My JLPT N5 preparation: Materials and methods used

Absolute beginner level – JLPT N5

This is how I learned the absolute beginner level lessons in Japanese. I listened to the greeting words like Ohayou, Konnichiwa etc. and practiced it for a week. When I was able to greet the Japanese people in their language, it was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Video lessons

I have searched for Japanese lessons for beginners on YouTube. There are a lot of videos of various varieties available there, among which I found this one the most effective for me. Japanese lessons for beginners.These are some thirty video lesson for beginners by “JapanSocietyNYC” channel. I have heard this for so many times until I remembered every lesson thoroughly. The next among the videos that helped me for my very first Japanese learning was JapanesePod101 They have a lot of video lessons some of which I am still listening sometimes.


The books I have used for my Japanese studies are Hitoride Manaberu kana, “Minna no Nihongo” and “Shin Nihongo no Kiso“. Both have somewhat the same contents with three books.

I. Self-study Kana Workbook (Hitoride Manaberu kana): Useful for self-learning Hiragana and Katakana. It has a CD with the pronunciation of each letter which is also very helpful for an absolute beginner.

II. Minna no Nihongo has two books and a set of audio CDs.

  1. MINNA NO NIHONGO I- Main book
  2. MINNA NO NIHONGO I-English translation and grammatical notes

III. Shin Nihongo no Kiso series part 1: It contains 3 textbooks and a set of audio CDs.

  1. SHIN NIHONGO NO KISO I -Main book
  2. SHIN NIHONGO NO KISO I- English translation
  3. SHIN NIHONGO NO KISO I- Grammar notes in English

Both these books are very helpful for self-study as you can slowly read the lessons written in Hiragana and Katakana and listen to the readings on the CD.

IV. Nihongo challenge: For JLPT N5, we need to learn some 100 basic Kanji characters. This book has Kanji letters and words using it. This is for both N4 and N5 levels.

This site has the list of all Kanjis for all JLPT levels.

But, let me say one thing. If you want to score more on your JLPT exams, it is always good to leap one step ahead. If you have enough time, just go through the Kanji for N4 also. There is a chance for questions from that list too because JLPT examination board have no official books or list of Kanjis for each level.

Practice sample questions

After learning all these books, I did some previous JLPT questions and the Official Practise Workbook for JLPT N5. You can buy the printed version of this book the JLPT website. The book is available on Amazon and other sites also. The new JLPT previous questions were not available online, except this very first one.

NB: Even though I learned for JLPT N5, I didn’t take the test. As I completed all these in 2-3 months, I started learning with N4 books. I think it will be enough to appear for N4, which will be much more useful. If you want to check your basic Japanese, appearing N5 is a nice decision.

Those who are taking JLPT N5, please don’t forget to read the details about the test sections and time for each section on the JLPT site before going for the exam.