11 responses

  1. kusakunai-desu
    August 18, 2011

    Thank you very much for this! I plan on taking N3 this December and failing, haha. I just wanted something interesting in my college application in case I pass.

    You also made me feel a lot better about not being N2-level fluent. I thought anything below N2 is looked down upon, but you saying that N3 is “the midway point to complete fluency” really made my day. Thank you!! I’ll work hard to pass! Even though I’m not done with grade 4 kanji yet ORZ

    • Mac
      August 19, 2011

      N3 is no joke. I just passed it this last December and I can say it is good enough to be able to get around, troubleshoot, book hotels, ask for directions, have somewhat simple conversations, even ask about details when shopping. I really don’t have too many issues getting along in Japan. I’m not exactly finished studying Japanese yet, but it’s far from being worthless. And it is good prep for N2, which is a monster of a test.

      Good Luck!

  2. Sarah
    October 3, 2011

    “This stage of learning the language can be very frustrating because you will be able to understand at least 50% of every conversation, but you won’t be able to completely understand. I personally find this to be frustrating because you may want to enter a conversation, but aren’t completely sure that you are understanding what is being talked about. ”

    It makes me feel soo much better that this happened to someone else too and isn’t just me being slow!

    • Mac
      October 3, 2011

      I feel this way a lot especially when people start speaking in heavy kansai-ben. It’s like being at the playground and wanting to play jump rope, but not knowing when to jump in. Definitely frustrating!

  3. Ryuu
    June 16, 2013

    Planning on sitting N3 in December (doing N4 in a few weeks) but I’ve already started preparing for N3. Doesn’t seem that bad although you do make a good point: there are a lot of grammar constructs that seem near enough the same but have slightly different nuances making them very different. Forget learning vocab, Kanji or grammar; actually understanding the differences between those nuances and when to use which is what I’m finding the most difficult.

    Also, your point on finding a Japanese pen-pal definitely rings true. I started emailing about 4 or 5 Japanese people (that are studying English) a few months ago and it really helps improve your grasp of the language. Words/phrases come to mind much quicker and fluidly. Although I’ve still got a long way to go.

    I’m no expert (obviously) but I completely agree that if you’re living outside Japan – and especially if you’re a self-learner – finding a Japanese pen-pal (perhaps one that is learning your native language and is at a similar level to you) early is paramount.

  4. Josselyn
    October 28, 2013

    Hi, i have some questions for you..

    How much questions does each section (goi, bunpou/dokkai, choukai) have?(an approximate number)

    I’m going to take the N3 exam.. on december, so i ou,d like to know that uwu


  5. Katie
    March 29, 2014

    I live in Japan and my proficiency is really weak in grammar but rich in kanji and vocabulary. I’m around an N5-N4 level currently of speaking Japanese. I took a few months off to prepare for the N3. Is there any hope for me? My current study schedule includes 2 hours a day of studying through my tutor, reading, writing a diary, and vocab lists. I project that I will accomplish about 240 hours of study. So my question is if that 450 hours of study is cumulative or after accomplishing the JLPT 4? Thanks <3


  6. Cure Dolly
    June 9, 2014

    Would you mind telling the names of a few of the Junior High grammar books you used?

    This seems like a really good approach to me, but I am not sure where to find them.

    • Clayton MacKnight
      June 10, 2014

      Mmm, sorry, it was so long ago, they seem to have run off somewhere. I lost a few things in a recent move. I think I might have given them away actually.

      Anyway, if you are in Japan, any medium to big bookstore should have a decent 国語 section that is divided into different levels. N3 is around 小学校 level, the year 6 (6年) material might be too tough, but just crack a few books open and see what you can do. They usually have books for kanji, reading exercises, and some that go over expressions (grammar). Just see what is useful for you and you can work through.

      Sorry, I don’t have more information than that.

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