A guide to the JLPT: How to pass the N3 exam : Hey guys, welcome to another instalment of our JLPT series. Today we are going to be focussing on the N3 exam. For those of you taking the exam, congratulations. You are nearing a really impressive level of Japanese. Passing the N3 exam should signify that you are able to read and comprehend basic news articles, have a good level of conversation in Japanese and also know around 650 Kanji.

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A guide to the JLPT: How to pass the N3 exam

So the N3 can be pretty tricky, especially in the reading sections. We are going to look at how to best prepare you for all possibilities and give you some tips and tricks to give you the best chance of success with the exam.

Getting the vocabulary done and dusted.  

In the JLPT N3 exam there are around 3,700 vocabulary words that you are going to need to know. Knowing all of these is going to really maximise your chances of passing the exam and also help with the other areas such as grammar, listening, reading and kanji. Now 3700 does seem like a it of a mountain but odds are you are going to know about half of them already if you have passed the N4. You need to adopt a focussed and strict strategy to be able to internalise all of these words in a specific time frame. We suggest noting down 5 – 6 words a day from the N3 vocab list and input them into an anki system.

If you can do this and keep consistent with it, you will soon have a brain filled with lots of new awesome words.

Grammar – How should I attack this?

There is a lot of grammar for the N3 exam, some of which you won’t hear in everyday conversation too. This is the second step on your study journey that you must aim to master. Start by taking one grammar point each day and make your own sentences to make sure you remember and understand the points thoroughly. You won’t necessarily be using some of these outside of the exam but they are great to know when it comes to news reports and written articles. There are plenty of materials for this available online and you can also by specific textbooks that cater for the N3 exam specifically.

Kanji – Everyone’s worst nightmare.

In the N3 the kanji starts to get serious. The furigana start to disappear more and more leaving you with nothing but the cold hard kanji. You must learn to be one with the kanji, it’s time to bite the bullet and get down and dirty.

There are 650 kanji that you will need to know for the exam guys, and the best way to get these finished in time is to take a couple a day and use them in sentences. Seeing them in context is going to help you remember them better. Lastly you also need to know both the kun and on readings so don’t skip out on that, there will be questions around this.  

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Listen at every opportunity

Listening is a huge part of the exam and you need to be prepared for a variety of situations for the N3 exam. There will be extremely polite Japanese and extremely casual Japanese, you need to be ready for everything. Start by heading over to YouTube and searching for N3 Listening practice. Listen wherever you go at every opportunity. Forget dramas, music, anime, this is your life now. Well at least until you pass the exam.

Reading, it’s all about the pace.

The reading passages are starting to get serious in the N3 exam. We can’t beat around the bush; there are pretty big and complex. The hardest thing about them is keeping up the pace in the exam and answering the questions fast enough. You need to focus on reading speed. To do this you should look at reading the same article over and over again getting faster each time. Do this over multiple N3 level articles and it will really help. Leaving your reading till the end is a great idea because you will know all the kanji, vocab and grammar.

In the exam you should focus on finding the key points that the question is asking, read the question first and then try to find that specific part in the passage, it will save time.

Remember to enjoy the process most importantly, don’t get caught up in a pass or fail outcome. Let it drive you, but don’t let it define you. A test works as a fantastic milestone for your progress and to be at N3 level is a fantastic achievement in itself. You should always remember to enjoy your study and do your best. That’s the end of today’s online Japanese lesson everyone, we wish you the best of luck with your exam.

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