Tips to gauge Progress

Hey everyone!

Hopefully this post makes sense, I was curious how people gauge their own learning progress. Studying Japanese on my own with limited options to converse, I was curious how people gauge their progress they’re making?

I have a personal rule that if I ever feel like I am not learning that much, I tell myself to gauge my progress a month from that point. I usually then find little examples of knowing a lot more reflexively than when I began my journey. Just wanted to see if anyone had some cool ways to gauge their progression!


I’ve once read a piece of advice that is supposedly often given to parents: Never judge your children by the grades they get at school. Judge them by how much effort they put into studying.
I feel like with learning Japanese it’s similar: I prefer not to gauge my progress. Instead, I make sure I do something every day.
I’m not against gauging progress in general. It’s just that when it comes to learning foreign languages, I’ve found that progress is hardly ever linear. I feel like sometimes my listening comprehension, reading abilities, or fluency don’t improve over several months. And then, suddenly, I understand a lot more and can say a lot more. I found it impossible to predict when this happens, so I decided not to gauge my progress at all. What counts is that if I keep putting in daily effort, these sudden “level-ups” happen automatically.


You understand more when you’re reading/watching. :slight_smile:

Your vocab grows as time goes on and you don’t have to look up as much kanji/you recognize kanji you looked up before.

Or you can just do something like and see number go up.


I using the JLPT as a way to gauge by vocabulary as a whole, But I’m reading Manga and watching Anime to judge my ability to actually understand Japanese.

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You mean the levels and not the test itself, right? :sweat_smile:

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At the moment I’m just watching which chapter I’m at in my textbooks and what level I’m at on WK. I prefer not to think about “studying” while enjoying Japanese content.

Umm… I mean that I’m using the book of JLPT vocab to guide what to learn next?

I gauge amount of progress I have made when I revisit something old and notice how simple it is now.

This has been my experience too. Eventually something new to me 5 months ago gets to the point I know it cold now.

I definitely need to add more listening and immersion to the mix so I can get some passive practice at listening.

I pick up books at the store, try to read it. If I can read more than before, I made progress, if its gobbly gook I need to do more.




The amount of vocabularies I know, or able to understand. It isn’t really a count, as I might not need to know the whole vocabulary shape in advance to be able to understand it.

The grammar I am able to parse. The first part is realizing that the structure exists and the meaning is patterned. The second part is knowing about the grammar. In the end, it’s about whether I am able to understand the sentence or not.

The speed of understanding and reading. Whether I need to go back and reconsider. I don’t bother counting this one, but the measure is pages per minute, or characters per minute.

Mental workload and tolerance matter too. I wonder how do I measure that.

I don’t think I need to worry about every little thing. Noticeable progress is a part of immeasurable progress.

I’m seconding the advice to focus more on putting in the practice on a regular basis rather than trying to gauge your progress. My experience with both Spanish and Japanese has been repeatedly doing a lot of reading/listening/etc. in Spanish and Japanese for months and months, and then noticing that things that used to be hard for me are actually doable now. So basically I just trust now that the process works! That’s enough for me.

I have taken practice JLPT tests to attempt to get some sort of more concrete measure of where I’m at, though. And yeah, it does feel good to go from passing the N5 to passing the N4 and so on. I look at my Anki card counts, too, to see my vocabulary concretely increasing. But I feel like both of those things are sort of a side effect of regular study rather than something I’m particularly focusing on as aims in themselves.

Month to month, I don’t always notice my progress, but I’ve found that year to year, I definitely do. So if you’re ever feeling really discouraged, I recommend thinking back to where you were at a year ago, and if you’ve been doing any sort of regular practice, you will almost certainly find that you have improved at least a little!