10 Strategies for Acing the JLPT N2 Exam

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a popular way for non-native speakers to evaluate and certify their Japanese language skills. The JLPT is divided into five levels, with N2 being the second highest level. Acing the JLPT N2 exam can open up many opportunities, such as studying or working in Japan, and can be a significant accomplishment, with many companies preferring to hire N2 or above.

If you’re looking to ace the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 Exam, then you’ve come to the right place! This post will provide you with 10 essential tips and strategies to ensure you feel confident and prepared for the exam.

The next JLPT exam will be held on Sunday, July 2nd 2023 and now is a good time to start revising before work or school gets busy in April with the start of the new financial year.

TIP 1: Devise a Study Schedule and Stick to it.

Perhaps one of the most important tips for acing the JLPT N2 exam is to devise a well-defined and consistent study schedule, and then be sure to stick to it. Before you begin studying, determine a daily or weekly routine that clearly outlines which topics you plan on focusing on during each study session. Be sure they are realistic goals and create a timeline in which you can track your progress. This will help ensure that you have sufficient time to cover all of the material before taking the exam.

TIP 2: Understand How the Exam is Structured & Scored.

It’s important to understand the overall structure and scoring of the JLPT N2 exam so that you have a better idea of what kind of difficulty you should expect and how to approach your studying. The exam consists of four sections – reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and listening – which are each weighted differently when it comes to calculating your score. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the content and format of each section so that you can make the most out of your studying. The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 level is structured to evaluate a candidate’s understanding of Japanese at an intermediate level. The four sections are:

  1. Language Knowledge (Vocabulary) – measures a candidate’s ability to recognize and understand Japanese vocabulary.
  2. Language Knowledge (Grammar) – evaluates a candidate’s ability to understand Japanese grammar in various contexts.
  3. Reading – assesses a candidate’s ability to understand written Japanese in various texts, such as newspapers, magazines, and letters.
  4. Listening – tests a candidate’s ability to comprehend spoken Japanese in various situations, such as casual conversations and announcements.

The JLPT N2 test is scored on a scale of 0 to 180 points (60 per section), with passing score set at 19 points for reading and listening and 38 points for language knowledge. The scores are calculated based on the total number of correct answers, and the difficulty of the questions. The results of the test are usually released within one to two months after the test date. More info can be found on the official JLPT site.

TIP 3: Get Familiar with Types of Questions on the N2 Exam.

One of the ways to ensure you feel prepared for the JLPT N2 Exam is by studying examples of the types of questions that might appear in each exam section. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with different reading comprehension strategies, verb conjugations, kanji writing and pronunciation methods, and even listening exercises to hone in on your skills and prepare yourself thoroughly. Additionally, practice tests can be beneficial since they provide an opportunity to experience a simulation of what it will be like when you take the actual exam.

To get familiar with the types of questions on the JLPT N2 exam, you can use the following resources:

  1. Official JLPT Study Material – The official JLPT study material, including sample question papers, can be purchased or downloaded from the official website of the JLPT.
  2. Practice Tests – There are numerous JLPT N2 practice tests available online and in printed form, which will give you an idea of the types of questions you will face on the actual exam.
  3. Textbooks – Japanese language textbooks designed for the JLPT N2 level can be useful in preparing for the test. These textbooks typically include practice questions and exercises.
  4. Online resources – There are also many online resources that provide JLPT N2 practice tests and exercises, including websites, apps, and YouTube videos.

It is important to note that the actual JLPT N2 exam can be quite challenging, so it’s recommended to practice as much as possible before the test day.

TIP 4: Take as many practice tests as you can

While we already mentioned this above, this tip is so important that it deserves a section of its own! Take as many practice tests as possible to build your confidence and refine your test-taking strategies.

Taking JLPT N2 practice tests will help you gain insight into the format of the real exam and what types of questions you’ll be expected to answer. Try to find practice test materials that cover all four of the language skills tested, plus some that focus on more specific knowledge such as kanji and vocabulary. Additionally, many textbooks include practice tests so you can track your progress over time. By taking these tests, you will know which areas you should concentrate studying for and master prior to the big day. Additionally, look for an online support group of people who have taken or are studying for the same test. They can offer tips, share resources and provide camaraderie while you prepare.

TIP 5: Read, read, read!

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2 level includes a reading comprehension section, which evaluates a candidate’s ability to understand written Japanese in various texts. By N2 level, your kanji skills need to be pretty good as they include a lot and you don’t have much time to ponder the meaning.

In order to prepare for this section, it is recommended that you read authentic Japanese materials, such as news articles and books, to improve your reading skills. By exposing yourself to a wide range of written Japanese, you can develop your understanding of the language and increase your vocabulary. It is important to note that the JLPT N2 reading section is designed to test your ability to comprehend written Japanese in various contexts, such as business letters, advertisements, and news articles, so it is important to familiarize yourself with different types of texts. Regular reading and practice can help you to build your confidence and increase your chances of success on the JLPT N2 exam.

