Where should I start? N5 or N3 + Question about textbook

I used to take classes for a couple of years , quit, and studying again now. I think my level is around N4 to 50% of N3. To keep it short my questions are:

  1. Should I plow through N5-N4 to get to N3? I read that someone did this in 1 day in another thread (will it pile up my Review queues?)

  2. Or should I start at N3 and add some grammar from N4/5 that I’m not too familiar with (even though they seem easy) ?

  3. Unrelated, but why do alot of people recommend textbook even though they work similarly to other stuffs online? I’ve used them for years in class and besides learning to hand write, the amount of limited content and exercises (that are troublesome to check when self studying) I don’t see the obvious benefits as to why I need to use them together.

edit* I’m leaning more towards option 1, will it be too much to handle in 1-2 weeks ?

I understand that I should find things that ‘work’ for me but if anyone was in a similar situation please share some of your advice, thank you.


I did option 1 when I started and gathered a rather large review pile of ~600 and I was in a similar place to you. I wasn’t using BP everyday but if you have the time, it can work. But it’s a lot reviews and if you want to read each sentence or take advantage of the audio, learn new vocab, etc…it takes a lot of time and could be overwhelming and too tempting to blast through reviews by keywords alone (not what I want to). So I sat on that pile for many months because ghost review accumulations will happen.

If I had to do it again, I’d probably do option 2 and then integrate option 1 once I got settled more in a routine rather than just adding 100s of new lessons at once. I’m not fan of using “I know this” even for the super simple stuff or if I already know it because I like to practice the fundamentals and I can still get it wrong.

On question 3, many users have no grammar experience at all and BP can be too difficult as a single resource. It’s not for everyone (I never tried) but seems helpful for many.


In terms of efficiency in learning the language, I would vote #2, but I understand the desire of completionism that comes with #1. At the time of joining Bunpro, I was fairly early N4 level, so it made more sense for me to start with N5 as a nice review. But if you’re already N4/N3, I don’t think it’s worth your time. If you want, you could always just mark the grammar as “known”.


My only input on this is it is really easy to trick ourselves into thinking we are NX and when we go back to learn lower levels there can be quite big holes in our understanding.

I recommend a mixed approach if you are determined to start learning N3 and do a half and half approach. More deliberate than your number 2 option.

I do think there is a lot of benefits of learning N5/4 in the bunpro method even if you have already learned in it other ways. Especially if you learned in a tradition school setting which doesn’t expect the same consistency and long term memory. This being because of the SRS and Production based learning.

That being said everyone finds the system that works for them so take what I say and make it work for you.


A version of 1 might be to do most/all of N4 (as review, but maybe spread it over a week or two for review reasons), but skip N5 that should be mostly ingrained by the time you’ve studied N3 for a while.

However, do remember that there are no official sources for where each grammar point fits, so make sure to look through all of N5 and N4 no matter which option you go with, because something you learned as N4 might be in N5 and something you learned in late N5 or early N4 might be in N3. So make sure you have actually studied each grammar point in N5 and N4, looking at the grammar lesson page should help with that.

As to whether another resources is needed or not, while a lot of people recommend textbooks, not everyone do. I did all of N5 on BP with only BP as help (and the resources it linked to) and that worked well for me. After that I started Japanese classes so after that I learnt grammar mostly in class with the help of our teachers (our textbook didn’t really explain grammar, but it did give order and some help). But after I finish classes next month, I’ll be back to BP as my main resource and I don’t see how it would be a problem after being fully N3 or there about.


Short answer: Mix 1 and 2.

When I started using Bunpro, I was low level N3… like you I had a break for 2 years or so…:smiley:
I added everything that I thought I knew plus I added new stuff every day for 2/3 months. It got way too overwhelming and not fun. Having 100+ reviews every day is quite tiring / boring… So I stopped using Bunpro for a while

I reset Bunpro, and decided to rewrite my notes to Japanese only and do this:

  1. Find the same grammar point in the JLPT N3/N2 books that I have. (Plus online if necessary for simpler explanations / sentences. )
  2. Copy / Write explanations in Japanese for the grammar point and copy some sentences
  3. Add the grammar point on Bunpro

For N5/N4 grammar, a lot of it is in the JLPT N3/N2 books. Still from time to time I go through Bunpro and make my own notes on the leftover grammar points. (using extra websites for Japanese explanations if necessary).

This is where I am now (about 50% done from what is currently available):

Books are great but with Nihongo No mori (YouTube Channel), Bunpro and lots of JLPT and grammar websites, there is less need. However I really like the grammar books of the JLPT ShinKanzen Master as the explanations are great and all in Japanese :smiley:

Good luck what ever you choose :smiley: