What to strategically do when you take JLPT N3 in 3 days and are late?


So if it’s too long, you can just skip it to the CONCLUSIONS or QUESTIONS part below the explanations.

// So here’s my SITUATION:

  • Now it’s Thursday noon Japan time, I take JLPT N3 this Sunday at noon Japan time.

  • I’ve been at school in N3 for the past 6 months, 2 times N3, but had close to zero time to study, except grammar because it doesn’t take too long, but say 10% of kanji and vocabulary.

  • I’m not stressed or panicking about my situation, I just wanna be smart on what to do for these 3 days.

  • When I can study, I usually understand fast and I have a good memory (not boasting or whatever, just explaining the situation in full for the questions that come below).

CURRENT LEVEL, Strenghts & Weaknesses:

  • I’m decently ok on grammar, but not 100%, as I didn’t review throughout the year what I had already learned once, and there are a few points I never studied:

Yesterday I took my textbook to check, many points were already ok, but still I could only review the first third of the book because of points that I wasn’t mastering, and where I had to take clear notes to remember them.
Most of these must be ok now, but there are still the second thirds to review.

  • I’m LATE on kanji and vocabulary, like LATE.
    My N3 kanji test scores at school until now using official JLPT material have been 21/60, 30/60, 37/60, 12/60.

  • I can usually easily understand a text when I more or less know the vocabulary or enough to guess what I don’t, and top scored in N4 reading comprehension, being late on kanji and vocabulary is often ruining it for me in N3.

  • And even with grammar, when you don’t know the sentence’s word, and don’t even know if is describing a pleasant or unpleasant situation, even if you know the grammar points you just can’t choose the right one here.
    So lack of kanji/vocab also gives me less good grammar scores than I could have.

  • I’m good at listening comprehension: 4 tests, 46/60, 50/60, 50/60, 55/60

  • My overall scores at these mock JLPT tests have been 0,53%, 0,58, 0,61, 0,56.


  1. Assuming I don’t study before the test (but I am), depending on the wind I can pass it or not pass it.

  2. I NEED to remember as many (useful…) kanji and vocabulary before that, first to be get at least the mandatory 20/60, and of course to improve my reading comprehension.

  3. It would be good to finish reviewing grammar, so I can hope for good results there.
    But a) If each third of the book takes a day, I’m almost dead for kanji/vocabulary, and b) Technically grammar is just half of the Grammar / Reading test, right?


  1. Based on your experience and knowledge of the actual JLPT, do you have a recommended strategy regarding what to prioritize?

  2. As I can’t catch-up with months of kanji and vocabulary in days, is there some resources, or can you point from your experience, what would be the smartest things to learn, topics, types of words, essential kanji… to be as efficient as I can and limit the damage, both for the 文字語彙 test, and to give me chances to understand the vocabulary enough in the Grammar / Reading test?

I don’t know, is there magic cheatsheet like “The most important ones that you really can’t miss for JLPT N3”, you know? Or do you have personal recos?

  1. Obiously any informed advice about anything would be much appreciated :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

PS - As I said, I’m not panicking or anything, all good on that, and if you don’t have the answer to my questions I’ll do what I intuite is good and hope for the best, but I just thought some of you here might be informed of things I don’t know, or see things I don’t see:)

Sorry for the long post and thank you so much in advance!!


I wrote a guide for this sort of thing

tldr: Get a good night’s sleep several nights in a row and eat healthy

If you try to study kanji and vocab now, odds are that your long term retention won’t be active for those kanji and words yet. I would recommend reviewing/testing that doesn’t stress you out at this point. Kotoba’s discord bot seems like it could be a good one. You can try to improve your speed and expose yourself to kanji and words you don’t know well with the N3 deck. There are probably other ways too, but that’s the only one I can think of that would be closer to comprehensive and also not involve dumping like 10h of study into each day.


Thank you very much, yes I’m trying to sleep these days :slight_smile:

Regarding the 10 h study, when I’m free of my time it’s something I can do, and these days I have nothing else required than this, so yesterday I worked 10-11 h, stopped when I felt it was time for my brain to stop, and was cool with that.

Yes, probably there is no “most essential words / kanji” list, but I’m still asking just in case:)

I will check Kotoba’s discord.


Before my own N3 exam, I was playing 二ノ国 on my DS in the lobby while waiting for the exam room to open, and came across 生える, which was a reading for the 生 kanji I’d never encountered before.

And guess what was literally question number one on the test.

So that’s my suggestion: play a game. Uh, I mean… engage with native material.


thank you ルリ, I can read this too! :tada: the book clubs work!!

What is that sorcery? Is it a server?


It’s a bot that can be added to servers I believe

I just type commands at it


I wouldn’t burn yourself out cramming for the test the night before. I have failed every time I tried doing that so I recommend just doing things in Japanese until the test, but studying is kind of out of the question in terms of getting any new information that will help you with the test.


I don’t think there’s a lot of cramming you can do at this point that would be useful. Grammar is in the end a pretty small part of the test, I think overall comprehension plays a lot bigger role.

Something I think would still be useful is do some mock tests with the real time limits, so you know how to pace yourself. There are a lot of words and questions also that repeat over the tests, so you can maybe grab some points there.

Anyway, just relax with some interesting content and don’t worry too much about it!


Huh… when was this?

@ChristopherFritz can we crosscheck with Yotsuba? :eyes:

  1. A couple of years ago. :stuck_out_tongue:

My search returned zero results.

1 Like

I have 25 results in Ruri

I mean horns did grow on her head


Seems like you have identified kanji as the most needed thing.

However, at this point I think the best thing would to make sure you get several days of good sleep, good food, some exercise, no alcohol etc. I would not study at all the day before at least.

Doing this makes sure what you do know is as accessible as possible cause your brain is in the best shape for the test.