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I've decided to study for the jlpt

#1
any advice?

are the dictionaries of b/i/a grammar enough for jlpt n2-1 grammar?

what about vocabs? is there any official list out there?
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#2
Might add some more advice later but the vocab lists here: http://www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/skills/vocab/ were enough for me to pass N2 & N1, though I added kanji to some words in hiragana on there & added example sentences to my version of the anki decks.
Also, if you have a smartphone, download some jlpt quiz apps, especially for grammar & vocab. There are listening sections for past tests on youtube. For grammar I used Kanzen Master though there might be other good grammar books. Definitely get a mock test book if you can. Which level are you taking?
Edited: 2017-03-18, 7:36 pm
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#3
The dictionaries are amazing and a worthwhile investment. The books do a great job in particular of differentiating the usage of related but different grammar points - から vs. ので, とはいえ vs. とはいっても/とはいうものの, etc.

I would also recommend the 新完全マスター books; it's very hard at first studying Japanese *in Japanese*, but it really helps you to level up. I used these books almost exclusively before taking N2 and I think it's what helped me pull down a 142/180 on the test. When you polish those off, get the ドリル&ドリル books to give yourself a bunch of raw practice.

I'd personally steer clear of the 総まとめ stuff; while some of the examples are fine for practice, most of the questions are very Mickey Mouse compared to what you'll find on the test. The questions on 新完全 tend to be as tough or even harder than what you'll find on the real JLPT.

Beyond that? Read. A LOT. Every day. Everything you can get your hands on. 社説 is good for practice, but really, anything at your level or N+1 your level is good prep for increasing your reading and comprehension speed. Time is your enemy on the first half of the JLPT, and the faster you can grasp complex meanings without having to parse out every other word, the better you'll do.

For vocab, I'd say extensive reading + Yomichan + Anki = Winning.
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#4
While the N1 level is now higher than the old 1kyuu (IMO, having taken both), I can confirm that the lists on tanos are enough to get by with, especially if your other skills (listening, etc) are strong. gaiaslastlaugh is right, the best thing you can do for yourself beyond that is read intensively. I still feel like I can't read fast enough for the N1, even though I've scraped through with a pass more than once.

The dictionaries are great for reference and general learning, Kanzen Master is best for actual test prep. Good luck!
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#5
(2017-03-18, 7:25 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: any advice?

are the dictionaries of b/i/a grammar enough for jlpt n2-1 grammar?

what about vocabs? is there any official list out there?

There's no official vocab or kanji list anymore (apparently they didn't like people studying 'to the list' so they changed the way they formulate tests or publicize info about tests).

I passed the JLPT N1 with only studying the DoBJG, and reading a lot; I still don't own the I or A. My feeling, honestly, is that the difference between 'grammar' and 'vocabulary' is extremely subtle after the very basic conjugation/word-order stuff that appears in any good first-year course. A lot of 'advanced' grammar points are like... 'you can use つつ the same as なfがら' or 'you can use のち like あと', etc. It's not really a new structure, just another word that slots into the same structure.

Mostly what matters is being able to very quickly read essays on general topics. If you can do that, then by definition you understand the grammar, kanji, and vocabulary involved in said essays, and hence the grammar, kanji and vocabulary on the JLPT.

I wasn't in a huge hurry so most of the 'appropriate' material I read was like, the JoI teacher's blogs and the afterwords of novels I was reading (afterwords of novels are very essay-like and very close to the kind of stuff on the JLPT, excepting the boilerplate thanking of everyone involved, but if that boilerplate isn't second-nature to you, you have bigger problems.)

If I was in a hurry, aside from reading/listening to a lot of JoI teacher's blogs, I'd make a point of regularly reading the 天声人語 column of the 朝日新聞.
(recent thread on that very column: http://forum.koohii.com/thread-14437.html ) 天声人語 is probably a little more advanced than anything on the JLPT1, but it's very much in the style. Any other op/ed columns will do just as well, that just happens to be the most famous... and challenging.

