Studying for JLPT 3

Is anyone taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency)  tests this summer? They are offering new levels 1, 2 and 3. I am challenging myself to study for level 3, which will be really hard for me.

The website for the test is sooo difficult. If you click the link that says in English that you are taking the test within Japan, you get to pages and pages of information only in Japanese. According to the hubb, you need to buy the application form at a bookstore and then mail it in.

Hello, JLPT! Have you never heard of online transactions? Between the language and multiple steps for application, it’s amazing that so many people manage to take the test!

Which readers are taking the test in July? What are you doing to study? Thank you for sharing some tips or encouragement.


  1. I was supposed to do the JLPT last year but kinda had to go to Japan instead! Then I had to explain to my Japanese teachers that I was going to an Arashi concert instead of sitting the test — and they laughed at me!

    I think the test is fully in Japanese even if you sit it elsewhere. Well I did a practice test and it was all in Japanese.

  2. Are you taking the test so you have the certificate for resume building or personal knowledge? There is also another test that is fairly popular called J.Test. ( ) It is offered more often, has more levels, and is cheaper. This way people can gauge their progress quicker and easier.

    I have known people who take the J.Test levels as they learn…and then just take the JLPT when they are ready for the Level 2 or 1.

    As for me, I have taken neither. I showed up in Japan 8 months ago, eyes aglow from my overage of Shojo Manga while in the US. I really must start learning!

  3. I took the old level 4 in December and will take the new level 3 in July. I expect to fail, but I hope to pass in December.

    Here’s the link to the information page in English –

    There’s a guidebook and some sample questions.

    For level 4 I used this book –

    and the vocabulary list on this website –

    For level 3 my plan is to get through the vocab list on the same website, do the grammar from this book –

    and then start into the level 2 once I’m finished.

    They’e changed the test a lot though, taking emphasis away from rote memorisation, so I’m also watching a lot of tv and movies, and trying to read basic kids’ manga.

    If you go to any large bookstore and ask for the JLPT application packet, they will know what you want. Instructions are in English, and you pay at the post office. The whole system is super annoying, but man, that cert at the end feels so good!

    Good luck!!

    1. Colasensei, thank you for those links. I plan to take level 4 in December (it seems the test is not offered in July in the US).

      I feel like I should try for 3, but I have been away from formal studying (apart from watching Japanese dramas & variety shows, lol) for so long that I’m not sure I could swing it. But I’m pretty darn sure I could pass 4, so.

      Jared がんばれ!

  4. Planning to take the N2 test (was thinking about N1, but I dont think thats gonna happen yet) the end of this year. As a practise, take tests of previous years or drill books. The best of luck!!!

  5. There’s a great little bookstore called Bonjinsha located here, about a 10-minute walk from Yotsuya:

    Probably the best selection in Japan of Japanese-language-study materials, and they’ll have the application forms for the test as well. If you want to go browse the Kanzen Master series or other books before buying online, this is the place to do it.

    I took level 1 years and years ago. I think my study methods basically consisted of “live in Japan and major in Japanese at a US university and then go live in Japan some more.” Not sure how helpful that is. 😉

    1. Wow, Durf! Thanks for the bookstore link. I picked up my application and two more books at Kinokuniya in San Chome Shinjuku. I think it’s harder for us oldies and people who didn’t study Japanese in college. But I am still trying!

  6. Do you plan to do the old JLPT3 (new N4) or the new one N3 ?
    I pass the JLPT4 (now N5) 2 years ago, since I am looking on the JLPT3 but bad year (work…) slow my japanese study. I still have the idea to pass it this year in december but .. I feel too short in vocabulary/kanji. The hard part is memorizing (no reference to french or english).
    I use Anki for that (need to used it more often).
    With your husband, in-laws, and day to day in japanese, it should help you for the vocabulary and listening part.


      1. the old JLPT 1 2 3 4 is now N1 N2 N4 N5.
        N3 is the new step halfway between N2 and N4.
        You are far better than me if you look at the N3, I look at the N4 for now :).
        What is your ‘japanese history’ ?
        Did you get it only by your time with your husband, or did you study before ? (school…)

  7. I studied some Japanese in night school before I came. I’ve been here a total of almost two years, so I think my language skills should be better.

    The JLPT is a great motivation, and I am trying to study at least 2 hours per day. Right now I am using kanji flash cards and these great new N3 books called Nihongo So-matome from Ask Publishing that I bought in Shinjuku san chome’s Kinokuniya book store.

    Cyril, how are you studying now?

    1. I take 4 night classes at a university, with the minna no nihongo books, it took me to JLPT4, since then I have a private sensei 2 hours a day.
      2 hours one to one is different than 3 hours in a 20 peoples class.
      We study mostly grammar points from the JLPT3 book, I get some vocabulary from our discussion, often it’s far from the JLPT vocabulary, as we use day life subject.
      I practice some reading (I am still slow) and listening with her too.
      For the vocabulary and kanji, I use some jlpt list around here, I have the white rabbit flash card, and I use the software Anki to make me remember (no japanese in day to day life here).
      I have a hard time to be regular in my study, that’s my biggest problem.
      (full time stres full job, other activities …)

      1. I still not have a good way to study kanji.
        I try to remember the kanji itself with some ‘kun’ words (often verbs).
        For the ‘on’ part, I prefer to add vocabulary using the ‘on’.
        I don’t like too much the paper flash card (they are good but hard to use to remember. I prefere Anki and my iphone in the metro or during my breaks …

        The hardest part is to not forgot, for us outside japan, there is not enought daily japanese interrection to keep those memories alive.
        Just my sensei, the japanese restaurant, some people time to time (tourist, student), and Internet.

      2. Wow, Cyril. You have a private tutor for 2 hours every day! That’s amazing. I just finished up 3 hours at the coffee shop with my study book. My head is hurting ^^. Immersion helps a lot, but I also recommend mixing up study methods (online, paper, grammar, vocabulary, music and TV). And persistence!

      3. Sorry, my mistake, It’s 2 hours a week
        I must have been sleeping when I wrote that message.

        I have the same problem as you, after 2 hours of causatif/passif or keigo, I start to mixup every thing and I my head hurt.

        I would like to be able to go to a level where I can read simple novel/book … by myself, then grow from that.

        I still fell very lost when somebody speak to me 2 or 3 phrase in japanese when my brain is still in ‘english/french’ mode.

      4. good question, I like japanese food, their relation with nature, the security in japan, the onsen, sento … I find kanji interesting (until I start to get a headache)
        Learning a third language should be interesting and a plus on a resume, even if I don’t plan to move in Japan.
        And make my brain work before I get too old 🙂

        I don’t even find Japanese boy cute, I have see some cute exception now and there … And some of the half (half japanese, half caucasian) are pretty cute 🙂

  8. Flash cards are awesome, except I use mine on the train and end up with Chinese people talking to me because they think I’m studying Chinese – so I ended up getting no study done.

    There is a program called NihongoUp I downloaded that is good for kanji learning.

  9. A friend who took it in DC in Dec. was able to do his application entirely online, including payment. They just make it hard for you in Japan!

    1. Wow. Online application?! What about the silly 3cm x 4 cm photo? The certified mail? The special furikomi for payment? Modern technology would just make applying too easy. Haha.

    1. My “pillow” is so fluent in English that it’s hard to switch to Japanese. We are doing a lot of Japanese language texting, and he explains all the stuff I can’t figure out. Is that what you meant?

  10. Yep! Darn his fluency in English! ha ha! Glad he helps though…my ex-husband is from Mexico. He never helped me learn Spanish though – I learned it on my own. (He hoped I would not learn it – so he could continue to chat with the ladies, unbeknownst to me!)

    1. Learning the language does help me pose some direct questions to my in-laws without husband’s filter. Apryl, sounds like you are resourceful and indpendent!

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