Test Your Japanese Might: Stage 2 — 109 Comments

  1. Good test! It was fun! For lvl. 30, I understood over 90% of lines 1 and 2, and 80% of line 3. For lvl. 40, I didn’t understand anything.

    1) Level 30
    2) 4 and 1/2 years since Sept 2007. I don’t keep track of frequency.
    3) I’ve been using the immersion method since the start of my study. I’ve set up an immersive environment that makes me able to extensively (passively) study Japanese when I’m too busy to study intensively (actively). I started using Anki for studying kanji this winter. I don’t use RTK. I encourage myself to reach new goals (like reading manga) through making new challenges that focus on that goal every once in a while. I’ve been taking Japanese classes since 2009, and my last Japanese class is this semester. I started in an intermediate conversation class that used Japanese For Busy People II and had Japanese foreign exchange students come every class to practice conversation with us. The next semester, I started classes at my university, jumping into Japanese 202. We have been using Genki II for the past three semesters that I’ve taken Japanese at my university. I’m going to get tutoring via skype after my semester ends to study for the JLPT N3.

  2. I’m probably around 35-39. I gave Level 50 a quick glance through after I failed to get 40 and I understood those better than any of Level 40.

    How Long: 2 years 2 months
    Frequency: 10 hrs/day average
    Methods: SRS(Anki) with sentences, vocab, brute force kanji(Listed by order of when I started doing them)
    LingQ(3 months)
    Heisig(-400 then quit)
    Massive Immersion mostly manga/news for reading and tv for listening

  3. I did better than I expected! In the last test I estimated I was close to level 40, but it seems I may be closer to 50. My estimate is 46-47. I breezed through level 30 without re-reading. At level 40 I had to read a bit more carefully, re-read a few short passages, but I think I ended up at over 90% on all of them. When I challenged level 50 I had to read considerably slower and I wasn’t always as confident understanding exactly what it actually said, but when I neared the end of each text I got a much better picture.

    I felt that as the levels go up it can be more and more difficult to grade yourself, since the problem is often not that you don’t know the words. You might understand all the words but still not grasp the meaning of the sentence, or at least, not be able to accurately pinpoint the meaning.

    Out of the sentences in level 50 the words I didn’t know were 秩序 (known but forgotten) 掬う ぎっしり 調節 暗示 信仰 (encoutered but not memorized) 斬新 若しくは (encountered way back but not memorized) plus being unsure if 潜る is くぐる or もぐる. 端 also trips me up, whenever I come over a resource with furigana it is read as はし but I always wonder if it is one of the other readings when I come across it in other places, but it’s difficult to find out. Anyway, my point is that is surely I know more than 90% of the vocabulary, but I didn’t feel like my overall understanding was that high, so I guess it’s all up to what I feel is fair judging.

    I could tell that level 40.1 was Sam from LOTR. My guess is also that 50.3 is from Wikipedia :).

    • I agree about it being more difficult to grade yourself as the levels get higher. I told my husband what I thought the sentences in level 30 meant and asked him if I was right or wrong. I told him not to give me the answers, since I want to take the test again in the future to see my progress.

      Even though I didn’t really understand anything from level 40, I could also tell it was from Lord of the Rings, and I’ve never even watched one of the movies completely. (^_^)

    • I definitely agree that it does become more difficult to grade yourself as you get to the higher levels, which is why you are the only person who can really grade yourself. Only you know how well you understood the passages. And yes, you got Sam from LOTR! And yes, the Wikipedia one was kind of obvious haha.

  4. Level: around 45
    I understood over 90% of level 40. As for business level, I understood the 1st one 90%, 2nd one about 1/3, and the 3rd one about 1 half)

    How Long: 17 months

    Frequency: Including sleeping, Usually I listen to Japanese around 16 hours a day. 10 of those hours are awake.

    Methods: Mass immersion. Reading books, watching anime and 邦画, listening to hiphop groups, reading manga, using a japanese operating system.

    Monolingual sentences for 8 months so far.
    All of RTK plus beginning of RTK3, I probably know about 2100 Kanji.

    Anki Sentence Deck: Total added 4125, 725 deleted, so currently it is 3400.

    3rd one from level 40 was from 池袋ウェスト・ゲート・パーク right!? One of my favorite, and first TV shows I watched.

  5. In 30.3, you have 楽しいいし, but I’m thinking you wanted 楽しいし, correct?

    Was 50.2 about 金魚すくい? Not really sure what movie, manga, etc. it’s from though…

    I’m with everyone else, not really sure how to grade myself…I’d put myself at either a high 40 or right at 50 as I got through it all (eventually) after a couple read-throughs, but there were a few words I didn’t know. Also, the Matrix one seemed fairly simple compared to the other two at level 50, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I’ll know what to do when you give out the 3 round of tests I think!

    • Thanks again for the correction. Some how I made the exact same error in stage 1. I think I need you as my proofreader.

      And the 金魚すくい is a very funny scene from a certain J-drama.

  6. Understood but couldn’t read 掬う or 網 and guessed the meaning of 調節 on lvl 50 #2.
    Otherwise 全部 A-OK.
    Lvl 50 passed! (I think…)

    Been studying for 20 months now.
    Daily SRS(~30min.)
    TV, games, books, and manga(as much as possible)
    Constant audio input(radio, TV, podcast, music)(all day)

    Lvl 40 #3 – Ikebukuro West Gate Park (!!)
    Lvl 50 #3 – Matrix Japanese Wiki, i assume.
    Couldn’t recognize any others.

  7. ☻ Understood one third of level 30
    ☻ I am on chapter 7 of RTK
    ☻ Been at it since 2006
    ☻ Began using AJATT and JALUP methods for about 2 months
    ☻ Been using Anki for 8 months

  8. 1. level 30: didn’t know 寿司 and 頂戴. The other two 100%
    level 40: I read 敷く、 外れる and 留まる wrong. Didn’t know 停滞期. The other two 100%. also i think the first one is from the lord of the rings.
    level 50: first one 100%. didn’t know the reading of 掬う and 網 in the second one, but i guessed the meaning from context so i understood the second one. Third one i got only around 50%. many words i met for the first time.
    2. 3 months and almost 3 weeks, around 6~7 hours active, in march around 2 hours active. Not sure about passive.
    3.RTK => Tae Kim => KO2001 => Anki => A lot of reading (visual novels, manga, anime with subs)

  9. I’m fairly surprised at my results as well.

    30 was easy, no problem. 40 required a bit more focus and I had to re-read a few times. Few words were unknown to me although I could guess the meaning from the kanji and a few sentences are still a bit blurry. So I think I might be within the 90% of margin of error.
    I didn’t even bother trying 50 at first, thinking it would be impossible, but in the end it was far less difficult than I expected. I knew most of the words and I understood most of everything. I don’t think I passed though, but I guess my final result is:
    Level 45-ish.

    How long: 5 years. First 3-4 years were very irregular though as far as frenquency goes.

    Frequency: first 3-4 years, clearly not enough! Plus, I had some large gaps (several months) in my studies. Since almost 2 years now though, I’ve started AJATT/JALUP and have been studying/immersing much much more, and everyday. I do around 2 hours of active studying. For passive it’s hard to say: I listen to my iPod filled with Japanese artists only all day long at work, watch anime and drama once home and began my first experience with novels not long ago.

    Methods: first 3-4 years: different teachers here and there but no “serious course”. Last 2 years: RTK, Anki (sentence mining, branching process), immersion… good ol’ AJATT :)

    Thanks for the test, it was really good and fun to do.
    And yeah, I recognized 池袋West Gate Park although I haven’t watched it for years! (面倒くせぇ~ kind of gave it away :))

  10. Level 30 felt easy, level 40 was okay, failed in level 50. Got over 90% in 50.1, but 50.2 and 50.3 were about 50% each, due to lack of vocabulary/kanji comprenhension. So I would say level 42 for me :D

    Previous experience:
    2005 & 2006: 4 x 100 hour intensive courses, plus same amount of time self study=800 hours. Passed JLPT3 with 370+/400
    2007: No consistency with studying, maybe 100 hours total, Failed JLPT2 with about 160/400.
    2008: Went to japan in september and did japanese school full time until the end of the year. 7 hours of class plus 2 of study at home, 2 of reading on the train, plus all the inmersion and exposure on free time… That got me about 1000 study hours. Passed JLPT2 with 300/400.
    2009: Worked in japan 8 months, but study was reduced to almost zero. I progressed because I kept reading (名探偵コナン has done more for my japanese than any textbook) and exposed.
    2010&2011: Zero japanese :\

    This year I have started mounting a new attack in a more orderly fashion. Already done 25% of RTK, building a j-j anki deck, back to 名探偵コナン where I left and also started reading novels again, 容疑者Xの献身 is difficult to put down!

  11. Was pleasantly shocked at the results – I imagined myself to be lv30-40. Could understand all of level 40 except 敷かれた線路. Level 50 was a lot easier than I anticipated. Didn’t know 全体像, 題材, 暗示, 両立 or 視覚効果賞. They are all in my Anki now, however!

    How long: just over 6 years. Have been studying pretty much every day since the beginning (I used to read Japanese textbooks during school classes!) Have been learning to read and write each kanji one at a time from about a year in. Am at just over 1700 now.

    Methods: Watched a lot of subbed anime – looking back, this helped from the beginning with prounciation and whether a sentence “felt” correct. Used Anki from 2 years in and switched to sentences about a year ago, to significant effect. Bought an iPod about 8 months ago and bought Anki for it. This, plus switching to sentences, were probably the two factors that have helped push my Japanese forward the most.

    Currently have 7674 sentences and do around 500 reps every day. Have been in Japan on the JET program for a year and a half now. Being in the country helps mostly because your motivation remains very high, and I can whip out my iPod at any time and enter a new word whenever I see one. Access to free materials like flyers, letters, newspapers etc also really helps. Am signed up for JLPT1 this July, but am mostly just continuing my usual pace and methods of study as opposed to panicking and trying to cram.

  12. Ah, I forgot to comment. I’d say low 30’s.
    As for what methods I’ve used, I did RTK and used anki for sentences. I’ve immersed myself, for the most part, in Japanese. I’ve watched several drama series, some anime, and have read a couple manga series. I’ve also played a few video games in Japanese. (recently became addicted to PSO2 during the closed beta that just ended)
    I started RTK in late summer (end of July, beginning of August?) of last year and finished it late September and took up sentences from there.
    I’ve been really lazy and haven’t really added anything to my anki deck in about a month though; I’m hoping seeing how much I’ve progressed in this amount of time will encourage me to keep going. If anyone has any advice on how to get back into it, I’d greatly appreciate it by the way. ^^

  13. I would say level 50 was pretty comfortable, although there were some words I wasn’t sure how to pronounce! Had no trouble with understanding.

    Been teaching English as an assistant teacher in Japan for the last 2 years and 10 months. I go to Japanese class about once every two weeks or less for an hour each time. I have about three 50 min English classes per day where 60~90% of what is being spoken is Japanese. I watch dubbed American shows sometimes and read manga.

    First year I studied on my own with Japanese for Busy People. Awful, awful book. (It was in ROMAJI!) I spent the first half of the second year reading manga(started with Doraemon), picture books, and magazines. Moved to young adult novels slowly. Spent the second half of the second year studying for the JLPT N2 with a grammar book and looking up lots of sentences for every new grammar point I learned. (I never tried to make any myself) I was also watching dubbed movies every now and then as a “break” from studying. After I passed N2, I took a 2 month break by reading novels. I then spent another 3 months cramming for the N1 with grammar books and practice tests. Since passing N1, I have shoved all my grammar books into the closet and done whatever I wanted. (Lately it has been watching Supernatural… usually one or two episodes a day.)

    I have started and stopped and started on my Anki deck for about 2 years now, but I get too bored and just give up. My method is if I’m bored, I just do something else. (Not necessarily in Japanese, unfortunately)

    • My method is if I’m bored, I just do something else. (Not necessarily in Japanese, unfortunately)

      Me too. :P

  14. About level 46-47.
    Barely did 90% on all three for level 40, but since 2/3 90% is required, I figured I should try for level 50. It was slightly harder, mostly because of readings I don’t encounter very often, but I understood about 80% 50.1, 85% 50.2 and 90% 50.2.

    I learned my first Japanese word in December, so I’ve been studying for 7 months now. However, I haven’t been bored for a minute yet! I spend every available minute immersed in Japanese, and I’ve clocked in many hours of listening to podcasts (both actively and passively), I haven’t listened to English music since the beginning of my “project”, and I started watching anime with Japanese subtitles the moment I finished RTK1. Study-time is Japanese, and entertaintment is Japanese.

    Every electronic thing I own is switched over to Japanese, I’ve got a few email-friends who write Japanese to me (and have been for months, so I learn vocabulary from whatever we’re talking about), and I don’t use Japanese subtitles on my anime anymore. At least not for slice-of-life anime.

    You could say I sort of decided to dive straight into the depths of the Japanese ocean and see if I learned to swim before I drowned! So far, so good. If any other Norwegians also love JALUP and Japanese learning, be sure to click my link where I write about all the things I discover along the way!

  15. I think I’ve reached level 40! :D At least I’ve understand lines 1 and 3. The first line is a dialog from The Lord of the Rings. Because frodo’s name was mentioned. The third is from a japanese movie.

    I’ve been studying Nihongo since 2009 with at least 4 hours study time and 3 hours passive learning + srs (during traveling and 1 hour break)

    My methods are srs x immersion x sentence picking

    Mostly my sentences are from anime, manga, games. I dont feel the sentence if its boring.

    Thank you for this test. It least I’ve gauged where I am now.

  16. Just managed to pass lvl 50

    Lvl 30 (LOLed at these :P): Understood almost everything.

    Lvl 40: Felt I understood most of the component parts of 1), but still wasn’t sure what was going on.
    (Knew it was something to do with LOTR though). I was going to fail myself on 2) as well because of the sentence 物理的であれ、なんであれ、いつも自分のやることに制限をしてしまうと、それはあなたの仕事や人生にも広がってしまう。 At first I thought it was saying that imposing limits on yourself will widen your horizons, which is obviously wrong, but after reading the later stuff and coming back to it worked it out.
    3) was no problem; I even guessed it was Ikebukero Westgate Park, which I’ve just started reading.

