have Spotify, check out the cut tongue sparrow on there.

Maybe I’m talking crazy here… but I’m under the impression that the main difficulty between JLPT tests on listening has to do mainly with content more than speed (like… I’m able to understand N2 audio word-wise, but I don’t get most of the grammar/vocab). I think you should go for the N4 anyways.

Oh wow, seems like for the near future I won’t be needing any book ;). Thank you!

Edit: The cut tongue sparrow seems harder than N5 listening. Not getting a whole lot at the moment :sweat_smile: Got something to work towards now :slight_smile:

So maybe that is different for everybody. For me it is the speed. If there is some kind of grammar structure I am not really used to then I need some time to translate it in my head, if I heard of it before. But if the next grammar structure comes only 2~3 secs later I get confused…

@Thofte, I passed N5 last year. My resources were either practice questions, mock papers or a bit of both. There was a CD included for the listening test. I do not know how good the book you’ve chosen will be. The books I chose worked for me and I listed them in this post.

If you’ve already completed Genki II and you are at level 22 in WaniKani, you could be a candidate for N4. N4 speaking speed is a little faster than N5. If you just want to play it safe and do N5, here are some tips for listening from my N5 experience:

  1. Use your Genki CD dialogues for listening practice. Use the shadowing exercises to recite aloud what they’re saying. It’s OK to read the text whilst you’re still learning to listen. Even though it is not a speaking test, reading aloud will help your listening.

  2. N5 listening comprehension questions are two people having a conversation. A man and a woman. It could be a student and teacher, two students, two friends etc. The introductory part of every questions is the same.

They are usually deciding what to do from a number of options. e.g. what to buy as a gift, where and when to meet, what to bring or not bring, what to do next, what colour / size object, how many of which pill to take. The multiple choice questions will list the options.

The tricky thing is that the male speaker might say, “I like the red bag” and then the female speaker says “the blue one is better” and the male speaker finally agrees without explicitly saying “I choose blue”. Then the question will ask you what did the male speaker choose. You have to listen carefully. Just because you heard the colour red mentioned in the dialogue and you see it listed in the multiple choice answers, does not mean it is the correct answer.

  1. You only get to hear every passage once. When you practice at home, you can make it easier for yourself by reading the script for the dialogue and playing the dialogue as many times as you need. I suggest doing that with your Genki CD and saving the N5 specific CD for practising under exam conditions.

  2. The real test felt harder than my practice ones because I was anxious. So relax and do as much practice at home as you can.


Thank you very much for your comment. That was hugely helpful. Although I never had a listening problem with the Genki CDs, maybe because I was reading the text while listening. That is why I felt I needed some listening practice book specially for N5.

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