What level should I reach for N5 syllabus

I know this has been answered here: At what level should I be at to pass N5
I couldn’t respond there, hence am asking as a new thread.

Which level (lvl 16) is the answer on that thread referring to?
When I asked a friend about it, she said lvl 16 seems way too complicated for N5.

Any idea on how to break it down to just N5 syllabus?

PS: Am just starting out on kanji, I love how wanikani uses mnemonics and radicals to explain it. I grasp it quickly. (I have other sources for grammar, vocab.)

WaniKani alone will not let you pass N5. Not even at level 60.

You’re gonna need a source of grammar and vocabulary at the very least, and likely won’t get very far on the listening section without listening practice.

Level 16 just refers to having learned all of the N5 kanji by level 16, but completing level 16 does not guarantee you know enough to pass N5, nor is passing level 16 (a.k.a. knowing all the N5 kanji) a requirement for passing N5.

It’s best not to think about anything other than strictly kanji knowledge in terms of the equivalent WaniKani level. It’s just not a helpful comparison to make.

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You’re gonna need a source of grammar and vocabulary at the very least, and likely won’t get very far on the listening section without listening practice.

Ah yes, I forgot to mention. Am just starting out on kanji, I love how wanikani uses mnemonics and radicals to explain it. I grasp it quickly. (I have other sources for grammar, vocab.)

It’s best not to think about anything other than strictly kanji knowledge in terms of the equivalent WaniKani level. It’s just not a helpful comparison to make.

Without a proper syllabus on Wanikani, I am not sure if I have enough time for this year’s N5 exam. Only way I see is to pick N5 kanji from another site and ctrl+F and search manually and go through them.

Honestly I would worry about vocab, gammar and listening and use WaniKani to support those three with kanji knowledge. That’s the purpose of learning kanji anyway, only knowing kanji in isolation serves no purpose beyond academic interest.

WaniKani won’t let you order by JLPT level as far as I know. Maybe with one of the reorder scripts out there, I wouldn’t know, I’ve never used them - but I kind of doubt it since the N5 kanji are spread across 16 levels with a bunch of other kanji and vocabulary in between.

But the thing is, if you know only half the kanji but all the relevant vocab and grammar… You’re likely to pass with flying colours. And wkstats.com can show you a chart detailing exactly how much of any given JLPT level’s kanji you know at any given WK level. For the first 20 levels for instance:

Sure, you won’t know absolutely everything the N5 could theoretically throw at you until level 16, but by level 6 you’re at over 87%.

I would’ve passed N4 by a wide margin were it an official test I did, at level 10-ish? The missing kanji didn’t hamper me at all.

If practical application of your Japanese is the goal (as it would be for the JLPT), focus on vocabulary (kanji and all, just not in isolation - as long as you can recognise a word using kanji you’re good) and grammar, listen to stuff, and use WaniKani to support that. As wonderful and useful an application as it is, WaniKani doesn’t really teach you Japanese.

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If you use anki, there is an anki deck for N5 kanji. With 10 new cards per day, you can finish it in less than two weeks.

Wanikani doesn’t let you customize lessons. If you want to study all N5 kanji through wanikani, you have to get to level 16.

Good luck with the test though, i hear N5-N4 is relatively easy to pass.

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Yes, if you just started, aiming for this year (December exam session?) might be a bit of a challenge.

As @yamitenshi pointed out, WaniKani doesn’t really adhere to JLPT levels so if you really want to focus on JLPT it might be more productive to focus on JLPT specific resources and do placement tests or exercises. I think N5 requires only around 50-100 kanji so free Web kanji apps would cover that.

JapanesePod101 has courses aligned better with JLPT so perhaps something to look into? The level 1 course is for free.

Extra question - why specifically N5? Is it a requirement for something? That’s fairly low and if you push for next year, you might be able to take N4 :slight_smile: .

Thanks for the advice you guys. I will draft up a plan.

I have one more question…
Which reading should I use for this: 山田さんですか
From my research its read as Yamada. (Kon reading) Reason being there’s a san following it and hence it will be a noun.

Now this follows the rule for on/kon reading I googled:

On-reading is usually used when the kanji is a part of a compound (two or more kanji characters are placed side by site). Kun-reading is used when the kanji is used on its own, either as a complete noun or as adjective stems and verb stems.

Is there more rules or a link/reference I can look into for which reading(on/kun readings) should I use? I wanted to get more clarity on it. Or is this it?

@tahubulat @yamitenshi

why specifically N5? Is it a requirement for something? That’s fairly low and if you push for next year, you might be able to take N4

I have around 50-70hrs I think invested into it. But my learnings were in Romaji. Recently learned Hiragana/Katakana. Proceeding into Kanji.
Wanted to get atleast N5 first . .just to get some sort of confidence in. I am working on the side, hence I only get ~1 hr each day.

