Finished N5 Grammar - what's next?

If you want a shorter read, just read the text in bold. Everything else is more context.
I just finished N5 Grammar here a few days ago and while I know I have not grasped every lesson well yet, I wasn’t sure what I should be doing next. My dream is to be able to carry a conversation in Japanese with locals. Realistically, that may be a 5 or 10 year timeline as I do not live in Japan. But I’m ok with that as I am seeing progress everyday.

So I’d been reading some older community posts here as well as blog posts on WaniKani. I have several questions. But first, where I’m at:

  1. WaniKani - Level 22. I started Jan 2023 and paused learning new things so I cold focus more on grammar on BunPro. Still doing daily reviews and realized I have forgotten a lot though have retained more than forgotten.
  2. BunPro - Level 30, finished N5 Grammar. Was doing daily reviews and added Cram sessions on lessons I can’t quite grasp. The cram helped a lot with making me progress. I had not been using Vocab on BunPro.

My questions:
Q1. I was reviewing grammar for a few days after completing N5 and had no new lessons at all. Turns out I had to add a deck. So I added N4. Have not started on it. Should I have started on N4 already?

Out of curiosity, I looked into JLPT exams and found out that they are only held once a year where I live. I had no intention of taking the exams but since it’s not until December, maybe I’ll take it. I tried the sample tests here: For Examinees: Let's Try Sample Questions! | JLPT Japanese-Language Proficiency Test
I think I did ok but I definitely had to repeat the audio many times or pause it several times to understand what was said.
Q2: I read somewhere that on JLPT exams, the person in charge may NOT replay the audio no matter how much you beg. How often is it played back - once?

My Deck for Vocab after syncing with WaniKani again today looks like this:

Q3: Does this mean I still need to study a lot of Vocab to be able to pass the JLPT N5 exam?

Q4: This made me look into Vocab in BunPro. At first I was going to check my level via Cram. But then I figured I could do Lessons so that I can mark as Mastered as I go. But yikes, all of a sudden I have 300+ Review items. The lessons and reviews made some things obvious to me though:
a. WaniKani reviews ask for English meaning and Hiragana. But presented with the English in BunPro, I couldn’t recall some of the Japanese even though I know I know it already.
b. Same thing with the fill in the blanks in sentences.

So… How do I remove a deck? LOL.

Q5: I plan to read more and intend to purchase one or all of these when I’m in Japan end of June:

Others in this community also pointed out

I already feel like learning Nihongo is a part-time job as I spend 1-2 hours on it everyday. So the question is: What should I do next?

Oh, I just saw that BunPro has Grammar Reading Practice. Anyone use find these useful?


To chime in with my thoughts:

Q1: I think it’s fine to move on to N4 if you’re comfortable with the number of reviews you’re getting on a daily basis.

Q2: As far as I know, they never do this. For what it’s worth, that makes it equally harder for everyone taking the test…so there’s that.

Q3: I took and passed N5 and N4. Actually, the old vocab decks floating around on Anki and whatnot very closely match the vocab on the real tests. The story is that the old JLPT used to have designated vocab lists back in 2010 or so, and the new tests do not. While many people will tell you “there are no official vocab lists”, the test makers very evidently haven’t changed the vocab much, at least for those two levels. So N5 is something like 700, 800 words.

Q4: Just my opinion, 300+ reviews is OK to push through if its stuff you added and already are pretty comfortable with. That review load will work its way down over a couple days probably. For reference I’ve come back from vacation (didn’t use vacation mode) to have like over 1k reviews, and over several days, just powered through them.

Q5: All of those options are good. At the N5 level, I think just do what you’re comfortable with. Not much native content is going to be understandable yet - maybe look for beginner Japanese videos on YouTube? That can be a good way to practice listening.


You should definitely use kamesame for reverse wanikani though. I set my level to master or above so it does not interfere with wanikani but I also practice from english → japanese way.


Thank you for this, it’s going to be very helpful!


Thank you, @Curnan2 and @Enerccio!

Re: “At the N5 level, I think just do what you’re comfortable with. Not much native content is going to be understandable yet”
Good to know. I was also reading the responses over in the other thread about what to prioritize and someone provided a link about 80% comprehension. So I think I’ll actually try to start using the Reading Practice here in Bunpro because it will at least be stuff I should be able to read and will help reinforce the Grammar lessons.