    Lvl50: I was thrown by 神秘的 and 秩序 in the last sentence of 1) and considered failing it because that final phrase seemed really important, but decided I’d understood enough of the passage as a whole to pass it. The only other things I didn’t know were how to read 書物, and exactly what 約束 was meant in that context. I think my pass mark on this is debatable, but it’s borderline either way, so it’s basically the same thing.
    2) wasn’t too hard. I couldn’t remember 溜まる, 掬う or 調節, but was confident in my understanding of the passage as a whole.
    3) was way too hard. I didn’t read it all because it was obvious that I was well below 90% and it was pretty boring.

    I’ll post my study methods/time in a reply since this has gotten long and I’m bored. XD

    • I’ve been studying Japanese for about 2 years, since June 2010. My learning has been very erratic in both method and commitment, and there have been long periods, sometimes whole months, in which I didn’t study at all or only made token efforts like reading a single sentence, but as my level increased and I discovered on study methods that suit me, it became more consistent. Basically I just read/listen and look up words without SRSing them, but I’ve done other things as well.

      Months 1-2: After giving up on a couple of textbooks I started working my way through Tae Kim’s grammar guide while reading Breaking in to Japanese Literature (BJL), and felt quite pleased with my progress, but when I finished BJL I decided to focus on vocab and kanji.

      Months 2-18: In the next year+ I did most of RTK and some of iKnow’s Core6000 (1 or 2 thousand). I quit RTK because I felt I’d got what I needed from it, and wanted to focus on vocabulary, but I didn’t feel like my vocabulary study was going well. I couldn’t recognise words outside the SRS and seemed to be making no progress in Japanese. I attributed this change of pace to the fact that I knew more (making small improvements less obvious), and not to the fact that I hardly read anymore.

      Towards the end of December 2011 I grew nostalgic for the time when I was reading BJL and seemed to be making loads of progress, and decided to try focusing on reading as a study method. In the year since finishing BJL I’d read less than half of キノの旅 1 and a single manga volume, as well the occasional bit of Japanese I stumbled across, but I spent almost all day every day reading for a week until I finished ゼロの使い魔1. At first I was looking up almost every word, to the extent that when I did recognise one I would actually stop and congratulate myself, but by the end of the book it was noticeably easier. I felt I’d made as much progress in that week as I had in all the rest of my Japanese study, and decided to focus on reading from then on.

      Months 19-25: After that I focused on reading (though not so intensely) and decided to stop using anki as it didn’t seem to help and took time away from reading. I often crave the feeling of quantifiable progress that anki gives, so I went back to it a couple of times, but I still feel that it doesn’t help. I also tried to watch dramas to improve listening, but couldn’t find anything I liked and variety shows were too hard, so I didn’t do much of that, thought I did find that reading was improving my listening. I feel like apart from RTK, most of what I did before this was almost negligible.

      Right now: A few days ago I discovered I could (sort of) understand variety shows, so I’ve been watching loads of them and am pleased to see that my listening seems to be improving well as I learn to apply what I’ve learned through reading.

      My writing is still pretty bad and my speaking is even worse.

      P.s. I confused Ikebukero Westgate Park for Durararara, which is what I’ve actually been reading.

  17. 1) High-30s I guess? Maybe 38-39? Mainly I couldn’t read any of the Kanji after Level 30; if I could I would probably be mid-40s, I think.
    2) Active studying: 3 years. Passive studying: 6 years.
    3) Currently, I go to language exchange every week to improve speaking/listening skills. I also watch Japanese children’s TV shows such as Kamen Rider and various anime. I read manga sometimes, but I haven’t read anything recently. When I was in school, I took all the Japanese classes my University offered, which was unfortunately not many.

    As a side note, Level 30 sentence 3 is the story of my life =P

  18. I would put myself at a level 52 or 53. I could comprehend all of the passages, but occasionally I would skip a word and rely on context, or not have that really comfortable sense of understanding the sentence I just read.

    Immersion, 8-10 hours Japanese daily, Retro games, MegwinTV, and reading language blogs including polyglot blogs recently for motivation, friends now in Japanese and internet about 50% Japanese.

    I am an AJATTer and have been studying since 2009, but very sporadically for the first two years. I live in Japan now, so I just live the live I was working so hard to attain before. This year I started my own version of a victory calendar where I reward myself for a completed day with marbles in a little jar. When the jar is full I go buy something hideously expensive like a new bicycle or a television. The last few months I have really noticed my levels just booming and I recently began studying for Kanken level 8. Someday I want to pass Kanken level one because knowing 6000 kanji would be just epic. I love this site and Khatz’s of course, but the level guide is really motivation. Before Christmas I was just at level 30 and now my reading level has exploded! Thank you for your efforts in creating the content in this site! I look forward to Native level fluency :)

  19. I topped out around 30. So many Kanji I don’t know, I couldn’t read anything anymore. I’ve been at it for only three months though..

  20. 1. Passed the previous stage all good, this time would’ve been probably Level 24.
    2. About 11 months, I had some elementary understanding from high school but at the start even then I had to go over the hiragana a couple times to learn it again. Frequency has varied between minimum 90minutes-6hrs actual study/day. On top of which there’s listening/watching ONLY Japanese media as part of immersion (this part only as of the last 30days properly).
    3. RTK for about 20 weeks while I was still in uni doing medicine in a particularly hard semester.
    – Tae Kim grammar in 10 days – and all the Anki sentences (~785) for it.
    – Core2K still going (552 down), also doing some other purely vocab decks from Minna no Nihongo 1 (completed in about 2 days cause I already knew it), and MnN2 (still going)

    • Updating myself now. Pleased with my progress.

      I was level 24 at 4/12/2012 as you can see above.

      Now (16/7/2013) I’ve just continued reading from where i left off and this time got up to level 44. Very pleased. I’ve being doing Japanese since about March 2012 (so 16 months).

  21. 1) Level 50
    2) 5 years. I study mainly by listening, using, reading Japanese every day for about 6-7 hours. Methods are books, dramas, films, podcasts, music, games…anything I can do in Japanese.

  22. I would put myself at about 55. I’m quite surprised considering my reading comprehension isn’t great, and I haven’t touched anything in Japanese for a year or so!

    Frequency/duration of study – about three years, mostly infrequently or in short bursts of a few weeks or months. I passed N2 in 2011 and was supposed to take N1 last year but didn’t feel sufficiently prepared for it.
    My study has been primarily JLPT-led, and I’ve been relying on vocabulary lists and grammar books (in particular the Kanzen Master series). I’ve tried passive learning but it doesn’t really work for me, probably because I was too focused on trying to memorise lots of words so I would be prepared for a test (consequently scrambling for the dictionary every few seconds when watching an episode of anime/a drama etc).

    In terms of skills: Reading > Writing > Listening > Speaking for me. I find that reading does generally improve everything else, but past a certain point you really need a good grasp of kanji for that – it’s a huge stumbling block now I’ve hit the intermediate plateau. As an impatient beginner, I apparently thought I wouldn’t miss much by skipping out on kanji altogether – big mistake, but hopefully one I can work on. I only just discovered this site and will probably start RTK soon – it’s a pity I didn’t discover it sooner!

    • I also hit the intermediate plateau; the point where either kanji, or colloquial knowledge holds you back. I find especially whilst writing, that although I can get my point across, my ignorance of simpler grammar/wording that means the same usually means I get a lot of confused replies from japanese people because it made perfect grammatical sense, but didn’t sound normal @.@

      My problem is, I was a little too passive at learning…

  23. It is quite difficult for me to judge my own level since it changes based upon various external factors. Being completely honest, I probably understand about 85-90% of the level 30; 75-85% of the level 40; 65-75% of the level 50 material while reading it without the use of any external aids.

