How to Pass the JLPT N2 – Guide to the JLPT N2 Level Test

Posted by on June 8, 2020 – Japanese Study
Guide to passing the JLPT N2 cover photo

Are you trying to pass the JLPT N2 level test? Maybe you want a promotion at work, are trying to pass a job interview – or you might just want to challenge yourself!

The JLPT N2 is quite a beast, but if you follow these study tips you can easily pass. In this guide, we will show you the way to victory so you can pass the N2!

Looking to shortcut your path to passing? Check out our Online JLPT N2 Prep Course!

Overview of How to Pass the JLPT N2

The JLPT N2 is divided into three sections: language knowledge, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. Each section is scored out of 60 marks, and to pass you need at least 30 marks in each section.

At the lowest, you need 30/60 per section (90/180 total) to pass. Unfourtunately failing one section will result in a fail on the whole test.

But if you follow just this guide, you will be able to pass with flying colors.

Contents:

JLPT N2 Kanji & Vocabulary

How many Japanese Kanji should I know for the JLPT N2?

In total, you need to know roughly 1000 kanji for the N2.

If you have already passed the JLPT N3, you only need to learn an additional 350 Kanji. This is roughly the same gap from the N4 to N3, so it’s totally doable.

The secret with kanji is to just practice, practice, practice. The good news is there is no writing section, so you only need to be able to read the kanji. That being said, practicing to write the kanji is a great way to carve them into your brain.

What about N2 Vocab?

The vocabulary list for the N2 consists of roughly 6,000 words – around 2,500 more than the N3.

The best way to master the vocab is to memorize the words along with their kanji. Likewise this will also help you retain all of the kanji – so the vocabulary and kanji study reinforce each other.

There are plenty of free resources online with kanji and vocabulary lists catered towards N2 study. (Like this list from Memrise)

Or skip the hassle and pass with our Online JLPT N2 Prep Course!

JLPT N2 Grammar and Reading

How to Study N2 Grammar

Mastering the Japanese N2 Grammar will make the JLPT so much easier for you. There are around 200 Grammar “points” you need to learn between N3 and N2.

The N2 grammar is tricky because there are many rules – and maybe just as many exceptions. But if you study carefully, the answers to the problems actually become easier than you might think.

Books are probably a better resource than websites or online flashcards. It is harder to capture the nuances of Japanese Grammar, especially when you get to N2 level and above. We recommend ‘An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese’ for a book that covers N2 Grammar.

N2 Reading

Since the JLPT N2 has a whole section for reading comprehension, it is important to focus heavily on the reading. They often pull sections from articles or books for the test, and you can expect be tested on their specific contents.

For reading practice, it is a good idea to focus on reading actual Japanese articles – especially those geared towards Japanese middle school students. You can also check out NHK News Web Easy.

There is usually a small bit of furigana for the reading, but don’t count on it being very helpful. It’s best if you can be ahead of the game as much as possible.

Our Online JLPT N2 Prep Course has a section devoted to Grammar and Reading – check it out to see how you can pass the N2!

JLPT N2 Listening

How hard is the listening on the JLPT?

Not too bad if you are used to hearing Japanese a lot. It’s often said to be the easiest section.

That being said however, you do not want to underestimate or overlook studying for the listening portion. The questions come at you fast and you can easily get behind. You are given a blank sheet of paper that you can use to take notes. Howevever, you don’t want to rely on this too much because it can trip you up. Just relax and take each question as it comes.

The best way to prepare for this section is to maximize your Japanese input. Use podcasts, Japanese Tv News, Television programs, and anything that uses proper spoken Japanese for study.

On another note, JLPT prep books come with CD’s to accompany the listening. These will be the best way to prepare since the questions will come at you at the same pace as in the actual test. This way you can get a feel for the rhythm and be comfortable when the actual listening test comes.

How to Prep for the JLPT N2

The best overall way to prepare for the JLPT N2 is with JLPT N2 practice tests. You can find PDFs of old JLPT N2 tests online, download them, and take them on a timer.

Taking multiple N2 practice tests has several benefits. The most obvious is that you are getting used to the test format and the types of questions that you will be asked across all 3 sections.

Another big perk of taking the practice tests properly is that you will train your brain to complete the sections within the time limits. When the timer runs out at the JLPT test site, it’s pencils down (.02 pencils, actually). But if you can get used to taking the test on a timer, you will be able to finish the sections with time to go back and review.

If you are curious about study hours, check out our article detailing How Many Hours of Study it takes to pass each level.

If you are serious about passing the JLPT N2, we strongly encourage you to enroll in our Online JLPT Prep Course.

App Recommendations to Study for N2

Language and flashcard apps are a great way to prepare for the JLPT. These are some of our favorite Apps for IOS and Android to use in preparation for the JLPT!

Bunpo: Learn Japanese – Android & IOS

JLPT N2 Study - Bunpo App

Bunpo: Learn Japanese is available on both Android and IOS!

Bunpo is a free resource to study Japanese Grammar on your mobile device. It covers JLPT levels N5 all the way to N1!

When you first start the app, you can select a JLPT level to study for (in this case: N2). The Bunpo runs you through some lessons and quizzes to help you prepare for the JLPT!

Obenkyo – Android

JLPT N2 Study - Obenkyo App

Obenkyo is available on Google Play as an Android app. Like Bunpo, however, it covers JLPT levels N5 through N1.

Obenkyo focuses on Japanese vocabulary and Japanese kanji, but they also have grammar as well.

Japanese – Android & IOS

JLPT N2 Study - Japanese App

Available on both Android and IOS, Japanese is a massive “study companion” for anyone learning the Japanese language – at virtually any stage.

Japanese has dedicated study lists for the JLPT, which feature Kanji, Vocabulary, example sentences, talk-to-text, and flashcard mechanisms.

What’s more is Japanese, and the other apps above, are all free to download!

Recommended Textbook to Study for the JLPT N2 – Shin Kanzen Master N2

JLPT N2 study textbook: Shin Kanzen Master N2

Our ultimate Japanese textbook recommendation for passing the JLPT N2 is the New Kanzen Master series JLPT N2. This bundle (5 books) has all the information you need to pass the JLPT N2.

Each book in the bundle covers (respectively): Kanji, Grammar, Listening (w/ CD), Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary.

It’s also the textbook we use for our Online JLPT N2 Prep Course, so we mean it when we say it’s our recommendation.

Online JLPT N2 Prep Course

JLPT N2 Online Prep Course - Nagai Sensei Cover

If you are serious about passing the JLPT N2, consider enrolling in our Online JLPT N2 Prep Course. This course is perfect for anyone who is self-studying but wants to improve their understanding of the language – or anyone who wants an easy way to pass the JLPT N2.

Our N2 prep course focuses on the Grammar, Reading, Vocabulary, and Kanji you will need to pass the JLPT N2. You will have access to weekly sessions taught by Nagai-sensei in our own virtual classroom.

Click here to see a virtual sample of a class session!

By ensuring your JLPT N2 certificate, you will be setting yourself up in a good position in a Japanese working professional environment. The JLPT N2 is important for anyone pursuing a career in Japan.

Contact us today to sign up!

How to Register for the Exam

The test is typically held once a year – usually once in July and again in December. The application window may seem narrow, but it can be easy to miss it so be careful!

You can apply and register for the JLPT online via the MyJlpt page. Choose the test level and then pay online, and then you will be alerted to your zoning/location of the test when they send out your test voucher.

For a more detailed rundown, check out our Guide on How to Apply for the JLPT Online!