Best books to study for the JLPT N5 exam

Hoi! Today I have a completely different theme. Some of you may know that I love Japanese culture and language. So last year I finally decided to take it more seriously and started to study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), more exactly the Noken 5, the most basic level.
And I passed the exam! I still can’t believe it, since I studied on my own. It was hard at times but so rewarding. 

That brings me to today’s theme: The best books for studying the N5.

1. Spanish books for studying Japanese

1.1 Watashi no Nihongo | 私の日本語

I don’t own any books in Spanish, unfortunately I haven’t found any that ticks all my boxes, until this one appeared. This is a Spanish project that I’ve been following for some time, is specially made to help you pass the N5 and has 300 pages of content, around the same size as the Genki 1. I’ve been told by the author, that includes more grammar points than Genki, which makes it even better, cause you won’t need another book to support your studies.

It will include the following contents:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Listening practice
  • Japanese culture
  • Dialogs between the characters
  • N5 Kanji practice
  • Reading and writing practice
  • Review your knowledge on each chapter

As you can see the aesthetics are on point and all the inside drawings have been made by Diana Mármol. The price is really affordable (25€) and it will be out by the end of December, perfect for starting the new year studying. Also, if the kickstarter goes well, they plan to translate it in English too!
Why I want to get it you may ask? Cause I really want to review my knowledge and being able to do it on my own language it’s amazing.

You can find all the information on their web page and if you want to buy the book, check the button down below!

Watashi no Nihongo | Kickstarter

2. English books for studying Japanese

2.1 Genki 1

It has been my main book through all my studies, it’s well paced and quickly leaves away the romanji, so it forces you to read in Japanese. It has tons of vocabulary, some of them a bit old, but the newest edition has updated some of it, fortunately.

It includes all the main grammar points, vocabulary, listening and some exercises at the end of each chapter. Also, the book includes an appendix with more practice and kanjis.
You will need the Workbook too if you wanna have all the needed content for study and also the Answer Key book.

The only inconvenient is that it doesn’t include some important grammar points that you will need for the N5, those can be only found on the Genki 2. Although you can easily found them out there, it’s unfortunate that you need even more external resources.

The price goes between 60-85€ if you get all the books. So is quite pricey but overall, for the amount of content, if you want to self-study in English, I can truly recommend it.

2.2 JLPT Koshiki Mondaishu N5 | JLPT 公式問題集 N5

There’s a bunch of practice JLPT exam books out there, but this was the one I used and I can’t be happier. If you plan your studies well, the last 1-2 months you will have to focus on how to do the exam.

You can find 2 books, each one with 1 exam. It looks like not much, but I didn’t need more since there’s a ton of content out there for free. Then, why this book? Because it contains the transcriptions of each listening and that was the key for truly starting to understand them. Only for that, it’s already worth it!
The price it’s around 12€ each book, although you can find some mockup exams on their official website.

3. Study complements

Other materials that I found to be very useful while studying.

3.1 Japanese practicing sheets

I started to study kanjis more seriously after the exam, the first 108 needed for the N5 were easier that I though so I was happy to be able to keep studying them. But writing them correctly isn’t easy and it needs lots of practice, that’s why I did my own practice sheets.
Which I ended up doing a lovely Hiragana & Katakana practice sheets for beginners. I use them on my iPad but they can be printed too.

Practice sheets | $5

3.2 Ryuugakusei no tame no Kanji 300 | 留学生のための漢字

Almost all JLPT study books come with basic Kanji knowledge, but if you want to keep studying and have a better understanding and practice, this is your book: Ryuugakusei no tame no kanji 300. It has all the main kanjis for the N4-5 levels. Includes the stroke number, radicals, stroke order, On & Kun readings, irregular readings, meaning and vocabulary for each kanji.