Shin Kanzen Master N2 for increasing reading comprehension?

Just like the title says, for those who use SKM N2 (or any similar intermediate/advanced textbooks), does this really helps with your reading comprehension? I’m interested to buy SKM N2 not for JLPT but solely for grammar because I want to consolidate and increase my grammar knowledge, and in turn also increase my reading ability.

For reference, I’m now already read 36 volumes of manga and 5 novels, so I’m not new to reading and already have gotten used to it. So far I’ve never used textbooks for grammar, only from various resources that are available online (Tae Kim and Cure Dolly mainly, Maggie Sensei, JLPT Sensei, you name it) and wondering if buying SKM N2 is worth it in the long run, or should I just stick with more reading and looking up grammar explanation on the go whenever I stumble upon it.

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Hmm, I feel like it depends on how diligent you are in looking things up. Some things I learnt while using SKM were genuinely useful things I hadn’t noticed while reading before, like for example the various uses of もの and こと, because I never questioned if phrases like ものだ could have a different meaning than the literal one to it. Then again, maybe that just means I’m not very thorough in looking things up :sweat_smile: I think other grammar points that use less common words are the ones I would have been more likely to look up by myself without learning about them in SKM first.

But altogether, the more I think about it the more I’d say my reading comprehension has benefited from SKM N2. I was also my first proper textbook, and I had also read a few novels and several manga volumes before picking it up, so maybe I was in a similar place as you are when I started studying with it. So I don’t think it’s a bad idea if you want to pick up grammar more quickly :smiley:


SKM is split into different books. The grammar books are nice in so far as they not only tell you the grammar in each N Level but also try to teach you the nuance differences. Sometimes it is very thurough wich personally I like.
So the grammar book is split into multiple parts:
Part one introduces the grammar points grouped by topics. Ex
9課 に関連して~に対応して

  1. につれて にしたがって
  2. に伴って とともに
  3. 次第だ
  4. に応じて
  5. につけて

is one such group. After each group is a short exercise.
Then you have Part two which is more about general grammar of the sentence and how to construct them correctly.
And a part three with even more overarching grammar concepts like keeping kureru/morau straight etc.
Each Part also has lots and lots of exercises. I LOVE them as a reference too. Its easy to look up specific grammar and contrast it with stuff you know. Particularily the example sentences are PERFECTLY crafted. Understanding without explanation.

If you are after reading; going into N2 I think you will hit diminishing returns though. The grammar just doesn’t appear too often in normal material (though it does a decent amount) and even if it does you can often infer the general idea with the context you already understand.

There are other books from the series: Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary

The vocabulary is the one I would probably recommend the least. It is nice in so far as it orders the words by topic too and is probably faster if you just want to know the N2 vocab as fast as possible. I think you will learn better though by just consuming interresting native material and mining it for vocabulary yourself. It can be useful in understanding the nuances between some words or verbs though.

The reading comprehension is really good though. The advantage of them is that they have material specifically crafted to include lots of the grammar and vocabulary of the N2 stage. So the frequency in which you hit grammar and vocabulary relevant to your learning is much higher than in native materials. The questions really force you to check your understanding and show where you might lack knowledge. The reading comprehension can get really though. Haven’t done the listening comprehension yet since listening isn’t a big problem area of mine. I expect it to be similarily helpful though.

All in all if you are self studying and want reference material that is well organized and can be used as a reference I totally can recommend the SKM books. After going through lots of material (Sou matome, Try, Tobira, Minna no Nihongo, Genki, SKM) they are my favorite series. Try is also really good to get an overview of a level but does fall short in being thorough enough.


I just want to second this, I use my SKM grammar book a lot as a reference. Especially the fact that the grammar points are grouped together with other points with a similar meaning makes it great for figuring out nuance in my opinion :+1:


Thanks for the answers everyone! I think I will pick 文法 and 読解 series and hope it will benefit me as well.

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Aside from what’s been mentioned: I haven’t read this yet, but it’s been on my to-read list since it seems like it’d help with increasing comprehension:

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