Tips on improving my listening and reading skills

I want to ask for some tips, since i am preparing for JLPT N2 in July and i need listening and reading materials suitable for that level.
Now i own 総まとめ N2(all 4 books), 新完全マスター(also all 4 books), plus Tobira(not icluding 文法 book) and Integrated approach to intermediate Japanese with Arc Academy / 2500 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N2. I don’t know if those are enough.
I also plan to buy Nihongo Noryoku Shiken N 2 Bumpo Hisshu Pattern Pattern Wo Osaete, Try!, Nihongo Noryoku Shiken N 2 Chokuzen Taisaku Drill, just don’t know if they are worth buying those cause nobody mentions these books.


It sounds like you have all the study material you could ever need, but have you started reading books or other real-world material?


Seconding Sean. At this level you can start reading actual native content, which really helps with vocab and grammar retention, and reading speed.


i dont know which one to pick, nobody is recommending me anything.

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Check out a book club. Also, is there nothing that’s piqued your interest?


We’ll be starting this book tomorrow if you’d like to join!


Speaking as someone who failed N2…

I had grammar covered with a huge pile of textbooks. Grammar was not the problem. I actually did very well on the grammar section of the test.

What destroyed me was my snail-like reading speed. If you can’t get through the text in the reading comprehension section before the time is up, you have no chance.

The only way to train your brain to read Japanese faster is – who knew? – to read Japanese.

So yeah, what @seanblue said.

Read some books.
Join a book club.
Read easy books.
Read any books.
Just read Japanese.
Read, read, read.

If you read something in Japanese every day, your brain will adapt. Your reading speed will increase. You will whizz through the grammar section, mopping up all those easy grammar points, and then you will still have time to zoom through the reading section and grab a few of those points, too.

And then you’ll pass N2. Unlike me. Don’t be like me.

Just sayin’.


As someone else who also failed N2, I have to second this. My scores for vocab and listening were about equal, but my reading score was garbage because I had to just fill in bubbles for the last 7–10 questions.

I’ve also really taken to this podcast for listening: Let’s Talk in Japanese!
It’s by level, and listening to one a day has been a nice daily listening practice.

I’m also listening to NHK’s podcast as background noise while working. I do this on a principal laid out here: Five Unusual, Evidence-based Ways to Get Better at a New Language


Understand that the more you read the better reading speed will be, i am looking for book that don’t have furigana but at the same time not that complicated.

Also how much should i read, how many pages etc?

Furigana is part of Japanese – you can’t escape it. Some texts will have more, some will have less, but either way you’re interacting with the language itself and learning from it.

If you join the Erin book club, we’ll be reading at the pace of a chapter a week, which I think is a little fast, but doable.

It works out to 17 pages a week on average. Some weeks will be a bit much, but I think it’s doable for anyone at an intermediate level.

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People already mentioned reading books as an access to real-world material - and I would mention the same for listening.
The listening samples I had in Shinkanzen for example are way behind the ones at the exam. At least for me (and I failed N2 twice before passing).
What I did was to listen to podcasts of my choice - real news, unadapted podcasts and all those things. It is N2 already afterall.
In addition to that - N2 単語2500, it really increased the ability to hear those new words in the dialogues. I listened each day during commuting and it was worth the effort. During the exam I passed Listening became one of my best sections compared to being the worst during the previous runs.

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