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Names are a bit of a special case, they usually use kun’yomi but will occasionally use on’yomi or just completely different readings you don’t find outside names at all. Don’t worry too much about it, apart from some common names even Japanese folks won’t immediately know how to pronounce a name when they only see it in kana.

In general what WaniKani teaches you is correct, but there are exceptions. You’ll run into some as you progress through WaniKani and learn vocabulary.

For names, usually furigana is used, unless it’s a really common name or way to read it. Here it will likely be Yamada, but there’s other names for example:

https://jisho.org/search/山田%20%23names

In general I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this stage.

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When it comes to family names, there’s a pretty good rule of thumb: if and only if the second kanji is 藤, the name is read entirely in on’yomi. Otherwise, it’s entirely kun’yomi about 90% of the time.

Family names are pretty predictable, and you’ll be able to recognise them easily with practice. It’s only given names that tend to be all over the shop.

I have never, in all my years of Japanese, come across a reading for 山田 that’s not やまだ. I mean, やまた I can accept, maybe, if you show me an example, but おおした, くまだ and やまがた? No. Someone’s having a laugh at Jisho’s expense.

Though, Wikipedia does suggest ようだ as a possible reading, though again I’ve never ever encountered that.)

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also, to interpret the chart which yamitenshi posted, the percentages translate to: by level 8, WK teaches all but 4 of the N5 kanji, and by level 10, only 1 is missing.

so assuming you’ve done all the grammar and vocab and listening (which isn’t in WK), WK level 8 might be a reasonable level to attempt JLPT N5. but as everybody’s said, just knowing kanji is in no way sufficient, and WK isn’t geared towards preparing for the jlpt tests.

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So, what would be a good method to learn kanji? I am having difficulties when I start reading and come across multiple readings and it leaves me frustrated on why its 1 type of reading and not the other.

Right now am doing:

  • Start reading -
  • Pick up sentences -
  • Something like JLPT N5 Tango Deck on Anki -
  • Study kanji from sentences by looking through the meanings one at a time

I feel its very tedious and slow though.

Any other suggestions? @yamitenshi @Belthazar

Also I think one of my important qns went unanswered:

On-reading is usually used when the kanji is a part of a compound (two or more kanji characters are placed side by site). Kun-reading is used when the kanji is used on its own, either as a complete noun or as adjective stems and verb stems.

Can I use this rule to guide me for kanji readings? Or is there some other rule out there that I can follow?

Well, since we were talking about names, while I’m pretty sure they’re not required for the JLPT (you’ll just be told a name’s reading if it’s necessary), if you feel like it, you can find a list of the most common family names in Japan and study those (here is one on Wikipedia, and here is a post where I’ve broken them down by reading).

Yeah, but only as a guide. There’s unfortunately about a thousand and one exeptions, like 川口かわぐち, which uses kun’yomi despite being two kanji placed side-by-side, and しんじる which uses on’yomi despite appearing to be a verb stem (etymologically, it’s actually the noun 信 plus the verb する… and actually, 信 doesn’t even have a kun’yomi, so that one might be a bit academic).

WaniKani, or an Anki deck, but I find working from the radicals upward and reinforcing with vocab to be very effective so I’d opt for WaniKani.

You don’t need to know all the N5 kanji to be able to easily pass N5. Getting to a WK level that teaches you enough is attainable. Don’t worry about getting to 100%. By level 9 there are 5 N5 kanji you don’t know, and they won’t cost you the N5, especially if you have your vocab knowledge under control.

Read stuff, and find some listening practice. Applying your passive language skills (i.e. recognition and comprehension) is going to make all the difference.

I don’t think it did

So yes, you can use that as a guide, but only as a guide, there are exceptions.

Yeah, I will start again with this approach, and be consistent on it.
Thanks

Yeah, that was also kinda my first impression of starting to read and such. That way will probably burn you out and make reading not fun. If you want reading practice asap, then I would recommend using something with guidance. Graded readers, bilingual books, grammar textbooks. Additional resources that may prove helpful are rikaikun and jisho, especially handy if you browse the internet and like to read articles or tweets.

It’s easy to kinda overwhelm yourself with options, so I would recommend just picking like a few things to incorporate in the daily routine then add/drop things as you move along. Like even if you only do the free levels of wanikani, you’re still gonna get something out of it. With 2-3 months of consistent practice you’ll get results. Then all the tanaka’s, yamada’s and suzuki’s are just old friends.

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