Which JLPT should I take?

Hey guys!

I’m thinking on taking a JLPT this this december. I am currently self-studying with the genki books, and I should have finished Genki I and II before december. Has anyone taken a JLPT under similar conditions? I mean by just studying with the Genki books? And if you have, which JLPT do you think I should take?

I have read in several other places that after finishing the Genki books one should be able to take the JLPT 4, do you think this is the case? I would like very much to take that one, but also I don’t want to fail because I wasn’t prepared enough (although i am giving my best when studying, I am more worried about whether or not there will be subjects that the Genki books didn’t cover) What do you think?


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There are loads of practice tests and sample questions you can try out there. Find the right combination of being comfortable you’ll pass and something that’s not too easy.


Grab the practice JLPT tests and see. But do note, the actual scoring of the real test makes no sense. I thought I did real good on the practice N5, then failed the real by two points.

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Hello! Did you used some other textbook while preparing for the test besides this one? And how long had you been studying japanese before taking the test?

When I passed the N4 back in 2014, I had been taking classes at a language school, so I wasn’t self-teaching. I stopped those classes and started self-teaching and then passed N3 in 2015. I continued since then and tried N1 this year, but am probably right on the cusp of passing or failing. We’ll find out in August.

I’m not really the best example to go by. Not counting starts and stops years back, I probably put in around two years of actual studying before taking the N5 (last December), utilizing Japanese For Busy People I (bought many many years ago, and then sat on it forever). Also used Human Japanese I, and a few online resources. But, I also don’t have as much time to dedicate to studying as most around here do, so my progress is a lot slower than most people.
That book too isn’t really a textbook, but a mock JLPT test. Comes with a CD for the audio portion, and you’ll have to put the time constraints on yourself of course.

@esamuel0808 You can also try free practice tests here: http://jlptbootcamp.com/2012/10/the-official-jlpt-n5-practice-workbook/
They have the other N levels too.

I plan to try the practice tests after I’ve finished Genki II myself.

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Are you taking the test this December?

Who, me? I don’t have any current plans to take any of the tests, ever.

I’d like to get myself to N2 proficiency, but I don’t think I have any real need to get a certificate saying so. Maybe if at some point I’m in Japan and want to work there, but for right now, probably totally unnecessary. I just intend to do the practice tests to gauge my own competency.

(EDIT: And I should mention that the tests I intend to try after Genki II is finished is the N5 and then N4 respectively, as finishing both texts should theoretically get me there.)

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Does genki actually cover enough vocab for the N4 exam?

I don’t know, and considering I’m largely ignoring the vocab (I have hinekidori’s awesome G-Anki deck, but am woefully behind in it, only done Lesson 1’s vocab and half/most of 2’s, yet I’m 10 chapters in for grammar points), we’ll just have to see how I fare. Either way, it’s a few months off before I even try.

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I took the test last(N5) December under similar conditions, and I “kinda” made my way through Genki 1. I didn’t get the best score, but I did pass, and received my certificate. I will say what threw me through a loop was the listening section. I JUST squeaked through that was a passing score. I wasn’t ready for the natural speaking, with no repeating of the questions. So my advice is if you made it through both books, and feel confident with your listening skills, you should be fine even going for the N4. Plus you’ll have till December to take it if you don’t like in one of the few places that offer a summer(?) test. You do have to register in September(at least for my area) for which test you want to take, so keep in mind you’re pretty much locked in three months prior.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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I sat for the N5 in July, I did Genki I, which covers pretty much all the grammar for N5. Normally Genki II gives you grammar for N4 level. I studied a lot but I didn’t prepare specifically for the JLPT exam format and struggled with the grammar. I’m planning to take N4 in December, my study plan is finishing Genki II and then doing the 新完全マスタ book (JLPT N4 Grammar).

You might want to learn additional vocab (Memrise has N4 level vocab list) and practice listening a bit (with something like JapanesePod101 or by watching videos/anime…). With Wanikani you should be able to pass the kanji section easily.

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Not trying to put you down or anything, but pretty much all the levels below N2 have slower than natural speech in the listening section.

Do you just mean the native pronunciation?

Strangely, I did N5 in July and I did a JLPT listening practice the day before and had half of my answers wrong but on the day of the test I thought it was easy. If I remember correctly though, most of the listening had the question before the dialogue and then once again after the dialogue, which helped a lot.

Hey esam–
Yes, you should definitely take the N4. I just finished Genki 2 and took the N4 a week and a half afterwards back at the start of this month, and everything lined up– I knew about 90% of the grammar and 100% of the kanji. My WK level was I think 22 or such at the time, but if you’re at or past WK level 16 by then, you’ll have learned 95% of the kanji for the test, so absolutely go for the N4.


Oh goodness I’m still trying to get a hold of how to quote, and reply to things, so disregard any weird comments/edits, and such.

Any way what I wanted to say was that I am used to native pronunciation, and that the audio sounded natural. If anything it may have sounded a little faster simply because I was a bit stressed out, because this was the first time I had taken the test.

Also the test I had taken last December didn’t have any repetition of the dialogue, or questions in the listening section.

Either way it may have sounded faster to me due to stress, though I know it did not repeat at all.

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Thanks!! Your case has given me more security to take the N4 test. The thing is I am about to finish Genki I, took me around 3 months And I will have from September to November to finish Genki II. I will try to finish earlier anyway because I want to go through every subject again but faster. I need to choose between N4 And 5 by Middle August that is why I am a little worried…

I would get the nihongo challenge N4 book just to make sure everything is covered. I did genki 1 and 2 and that before the exam. Haven’t got my results yet though…

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Also just saw that you have just finished genki 1, only thing i would warn is that you need retention time as well if you are going to take N4, you’ll need time to practise applying what you have learnt in the JLPT format, so you will need time after genki 2. Also, what are your listening skills like as that might be the deciding factor, take some practise listening tests on youtube and make sure you get at least 31% to get the sectional pass :slight_smile: good luck