TIP 6: Use Professional Tutors or Course Providers for Guidance and Support When Preparing for Your Exam

Working closely with a professional tutor or language school such as Toranomon Language School is one of the best ways to prepare for your JLPT N2 exam. It’s important to ensure that the tutor you choose has experience and specializes in the content you’ll be tested on. Also, focus on engaging in live conversations with the instructor during the lessons instead of simply using textbooks alone. Interactive learning experiences tend to have a more lasting effect and are much better at giving you an understanding of nuanced topics like grammar structures and complex characters.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that the most efficient approach for any candidate taking the JLPT N2 is to supplement tutors and courses with independent practice. Use audio files and quizzes as resources to develop specific reading and listening comprehension skills, or search for useful Japanese culture related materials to gain more context about the language. Investing some extra effort into learning about different aspects of the language will help you create meaningful connections between vocabulary words, grammar points, and other topics that are assessed on the exam.

TIP 7: Improve listening skills

The JLPT N2 exam includes a listening section. Improving your listening skills can be challenging, but it is essential to your success on the exam. Listen to Japanese audio materials, such as podcasts and audio books, to improve your comprehension. There are so many resources for this these days – you can go to karaoke and sing along to the lyrics, you can use NHK’s special Japanese learning resources, you can check out Youtube channels such as Nihongoforyou, or watch your favourite shows and animes online.

TIP 8: Study grammar patterns

Grammar is an essential component of the JLPT N2 exam. Study grammar patterns and practice using them in context. By this stage you already know the basic Japanese grammar, now you just need to know it like the back of your hand, so you don’t struggle over comprehension due to a lack of grammar familiarity.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the grammar section of the JLPT N2 exam:

  1. Study grammar patterns – Study the grammar patterns that are typically used at the N2 level, including verb conjugations, noun declensions, and adjective conjugations. Understand how these patterns are used and what the rules are for each pattern.
  2. Practice using grammar in context – Practice using the grammar patterns you have learned in context. Read Japanese materials, such as news articles, books, and manga, and practice writing sentences using the grammar patterns.
  3. Use online resources – There are many online resources available that can help you to practice grammar, including websites, apps, and textbooks. These resources can provide you with practice exercises and examples of grammar in use.
  4. Study with a tutor – Studying with a tutor who is a native Japanese speaker can be extremely beneficial. A tutor can help you to understand the grammar patterns and provide you with feedback on your usage.
  5. Take a Japanese language course – Taking a Japanese language course can also be a great way to prepare for the grammar section of the JLPT N2 exam. A language course will provide you with structured lessons and practice exercises, and you will also have the opportunity to study with a qualified teacher.

Remember, grammar is a complex aspect of any language, and it takes time and practice to master. Be patient with yourself and make an effort to study and practice regularly, and you will see improvement in your grammar skills.

TIP 9: Memorize vocabulary

Vocabulary is a crucial aspect of the JLPT N2 exam. Study new words regularly and use flashcards or other memorization techniques to commit them to memory.

Memorizing vocabulary is important for the JLPT N2 exam because:

  1. Vocabulary forms a significant part of the exam – The JLPT N2 exam includes a section on language knowledge (vocabulary), which tests a candidate’s ability to recognize and understand Japanese vocabulary. A strong vocabulary is therefore essential for success on the exam.
  2. Vocabulary is used in all sections of the exam – Vocabulary is used not only in the language knowledge (vocabulary) section, but also in the reading, listening, and grammar sections of the exam. A strong vocabulary will allow you to understand written and spoken Japanese in various contexts.

Here are some tips to help you memorize vocabulary for the JLPT N2 exam:

  1. Make flashcards – Creating flashcards is an effective way to memorize vocabulary. Write the Japanese word on one side of the card and the English translation on the other side. Try to use the flashcards regularly and review the words often.
  2. Use spaced repetition – Spaced repetition is a technique in which you review vocabulary at increasing intervals of time. This helps you to retain the information for longer periods of time.
  3. Practice using the vocabulary in context – Try to use the vocabulary in context by reading, writing, and speaking Japanese. This will help you to remember the words and understand how they are used in different situations.
  4. Use mnemonics – Mnemonics are memory aids that help you to remember information. Try to create mnemonics for vocabulary words that are difficult to remember.
  5. Study with a group – Studying with a group can help you to memorize vocabulary more effectively. You can quiz each other and help each other to remember the words.

Remember, memorizing vocabulary takes time and consistent effort. Try to set aside time each day to study vocabulary, and be patient with yourself as you work towards mastering the words.

TIP 10: Start using Japanese in real life

This is probably the most important tip on this list in terms of practical Japanese learning. The whole point of learning Japanese is to use it in the real world, right? If you start using Japanese at school or work, then when it comes time to take the JLPT N2 exam, you will feel much more confident. By N2 level of the JLPT, you are considered to be not only conversational, but of a working level in Japanese. So in the office, try writing emails to your Japanese colleagues in Japanese. Make small talk in Japanese. Try writing a product description in Japanese. Incorporate Japanese both spoken and written into your daily life wherever possible, at least until the exam is over!

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