    However, if this were a listening comprehension test, my levels would likely read more along the lines of: 97% lvl 30; 90% lvl 40; 80-85% lvl 50. Obviously, my listening comprehension skills are quite a bit higher than my reading skills.

    But, here’s where things get interesting due to my forgetfulness of the kanji I’ve studied in the past. If I were given furigana for all of the kanji in the reading material, my reading comprehension percentages would likely jump to a level much more aligned to my listening comprehension levels. Thus showing that my current weak point in reading right now is kanji readability rather than actual structural or vocabulary comprehension issues.

    And, just for fun, if I were to write articles similar to these levels, I would probably rank myself thusly:

    95% lvl 30; 80% lvl 40; 70% lvl 50 (without a dictionary – typing)
    100% lvl 30; 95% lvl 40; 90% lvl 50 (with the use of a dictionary – typing)
    85% lvl 30; 65% lvl 40; 35% lvl 50 (without dictionary – hand written)
    100% lvl 30; 95% lvl 40; 90% lvl 50 (with dictionary – hand written)

    So, if I were to analyze my self-analysis (however accurate that may or may not be), I would likely say that my strong points are: structural analysis/syntax (both formal and casual) and daily conversational lexis (aka vocab), while my weak points would be: reading and writing kanji without a dictionary aide, keigo/kenjyougo.

    Now, for my background and study methods: I’ve been watching anime and jdrama for 8 years now (3 of those years have been without subtitles); I studied Japanese language and culture in college (3 years language study, 1 year textual study, 2 years formal academic composition study); I currently live in Japan and am reading as many light-novels as I can get my hands on / talking to as many people in daily life in Japanese as possible.

    I feel that, while almost completely unnecessary to learn the language conversationally, my rigorous university study (5 days a week, 3 hours a day, 4 years straight) has helped me vastly to learn more complex (esp. academic and formal) sentence structures and lexis forms. Also, without the forced study, consequence of poor study (e.g. getting a bad grade), and forced rote memorization of kanji, I likely would be a much lower level than I am now.

    As for my general take on language acquisition methods, that’s a difficult topic to cover in a short blurb. But, basically, I believe that certain methods work well with some people and horrendously with others. I also think that the methods should be goal-driven (why are you learning the language and what end-level do you hope to achieve). Obviously, some things will be goal-independent, but most language acquisition methods are extremely goal-driven and quite focused on certain aspects of the target language.

    In any case, excellent site. I hope to use it for learning materials in the future.

  24. Coming back some 8 months after the last time I did the test here and I’m actually really surprised at my result. I’m not sure if I should let myself pass 30, since I was able to understand 2 and 3 quite well only missing a word or two, but failed at 1 (I understood the general idea, but apparently I don’t know the kanji for words I know very well). Even though hesitating I moved to level 40, and surprisingly the first paragraph was a breeze. The second I didn’t understand at all, but then (after a break, since I’m still not really used to reading in Japanese and it takes a lot of stamina) the third was also pretty easy.
    I was also able to realize that number 1 in lvl 40 is Lord of the Rings, but only because the name of Frodo appeared there. Otherwise I wouldn’t know the source even in English (probably).

    My guess is that ~lvl 40 would be a good place. Though I’m trying to stay optimistic on this one.

    Well as of now I learn for ~11 months, though in the last 4 I haven’t done much since uni year started, ~5 hours of passive study (as in, watching Anime, mostly) a week at most. Before that I studied more seriously with the core2k anki deck (was at around 1200 iirc) and Tae Kim’s grammar guide (which, though I haven’t finished, I think I already know most of it’s content anyway just from passive study).

  25. Up to and including level 40, I understood 80% of everything. At level fifty, my lack of vocabulary really punched me in the nose >.<

    I’ve been studying for about 2 and a half years. At first, I used realkana for mastering the writing systems. 20 minutes a day for about a week and I had hiragana memorized and easily read and katakana 80% memorized (some of them would not stick in memory). After that, until about 6 months in, I was downloading RAW manga and practicing as well as using various online tutorials and rereading my grammar books. Then 6 months of trying to memorize kanji and get better resources, especially for spoken japanese.

    I came across anki and RTK right about here, 1 year into my attempts. I spent the next 6 months adding unknown words from my manga RAWs and a few free novels I found–under the assumption that if I memorized words I didn’t know, I would be able to eventually understand the whole chapter and pieces of other manga. I also worked on writing skills for a while at about this period. I spent a 3 or so month period on hiatus, only practicing occasionally.

    When I returned, I could read manga without having to translate it word for word. I worked on my reading speed, as up until this point (almost 2 years), I had only been able to read one or two of the manga I had. By the 2 year mark, I was reading manga at a rate of about an hour per hundred pages with the aid of an iPod dictionary (Kotoba, despite it’s annoying crashes).

    This past six months, I’ve been writing in japanese and having it corrected on Lang-8, I’ve found a less crash prone dictionary that is faster than kotoba (Midori, which I didn’t think would outdo the free Kotoba). I can now comprehend sentences if they have simpler verbs and words I know, but conjugations trip up my hearing. My japanese has improved tremendously in this period, but my lack of vocabulary is becoming increasingly obvious; my grammatical skill is far stronger than my vocabulary.

    I have learnt in a piecemail manner, but I am proficient (up to about level 43-ish) with the aid of a dictionary. The only nuisance is that I find is that the manga I actually enjoy have a lot of the words/kanji I haven’t encountered, and the ones that have words I know have grammar that’s far too simple. For me, I don’t excel in any particular region, but I know enough of everything to get me by, and my grammatical skill provides the tug to compensate for what I lack.

    Anyways, my skill is biased into the grammatical region, with my vocabulary being adequate for everyday conversation. Where I excel the most, is simply in my ability to read, not to speak or write. I’m not very surprised, as my skill in English is largely based upon my skill at reading (I can read up to approximately 600 wpm, or 10 words per second). Learning a new language is largely about interacting with the language rather than merely absorbing it. I am the kind who learns best by absorption, especially of written material, so I do not have the advantage besides in my wide realm of exposure to material.

    I largely lack the consistency and discipline to drill myself, much preferring to learn new things than master the old. When I do drill myself, I settle at 80% mastery and lose interest. My skill reflects this. I took the practice test for JLPT N5 online. I was able to answer all the questions correctly without a dictionary, but I had to listen a second time to the spoken part before I linked what they said to what I already knew. I would estimate my memorized kanji to be ~250, my vocabulary to be ~1200 words (in hiragana), my grammar to be up to about level N3 in JLPT, and my spoken japanese to be enough to get me by if travelling in japan, but not enough to talk about much more than general topics.

    • On second thought, I actually know almost 500 (maybe up to 600, but I doubt it) or so kanji when I am reading, but I haven’t worked with their pronunciations, nor meanings enough to read words I haven’t encountered. I can tell if I’ve seen a kanji before, but I rarely recall it’s on’yomi readings. I haven’t practiced writing enough to recall the kanji used for any given word, but the ones I have practiced writing in the past don’t seem to have this problem, e.g, 感(かん)じる、退屈(たいくつ)、私、僕 and other various ones.

      From my knowledge, I would assume that if you are trying to master a different part of japanese, link it to what you know and practice. If you want to recall the kanji in words you know, write them a couple times each day. If you want to recall a word, say, read, listen to, or write it a couple times daily, depending on how you want to use it. A lot of learning a language seems to be an act of branching from what you do know into what you don’t. Therefore, if you are starting with no prior knowledge of japanese but want to master kanji, work with english meanings, as in RTK. If you have spoken knowledge, then it is probably best to ‘link’ the kanji with the spoken words you know.

      In my experiences, I am seeing more and more evidence that the mind is simply a set of data, inputs, and a way to associate them with other pieces of data. In essence, it’s all about linking ideas/feelings/thoughts to new information. Eventually, you’ll build a web that makes it easy to recall information from any other memory.

      • To my 16-year-old self: brevity, my friend. There’s no need to be so precise. It’s okay to admit that you aren’t there quite yet, instead of trying to appear capable.

        Musing in comment sections does not show sophistication. Who taught you to try so hard to be profound? You’ll come a long way and learn quite a bit.

        • Isn’t it great to come back and see how far you have come ;) both with Japanese and as a human being :) I remember being 16 and thinking of how much I knew and how mature I felt… Well life teaches you new things all the time and getting a glimpse back in time like this really shows how far one gets.

  26. level :36-37 (Lvl 30 was easy, understood a bit of 40.1, none of 40.2, but 40.3 was easy.)

    Length: 13 months (7 months of immersion in college, dropped out of college to concentrate on immersion 6 months ago){note that when I started, I had a very basic grasp of hiragana}

    Menthod: Immersion with music, anime recordings, manga, books. Used Anki to complete heisig’s 2k in college, then stopped after. While in college listened mostly to audio from anime, however I transitioned to a sort of “reading immersion” after dropping out. Listened to audio at night, for the first 9 months, doing it on and off after. Audio at 80% of waking hours, reading several hours a day. Change OS to Japanese, put away all English books and games, then stay in room all day lol.

    Comments: I felt like I was making no progress for the first 8 months, and could hardly understand manga, even with a dictionary, then suddenly it all fell into place in a 2 month span, this could be a combination of the increased immersion time after dropping out, more reading, and/or my previous months of immersion reaching ‘critical mass’.

    So, don’t feel discouraged if it seems like you’re not making progress, cause now I’m back to feeling as if I’m not moving forward anymore, but I know that soon there’s going to be another ‘everything falls into place’ thingy soon!

    and thanks for the test man! I never thought I’d have fun in an exam haha

  27. Level 30
    Words I knew but couldn’t read: 頂戴 勿論
    Unknowns: 食感 たびに
    Above 90% comprehension of 1&2.
    Full comprehension of 3. I’m almost certain I’ve heard/seen this passage before.

    Level 40
    Comprehension of some portions.

    Heisig. watching, reading, mining words/sentences.

    Currently experimenting with: MCDs, J-J sentences

      • 11/3/2013
        test 50
        1. 天井
        2. 斜めに、掬う水の調節、
        3. Seven words
        Level 45

        Started RTK in December 2010.
        Was at level 20~25 by December 2011 (subs2srs’d FLCL and Tekkonkinkreet)
        Got to level 30 by November 2012(finished ~3600 core words).
        A long stint of reviews, no new cards added.
        Still at level 30, April 2013. Started J-J.
        Level 40 by August 2013,
        Started uni, 2nd week of August
        Withal core + subs, ~6000 sentences were added by November 2013

        immersion and anki

  28. Level 30

    1.言い訳すんな, 勿論 (I’ve never seen もちろん written like this!)

    2.I guessed the reading and meaning of 食感 correctly, but am not going to count it as understood. I didn’t know 頂戴

    3. I didn’t know 風変わり, I kicked myself at 発表 because I’ve come across it many times and this part 「なんて言われても変わるつもりはちっともない」 eludes me at the moment.

    So I think I can fairly place myself somewhere in the Level 26/7 region?

    • You’ll definitely see plenty of 勿論 as you start expanding your reading habits.

      And by “I didn’t know 頂戴” I’m guessing you probably actually mean “you hadn’t seen it in 漢字 form yet”? Cause it’s just ちょうだい、 essentially a variation on 下さい。

      It’s always interesting when you can’t understand stuff and then realize it is just because it’s written in 漢字 form.
      Just the other day I was annoyed at all the 何故 sprinkled around something I was trying to read since it took me a while to recognize it as good ol’ なぜ… (I’d actually seen it before, and even had one, maybe two, anki cards with it written like that, but I still didn’t recognize it straight away)

  29. So far so good. Read all of them. Occasionally had to backtrack a sentence since the continuity were a bit confusing (the first text in lvl 50). Occasionally had to think the words out loud for the ikebukuro one. Forgot how to read 音響賞 though the meaning was obvious, didn’t know the meaning for 食感.

    Theoretically I’ve been studying for 4 years, but really, I was an absolute beginner before September 2011. Been studying obsessively since then. I don’t do methods.

  30. 30 was a breeze. A nice breeze. 40 felt natural, but I couldn’t remember a lot of the kanji. Perhaps I understood 75% of it, all in all? I didn’t try 50. Well, hold on….

    Okay, 50 has been read. #1 in 50 was actually easier for me to read than those in 40. I knew the kanji better. #2 wasn’t so bad, either. I would say I understood about 70-75% in those, as well. #3’s kanji threw me for a loop, though.

    I have been studying off and on for about 5 years, however I did take 2 semesters of Japanese 10 years before that. (I’m 36.) I studied with みんなの日本語, books 1&2, then 中級に行こう. After that, after getting disappointed with my progress, I eventually ditched these kinds of study books (ones that have a made-for-level conversations for you to listen/read, and then following vocab lists, grammar points, and drills). I started working on grammar books (中級日本語文法ポイント20, 日本語能力試験文法問題対策2級、総まとめ2級・・)I used White Rabbit Press kanji cards. I’m actually on N1 kanji now, but I have forgotten a lot of the previous material. I try to use reading and some DS kanji games to fill in the gaps. Having heard of the Heisig method a couple years ago, I went searching for it and got a lame copy called “A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters”. It has its merits, and I have been using it, but I went ahead and ordered RTK after reading a lot of what you guys have written on this site.

    Anyway, otherwise, I do Anki daily (2 decks: 2000+6000 N2 vocab, plus a deck I made for N2 grammar. Both are a mix of J-E and J-J.) When I have time, I try to read native Japanese and watch Japanese movies/anime (Death Note, Attack on Giants recently… ) I also sometimes print out more difficult material from the internet and either translate it (just to work on actual translation skills) or pull out the old kanji dictionary and try to figure everything out.

    I also talk to my Japanese wife on Skype just about every morning for about 30 minutes. Our conversations are not hard, usually just day to day stuff. Lately we have been speaking in English, though, to get her ready for her interview at the embassy…. whenever that damn day is going to come!

    EDIT: I’m not really a manga/anime kind of guy, but with so many people seeming to get so much out of it, I’m looking more and more at it. What to get, however?….

  31. Lol did not realise that the first 40’s one was from LOTR, even with the フロド様 but then read one of the comments. Yeah its a lot harder to test you knowledge the higher you get. Like for the level 40’s I no longer am able to translate into English but I know you mentioned in the previous post that that was not necessary. Also does asking for more information count or clarifying as a suitable response, for example, I understood the general gist of what was being said like some deep-ness but I wasn’t quite sure what story he was talking about and how it related to what he said before, so like asking what did you read, or what was the name of the book is that adequate response.

    I didn’t finish the test but will come back to it soon. I just glanced at the business level but it seemed a lot easier to understand then the previous level, well not a lot easier but more familiar to me.

    Also this line was funny just looking at it I didn’t know what it meant but reading allowed gave meaning ちいせえ頃から. Also I think this one must be from Anime or a drama because it seems a little too rude for everyday conversation, or I’ve not encountered someone speaking like that. Overall I’m not sure how much percentage ~I understand but I don’t think it’s 90% yet.

    Oh yeah, I’ve been studying for a few years, I am now studying in Japan as an exchange student, also I don’t study Kanji anymore so like choudai and mochiron I did not know they were even written with Kanji, well I only use choudai in conversation anyway, so yeah I could read about 70% of the kanji, I think that’s why the business level was a bit easier if it’s a topic I am familiar with I am also familiar with the kanji.

    Sorry if this is kinda confusing to read as I just keep adding, it’s funny to notice people were stuck on the same kanji as me lol, also yh although I did not know it said choudai I knew the first kanji means to recieve so I guess the meaning correctly :D and yeah I have a book that it’s quite interesting I read it on the train but never have to look up all the kanji I can’t read which I really need to start doing, most of the time I get the gist of what is being said (or think I do) so I only look up the words that reappear manyt times.

  32. 1.Level 41
    Until 30 it was very easy. 30-40 was a bit harder and 40-50… the boss is far too strong yet…
    2.About a half year 8-14 hours (it depends on the school time. During the weekend more or less 16 hours)
    3. I’m using the immerion method. I think it’s the most natural and best way to acquire a language :)

  33. Level 25

    I understood most of what was said in the Level 30 test, but there was a handful of kanji and grammar structures that I still don’t quite understand. Level 40 was a bit too much.


  34. I would say I’m around a level 40. Been studying for 9 months. As for my method, I don’t really know. I just learn vocabulary and read up on grammar concepts every once in a while. Never bothered to learn kanji beforehand, I just jumped into vocabulary and picked them up naturally. I suggest other people do this method as well, RTK is just a road block that doesn’t really give you that much benefit.

  35. Took the test around 6 months ago (March 7th) and it’s August 22nd
    So that brings me to 19 months of immersion.

    Last time I was lvl36-37, this time round I’m 50.

    Switched to novels and online short stories around 2 months ago, and then discovered rikai-sama(Referring mainly to its Monolingual dictionary feature) just around the start of this month. Had lots of fun with that, saw quite some improvement. If you’re not familiar with rikai-sama, I highly recommend it, here’s a link

    Download first, read what it does later, you won’t regret it man.

    Looking forward to seeing how I do in 6 months time x)

  36. 35 or so.

    4 years study, varying levels of dedication
    Did RTK in probably the first 8 month, still maintaining.

    Slowly going through the 8555 Sentences from Japanese Grammar Dictionaries Anki deck (up to about 3100/8555).

    Random vocabulary, mixed J-E and J-J isoloated words mostly in my other deck.

    Japanese games, manga, grade school level novels, subtitled anime (I know…). No immersion atm

    Starting to migrate to J-J sentences instead of J-J isolated words

  37. Eh. Maybe somewhere in the range of 35-40. The informal speech for the third item in the Level 40 block was a pain. Haven’t tried the next block yet.

    Right now, I’m just doing my 6,000 vocabulary Anki deck though I’m only halfway through it. Aside from that, I read manga (both with and without furigana) and an assortment of magazines. I’m recently proud to have finished a light novel of one of my favorite series (of course with a lot of help from a dictionary). I also watch anime, but I’m terribly lacking with regards to good listening resources.

  38. My first time replying to this post.

    Passed level 30 pretty much completely, with most of the words I didn’t know falling into the “obvious” category, the only exception being 風変わり. After checking the J-J definition I guess my previous understanding of what 風[ふう] means was slightly too vague. I’ll see about trying the other levels soon.

    Currently at around 19 months, 5500-ish J-J cards.

  39. This is a great idea! Though, I not very sure where I am it’s a pretty big range. I could understand 100% 2. of Lvl 30 and 90% of 1 and 2, but when it came to Lvl 20 I wasn’t sure of the kanji for 2 of them but could read the other two sentences. Haha. I took once a week classes at a language for about two years, had a large gap when I moved countries and recently started studying again the latter half of last year. In between I listn to Japanese music nearly everyday and occassionally watch anime/drama and shop on Japanese websites too… I took N3 last Dec but just missed the mark (passed the old JLPT 4 years ago). Hope to do it again and have a decent pass this year! I’ve started revising the basics again as though there is much I have become rusty in.

  40. I’m somewhere from 45-47.
    Vocab used to be holding me back, but I did a lot of visual novel reading, typing out all the new words+definition I didn’t know, as well as the first 3.6k of Core6k/Core10k. There’s a fair amount of words that I can’t remember but I recognize when looking them up. Otherwise, only 50.3 had a few words I’ve never encountered before. I haven’t read that much or a significant variety of books/articles yet, so I can’t immediately grasp the flow of prose nor comfortably read the level 50 section w/o a dictionary. The level 40 ones are mostly pleasant to read.

  41. 1year2months
    Level 38
    3-4 hours anki per day (reviewing and adding)
    2-3 hours active media
    Passive all i can.
    Thanks adshap for the site, im following your advice 100%, 本当に、ありがとうございます。
    If it wasn’t for this site, i’ll still be using those basic 教科書。

  42. I think I might finally give myself a pass for lvl 30. I didn’t know the kanji for 勿論、超、満足、頂戴 (though I know the words) and I had to guess the meanings of 食感 and 風変り, but overall, the meaning of the paragraphs was clear.

    I also gave 40 a try – the bit from LotR was quite easy, 40.2 I’m not quite sure what it’s talking about, 40.3 I think I get the overall idea (also I somehow knew it was from IWGP even though I haven’t watched it o_o)

    It’s been 4 years since I decided to learn Japanese, but at first it was very on-and-off (more off to be honest), so I didn’t make a lot of progress. I finished RtK but I eventually stopped reviewing so I forgot most of it. However, it’s been 9 months since I started university classes and 3 months since I decided to actually get serious about Japanese. I think I was somewhere around level 23-25 these 3 months ago.

    I don’t want this to sound like an advertisement, but I really owe most of my ability to read to WaniKani – I like it more than RtK, to be honest, even though it’s slower. Other than that, I add stuff to Anki every day, play video games in JP, read manga, make sure to listen actively at least 2 hours a day… Could be doing more, though. I don’t feel “proficient”, lol.

  43. 私はレッブル50のほとんど分かりました。ざっと目を通して読んで全体的な雰囲気が分かった。去年の今頃に、同じ模試を受けて真のレブルは明らかにされて結局30号でした。でも、今回ひょっとするだよ、50号だって私くらいやすやす出来る。


  44. I would probably place myself at around a 53~ish. I have been “studying” Japanese for about a year and a half, although most people would hardly consider what I do as “studying”. While I have read Tim Kae’s Grammar book quite early on, I mostly watch lots of anime and try to absorb the language through the audio. As for vocab, I memorize Japanese vocab (from the JLPT lists) that I don’t already know through anime (which is surprisingly not much) and then I try to use those words in my “self-conversations” where I literally talk to myself as though it was a conversation of two or three people. My main problem is that there aren’t many Japanese people where I live and my high school doesn’t offer Japanese as a course, so I am stuck trying to learn the language on my own.