Also, obviously, it doesn't hurt to do as many practice tests/exercise books as possible, kanzen master or whatever. I never did, but then again, I was in no hurry and it took me a long time to pass. Nonetheless, those study books are cover to cover with exactly the type of material that will be on the test so if you want to study to the test...there they are.
Edited: 2017-03-18, 11:58 pm
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#6
My experience was is the Do(BIA)G have good in-depth explanations of the most complicated grammar points, but as SomeCallMeChris says, a lot of what the JPLT (and prep books and web sites) think of as grammar is (a) closer to vocab than grammar in some ways and (b) doesn't appear in the Do*G books. You can fill in the gaps with either: just looking things up on the internet (places like http://www.jgram.org have more or less the same level of detail you get from prep books); buying a grammar prep book like the Kanzen Master series (which will also give you practice problems to do); or getting something like 日本語文型辞典 which is a grammar reference that takes the lots-of-points-but-less-detail approach.

To echo everybody else, having a reading speed that lets you get through the reading section in the time allowed is critical. Doing past papers under timed conditions really helps for judging how fast you need to go and to get familiar with the format (and also working out what your weak spots are).

There are some JLPT threads on the forum so a check through the archives should also bring up other useful advice, suggestions on where to get those past papers, etc.
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#7
Great suggestions as always Smile
As I have already bought the dictionary of grammar serie I'll study them first.
When I will be comfortable with them, I'll try the kanzen books and the drills ones.

天声人語: this is great! I'm a little out of money lately so I'm unable to buy new light-novels for a while, and this free resource is amazing! I've seen that there is an editorial too. Do you suggest it?

About grammar. How do you studied it? I want to use Anki someway to study grammar, but I don't know how. Cloze deletion? Try to use them in context?
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#8
(2017-03-21, 1:38 pm)cophnia61 Wrote: Great suggestions as always Smile
As I have already bought the dictionary of grammar serie I'll study them first.
When I will be comfortable with them, I'll try the kanzen books and the drills ones.

天声人語: this is great! I'm a little out of money lately so I'm unable to buy new light-novels for a while, and this free resource is amazing! I've seen that there is an editorial too. Do you suggest it?

About grammar. How do you studied it? I want to use Anki someway to study grammar, but I don't know how. Cloze deletion? Try to use them in context?

You should read any and all opinions, editorials, letters to the editor, etc., that you're up for reading. (Obviously, try to read stuff you enjoy so you don't burn out and all that. As long as it's a reasonable variety of topics the specifics don't matter too much, the point is there's a lot of language that is common to that kind of non-fiction writing that is somewhat different from fact-presentation non-fiction and very different from fiction.)

As for grammar, mostly I just studied it without drilling it. I tried a handful of cloze deletion cards but I really didn't like them so I got rid of them. The few grammar cards I made, I basically made as if the grammar point was a vocabulary word... I recall mixing up the そう constructs *again* and finally making cards as if なさそうです was a word, ないそうです was a word,   etc. (I could have just made them all 'そう' but then I would have problems with unique identifiers for the cards, so it was just easier this way.)

Well, also, I have a sentence on the front side of all my vocab cards so I'm naturally drilling on conjugated forms all the time, and effectively studying grammar to some small extent with every card. In a few cases, I've created more than one card for the same word, especially when a certain conjugation is highly likely to have a particular situational meaning.

I don't fail a card for failing the meaning of the sentence, but where it was available I do have the english sentence on the back of all my cards too, so... while I'm passing/failing on the vocab word, there's some grammar study incidentally involved.

Nobody ever seems to like my study method though, for whatever reason. I think there's like.... one or maybe two other users on these forums that do sentence-on-the-front cards. For me though, I find drilling isolated words almost totally useless. I can memorize definitions that way like trivia facts, but I don't learn the word in a way that lets me recognize it when reading. (A common occurrence when I was drilling words in isolation is that I'd meet an 'unknown' word in my reading, go and type it into a dictionary search form... and then never even search, because as soon as I saw the word in isolation like that I immediately recognized it.) 

Anyway, it may just be peculiar to my own learning style, but I really need to read vocabulary words in sentences to learn them in a way that I can read them again when I encounter them in the wild. So I put my words in sentences, which also incidentally drills me on grammar, and also for what it's worth, incidentally drills me on natural Japanese<->English translations.

Oh, also, of course, I do have a lot of cards that are constructed as vocabulary cards for 'grammatical' terms like のち, つつ, ehh... and others. (I don't have cards for ほう・より・ながら, etc., because my Anki deck was created late enough in my learning that I just didn't need stuff that appears in first year japanese texts.)

