Sweet, sweet JPLT N5 crunch time panic (review my study plan?)

So, I’m an absolute fool, and despite only starting to seriously study Japanese in August of this year, I’ve signed up to take the JPLT N5 in December (heavily blaming peer pressure from a friend).

I’m not really expecting to pass, but I’m working my butt off anyway! I figure I am a bad test-taker, and this will be a good way to get a benchmark and practice at taking the JPLT (I’ve heard it’s insanely different from what one might be used to in school).

When I get closer to the exam (mid November), I plan to do a few practice N5 tests to see where I’m at and what else I should be working on, etc. Let me know if there’s anything below that I’m doing that I should drop, or anything I need to pick up ASAP.

I’m averaging about 90 minutes of study per day, and I haven’t gone below an hour/day since I started. I’d estimate I have about 150 hours under my belt right now. Thanks for reading, and any advice or criticism is welcome!

(1) JPLT Bootcamp’s N5 Memrise course
------> I’m doing one section every day (taking none of the 'built in breaks), and doing all of the reviews (usually about 60 / day)

(2) Wanikani, of course
------> (hoping to get to level 10 and study the remaining kanji I’ll need on good old fashioned flashcards)
------> 0/0 streak goal, baby (so far successful for quite a while!)

(3) HumanJapanese course for grammar

(4) Elementary Japanese, Volume One by Yoko Hasegawa
------> This is mostly for the listening practice sections, and for the additional grammar, which every single exercise seems to have a version of

(5) Japanese Podcast for Beginners (Nohongo Con Teppei)
------> This is a little four-minutes-per-episode podcast, where he just chooses a few words to emphasize

I’m also regularly practicing writing/having conversations in Japanese and reading a lot of Tofugu articles on topics I need a boost on.



I read a bunch of Tae Kim (just read, not like intensely studied) and then did the N5 topics on bunpro before I took it, and it was enough grammar. Between WK and a (probably the same) Memrise course, the vocabulary was fine.

The listening section was hard. You don’t get to stare at a sentence and figure it out. It’s the recording, question, a few seconds to answer, next. There are sample JLPT N5 listening quizzes on YouTube. Try those, just to get a feel what you’re up against there.


Thank you! I didn’t even think to look through youtube for JPLT listening quizzes.

I really do need to practice listening the most, though. Auditory disability club, who’s with me?

I think you can take one right now, to see your current level, and point your weaknesses.
On JLPT official webstite, you can find sample questions here:

And two complete mock tests here:


I used japanesetests4you for the listening practice. It isn’t great, the audio varies in quality, but it is the format of the exam, and when I took the N5, it was clear this practice was really really helpful for me. They like to do things way less straightforward than a conversation in general, throwing in a conversation about x and then at the last second arguing about y and then going with it or not. There is a section where they say a phrase and ask you to select the correct response, based on a picture that I didn’t practice so I was weaker at that part because I just…didn’t talk to people at the time. I’d look over that stuff too.

Bunpro is absolutely useful, and I wish I’d found it before the N5 exam last year. If you started now you could hit all the N5 points grammatically I bet. Its good reading practice as well.

Overall, likely Kanji wise people who use Wanikani generally do really well on that section and the vocab section. You’re low level, so I’m not sure how much that will apply to you.

Make sure to build up some endurance, many people find the length of the test difficult and their brain just goes NOPE. Practicing a bunch of sentences or doing a bunch of questions in a row can help. The tests are timed, so the speed is important as well. You don’t have to be super fast, but you need to be able to read at a consistently steady speed and not trip up.

Good Luck, have fun!!


Thank you!! I took the sample questions and got 8/15 right so I’m on a better track than I thought!

Well now I know I will not ever take that exam. I just want to learn to understand and speak Japanese anyways. That test was hard . I got 10 out of 12 right but some of the time I didn’t even know what they were asking for me to answer. One of the questions involved reading the paragraph and then deciding which ticket was the cheapest to get to the destination in time. Just not what I would expect for an easy entry level language exam test. I guess I expected more straightforward questions about grammar and vocab meanings? I have more then enough Kanji, Grammar, and Vocab knowledge to pass the exam however .

It seemed like that for me at the time, too. The trick is, you don’t need a perfect score. Your “able to pick out most of the key stuff, most of the time” is N5 level.

Yesterday I did some N5 listening quizzes on YouTube, almost a year after I took the test. I had to check it was real-speed because it felt intentionally slowed down and most of the questions seemed way too easy. Not what I experienced at the time I took the test, for sure. But no, it just gets easier the more you learn. And I STILL had trouble with one or two of the questions.

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And only just now, I had the bright idea to run them intentionally at 75% speed for practice. :thinking:

I now have a hard time reading words in Hiragana that I already know the Kanji.
Then they used this word which I had never seen before: じこしょうかい. Without the Kanji there was no way to understand what it means. So in my case I guess it is harder because of the lack of Kanji!

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Jlpt usually provides context, though. What was the rest of the sentence?

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