  45. I am around level 22.

    I’ve been studying seriously for two months (I already knew the kana and some extremely basic grammar before, but nothing really important).

    I study every day a few hours and I’ve been using RTK 1 + Supplement, Anki with Core 2k/6k optimized + audio, and Human Japanese + Human Japanese Intermediate.

    Thanks for making the test!

  46. I would say I’m at level 21. I passed the first few blocks quite easily, but at level 30 I had trouble with vocab, not understanding at least 1 word in most sentences.

    I have been studying non-stop for almost 5 months. I have done all of my J-E, 1580 kanji(out of 1901), and 375 J-J cards.

    My main routine is doing all my anki stuff with some listening immersion, then spending the rest of the day watching ridiculous amounts of anime, and reading quite a bit of manga too. I don’t like to add many anki cards anymore, although I used to. I found cutting back on anki and reading and listening more made me improve much faster, especially when it comes to grammar. Today, I watched 10 naruto episodes and read a whole volume of 最強伝説黒沢(which takes a long time for me). Considering it’s the holidays, that’s the usual routine but that will probably die down when school comes back.

  47. Level 30 wasn’t too hard to read but I couldn’t really piece together level 40. I’ve been learning Japanese for 6 months using Anki and talking with native speakers with Hellotalk and Skype.

  48. I think I finally hit level 40 (or very close)
    4020 cards and got around 90%

    some of the words I haven’t learned so didn’t know the pronunciation but I understood them nonetheless. I still don’t feel like I’ve hit my ‘turning point’ yet. Though by JALUPS guide i think I’ll truly hit level forties at around 5000 cards.

    I’m still unsure whether I should start conversation practice. My original goal was to wait till 5000 sentences. I guess that’s only a couple of months away at the current pace, better to be safe then sorry.

    • Out of curiosity, what would you consider a “turning point”? Is there a specific goal you’re trying to achieve, like watching a particular anime w/o subs and feeling like you understand and enjoy it? If not, maybe that’d be a good place to start?

      Also, if you’re nervous about jumping into conversations too early, I’d highly recommend online chat as a good way to bridge the gap and get your brain used to forming coherent Japanese sentences in “real time”. It’s going to take you some time to get used to it. Practicing with your JALUP buddies might be a good way to get your feet wet ^_-

  49. Man… I’m really humbled and motivated to see so many people making insanely quick progress.
    I wonder if I should be doing something differently? If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

    I would put myself at around a 26. Kanji is my weak point right now, and I’m trying to work on that.

    I’ve currently been living in Japan for about 9 months teaching english at an 英会話。Before that I took a few years of Japanese in high school, but forgot the majority of it.
    I am starting to get a bit more serious about studying. My primary method of studying up until now has been getting drunk at bars and talking with Japanese people, stopping to ask them what something means if I don’t get it. I have studied off and on with a textbook, but quite casually.
    For this reason, my listening comprehension and speaking is much better than reading I think.
    I’m currently finishing reviewing Genki I, will hopefully quickly breeze through Genki II as well (I know 80-90% of the stuff in the later chapters of Genki I and early of Genki II, but am filling in the gaps in my knowledge). I plan to move on to Tobira after that. Starting to watch variety shows and write down words I don’t know as well.
    I use Memrise for vocab words on my train rides.
    Any advice is welcome, please!! I hope to take the JLPT 2 in July, so I am trying to study around 4 hours every day until then.


    • Just want to actually reply to myself here.
      I’m writing this about eleven months later.
      Hello past and future self!
      I would now put myself at somewhere between 38-44. I was able to understand and follow almost all of the level 40, but there were some words that I couldn’t catch the reading of, and one or two that I couldn’t remember the reading for.
      3/3 of the level 50 texts were readable for general meaning and most key points, but in all of them I couldn’t read all kanji with the correct on/kun-yomi. The matrix text had vocabulary I didn’t recognize but I felt that I understood the gist and main points through kanji and context. 1/3 of the passages I understood everything.
      So perhaps I would guess a 43 at this point.
      I suppose a 17 point improvement in 11 months is not terrible, though I would have liked to improve more.
      Updates; I failed the JLPT N2 miserably last July, and barely passed the December 2015 test (yay!).
      I am currently reading 青年 manga like Tokyo Ghoul and Berzerk, and reading novels (slowly and with the help of a dictionary), like 化け物の子 (really awesome). My Japanese friend read a few pages out loud to me and couldn’t read all of the words with ease, which made me feel better.
      I speak to people in Japanese when I can. Though I feel as if I need to change my methods to make the next step into properly advanced territory. Listening (and speaking) is my biggest strength. Vocabulary and having a natural grasp of more nuanced grammar structures is my weakest now. I still have not taken any formal classes since coming to Japan.
      If anyone has any specific strategies/advice improving for someone as someone who’s been where I am now, I would GREATLY appreciate it.

      • Sounds like you’ve come a long way, and a jump from 26 to 44 is great. Remember, it takes more time to go up in levels the higher you go. I’m looking forward to your 3rd update when you make your next jump!

  50. I wonder if the fact that I slowly become able to read more of these texts over time just means I got used to those particular texts or if my Japanese is actually getting better, lol…

    Well anyway, the level 40 ones are not a problem now. Level 50, 1 is quite easy, 2, there are some words I don’t know, but I generally understand it, 3 also has some unknown words, but it’s mostly fine.

    We did Minna no Nihongo I and II at my university, now we’re going through an intermediate-level grammar book. I also read Tae Kim’s guide and did some of Genki, but I don’t really focus on grammar that much.

    I’m almost done with WaniKani, I also have just reached a modest 700 sentence cards on Anki. Other than that, I try to read manga and light novels, watch some anime or movies, and I play a lot of video games. Anyway, I’m mostly focusing on building vocabulary right now.

  51. I would say according to these guidelines I fall in 35 category
    and I am just curious about this so not trying to act superior or anything cause i suck at jp lol…but..
    i find some japanese in for example 30 unnatural sounding.
    like ´´fuugawari´´ have never heard anyone say that irl,maybe fuugawari is something that pops up in novels or not used in speech since I dont read japanese novels or anything.
    ,also i have never seen mochiron written in kanji whaaa….in magazines tv subtitles it is always in hiragana.
    in the second sentence i only didnt know koshou but still understood what was going on obviously. in the first i only didnt know koui,
    i have learned this word as shiwaza or koudou. but if someone would tell me this i understood all 3 sentences 95%. so pass. 40 got a lot tougher some sentences were clear some were not. I also dont know a lot of kanji but i do know plenty of words so many words i know how to use but dont know the kanji of.
    id say 1 and 2 i understand over 50, 3 was around 30 to 50
    so id say around 35. I dont understand these level calculations though if someone understands level 40 for 95 % but only around 50% for 50 shouldnt he or she be in level 55 instead and not 45 since level 40 is, 40 to 49 and if 90% or up is understood in this level imo shouldnt be put in the previous one,i deff dont feel like a 30s category simply because it is so simple and only 1 word in each sentence i didnt know.if someone is around the beginning or half or upper in the 50s one ,shouldnt he or she be anywhere from 50 to 59 honestly makes a lot more sense to me. I also consider myself intermediate. which i consider a inbetween stage in the language learning process very far from beginner and very far from non native fluent. i have started japanese study 10 years ago,I never learned kanji just picked it up by seeing some of them pop up so many times.I rarely watch japanese tv movies dramas etc exept in the beginning i never liked anime or manga so cant comment on that. My main japanese exposure is music. few hours a week. I used to study very hard and watch japanese tv dramas a lot about 1 to 3 hour a day. and when i came to the point that on average i can understand 60 to 95 of lyrics/movies/dramas,and tv which was a lot harder nearly always the main subject and details anywhere from 10 to 95 %. I came here curious for learning again

    • Hi and welcome!

