Wanikani and the JLPT: what should I do?

Hello fellows Crabigators,

I come to you for asking your opinion and advice.

I am wondering which is the best approach to use Wanikani for preparing the JLPT N4 and N3. I explain myself better: my actual battle plan it is to reach level 16, put Wanikani on hold while practicing listening and reading (and of course doing WK’s reviews), taking JLPT N4; then, reach the level 36, put on hold Wanikani again (but I keep doing reviews) and practicing listening and reading, then taking JLPT N3. Once passed the N3 (hopefully) I finish for once for all Wanikani.

Do you think is better this approch or finishing Wanikani in one go and then slay the JLPT dragon?

I’m asking this, because I didn’t level up for one month, even if I was doing Wanikani’s reviews, my retention dropped :frowning:

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Why don´t you do Wanikani and the rest at the same time ? It´s okay if you go slow with Wanikani in the meanwhile.
Also, do some reading practice, maybe it would help your retentino if what you learn actually makes sense for you


I think it’s a good idea to pause for a bit.

I stopped new wk lessons around lvl 30 for about 2 months to focus on grammar and reading for JLPT N3. Still continued reviews but that’s not a lot of work and totally worth it for kanji retention.


Having been through the ringer, I want to ask why you want to take the JLPT?

I really would like to do Wanikani at the same time, but I find difficult to jungle between a job, Bunpro and preparing the JLPT! I feel that I perform better if I focus on less stuff…


I see, I hope you passed the JLPT!

Because if my company transfers me in Japan (IT as usual…) with a JLPT I feel that I would be less «stuck» with them :slight_smile:
And also, even if JLPT doesn’t test your speaking skills, it is nice to have a clear goal to work for

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Sounds like a good approach, go for it.
There’s no 100% guarantee which Kanji and vocabulary will appear in the JLPT, but Level 16 on WK should prepare you well for the N4 imo.

Maybe don’t do any new lessons on WK for a while once you reach lvl 16 and concentrate on your reviews. Don’t underestimate the Listening Comprehension and Reading part, from what I’ve heard many learner underestimate how much time they will spend on the reading section which will screw them over in the end. Also, by reading more you’ll reinforce your Kanji recognition and maybe learn some additional Kanji and Vocabulary you haven’t learned through WK.

If you lack free time and can’t juggle between Grammar, WK, etc., up your input. If you only have 30-60min to spare every day, rather use it for input than trying to up your WK level.

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I get that having a job and preparing for JLPT are quite tough. My advice then would be take 10/20 minutes a day to do Wanikani. Consider that it will train you for Kanji and vocab for JLPT. In my case, I was level 35 on Wanikani when I took N3 and the kanji/vocab part was so easy. And I didn´t do any other training for this part. I really advise you to try to do everything as JLPT focus on different abilities. But, you don´t need to commit a lot of time. Just a little is enough.
For example : if you commute to work with public transportation you could read JLPT texts or NHK articles, on text would take 10 minutes. If it´s too packed, then just do some JLPT listening. During breaks you could do 10 minutes of Wanikani, Bunpro or whatever.
For my opinion, you need to organize yourself to pack a little of everything. You will be more efficient with 10 minutes of each subject that focusing hard on 1 subject at a time. Because you will lose the skill you previously got or forget what you learnt. Unless you don´t have more than 10 minutes in a day for Japanese, and in that case, you have indeed no other choice than to make choices. But if you can study for 30 minutes everyday, then try to do a little of everything :slight_smile:


At first, I think doing lot’s of vocabulary on WK is good. But when you get close to a month or two before your JLPT exam you should focus on reading more and working on your grammar.

ok, so what I’ll say is the JLPT is good if your trying to get a professional visa. Basically the duration of your visa depends on how many points you get. The higher the JLPT level the better the score. That’s why most people say N4 and below is essentially useless. N3 I think is worth 5 points towards your score, N2 is 10, and the N1 is 15. You need at least 60 points to qualify and some amount of the score is filled with your level of education and what not. I don’t know the specifics outside of that but thats how you should look at the JLPT, otherwise I wouldn’t put too much weight on it. Sounds like that’s why you’d need it so I’ll spare the longer speech if you were just level checking alone. xD

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Honestly people have different reasons for taking jlpt. I took it just as a self check and a goal to work towards, even though I don’t live in Japan and don’t plan to in the near future.

And I’m happy I did. Now want to do N1 just for the sake of it, even though N1 has a ton of useless grammar and very formal vocabulary.

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thank you Rorioko for your advice!

you’re completely right, thank you for your detailed reply!

I forgot to mention that I’m eligible to the descendant visa (even if my Japanese is horrible!), but I’ve heard that some recruitment companies really push you to have a JLPT, at least N3 level. In any case, I didn’t know about this point system, thank you for your reply :slight_smile:

I dont fault anyone doing it for level check purposes. From my own experience, its easy to get caught up in passing the JLPT and not learning Japanese, or enjoying Japanese. That’s all. I have N3 myself, and failed the n2 twice because frankly I just wasn’t learning Japanese as much as I was memorizing how to take the test.

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No problem. Yeah its a visa thing more than it is a Japanese ability thing, because that becomes apparent in the interview process. It just helps employers get your visa that much easier.

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Just to chime in on the original question a bit. Other than speaking (which isn’t tested at all), Kanji is probably the easiest part of the JLPT thanks to WaniKani. This is especially true for N5 and N4 where a good amount of the test is in kana anyway.

It is much more important to be able to understand and breakdown sentences using correct grammar rules, read at speed, and understand spoken language at speed (all appropriate to the JLPT level of course).


you are completely right, I heard that the JLPT, as you say, can become a time-consuming trap…

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Thank you Tynicas for your insight :slight_smile: