These are the books and online resources I used/am using to study for the JLPT.
日本語総まとめN2 語彙 (Nihongo So Matome N2 Vocabulary by ask Publishing)
I didn’t actually use this textbook much, but my friends who have the Grammar edition by the same publisher say it’s pretty good.
日本語能力試験 N2完全攻略・テキスト＆実践問題集 (from the インターカルト日本語学校)
日本語能力試験 総合テキストN2 (日本語能力試験対策教本シリーズ) (by Jリサーチ出版)
To be honest, I only used the first textbook, N2完全攻略・テキスト＆実践問題集 (the book on the right, blue cover), mainly because I didn’t have time to go through both of them. It is a rather comprehensive guide which includes lessons, practices and tests for all the JLPT N2 sections.
I used it mainly for the vocab explanations and barely touched the rest of the book. I loved how it had English explanations!
If you’re not sure what textbooks to buy, スリーエーネットワーク is a known and reputed publisher that has good textbooks and good language guides. They are recommended and used in schools. In addition, there are official JLPT practice papers on sale so those will do for good practice!
日本語能力試験問題集 N1 読解 & 語彙 & 文法 スピードマスター (by Jリサーチ出版) for Reading, Vocab and Grammar
I am currently doing exercises every week from this series of books.
I have finished the Reading Comprehension exercises and am left with the mock paper. That is 10 short passages (内容理解短文), 6 medium length passages (内容理解中文), 5 long passages (内容理解長文), 3 comparison passages (統合理解) and 3 information gathering passages (情報検索) completed.
I haven’t made much progress with Vocab/Grammar as I’ve been focusing on reading. I like how it indicates the amount of time you should take to complete each passage. As you continue with the practices, you’ll notice some very common vocab in N1 which are critical in understanding the passages. I’ll write more about this & other tips in another post!
For the Vocabulary, while there are English translations, I don’t quite like them because they are written in a phrase/short sentence and you do not get the actual meaning of the phrase/word you are trying to learn. However, this means in the exercises, you have to think more and learn by familiarizing yourself with different usages of the term. They also include similar terms which are used differently depending on context!
The Grammar explanations are rather detailed and there are practice questions for each section. There are no English explanations though. I find that some of the grammar overlaps with what I have learnt in Japanese lessons/N2 study. The N1 grammar tends to focus more on grammar used in written Japanese (aka how newspaper articles/essays would be written).
完全マスター1級 日本語能力試験 文法問題対策 (Grammar)
完全マスター1級 日本語能力試験 読解問題対策 (Reading Comprehension)
all by スリーエーネットワーク
In addition, I also have this set of books/practices I received from a friend. I have yet to start using them so I can’t compare to the スピードマスター books. I will do so once I’ve used it though!
The grammar book also does not have English explanations.
1. JLPT Official Site (Eng; Test format, FAQ etc)
3. JLPT Official Site – Resources/Textbooks
4. JGram – Lists of JLPT Grammar
5. 100 Top Resources to Learning Japanese (LinguaLift Blog)
6. JLPT Study Page (N5 to N2 Resources)
I highly suggest doing at least 1 practice paper before taking the exam to familiarize yourself with the exam format!
If you have any questions, or resources/books to recommend, leave a comment, tweet me or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! & Good luck!