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Is this a good place to buy JLPT Books? http://shop.whiterabbitjapan.com/japane … pt-n1.html
I'm planning on buying a lot of books by this week, so I need your advice on which ones are best for study purposes.
Yea that site is legit. I've bought a few books from them myself. Always fast delivery.
I've bought books there, too. They're a fine vendor. I can't help with recommending JLPT books, though.
I've never taken the JLPT before but I might just aim for 2 since in America it's only once a year so I have until December. That being said it would be safer to go for 3 but where's the fun in that, right? So anyway I have no JLPT study books. Anybody that does have recommendations? As of right now I'm starting from the JLPT5 word list and will work myself towards 2 as time goes on putting vocab into my vocab deck.
Last edited by TheVinster (2012 June 20, 9:48 am)
I took the test before they changed format to the N version, but the only JLPT books I ever used were the grammar versions of this series:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E6%97%A5%E6%9C … amp;sr=8-1
From what I've seen on this forum, I think a lot of people overdo it with the JLPT books. JLPT grammar is something that's worth preparing for specifically, because the stuff they use is so obscure (or at least used to be), but for everything else, good old reading and watching TV shows is what you really need.
I seem to remember the JLPT N1 grammar from last year being quite straightforward. Hardly anything in my N1 grammar book came up in the exam. Assuming the format remains the same, I'd say that knowing common newspaper article grammar is easily sufficient to pass. They might throw in a few of marks worth of obscure things but that's nothing worth agonising over. The pass mark is only 60% or something.
Last edited by dizmox (2012 June 20, 10:20 am)
Looking at the N1 単語ターゲット2000 book, the book costs 1700 yen, and they're selling it for $27. In dollars, it costs around $21.25 if you bought it in Japan, plus there would be shipping from Japan, which can run around 30-50% of the price, depending on delivery speed. (From SAL->EMS, that's been my experience in the cost of shipping.) So $27 sounds pretty fair, actually. You could always check bk1/honto, kinokunia US and thejapanshop.com as well. Kinokunia is pretty cheap, with free shipping if you buy all from the same branch and spend over $100.
As for particular books, I'd be interested to hear others' opinions as well. Here are mine:
I have the N1 versions of 完全マスター and 日本語総まとめ. I also have the old 1級 version of KZM 文法 from my N1 grammar class at Yamasa, and I prefer it because the old version has more grammar bits in it versus the new one. About half of the stuff we studied in my class wasn't in the new version of KZM grammar. It could be just sample error, or that the new book is better targeted, but there it is anyway.
The new KZM grammar is a good book for review, but I wouldn't necessarily use it for learning. I'd get the old version for that. But I could be out in left field, and expending unnecessary effort, learning stuff that won't show up on N1. All I remember from my N1 exam was that it didn't feel a lot like anything I had learned up until that point.
The KZM 語彙 book is interesting. Not sure if it duplicates the NSM 語彙 book, tho.
The other books in the new KZM series are all good. About the same as the old versions, except cleaned up a bit, and geared towards the new exam.
The N1 version of 日本語総まとめ is pretty much the same as the N2 version. Once again, no explanations of grammar, just exercises and example sentences with English translations. Not really sure where it is on completeness vs. KZM 1級 or N1, but it does have a lot of material in it. I didn't really like the lack of explanations/definitions in the N2 version, and I don't really like it here, though. It's kind of annoying.
Either way, I would pick up both 読解 books, mainly because 読解 always kills me.
The first book I mentioned, the 単語ターゲット book, is good, but not essential. You're going to cover a lot of that vocab in the other books. I might get it later to check to see if the first 2 missed anything. It's a good book, though, in that it goes in descending frequency of appearance on the exams. That's pretty darn handy.
My final recommendation would be the ドリル＆ドリル series by Unicom. They have books for 文法 and 聴解・読解 for N1. They're crammed full of practice problems, and the harder ones have lengthy explanations in the back. I loved these books for N2. These are for after you've learned all of that other stuff, and just need to practice like mad.
Last edited by rich_f (2012 June 20, 10:14 am)
Grammar is good because they're objectively graded, so it's like free points compared to the subjective one of reading/listening, where you can do well but if you don't do well compared to everyone else it could cost you.
I feel like vocabulary books aren't that great... might be better to just pick up a book on reading as well as a practice test book. And books on reading are really good; they usually explain the points well, questions are closely matched up, and you get a whole spectrum of reading too. I'm working through the Unicom N1 reading and you get some good articles that you probably normally wouldn't read... philosophical ones like how the move from sundials to mechanical watches changed the concept of time from natural and sun-based into a mechanical and absolute one.
I'm bad at listening so no advice there, lol.
So I mean would it be okay that, having not taken any JLPT test before, that I just go for JLPT 2? Because if you guys think it's not a completely stupid idea then I'll be buying the Kanzen Master JLPT N2: Grammar book.
Not having done the JLPT before won't hold you back if your knowledge is solid and you prepare well and you take some practice tests to know what to expect. The first test I did was 1級.
Try taking the online practice tests at the jlpt website. There are also past tests of the old 2級 floating around as well that you can try. (The test has changed, but the difficulty level is still roughly the same.) Even if you fail, if you're in the ballpark, it might be a good idea to go for it. But if you can't do better than guessing, drop down to N3.
Also, keep in mind that grammar only gets you 1/3 of the way there. If you bomb either the reading or listening tests, that's it. Reading tests speed and comprehension (you don't have much time), and listening tests the same, as well as your ability to follow sometimes convoluted conversations without missing where the football has been hidden. If you already read a lot of stuff (besides manga) and listen to a variety of stuff, then that'll help a lot... but you should still invest in some prep books to get a feel for the reading/listening questions.
I tried the online tests as per your recommendation and, well, I did well enough on most of JLPT 3 except for listening. Your football comment made me laugh, by the way. JLPT 2 was kinda disastrous so I think I'll just aim for JLPT 2. Why not just try to force myself to exceed. If anything I'll be studying for a higher goal and will become more knowledgeable regardless.
So that brings me to the listening and reading that you mentioned. Definitely something that makes me worry. I sort of want a bunch of the Kanzen Master series (reading, grammar, listening) but that'd be a bit much for my current budget.
Would anyone be willing to sell me some of their Kanzen Master books?
Grammar gets you less than a third of the way there. There's only like 10-15 grammar questions on the test now. The rest of that section is entirely vocabulary. The test is weighted very heavily towards reading now.
The best way to prepare for the JLPT is to read a ton and get your vocab level up. Also try taking in as much native-level listening as possible. If you can get yourself into a good regimen doing just those 3 things you'll pass JLPT fine. The drill books are good, but they can't really teach you the way they used to be able to when there was more pedantic junk on the test. They're just kind of there for fine-tuning and practice.
For instance there's good explanations of some high level concepts in the 1級 Kanzen Master reading book, but it's all in Japanese. If you can't already read Japanese at a high level then the book is going to be unusable.
My experience is several years ago with the old 2級 not N2 so I'm not sure if it'll be that helpful. I did use the Kanzen Master for grammar and felt really well prepared for that part of the test. It's the same as the 1級 in that it's all in Japanese, no English. I do remember finding the explanations or distinctions between some grammar points confusing and having to ask someone to help explain. I used the Unicom series for reading because I liked the way it was set up. It had the readings both with and without furigana so you can practice reading realistically like the test, but also having the furigana version helps you learn and look up unknown words easily.
I don't know if there are new format practice tests out there - if so definitely try some of them as the exam gets closer so that you're used to the format of the exam and know how to pace yourself.