Shin Kanzen Master when not studying for the JLPT?

Hi all,

I pretty much exclusively study through immersion and looking things up in dictionaries and the like if I don’t know a word / grammar point. And while this has served me well in general, I have been noticing a lot of gaps in my knowledge and a lot of weak points that shouldn’t exist.

I have been thinking about going through a few textbooks to remedy this situation, I’ll be making my way through Tobira (both beginner and the mid-level one), but I am drawn to the Shin Kanzen Master series after seeing some reviews and the like for added practice.

Anybody who has used these books, would you say they are also suitable for general studying, or are they too squarely aimed at the JLPT to get much use out of them for general language studies?


I’d say they are perfectly suitable for general studying - if you are the type of person that likes them. That means:

  • There are no entertaining texts
  • There are no exercises to practice
  • There are no lengthy descriptions of the grammar points

Instead, you get

  • very concise but thorough description of the general meaning and grammatical as well as … hmmm… semantical (?) applicability of the grammar point (e.g. “can only be used with positive expressions”, “can only follow a negative point”, these things)
  • a handful of example sentences
  • a quiz that really focuses on the details and nuances (even much more than the actual JLPT itself imho)
  • grammar points grouped by general meaning / use case

I think if you like dictionaries you will also like the SKM grammar books.


Thanks for the prompt reply :smile_cat: I’ll be adding them to my next order then, especially like the focus on details and nuance, from your description they indeed seem right up my alley. Thanks a lot :bowing_man:


Oh, and I forgot to mention the other books.
The reading book is 100% geared towards JLPT, it won’t help you much otherwise.
I’ve never used the listening book so cannot really comment on that.
I’ve just started using the vocab and kanji books (for N1) and I like them but if you just want to read I’d recommend to mine words and kanji from your favourite media instead.

Enjoy :slight_smile:


The listening books are just like the reading comprehension book. It teaches you tips and tricks for passing the test. However the upper level stuff is closer to native level. So it wouldn’t be a complete waste to go through.


This is where I as your senpai in this matter really should have shone, but as I’m sure you already know, I never did pick up actual grammar studies or text books! XD

Depending on your time scale I feel like you should or should shouldn’t go for certain options (like not worrying too much about it, or going at it fully?). Maybe why I chose learning kanji to just do something about that big hole, while not doing similar for grammar, but for you it’s the opposite? ^^

I’m just here rooting for you! ^>^ :heart:



I am using Shin Kanzen Master N2 Listening at the moment. There are exercises and points to surpass; but then, I also hope for more exercises for the points I didn’t do well enough. At least the skills are step-wise, and not just multiple-choice.

Well, I guess in reality, I simply learned which points are important, so that I can focus on those, on other real life listening materials.

Also I noticed that vocabularies would need to be learnt separately.


I used SKM N2 Listening. It’s really good, especially if your listening skills are as atrocious as mine. :smiley:

Other than that a regular textbook might be better suited.


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