How should I prepare for JLPT N5?

The application for JLPT in Leiden on July 5, 2020 is now open.
JLPT in Leiden University:
I’ve had some questions from my students about how to prepare for JLPT N5, so I’d like to focus on this entry level today.

If this is the first time for you to take this kind of language exam, don’t worry, JLPT tests only your passive knowledge of reading and listening. No speaking and writing. Entire questions are multiple choice. If you mark, you already have 25% chance of getting it right 🙂 Anyway, please check this site for how many points you need to score to pass the exam.

I always recommend my students to learn reading, listening, and speaking (writing if necessary) to achieve what you want to do with the language and to build solid foundation to go further to the advanced level, and NOT just study for the exam. Like many people say, the life is not multiple choice. Most of you learn new language to communicate, not just to pass the exam.
So first, use the comprehensive learning materials such as Marugoto, Genki or Minna no Nihongo, and don’t directly jump into JLPT exam prep books.

BUT you only have 4 months left! There are so many JLPT N5 preparation books, and you wonder which one would be the best and most time-saving book to pass the test. Show me the shortcuts!  Yes, I hear your scream.
Here are some books which might help you:

★NIHONGO SO MATOME N5 日本語総まとめN5   ISBN978-4-86639-076-5

Kanji, vocab., grammar, reading and listening in one book, and supposed to be able to finish in 6 weeks. If you purely go for efficiency, this one might be your first choice.  The problem is that there are very little contextual connections between sentences in the exercise, so I doubt if these knowledge can be adopted to real communication later on. Those of you who have already learned Japanese on begin A2 level, this is probably a good book as a reference.

★TRY! JLPT N5   TRY!日本語能力試験N5 文法から伸ばす日本語 ISBN978-4-87217-900-2

This book focuses on grammar items which you need to know for N5, and from there, they expand to model conversations and short reading materials.  There are two model conversations on the same story line, so you’ll see connections between stories and model sentences.  There are also listening exercises similar to the real exam. For Kanji, you need extra practice besides this book.

★JLPT N5 Reading comprehension series 日本語N5 文法・読解まるごとマスター ISBN978-4-86392-351-5

This book covers all the grammar items you need to know, and also contains good tips to comprehend longer sentences. Grammar explanation in English is pretty good, but the letters are very tiny.  Sufficient reading and information retrieval exercises. You need to study Kanji, vocab., and listening besides this book.

★Drill & Drill JLPT N5  ドリル&ドリル 日本語能力試験N5 ISBN9784-89689-506-3

This book contains vocabulary, grammar, reading and listening exercises which are the same pattern as real JLPT exam. In a separate answer/explanation book, you can read translation and grammar and comprehension points that you should be cautious in order to choose the correct answer. It’s handy to get used to the exam style.

★JLPT N5 Complete Mock Exams ゼッタイ合格!日本語能力試験完全模試N5   ISBN978-4-86392-141-2

This book contains 3 x JLPT mock exams. It has a separate answer book and a check list of important words, phrases and sentence structure. This is for students who already learned Japanese using other comprehensive textbooks, and wants to get used to the style and format of real JLPT exam.

★NIHONGO CHALLENGE KANJI JLPT N4-5 にほんごチャレンジかんじN4-5 ISBN978-4-87217-757-2

Oh, how I love the colour of this book! This book contains 110 Kanji’s for N5 and 200 Kanji’s for N4. For every kanji, stroke order, on-yomi, kun-yomi, picture hints, and words are shown, with 6 empty squares to practice writing. There are also extra Kanji writing and reading exercises.

★Connecting with Kanji: A Workbook for Beginners  どんどんつながる漢字練習帳 初級 ISBN978-4-7574-2618-4

This book is not per se for JLPT preparation, but quite nice book to learn Kanji. From a basic character, you expand your Kanji power by learning related Kanji’s with same roots /radicals. There are also pictures and stories to help you memorise Kanji’s. Every chapter has quizzes in the end, which are quite interesting. There is also an intermediate level of the same series.

Every book has its advantage and disadvantage, so choose the ones which would reinforce your weakpoitns. Please be aware that these books are just to get you prepared for JLPT specifically, and not to nurture your Japanese communication skills in general.
So grasp every chance to absorb and use Japanese inside and outside classroom!

From Fumiko Sensei

Last minutes tips voor JLPT examen!

Last minutes tips voor JLPT examen!

Er zijn veel JLPT training materiaal en studie advies te vinden op Internet, en ik vertrouw er volledig op dat je al allerrij resources gebruik van maakt. Dus hieronder wil ik enkele last minutes praktische tips op een rij zetten.

【TIP 1: doe een proef examen】
Mensen die JLPT examen in 7 juli gaan doen, hebben jullie al een gratis proefexamen op JLPT site gedaan?  Nog niet? Dan via onderstaande link kun je het downloaden.
Als je al bekend met de JLPT examen stijl , kun je veel beter relaxen en goed concentreren.

【TIP 2:tijd opletten】
Hoe veel tijd je krijgt per sectie staat in deze pagina →
Was je klaar met de proef examen binnen de bepaalde test tijd? Bij voorbeeld, in de eerste Kanji en woordenschat sectie, heb je 25 min in totaal. Dat betekent dat een iedere vraag in “Kanji” sectie moet je binnen 20 a 30 seconden antwoorden. Heeft het gelukt?

【TIP 3:scoren 】
Hoe veel punten heb je gescoord bij de proef examen?
Bij voorbeeld, minimaal score van N5 is 80 punten uit max. 180 punten. Dat is minder dan 50%. Lat is niet zo hoog. Maar je moet wel minimaal scoren in ieder sectie halen: eerste schriftelijke sectie minimaal 38 punten uit max. 120, en luister sectie minimaal 19 punten uit max. 60.

【TIP 4:check, check, double check!】
Vergeet niet om mee te nemen:
JLPT examen kaart (check van tevoren of alle gegevens kloppen)
ID met foto
horloge (zonder piep toon en geheugen)
Check ook de route naar de examen lokaal en reistijd.

Ik wens jullie veel succes, en vooral veel plezier!!

Groeten van Fumiko sensei


Workshop “JLPT preparation & effective self-study” on February 10, 2019

【English follows after Dutch】

Workshop “JLPT preparation & effective self-study”

Datum en Tijd: 10 februari, 2019 (ZO)
Plaats: Nihongo Labo Rotterdam, Rotterdam-Alexander
Prijs: EUR 25.00 (incl. BTW) per persoon


☺Bent u van plan om JLPT examen (N5 of N4 niveau) in juli 2019 te doen voor het eerste keer, maar nog niet weet precies wat en hoe u moet voorbereiden?
☺Studeert u Japans zelfstandig, maar weet niet zeker hoe u verder kunt aanpakken met uw studie?

Tijdens deze 2.5 uur workshop leert u:

  • de structuur van JLPT exam, met enkele voorbeeld vragen.
  • sterke en zwakke punten van uw taalvaardigheid op JLPT N5 niveau te analyseren.
  • hoe u uw eigen studie plan kunt maken.
  • tips om uw output vaardigheden (schrijven/spreken) te verbeteren terwijl JLPT tests alleen
  • uw input vaardigheden (lezen/luisteren).
  • hoe u gebruik kunt maken van Internet en SNS voor uw taalstudie.

Voor inschrijving en vragen, stuur alstublieft een e-mail via contact.
Deze workshop wordt uitgevoerd in het Nederlands of Engels, afhankelijk van de taal van deelnemers.


☺Are you planning to take JLPT exam (N5 or N4 level) in July 2019 for the first time, but not sure what and how you should study?
☺Did you start studying Japanese by yourself, but not sure what to do to step up to the next level?

In this 2.5 hour workshop, you will learn:
• the structure of JLPT exam, and try some sample questions.
• analyzing strength/weakness of your Japanese language skills on N5 level.
• how to plan your JLPT preparation study.
• how you can study in order to expand your output skills (writing/speaking) beyond JLPT which only tests your input skills (reading/listening).
• how you can take advantage of Internet and SNS for your self-study.

• To sign up or further information, please send e-mail via contact form.
• The workshop will be conducted either in Dutch or English depending on participants’ language.


JLPT preparation course

img_1997JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) will be held in Leiden University on the first Sunday of July in 2017.

Do you already feel confident? Or not so sure, but you want to challenge?
If you are not sure which level you are, we can first check which level of JLPT exam is appropriate for you, then, make a study plan together.   I will be happy to guide you through with your study until the examination day.

Both private and group lessons are available for all levels (N5 – N1).
For details, please contact by e-mail .