The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is an internationally recognized exam that evaluates the level of understanding of the Japanese language. The JLPT is divided into five levels, N1 being the highest and N5 the lowest. N3 is the middle level of the JLPT, and is the minimum requirement for many jobs in Japan. Cracking the N3 exam is essential for anyone looking to pursue a career in Japan. In this post, we will look at resources for preparation, steps to pass the JLPT N3 and essential tips for passing the JLPT N3.
Introduction to the N3 Japanese Language Proficiency Test
If you have passed N3, you have a better chance of getting a job in Japan. I’m a Japanese language teacher and my students also have much more job opportunities to apply for by passing N3.
However, official information about N3 is quite limited. N3 began in 2010 when the JLPT was renewed. Prior to that, there were four levels, and the new levels were announced as shown in the table below, which is made based on the New Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Guidebook.
|JLPT Levels After Renewal||Notes|
|N1||Equivalent to former level 1 or slightly more difficult.|
|N2||Equivalent to former level 2|
|N3||Between former level 2 and 3|
|N4||Equivalent to former level 3|
|N5||Equivalent to former level 4|
All we know is that N3 is between Levels 2 and 3 of the former test. Because exam criteria and past exam questions are no longer available after the renewal, even if you look at the N3 materials available on the market, the items covered differ from material to material.
That is why I wanted to write this post to help you. In particular, I believe that information about recommended resources in the next section would be beneficial.
Best Resources for Preparation for JLPT N3
When preparing for the N3, it is important to make full use of resources. There are many books and websites which provide comprehensive practice tests and other resources. Practice tests will help you get used to the format of the exam and identify weak areas.
But choose your resources carefully because there is very little official information about N3. It means that even if you buy a book on the market, it may not contain correct information. I recommend the following three items.
- Marugoto Japanese Language and Culture
- Pass the JLPT N3 in 20 Days: Kanji, Vocabulary and Grammar
- The Official Practice Workbook
Marugoto Japanese Language and Culture
First, I recommend the book called Marugoto. This book is published by the Japan Foundation, which administers the JLPT overseas.
The reason why this book is good is because the official Marugoto website says that the B1 level book is equivalent to N3.
Also, although this is unofficial information, one of sensei from the Japan Foundation also said that Marugoto covers as many items of the JLPT as possible. In fact, my students passed the N3 exam after studying from this book, and although only two students took the JLPT, they both passed, which is quite impressive. Even more so since we had not done any “JLPT preparation” using question books or anything like that.
On the other hand, the official Marugoto website says:
However, Marugoto is not a book intended for the JLPT test, so learners who are aiming to pass the JLPT are recommended to do extra preparation, such as by using a workbook with test practice questions.Marugoto official website
I leave it to you to decide which you believe.
Marugoto is also available as an e-book, so if you are interested, please take a look at it; you can also view samples in the following links.
You can also study for free in Marugoto online course up to one level (A2/B1) before the N3 level (B1), For more information, read the following post.
Pass the JLPT N3 in 20 Days: Kanji, Vocabulary and Grammar
The original title of this book is 日本語能力試験 20日で合格 N3 文字・語彙・文法 （Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken Hatsuka de Goukaku N3 Moji Goi Bunpoo）.
In the foreword of this book, it says:
この問題集では、実際の試験問題をもとに作成した、いろいろな問題を収録しています。Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken Hatsuka de Goukaku N3 Moji Goi Bunpoo
Translated into English, this means “This book contains a variety of questions based on actual exam questions.”
I don’t know how they got the actual exam questions, since past exams are not published, but my students have told me that they actually got the questions from this book.
Unfortunately, there is no e-book version of this book, but it is not impossible to get it if you order it from Amazon Japan. Please note that there are additional costs involved, such as shipping.
The Official Practice Workbook
Finally, here is the official practice workbook, which you can download for free from the official JLPT website. It comes complete with audio files and answers, so you can take a practice test and check your answers. Because they are “official,” there is no other resource you can rely on as much. There is no doubt that solving this collection of questions and analyzing the questions will get you closer to passing the exam.
Four Preparation Steps to Pass JLPT N3
Here are four steps to pass JLPT N3.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Structure of the Exam
- Devise a Study Plan
- Use Mock Tests
- Ensure That You are Well-Rested and Well-Prepared
Familiarize Yourself with the Structure of the Exam
The first step in preparing for JLPT N3 is to familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam, which is as follows.
|No.||Test Sections||Test Time|
|1||Language Knowledge (Kanji and Vocabulary)||30min|
|2||Language Knowledge (Grammar) and Reading||70min|
The N3 is a paper-based exam, and the total time given to complete the exam is 140 minutes. There are three sections and each section has no breaks in the middle. For example, the Kanji and Vocabulary sections will take 30 minutes to complete the test questions without a break.
Devise a Study Plan
Once you have familiarized yourself with the structure of the N3 exam, the next step is to devise a study plan. This will help to ensure that one remains focused and motivated. The plan should include a list of topics that need to be covered, and a timeline for completing the topics. For topics, you can refer to textbooks like Marugoto. Additionally, it should also include regular breaks to ensure that you won’t get overwhelmed.
Use Mock Tests
It is also important to use mock tests to help you become familiar with the structure of the N3 exam. Mock tests provide an opportunity to practice answering questions in the correct format and to familiarize yourself with the types of questions that you may encounter on the day of your exam. And this also helps you get used to working within the allotted time.
In this step, you can use the official practice workbook.
Ensure That You are Well-Rested and Well-Prepared
Finally, it is important to ensure that you are well-rested and well-prepared on the day of your exam. Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before and that you arrive at the exam center in plenty of time. Additionally, it is important to avoid cramming in the days leading up to your exam. A better approach is to review the material that you have studied slowly and methodically.
By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that you have the best possible chance of success when taking the JLPT N3 exam.
Essential Tips for Passing the N3
Here are 3 essential tips for passing the N3.
Understand the Language
It is important to focus on understanding the language and not just memorizing it. Understanding the language will help you use it in real-life situations, and also get a high score on the JLPT. Marugoto is perfect for this purpose because this book is designed to improve your ability to communicate in Japanese. Students who studied with Marugoto and passed N3 can also speak Japanese fluently.
Use Test Strategies
When taking the N3, it is important to have a test strategy. This will help one to answer questions quickly and efficiently. For example, you can see the exam papers of Listening section while they give you instructions （as far as there is no change in the instructions）. Or you can decide before the exam much time to spend on each of the grammar and reading section, as they are 70 minutes in total, without a break.
After taking the exam, it is important to review the questions to identify areas that need to be worked on.
Cracking the N3 is essential for anyone looking to pursue a career in Japan. In this article, we have looked at resources for preparation, steps to pass the JLPT N3 and essential tips for passing the JLPT N3.
With the right preparation and dedication, passing the N3 is achievable. So, go ahead and start preparing for the exam and all the best!
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