An oyaji’s tips for the JLPT exam

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is only 2 and a half months away. Shimaguni has had students who have taken or are taking N2, N3, N4 and N5 this year.

When I took the exams which was just before colour television was invented, the exam was slightly different. The principles remain the same however. I have added here a few tips from a veteran of JLPT wars. Please share any tips of your own.

For learning the Kanji and Vocabulary

Buy, or even better, make your own set of flashcards. 

Focus on each kanji individually; write it out to help you remember what it looks like and study it is used in sentences.

Mix up intensive study sessions with short mini tests while you are at the bus stop/in the coffee queue/waiting for Southern train to move.

Read sentences out loud. This forces you to focus on the pronunciation. Questions may test how a kanji is read as KO, KKO or KOU. 

Use kanji learning apps such as Kanji Study (grey) and WANKIKANI

How to cope with the listening and reading sections

  • Reading questions are often full of irrelevant detail which you don’t need to get the answer. Focus on exactly what the question is asking. Scan for key words.
  • You don’t need to read everything
  • You do need to listen to everything (but you don’t need to understand everything)
  • Listening and reading questions in particular are designed to trick you. If it seems too easy, you maybe missing something.

General Tips

Use Apps, podcasts and Youtube videos such as “JLPT Practice N5-N1

Do practice exams. You can downloads exam material on JLPTSensei. Practice exams are the best way of correctly anticipating what questions you will  get. (If you get questions wrong, find out why. Make flashcards to help you remember in future).

Use materials on websites such as Nihongoichiban and JLPTBootcamp. Podcasts and Youtube videos by Nihongo no Mori also provide ready listening and learning material

Reading is a proven method for improving grammar and vocabulary. Join the Shimaguni library! (£10 for 6 months. You can borrow 2 books at a time)

Find a study buddy. Great for motivation and picking up tips. How do I find one? Come to Brighton Japan Club……


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