Riddle me this

Hello all. In addition to climbing up the WK mountain (and I am still in the foothills) I have set myself the task of by the end of this year sitting the JLPT N5 and N4 exams. I said to my tutor that was akin to climbing Mt Fuji. She said Mt Everest. Whichever is the case one thing I am finding confronting is the myriad sources of information on and textbooks about the N5 and N4 learning curriculum. Is there out there anywhere a single or at least no more than 2 or 3 good textbooks that contain a reasonably authoritative study set for all of the Kanji (310), all of the vocab ??? and all of the listening ??? - HELP PLEASE


The Genki textbooks are great (2 books in total). They’ll put you close to N4.
Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide is another popular resource.
Just keep doing Wanikani for kanji and vocab.


All of the commonly recommended resources have what you need. Genki for books (or MnN), or apps like LingoDeer, either/or alongside webapps like BunPro. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you stick with one, everything out there has good up-to-N4 coverage.

There are no official JLPT vocab lists by the way.


Tae Kim’s Guide is very good for learning grammar, and the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series is better for reference than learning. I’ve heard good things about Genki I, but I only own the workbook, not the textbook, so I’m not 100% sure on that one. JLPT N5 is about level 16 on WK, and from the practice N5 tests I’ve taken, you should be good on kanji with where you’re at now. Searching for “JLPT N5 Listening” can help with listening as well, although it will be exam-style, not real life inflections & speed.

If you take nothing else from this: don’t get Rosetta Stone. It’s too complicated for total newbies, but too simple for learners who have even the most basic of fundamentals down. Waste of money, imo. Source: was gifted RS Japanese as a Christmas gift one year. Did about 4 or 5 units, quit, haven’t touched it since.

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Naw, N4 is more like… Mount Misen?

I’m not sure it’s particularly worth doing both N5 and N4 in a single year. Just aim for the N4.


Confidence building? Also, getting experience of the real test. Definitely not recommended for everyone — I skipped N5 myself — but it may be justified.


When you say by the end of the year you want to sit both, you mean N5 in July and N4 in December? Good on you, man. I know the others are saying skip N5, and you can, but I feel like getting a feel for the test isn’t the worst thing. Plus N5 was a real confidence booster for me. Best of luck!

Genki is good, as well as Tae Kim, etc. If you want to drill directly for the tests, I like the Kanzen Master series. Keep in mind, though, that they’re drill workbooks and not textbooks, really.


Hi @Wodge.

I have an N5 goal for December 2020. I have signed up for BunPro and going along the Genki track over there. I am going through the Genki I textbook and workbook and coordinating the learning points there with BunPro. I still do WK everyday.

I will add some CureDolly videos soon as well as some other Japanese videos that were recommended by other users (Ammo with Misa, Nihongo con Teppei, among others) I have also been watching subtitled Naruto for enjoyment and to sneak in some listening. Not really practice but just familiarizing with how Japanese sounds. So, not an reasonably authoritative set as you are requesting but I am hoping that this combination works for December.

All the best!

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