I’m writing to share my Japanese learning path last year, from Zero to JLPT N3. It’s achievable and practical.
2020 has been, no wonder, a strange and challenging year almost for most people, including me. Since March, we are isolated from the world where nearly no good news is going on, working from home and away from the office, colleagues, and friends, getting used to facing people under masks.
Being bored of the daily routine of WFH, I found out that there have been more chunks of spare time to spend, and because of my long-lasting curiosity towards Japan and Japanese, in May, I decided to try learning Japanese and see how far I could go. The target I made for myself is passing the 2020.12 JLPT N3 exams (the July exam happened to be canceled).
My motivation to learn Japanese is relatively straightforward:
Japanese culture is influential to almost everyone around me. I watched several Japanese dramas and movies, including several times of Legal High.
After seven months of learning, I took the JLPT N3 in December 2020 at the Japanese Cultural Society of Singapore. Seven months of part-time study is insufficient to master the language, and I met some difficulties during the text. Luckily the result turned out well.
I want to introduce my reference books, textbooks, exam books, and how I used them. I hope it can help somebody to start their journey of learning Japanese.
For reference books, I only bought three books, and these are more than enough for me.
The only textbooks I used is the complete set of 『みんなの日本語初級』 including Textbook and several workbooks, as this link shows. As I’m studying part-time, I spent around 1-2 hours learning these textbooks every day.
My steps of using 『みんなの日本語初級』 are:
I think after finishing 『みんなの日本語初級』textbook, you can just pass JLPT N4 exams easily without anything else. However, I need to fill in the gap as I signed up for the N3 exams.
After I finish 『みんなの日本語初級』textbook, it’s already October, two months before my JLPT N3 exam. In these two months, I’m focusing on only one set of books, Nihongo So-Matome JLPT N3 Complete Set. By finishing one section within five books every day, the timeline just matches well, and the book helped a lot for me to fill in the gap between 『みんなの日本語初級』 and JLPT N3. Vocabulary, Grammar and Listening are the most critical parts, in my opinion, as test preparation somehow requires specific techniques and experience. I definitely didn’t memorise everything down, but I think by completing Nihongo So-Matome JLPT N3 Complete Set, it’s enough for me to pass the N3 exams. Things turned out well.
I hope this post can assist some readers as a reference to reach the N3 level. I’m continuing my self-learning journey this year, and I hope I can share some N3 -> N2 experience some time :)