Hmm. It's been a long day at work, I think I'm rambling... well, maybe it was helpful rambling.
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#9
(2017-03-21, 10:58 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: Nobody ever seems to like my study method though, for whatever reason. I think there's like.... one or maybe two other users on these forums that do sentence-on-the-front cards. For me though, I find drilling isolated words almost totally useless. I can memorize definitions that way like trivia facts, but I don't learn the word in a way that lets me recognize it when reading. 
I've actually been entertaining the idea of trying this again, and thanks to your post, I've modified my deck to include both the sentence and the term on the front for the time being. My concern in the past has been the time it takes to re-read sentences instead of just blasting through words. But I've been concerned lately that just seeing the word in isolation does nothing to help me learn how to use the word in context.
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#10
(2017-03-22, 12:35 am)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-03-21, 10:58 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: Nobody ever seems to like my study method though, for whatever reason. I think there's like.... one or maybe two other users on these forums that do sentence-on-the-front cards. For me though, I find drilling isolated words almost totally useless. I can memorize definitions that way like trivia facts, but I don't learn the word in a way that lets me recognize it when reading. 
I've actually been entertaining the idea of trying this again, and thanks to your post, I've modified my deck to include both the sentence and the term on the front for the time being. My concern in the past has been the time it takes to re-read sentences instead of just blasting through words. But I've been concerned lately that just seeing the word in isolation does nothing to help me learn how to use the word in context.

That is one reason that I strongly prefer shorter sentences... also shorter sentences are less likely to flat out give away the meaning of the word. However, I think you'll find it's far from linear. A 5-10 word sentence doesn't take 5-10 times longer; I think it took me about 3 times longer to do cards compared to single words, when both were pure recognition. Now I make myself type out the answer which takes even longer, of course.

My whole card layout really comes from using iknow (back when it was smart.fm) and readthekanji.com ... both of which gave you context sentences, and require typed input, and felt much more effective than my single-word anki drills. I just wanted custom cards for the same thing. (Well, you can create custom cards on iknow, but the subscription fees were too much for me, especially if I was going to be creating my own content anyway.)
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#11
(2017-03-22, 8:42 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: That is one reason that I strongly prefer shorter sentences... also shorter sentences are less likely to flat out give away the meaning of the word. However, I think you'll find it's far from linear. A 5-10 word sentence doesn't take 5-10 times longer; I think it took me about 3 times longer to do cards compared to single words, when both were pure recognition. Now I make myself type out the answer which takes even longer, of course.


I'm not as concerned with the meaning being "given away". IMO, since I will always encounter the word in context anyway, I'm fine if the context helps me remember it. 

I made the change to my cards last night and ran the deck last night and today. (I'm in Tokyo, but Anki still thinks it's in Seattle. Weird.) In a few cases, if the sentence was obnoxiously long, I did search for a new, shorter one on yourei. Results: 

- It did indeed take me more than twice as long to finish. Part of this was searching for replacement sentences. I also took some time to bold the word I was studying within the sentence itself. 
- A lot of my sentences lately are from news, op/ed, 天声人語, etc. Reviewing these was great comprehension practice, even if it did take longer. I'd like to do this for a solid month and see what impact it has on my reading comprehension for news items.
- For names and for times when I was just getting sick of reading the sentence, I could focus on just the word (I still have Expression on the front of the card), and treat the card like a normal expression-only flash card.
- I had 100% recall rate on Mature cards (23/23). I don't think I've ever scored 100% on Mature before. 

tl;dr - It takes longer to review sentences, but it's useful, and I can still treat cards as vocab-only cards if I'm pressed for time.
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#12
The thing about sentences is that it requires time so find them but fortunately there are tools like EPWINGtoAnki xD
But to be sincere by now I know most of those words in reading, I need mostly to review them phonetically just so see for which words I have a hard time recalling the meaning when they are not in kanji form.
So I was thinking that it would be a lot of time lost to just find sentences and so on. So, I need a good wordlist sorted by frequency, but there are a lot of them out there. There is the core10k, the nayr deck, the jlpt word-list, the auto-generated list based on innocent novel corpus and so on... So at this point I don't know which list to use :/
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#13
If you are studying specifically for the jlpt, is seems clear you should use the tanos vocabulary lists cited earlier in the thread. From those lists, you could EPWING2anki them and you've got your deck.
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#14
Waaaaa! To bad the 天声人語 column of the 朝日新聞 is free only for the daily article. If I try to access the previous articles it asks me to subscribe for money :/
Well, I'll try to read other articles from the 朝日新聞 website and from other news/magazine websites.
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