Tobira or Soumatome for JLPT N3

I have been studying Japanese with Tobira (including kanji and grammar) and I’m over 1/3 rd of the book done and have been enjoying studying cuz of the interesting readings and grammar exercises
I plan on taking N3 in 3 months, so I am thinking if I should keep working through Tobira till the end (probably gonna take me another 8 weeks to finish) or switch to the Soumatome series

I did N3 with maybe half of Tobira under my belt. Or two-thirds? Definitely not all of it, either way. Some of my classmates were doing N2 at the same time, but I’m not sure what extra study they did.

We have a study group for Tobira here in the forum if you want to jump in! Currently working on chapter 9 Tobira study group

I’m working on Sou Matome for N4. Just finished the N5 book and started the N4 book. I think you’ll learn more from Tobira, while Sou Matome is more directed towards the test. I think finishing Tobira and then switching to Sou Matome is a great plan.

I used Sou Matome but I didn’t like it. A similar but far better resource is Shin Kanzen Master. I did N4 and most of the N3 grammar and reading books in a few months before JLPT N3 and pretty much aced the test.

The reason I don’t like Sou Matome is that it feels like it’s following 80/20 rule and condenses the material too much. The explanations and examples are often lacking, just like the practice exercises. I guess it can be used to do a quick review before a test but it’s inappropriate for learning from scratch.


I think Tobira is better unless you’re prepping for the JLPT and it’s going to be within the next few weeks. Tobira presents info in a much more enjoyable and well-rounded way, in my opinion. If you’re enjoying it thus far, I say just stick with it!

Even for JLPT prep, I think Sou Matome isn’t the best. I personally like the Try! series the most, and like Shin Kanzen Master for in-depth practice if you’re struggling with a certain section.

If you’re enjoying Tobira, why do you want to switch to another book?

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