Re: JLPT N5 Exam. Registration is still in Sept so I may reassess then. Right now I think I will just reduce the number of new lessons in WaniKani and Bunpro so that I can try to clear my Vocab reviews here.

Re: kamesame. First time I’ve heard of that. I will have to park that for now and look into it again later.

Thanks so much for the feedback!

Re the N5 exam - I passed last year…just - i took it too early having not yet finished みんなの本語 1. When it came to the listening exercises I was pretty much guessing - they do indeed only play it once…so my advice would be practice listening as much as possible!


Fast-forwarded through the 43 minute video about kamesame here:

My first impression yesterday was it’s cool but oh no, another thing I have to pay for. Glad to know it’s FREE.
@enerccio, I’m wondering now how it compares to the Vocab deck here in Bunpro. With the little amount of reviews I’ve done on Vocab here so far, I already ended up making ‘mistakes’ because the definition used in WaniKani wasn’t exactly the same as in Bunpro. Just curious - do you use the Vocab decks in Bunpro at all?
Also, what do you mean when you set your level to Master and above, I mean why? Where can you do that? What level were you at on WaniKani when you started Kamesame? Then which list did you start learning from? (See EDIT1 below)
And one more thing: I already have the Japanese IME installed on Windows. But I still can’t enter hiragana in Kamesame. I’ve used Alt ~ and Alt + Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

EDIT1: I realized my error now. I should have gone to the “Study WaniKani items” instead of the Study from a List. Still can’t type Japanese though. I’m studying anyway by just thinking of the answer and either hitting Skip if I know it or Fail if I don’t.

I’ll cherry pick the easy one:

Go to Decks
Click on the deck
Upper right → Deck Settings button
Toggle off “Actively Studying”

I did N5 with only wanikani and bunpro N5 lessons. You will be fine. You’ll think the written sections are ridiculously easy. And you will get killed on the listening section. I managed to pass, but I was convinced I failed until the scores came out. It was probably my very high scores in the other sections that saved me, all I had to do was get the minimum section score in listening.

I would recommend before the test, do any random ‘N5 vocabulary’ list on the internet, not SRS, just free-style. It’s not that many things. And do something involving listening on YouTube, lots of it. There are a lot of “N5/N4 simple conversation” youtube videos.

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Thanks @ctmf ! DId you do both Grammar and Vocab on Bunpro?

No I just did grammar (this was several years ago). They didn’t have vocabulary yet, and now even the grammar is more fully explained, way better than it used to be.

I don’t think I’d attempt to brute-force memorize a LONG list of vocabulary without a helper system, but N5 was manageable.

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For talking to people you definatly need to work on your listening.
I put the CD that came with my textbook in my car CD player. As you haven’t been learning with a textbook, my current strategy of using anki is probably a better fit.

Download an anki deck and change the reviws from reading to listening by changing the card template to
Front is:

Back is:



in my deck
audio is the audio of the sentence
furigana:Reading has the sentence in kanji with furigana above
{{#Meaning}}{{hint:Meaning}}{{/Meaning}} means if you click the word meaning you can see the definition. I have it hidden by default so I read the japanese sentence before the deffentition
Q1 if you like learning grammar than sure, but I think your better off working on listening and vocab if your goal is conversation
Q2 yeah, the audio is only once.
Q3 maybe? you didn’t notice a weak vocab in the practice test so you might be fine.
Q4 On the screen shot for Q3, you have the ablity to study just n5 vocab. Each day study N5 vocab and grammar through this screen. and I would leave the other words in till I get around to them. You do mostly know them from wanikani

I do recomend studying more vocab to make Japanese friends. I recomend learning some katakana words. Once you have a feel for them you got an easy method to talk awkardly.

in kids books like readers and on the n5 there is no kanji, only hiragana. I skipped to manga which has furigana so I could use kanji knowlage. You can change your review type to ‘translation’ or ‘reading’ so you can use the kanji to guide you.

I also liked watching old enough はじめておつかい which is currently on Netflix when I was around your level. I recomend reading the sentence out loud. I got the advice to shadow, but It’s really hard

Last week I struggled with IME. Right click IME, settings (the gear), then customize keys and touch, your options are ctrl space or shift space. or keys that aren’t on an american keyboard

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I use bunpro n5 so far and it is not bad.

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Thanks so much, @Noxsora !
I have yet to download any Anki deck. Trying to find the sweet spot for my workload right now. But yes, I love はじめておつかい!!! So cute!