Last updated: 19th June 2023
Sitting the JLPT this July? Or perhaps December?
If the test's drawing near, now's a great time to quiz yourself and see what gaps you might have to fill in before the exam.
In this post, I'll introduce six online resources I suggest to students preparing for the JLPT exam. This list is in no particular order, so if you're wondering where to start, I recommend picking the one you think looks most fun and taking it from there!
As a couple of the resources only cater to some JLPT levels, I've included this info in the headings below. I also recommend bearing in mind that many of these resources do not provide as much furigana as you'll see in the actual JLPT, particularly at lower levels. To get a more accurate idea of what the test is like, check the Official Past Paper Workbooks (listed third in this list). In the meantime, I suggest using something like the 10ten reader browser plugin/extension to help you out when you get stuck.
Not signed up to the JLPT yet? Click here to read my post on the pros and cons of the exam based on my experiences both as a student and teacher.
Available both as a website and app, Todai Reader is a resource you may know for its graded news articles.
What you might not know is that it also has JLPT tests for all five levels, each including a handy timer to help you get a sense of how quickly you'll need to move in the real exam.
While it does come with a few drawbacks (some content has been put behind a paywall; the website requires you to log in; the app version includes ads), this is a website I use with my students preparing for the JLPT and one that I definitely recommend giving a try.
Added note: having used this website for a while with several of my students, we've found that its calculations of results for practice tests can sometimes be skewed by the fact that it often only records your initial answer. In other words, if you change an answer after initially answering a question incorrectly, it will not give you the point even if you ultimately chose the right answer. While it's a bit of a pain, be sure to scroll back through your answers and manually check your score!
This is a resource I've stumbled on fairly recently, but one that I think is worth a look whatever level of the JLPT you're sitting.
As pictured above, the Meguro Language Center website provides the option to select quizzes from JLPT level N5 to N1, with multiple tests available per level. For N4 to N1, you have the choice of quizzing yourself on either kanji or grammar, while the N5 quizzes also offer the option to test your katakana knowledge.
What I like about this site is the simplicity of its design. Each quiz is just 10 questions long, and as soon as you select your answer, you'll see whether you got the question right or not. If you get stuck on a given question, just click "Tips" for a hint - although it appears that at the time of writing, there are no "Tips" for either N2 or N1.
This one may sound obvious, but hear me out! Did you know you can access official JLPT past papers, including audio files, answer sheets and more for free via the official JLPT website?
To find the papers, click here and scroll down to the two orange and blue buttons pictured here. Click one of these and scroll down further, to where you should see "Test items" (PDF copies of the papers) listed for all levels.
These papers are mostly suitable for training yourself in taking the full exam paper, so if you're looking for something a bit more bite-sized and interactive, why not try the official JLPT sample questions?
While there are tonnes of great YouTube channels out there for Japanese learners, I think じゃぱすた (Japasuta) really stands out in terms of quality and clarity of explanation.
じゃぱすた has several playlists with intros to JLPT grammar, my favourite thing about them being how they talk you through grammar points by introducing real-life scenarios and dialogues - all to the background of specially-made animation clips!
What's more, towards the end of each video is a 練習しましょう (renshuu shimashō - let's practice) section where you can test whether you can make sentences with the new grammar.
If you're feeling a bit burnt out with multiple choice quizzes and past papers, I definitely recommend giving じゃぱすた a go!
Check out one example of an N2 grammar video below:
Another YouTuber whose JLPT videos I recommend is 日本語 to 旅 〜Nihongo to Tabi〜.
Originally recommended to me by a student, 日本語 to 旅 〜Nihongo to Tabi〜 is a fantastic channel that boasts a huge number of videos perfect for anyone looking to get to grips with JLPT grammar. You can find playlists for levels N4, N3, N2 and N1, with another テーマ別日本語 (Japanese by theme) playlist for when you want to take a break and try something based on more cultural or practical topics.
Personally, I really enjoy the format and quality of these videos, which include plenty of clear - and often amusing! - examples, introductions to how to form different grammatical structures and "homework" activities at the end for you to have a go at forming your own sentences. Most videos also include a practice section too, which is invaluable to anyone self-studying or topping up what they've learnt elsewhere.
You can see an example of a video aimed at JLPT N3 level below:
I'll admit when I first came across the Japanesetest4you website, I was turned off by its slightly clunky appearance, but have faith! This can be a really handy website for a lot of people.
On the website you'll find that they have a great number of interactive JLPT quizzes, covering grammar, vocab, kanji, listening and reading. Once you've chosen what you want to be tested on, click "Read more" next to the relevant exercise to begin. Answers are not checked automatically, so you will need to scroll down to the bottom of each test page to check them manually.
For those keen to check out this site, the one thing I would mention is that the presentation style can make reading exercises in particular quite gruelling. As such, I'd mostly recommend it for kanji, vocab, grammar and listening practice.
You've reached the end of this post! I hope you enjoyed it.
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