Studying for JLPT: Grammar

Can anyone recommend a decent way to study grammar for JLPT n1 and n2? (I want to take n1 this December)

Basically, I can get a book (like Kanzen Master), but what am I going to do with it without SRS? Do I have to retype it all myself?

Or I can find some sentence decks in Anki, but how do I select only the ones that are for n1 and n2 and, more importantly, how do I match them with an explanation of grammar that a book would provide? For some of those sentences, I can't even tell what grammar point they cover.

Is there any resource out there (not necessarily free) that can provide both explanation and SRS at the same time? Or maybe you know of an Anki deck I should get for a specific book, and then I can also get the book... And yes, I need to target n1 and n2 specifically because the time until the test is rather short compared to my current level of knowledge. Sad

I would also be happy to hear any other recommendations on studying for the grammar part of the test.

Thanks in advance!
There were some shared lists around.

There's at least one shared deck on Anki web (完全マスター1級文法)
The 新完全マスター文法 N2&N1 do a good job of teaching you all the grammar that you need. They also include lots of exercises, so I'd say that they do a good job of specifically preparing you for the JLPT. One possible downside is that they're completely in Japanese, so you won't find English translations of the sample sentences. So you sometimes might have to cross-reference with other sources.

Luckily, there already exist anki decks for the N2 & N1 books. They include all the sample sentences as well as short explanations in Japanese and English (which I guess was added by the creator of the deck). So you can use those to SRS the points and then go through the exercises in the books. You can find the decks at the bottom of this thread:

The other definite resource is the 'A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar' series. As the title says, it's mainly a reference work and not a textbook. As a reference, it is excellent though. There are tons of sample sentences with translations and explanations in English that really teach you all the subtleties.

Again, uisukii from this forum has made an anki deck out of the books. Have a look here:

As you probably have quite severe time constraints, I'd say go through the Kanzen books and use ADoJG as a reference in case you're lost.

Finally, I'd advise you to get let's of exposure to real Japanese media in order to further your understanding and increase your reading speed:
drdunlap Wrote:I also believe that the trick to both obliterating the N1 and further levels of mastery is an incredible amount of seeing the same thing used in a million different ways.. not just understanding one or two examples perfectly. The N1's questions are saying, "A native has seen this a million times. It's second nature for them. Have you?" (This is also how the writing/reading teacher of the top level classes at Kobe University explained the N1.) Get the explanation once or twice. Then go hunting for experience..!
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I've had troubles studying grammar probably similar to a lot of people. It turned out that mere recognition was not enough to get a really solid understanding in order to answer the types of grammar questions that appear on the JLPT. There are a lot of good recognition decks out there, but none of them ever worked for me.

I found that even though I could read Japanese material quickly with a pretty deep understanding, I was at a loss when it came to making use of the grammar. I was able to pass JLPT1 quite reliably multiple times despite this, but every grammar question felt like I was making a random guess.

In order to solve that problem for myself I created a grammar production Anki deck that I have shared below:

Since studying with that deck I have taken JLPT again, and I was quite a lot more confident about my answers to grammar questions. My ability to use more varied grammar in real situations has also noticeably improved.

Starting from recognition is good, but at a certain point I think production is really necessary for grammar. Thankfully there's only a few hundred grammar points. So if you're a diligent Anki user you can make it through the material quite quickly.

So the process I would recommend would be to work recognition and production cards in tandem. Then when you finish the material you can check your understanding using the sample questions from the Kanzen Master books or other drill books.
Edited: 2014-07-13, 8:17 am
erlog, thanks for sharing, I wasn't aware of your deck up until now. I think I'll have a go at it once I find some time to spare. I'd agree that fully mastering grammar also requires some sort of production. However, as you say, maybe it's easiest to progress from recognition to production over time. Unfortunately, as you also mention, one can more or less guesstimate through the N1, so if the sole goal is to pass it, I guess one can leave out that step for now.

This kind of reminds me of one of Feynman's last quotes:
What I cannot create, I do not understand.
Yeah, I just released it tonight in response to this thread. I was planning on waiting a little bit so I could sort out the collisions, but I figured there's no harm in releasing it now. If people are into it then I can probably get some help fixing it up too.

I also had visions of me being too lazy to fix it up, and then never releasing it. So I figured it'd just be better to release it now.

The reason I ended up passing JLPT1 despite my poor grasp of grammar was just because I read a lot. My reading speed was also good, and so I could compensate based on what sounded most natural to me. However, I think I probably could have passed JLPT1 sooner if I had studied the grammar with production cards sooner.

When I finally buckled down to study grammar with that deck it took me only 3-4 days to finish all of it. On the other hand, it took me months and months to do enough reading practice to get to the level of skill where that could compensate for my lack of grammar.

When I passed JLPT2 a long time ago it was the opposite situation. I crammed a bunch of technical grammar stuff right before the test, didn't know what most of it even meant, and then forgot that technical stuff right after. The test was very different at that time, though. So you could get by on the grammar section just knowing how the different pieces of grammar connected to the sentence without actually knowing what they meant.

So I feel like studying the grammar doesn't actually take that long if you have the right materials, and those end up being easy points to pick up. It also helps with the conversation response section of the listening quite a lot too. Most of those rely on grammar quite heavily.
Edited: 2014-07-13, 9:42 am
Erlog, nice deck. That will come in handy for sure Smile

When you went through your own deck and passed the JLPT more easily, how big was your overall vocabulary at that time and how good was your listening and reading comprehension? Had you read a lot of novels or other native material? I'm just curious to find out as much as possible about the general level of people who have passed the JLPT1, since I myself will have to take it at some point (nowhere close to that yet though).
Thanks guys, I'll try the Anki decks you suggested, and I'll also try to report back on how they worked out for me.
After playing around with various decks and taking some sample tests, I can now confidently say that erlog's method is the way to go for JLPT preparation. Basically, since JLPT grammar questions are fill in the blank type, erlog's deck mirrors them closely enough.
I can confirm as well that my most recent method was effective for JLPT study. I got 140/180 which is much much higher than I had gotten before. 50/60 on Grammar/Vocab 50/60 on reading and 40/60 on listening.

I ended up improving by about 30 points in a pretty short time frame.
Edited: 2014-08-28, 11:48 am
I am planning to take JLPT N3 this December 7. I have tried the N3 practice book pdf provided in the website of JLPT and I found out I am horrible when it comes to grammar.

My Japanese studying are just RTK1(completed), core 10k(4/10 completed) and daily exposure to Native Japanese materials(Visual novels with machine translator and anime). Sadly, I never did once seriously studied grammar. The only knowledge I get from grammar is just exposure.

Is there any grammar anki deck for for JLPT 1,2 and 3(the one in this thread is N1&2)? I was also wondering if the Tae Kim grammar book would be useful for JLPT 3 grammar. Also if I just study seriously the grammar portions on Genki 1 and 2 would that be enough?

The problem is when reading grammar related stuff I do understand them but when asking what kind of word should I use I am blank sometimes. The only way I do with grammar is from context and "what sounds good" instinct.
Edited: 2014-09-03, 2:12 pm
Quote:Is there any grammar anki deck for for JLPT 1,2 and 3(the one in this thread is N1&2)? I was also wondering if the Tae Kim grammar book would be useful for JLPT 3 grammar. Also if I just study seriously the grammar portions on Genki 1 and 2 would that be enough?
erlog's deck contains 20 N3 cards. IIRC Tae Kim's guide is said to cover most of N3. Genki 1+2 is only enough for N4.
Edited: 2014-09-03, 2:33 pm