Study Tips to Pass JLPT N3

Studying for the JLPT N3?

After working through ‘Minna no Nihongo’, gloriously passing JLPT levels N5 or N4 and mastering the basic grammar needed to order your favourite sushi, your next step should be to level up to JLPT N3.

This level is described as ‘the ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations. Looking to pass the easy way? Learn how to pass the JLPT N3 with our JLPT N3 Online Course!

Let’s take a look at what skills are needed to do well on each part, and get some useful tips on how to ace the test!

Note: Finding the right JLPT N3 textbook is just as important as studying the subject. That’s why we recommend you check our JLPT N3 textbook recommendations before you continue.

1. Kanji

Bad news: You must know approximately 650 kanji in order to pass.
Good news: You should already know around 300 of them, from N5 and N4. You are already halfway there!
The kanji is getting progressively more difficult. However, what works best is studying the most common radicals first, as it is easier to find meaning in each kanji.
Most importantly, practice, practice practice!
A website extremely useful is NHK’s New Web EASY. It is not always easy studying for N3, and I usually need a dictionary, but it is great reading practice.
The thing that makes it easier, is that most topics will be familiar to you as they would be news articles. As texts on familiar topics are a lot easier to understand, I’m less likely to give up quickly.
Another useful N3 Kanji resource is our JLPT N3 Kanji Writing Workbook! This do-it-yourself PDF workbook is downloadable and will help you master the 369 kanji gap between N4 and N3.

2. Vocabulary

For me, the most difficult part of studying Japanese is expanding my vocabulary. Especially at the beginning, all words sounded very similar to me. It’s getting better, but it is still hard.
There was one website that greatly helped me expand my vocabulary, and that is It is free, and one of the best resources for vocabulary cramming out there.
I use it on the train, when waiting in line, and even before going to bed. The words are grouped by JLPT level, and I recommend studying N1 or N2, to be well prepared for N3.

3. Grammar

When it comes to grammar, I prefer books over websites. One book I particularly like is ‘An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese’. This book is not just dry grammar, as it contains interesting information about Japanese culture too.
If you understand the grammar in the book, you should already be well prepared to take the JLPT N3 test.
Another piece of advice I would like to give is to do mock tests online. Whatever you don’t understand you can look up and include in your studies. However, after studying the book mentioned above there shouldn’t be many unknown words or structures in the test anymore.  For reference, the official website has a few practice questions.

4. Reading

study tips to pass jlpt n3 - reading

For the reading portion of the JLPT test, it should not be too difficult after you followed the advice above. Texts in the tests follow a very similar format every time it is conducted, and the subjects of the texts are never too surprising.
Even the kanji mostly have furigana to help you. Common themes are emails from a boss/co-worker, a trip (travel), someone talking about a memory they have, a bulletin with date/time information.

5. Listening

The JLPT N3 listening test is something you can’t learn from books only. The age-old adagio of conversation practice wherever you go comes into play here, and the TV can also be a useful study mate in this case.
Listening to comedians making fun of each other can help you get used to the flow and sound of the language, but keep in mind that it will be very different from what you will actually hear during the test.
What you will hear during the test is usually spoken quite slowly and clearly, so if you are used to people speaking at a natural speed you may be pleasantly surprised.
One of the best ways to practice conversation and work on your specific language issues is to go to a language school. At Coto Japanese Academy, the small class size and professional teachers will help you reach your Japanese language goals, not only to pass the JLPT but also to use in your daily life and work!
If being too busy is an excuse for you to skip out on your Japanese learning, then we have some advice for how you can learn Japanese on the go! Find out more here. If learning Japanese through the conventional textbook way is too boring, how about learning through some games instead? Find out more here!
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Official JLPT N3 Exam Questions – Vocabulary

Try these offical JLPT exam vocabulary questions to test your n3 vocabulary!
Official JLPT N3 Exam Questions – Vocabulary

Coto Japanese Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo, we offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learner. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo – please visit our contact page here.

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