What do you recommend to do after N3?

Compared to pre-N3 content I would study Japanese using Anki and would in general would study a lot more often and it felt more useful/I felt like I learned something after a study period. Recently I haven’t been feeling the same after completing the N2 level workbooks of quartet 1 and 2 around 2-3 months ago I have only been reading books in Japanese without any formal studying. I wanted to know for anyone who has gone through this and is around N1 level+ what would be the best approach to continue studying. For example, maybe there is a good N1 book, but I feel like I have flatlined.


I’d say, at this point it might depend on what your end goal is. If your end goal is being able to read fluently, then dunk yourself into as many books as possible. Same thing for listening. If your end goal is to be able to write and/or speak fluently, then you’d probably want to gear up into finding times and opportunities you can interact with native speakers as often as possible.


Similar to what @eefara said, but what is your end goal?

If you are having trouble thinking of a goal, I recommend the following method that I adapted for language learning usage:

Is your motivation for learning Japanese:

Spiritual (religion or philosophy)
Physical (such as needing it to live in Japan or for a job)
Intellectual (you like it for the sheer joy of learning the details of a language)
Relational (partner or friends or family)
Enjoyment (do you enjoy using that language for media or sports or something that is best experienced in that language)

After I finished N3, I decided to only barely study for N2 (mostly just WK), and focus on the R and E aspects cause that is what motivated me, so I started reading and talking with people in Japanese more. N2 is a big jump in terms of academics but the best way I found to study was to focus on the WHY of Japanese and use that to input/output as much language as possible and make specific exam studying secondary. Its hard to just cram for the N2 like you can for the N3 without a strong language base/intuition so just reading books in Japanese is honestly plenty for you for now, but supplement that later with practice tests and use those to discover your weaknesses.

I’m by no means good at Japanese, but I did pass N2 first try using this system, for whatever that is worth.

Sorry for writing too much, hopefully something in there helps! Good luck!


Thank you for the advice. I think I could probably get close to passing or pass N2 because I only got 1 wrong on the practice test, but I have never actually taken a JLPT official test. I am only in Highschool so there is probably no need for me to take a JLPT. But I guess it is good to know that other people have the same problem of not being able to cram past N3 level. But I have noticed even in Quartet 2 which is N2 many of the readings just feel like my high school classwork and it feels more of a drag to complete rather than actively learning Japanese its more of taking in the Japanese you already know.


When you learn your first 100 things, it’s noticable. The next 100 things, still very noticable. Once you have learned 10000 things, 100 more doesn’t really get noticed. That’s what is usually happening when we hit the intermediate plateau. Now you usually only see the progress in hindsight. Couple of months later you realize that your reading speed has improved. That your listening comprehension has improved. That you recognize more words/kanji. Etc. But in the moment it seems like nothing is moving forward.

You can cram for the JLPT. However, that rarely translates to actually knowing the language. So, just immersing in the language and looking things up as you go (or when something looks interesting) is kind of the usual approach for intermediate learners, I think - unless they have some kind of deadline that they need the JLPT N1 by date XYZ.


I think at this level it’s more of a matter of:

  • actively use the language for whatever you wanted to use it for
  • continue to learn vocab that you encounter along the way (hopefully you have a system for this already)
  • be on the lookout for “oh, this thing that confused me in this sentence is actually a bit of grammar I didn’t know” (though this will get less and less common)
  • think about broadening the set of things you do (e.g. if you mostly do reading, try doing a bit more listening; if you have opportunities for writing or conversation practice, take them)

Also, textbook readings feel like classwork because they are classwork :wink: