My Summer Learning Goals

I began to study Japanese last year, in late March. However, I was focused on learning to read and write kanji, and I mostly learned grammar and immersion but picking through Anki decks at a leisurely pace and learning through immersion, from which I didn’t learn much at my level. I started to seriously study Japanese this January, just two months ago, when I found BunPro and finished the N5 grammar. Since then, I have mastered the N4 grammar, and I’ve completed half of the N3 grammar, which brings me to my goals for the future.

Since beginning to study, my goal has remained to become perfectly fluent in Japanese, which would include passing the JLPT N1 exam. In order to complete this goal, I will be taking the JLPT this December, hopefully the N1 if I feel ready. In order to reach this lofty goal, I have developed a plan which will allow me to adequately prepare for the exam so that I can know what level I’ll be ready for when the time comes to register, which is early July. Here are the goals upon which I have decided.

By Saturday, July 1st, 2023, I will:

> Complete all of the N3 and N2 grammar on BunPro, giving myself time in between N3 and N2 to review before moving forward. This will require 3 grammar points per day, which shouldn’t be too much, since I’ve been doing 6 per day on average.
> Read 50 volumes of manga, which I have started–I will be finishing my third volume tonight. This goal will help me learn words and build my reading speed and general fluency; this will require that I read about 70 pages per day, which is reasonable at my current reading speed.
> Continue to use Anki to learn words at a rate of 30 new words from mining and 10 new proper nouns per day, including my reviews. This is reasonable, but might be the hardest of these goals to reach as I continue my learning journey.

I am certain I can reach my first two goals, and my third should be manageable with enough conscientiousness and proactive planning–it is possible that I will have to take a few days off of new cards or let reviews pile up during exam weeks, but if this happens, I will make sure to recover from it stronger than ever afterward. The third goal is less important over all thanks to learning vocabulary through BunPro review sentences and passively learning through reading, but I still want to keep up with it to make sure I learn enough for the JLPT.

I will use this thread to let everyone know how I am doing in reaching my goals, and I hope to be able to say I’ve met all of them by July 1st! Thanks to everyone here for keeping the community active and inspiring me to continue my journey to understanding spoken and written Japanese perfectly and being able to speak naturally with natives. また会う日まで、文プロ友達!


My only advice is that, since I don’t know where you are at currently, the lessons start to get a lot more difficult to differentiate in N3 and especially N2. Personally I did 3 grammar points a day in N3 and it was not fun. I’m doing 1 a day in N2 and it’s a lot more manageable.


Good luck - I love when people record their ambitious study plans as it is very motivational.

My own thoughts are also that adding the grammar will become difficult but also that I think you’ll be able to do more than 50 volumes of manga (or you’ll move onto novels or something).



I agree, it is quite hard! I just finished lesson 6 of N3, so I’m most of the way through, and at the halfway point everything got really weird…it’s confusing, but by reading more and doing my reviews I’m sure I’ll get it over time.

Some of this grammar I’ve heard before in songs, for instance, so I have a basis for it.

@CursedKitsune Thank you for your thoughts! The grammar is difficult, but I’m sure I can do it. You’re right, my reading speed will probably increase and I’ll move on to greater things. I’ll let you know when I do!


I wish you the best of luck! I’m floating between N3-N2 currently in all aspects (except speaking which is probably true N3 at best lol…) and what I will say is, in my opinion, JLPT can be very business-based and while yes, of course, is a good indicator roughly of fluency, you might find it more effective to kind of hand pick what you’re learning as far as vocab and to some extent grammar as well as you go along. Even N3 vocab can be highly technical times. If you’re set on the JLPT route (it sounds like you are - good to have a path to follow!) then I would reccomend kind of poking around a little so you’re learning the stuff you see a lot first and can practice a lot naturally. Like was mentioned above, everything just gets very nuance-y and particular very quickly. It’s so important to set goals so you always have something to work towards, and we are both individuals so I don’t want to push anything on you, but as someone who was very much in the same mindset I’m actually very glad I’ve deviated from my original plan. All that said, if you’re ready to put in the work you can do things however works best for you! I don’t want to impose, just offer another point of view :slight_smile: I wish you the best of luck!!!


Great that you are that ambitious! Its very motivational.

My advice would be to try the JLPT N3 in July if you can or at least take a mock exam at home at some point soon-ish. That would be a good indicator at how things are going. It gets really confusing and all over the place around late N3 and N2 level.

The thing with the JLPT is that there is not a lot of time in the exam and there are a lot of questions. You really need to know the stuff and answer quickly.

Helpful ideas:

  • Probably reading just manga would not be enough. On the JLPT there is text from newspapers, pamphlets, ads etc… Sometimes the text passages are really really long especially on N2/N1 level. Hence why start to do JLPT practice questions soon-ish even from today. That way, you will get used to the JLPT Japanese language and the type of questions asked. A lot of the vocab in the JLPT is useful but some of it is not exactly found in manga / light novels haha.

  • Try the free samples (there are even free volumes for limited time!) on Bookwalker / Booklive of different manga / light novels / magazines / books. This should help in introducing all kinds of vocab and a good way to see where things are in your studies.

  • Try ONE light novel aimed at kids which are easier to read eg from Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko 角川つばさ文庫. They have furigana on everything with simpler grammar. Even though they can be really really dry and boring (as they are aimed at kids), reading a few really helped me build reading speed, comprehension and to transition to reading light novels. eg There is Your Name or other famous movies.

  • Another idea could be to mine vocab / sentences from Shōsetsuka ni Narō (小説家になろう ) ie web novels IF you have story that you really like (and kinda know well). Just keep in mind that the light novel version may be easier to understand as it should have have better editing, images and writing.

Personally, maybe N1 is a bit too ambitious for December’s JLPT… N2 should be just manageable. Just image, you put in all the work, took the N2 test and passed! That would feel soo much better than taking N1 and failing, right?

Anyway, good luck. Reading your post is really motivational and makes me want to study more :smiley:


My advice would be to have less goals. It is hard to establish a routine beyond doing one new thing a month, in my experience, so if you have several goals, all of which will require changes to your daily behavior, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you fail at one thing, you will then get frustrated and lethargic, and will soon be failing at all your goals.

Maybe you are a far superior person to me, and none of this is true for you, but I’d still recommend picking a single goal you want to accomplish and establishing a routine that will allow you to accomplish just that singular goal.


Hi! Thanks for your comment. While I’m not going to focus on business vocabulary, I definitely plan on taking practice tests to make sure I have what I need, and I’m only going to read manga to get my reading speed and vocabulary up so that I can get to a more advanced place. I’ll see where I am by summer and decide between the N2 and N1, and I won’t sign up for the N1 if I don’t think I can do it. Thank you for your thoughts, and best wishes for your journey as well!

@zerohbeat Thank you as well for sharing your thoughts on my goals. I can’t take the N3 this summer because there is no July exam in my country at the moment and I can’t afford to travel abroad for it, but this is a great idea! As I wrote above, manga is kind of a “gateway medium” for me right now, since I’ve just now reached a point where my reading speed is fast enough to get started reading. I will make sure to read some newspapers as well, and after my manga I want to read the No Game No Life light novel series, which I’ve heard is notoriously difficult for learners! While I respect your opinion that the N1 is ambitious, I have also spoken to people who have passed it in 9 months of study, and even more who took 18 months or around there, so I wouldn’t decrease my expectations just yet. We’ll see when the time comes to register. :slight_smile:

Finally, @keith I’ve already been doing this, and this is more of an official statement of my goal to continue. I’ve gone from pre-N5 to solidly mid-N3 in about two months, so I’m sure I have the motivation and interest to continue on my path. Thanks for your comment.

Thank you to everyone for your advice and ideas so far! I’ll be sure to let you all know where I am at soon enough with an update on my progress! :slight_smile:


Newspapers are really difficult… in the near future, if possible just try some magazines to see what its like eg Famitsu or something else that you are interested in. Just going through ( lots of ) JLPT reading questions should be enough really :slight_smile:

Regarding reading things: If something is too difficult or you are stopping too much, just leave it for later and try something else. That way hopefully your reading motivation will be consistent and you will actually read more!

Good Luck!


Nice tangible goals. Reading 50 volumes of manga will be a big step in the right direction regardless of how your other goals turn out.

If you have access to the J.Test (since it’s not as widely available as the JLPT outside of Japan), it might be a worthwhile option too. It grades your level rather needing to select a level to take. Maybe an option after the JLPT in Dec.

Will look forward to your updates

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If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your first language and do you have any experience with languages beyond English?

I studied language learning and psychology and stuff in graduate school so this kind of thing is interesting to me.


I love the high goals, my only question is have you already scheduled 4-6 hours of studying every day in 3 months from now when all the reviews have piled up and you will have a mountain left to climb? If so go for it, either way you will gain a great deal of fluency.

I’ve met plenty of N1 folks who cannot have a conversation and N5 who can handle themselves well enough in conversation as well. So taking time to understand what you consider to be fluent should also help you decide what the right pace is for you.

Reading is the also the secret sauce to really progressing so I would maintain that above everything else after you hit the intermediate level!

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Sorry it took me a while to reply! Here we go.

@ThousandJP I think that site is in Japanese and I vaguely understood the idea, but I think it will be a while before I take a look at that test for myself. Thanks for the link!

@Devenu My first language is English. I technically took two years of French in high school, but we didn’t really learn anything. I hope to learn French as well after I become reasonably proficient in Japanese for my standards, so that I can read French literature in its raw form. I’m greatly motivated by the idea that many of the people I interact with online actually speak and understand three or four languages from interacting on the internet (such as friends from Romania or Pakistan) and just knowing one myself leads me to feel that I’m missing out.

@Sidgr I don’t know about 4-6 hours. BunPro usually takes me ~30 minutes a day, even at 6 new points per day, so I doubt it would usually take more than that at 3 new points per day. Also, ~80-100 reviews and 10 new Anki cards per days takes me ~30 minutes as well, so when it maxes around 400 reviews it should be no more than 2-2.5 hours per day. Also, reading manga doesn’t take too much time, so this maxes our at around 4 hours per day. I can manage that. Either way, I understand that reviews will continue to increase and with that so will the time commitment. Fluency for me means being understandable without too much of a foreign accent and being able to understand spoken and written Japanese perfectly; my focus is not too much on speech, and for writing I’m fine with that I have for the most part, and maybe I’ll put more time into it eventually. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful comment!

Im glad you have a clear idea of now much time it will take, but if this is your first rodeo, the reviews will pile up much more than is easy to anticipate. Again not meant to discourage but out into perspective what your plan will entail. Im glad you have a very specific plan.

As far as the accent part of learning, you will want to spend some amount of time looking into how pitch accent works, Dogen is the obvious course for that information to get started if you are unaware. I don’t think its critical to learn every single pitch accent of every word off the bat, but if you learn some of the core patterns early on it helps your brain categorize new word you hear as you process and stops you from having an atrocious accent.

Good luck! look forward to your progress!

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Thanks for the advice. I have done kanji at 30 per day before up to 1.5k, so I do know to some extent how it can go, and I’ve learned from some of my mistakes. As for pitch accent, I want to start doing shadowing at some point, probably this summer at the latest, and that should help a bit. I do have the pitch on my cards as well, but I don’t check myself as strictly on it.

Though it’s not my top priority, I do care about speech, and so I thank you for mentioning Dogen to me. I’ll look into it and note it down for future use.

As always, thank you for your input.

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