Textbook advice for Japanese Language Proficiency Tests
August 31, 2011 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend textbooks and offer any other advice for me to work my way up the JLPT tests.

My wife (who is Japanese and a qualified TEFL teacher) is going to start trying to teach me Japanese, with the goal of working my way up the JLPT tests, probably starting at Level N4 (old Level 3).

We are going to try to do proper structured lessons on a weekly basis.

I'm not a complete beginner and have spent a lot of time in Japan. We go there every year for a couple of weeks, and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives - so this is a long term project.

Many thanks for any advice.
posted by mairuzu to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
PS - I'm in the UK if that makes any difference
posted by mairuzu at 2:59 PM on August 31, 2011

The Kanzen Master series is quite good.

I passed level 1 of the JLPT (old level 1, not the new harder level 1). In my experience, unless you're at around N2 level, it doesn't make sense to study specifically for the JLPT. It makes sense to figure out a well-rounded approach that suits you and includes grammar, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, writing, certainly some kanji but not massive hardcore kanji-centered studying.

Below N2 level, the JLPT tests don't test for any weird arcane stuff that you wouldn't learn anyway through a well-rounded Japanese study program. And even if they did, anything below N2 isn't useful for employment or anything in the real world, so... studying specifically for the JLPT doesn't make sense to me until around that level.

Read as much as possible. Being a fast reader makes all the difference between a pass and a fail.
posted by Jeanne at 6:21 PM on August 31, 2011

In terms of non-text things, I've brought this up in nearly every learning Japanese question: Read the Kanji is a flashcard website that breaks up kanji according to the JLPT level. I used this (though I've slacked off) for about 6 months before taking JLPT N3, and there was literally 1 kanji I didn't know on the test. It's pretty good for vocabulary as well. It's pay now, but it's not that expensive, and it's a one-time fee.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:32 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I used the Kanzen Master series to pass Level 1. I also used the Kanji Kentei series as well, as it includes more context and more kanji.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:06 AM on September 13, 2011

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