      While it’s most common for もちろん to be written without Kanji, there are some pretty normal situations where it’s written in Kanji form. The obvious example is Twitter, or any other medium where you’re limited on message length. This space-saving practice applies to many other “usually in hiragana” words as well, like 流石(さすが).

      It’s also frequently done for stylistic reasons in books and games. Characters who are supposed to be more grown up, or sound smart will often use Kanji more heavily in their script (even where it’s not necessary). One of the games I’m playing right now goes so far as using Kanji for things like 無い(ない) and 有難う (ありがとう).

      I have to head out, so I’ll leave the other stuff for Adam or someone else to answer, but I hope you’re able to find lots of helpful information here. Good luck! =)

      • thank you for your answer!
        I only know 600 kanji so there are a loooooot i cant read
        i also rarely see choudai written in kanji but i guess it depends on the writer
        I find this test useful but for me atleast very vague…Like in 30 I didnt knew fuugawari koui and koshou so only one word in each sentence but the sentences were all clear is considered as passing the 30 category or not?
        to me speaking and understanding japanese is my main goal dont really care if there are some kanji i cant read. in the last sentence i read mayotteru as okutteru and that was what threw me off since i couldnt make sense of the sentence but i did knew the word mayou just not the kanji. Should i Consider this 30 level as passed or failed? id like to come back again in a while and see if theres any progress but its hard to know without knowing your level 4 was a mega kanji boom for me but when converting it to hiragana it was like 50 50 understandable.

    • 風変わり is used in speech, but is probably more common in literature.

      Which word have you learned as “shiwaza or koudou?” 行為 has a slightly different meaning but is related.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the exact accuracy of measuring the level based on the amount you know per sentence. This test is more of an estimate. The more recent power level quizzes on this site should be a better estimate (though they only go up to 20 for now)

      If the sentences are clear, then not knowing a word or so is still passing.

      If not knowing the kanji messes up your understanding than that would lower your score. While you may have understood it if you heard it, kanji is factored into this specific test.

      Hope that helps!

      • thank you! yes i only didnt knew 1 word in each sentence but the sentence was clear to understand after reading it only once, kanji wise i only confused mayotteru for okutteru which confused me,in level 40 I dont know a lot of kanji but i know around 80% of the words I never studied kanji and dont really plan to i only know 600 now.
        so i guess 30 passed 40 failed and im around 35 then. thanks again!

  52. Level :30 (1 unknown word) A blazing read. A Vague understanding of 40. So about ~30.

    Length: About 8 months. 4 Months RTK + Grammar. 2 Months Grammar (~N3). 2 Months Jalup Decks (Advanced Half Complete).

    Frequency: At first 1 hr per day (No Passive, RTK and Grammar). Then 6-7 hr/ day (No Passive, Grammar Take Kim, Experiment with Core Decks,Japanesepod101). Now 4 hrs/ day (1hr) mainly due to the ease Jalup decks have given me.

    Methods: Anki (2 hr) and Active Watching (1-2 hrs), and occasionally passive.

    I came to this exact page some months ago, and I was like I can’t do Japanese. Now completing the first block fills me with confidence. I might be able to reach Level 40 in 4 months. Then 1 year for level 50-60!

    • I would be very proud of my progress if I had those stats. I think I have a couple of months head start on you, but I’m still in the 20 to 25 level range. It just goes to show, it’s not so much how long, but how much per day a person studies. You are owning, I’m gonna need to pickup my game here.

    • After 20 days,
      First paragraph and last paragraph have about 90% comprehension, the second one is still vague (due to lack of vocabulary). I’ll put myself at 38 now.

      • After a whole month (and completing expert 4), the Level 50 1st block seems easy 95℅ comprehension.
        Level 40 2nd block still gives me a bit of trouble, bu I’ll ignore it for time being.
        I’ll say my current level is ~43.

        • After two months, level 50 blocks seem easy with only 3-4 words unknown (which I was able to guess the reading and meanings)… So I guess level 50? But I still have ~1000 cards to go according to the level guide, so I’ll try then.

  53. I’ve been lurking around the site for about a year now, but only tried this test now. The tips in the other articles on this site have been quite helpful.

    For Level 30, I was able to do (2) and (3), and guessed the reading of 盗んだ correctly from context, but if I was listening, I would probably be able to understand it. This is the first instance I’ve encountered 行為. I should read some more.

    Level 40 was as pleasant as riding a vehicle through a bumpy road. I understand vaguely 50% of all three lines, so…I’m around the 35~39-ish level?

    I’ve been studying on-and-off for ~7 years now, but it’s only been in the past two or so years that I learned how to study Japanese more efficiently. Starting 2014, 4 months of RTK Anki everyday. Read Tae Kim about three times a week. Listened to JapanesePod101 podcasts for a few minutes in the evening. Then had a hiatus but still listened to JPod in spare time. Only picked RTK up again this July and cleared my accumulated now mature cards with an 87~90% correct rate. (I’m surprised I still remember them.) Since it’s break, I have been building my vocabulary by playing Japanese games, and passively immersing by watching anime and listening to anime songs. I’ve also recently discovered the Nihongo no Mori channel on YouTube, which I find high-yield for the advanced grammar points, listening, and JLPT vocabulary.

    …all-in-all, I’ve made progress, but I’m still not there. Will have to work harder to conquer Level 40, and onward!

  54. 1) A solid level 30. :D

    2) On, but mostly off, for 5+ years. I started buckling down in January of this year though and in comparison to the last time I tested, I’m 20 levels higher. :D How much I do per day/week/month depends on external factors.

    3) Tae Kim’s Guide (which I’m currently rereading for the nth time). White Rabbit Flashcards, both the Kanji cards and the Hiragana cards which I use to brush up. Light reading, watching shows/dramas/movies/etc., passive listening, and listening to materials while I sleep. Lately, I’ve started typing too.

    On the negative side, while Memrise helped in the short term, I’ve sworn off of SRS because I get too focus on treating it like a game and not enough actual learning. The less said about my experience with Anki, the better. :P I would say reading wise that grammar is currently my weakest trait and for listening, it’s not being able to always tell when people are slurring sounds together.

    All in all, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. Especially since reading and listening are the only two skills I’m interested in mastering at the moment. :D

    • I meant to say that I scored a level 30 this time and that I was around level 10 or less the last time I did the test. :D OTL

  55. This test was interesting. I’m guess I am at about mid 40’s according to this test. That matrix one had so many kanji I couldn’t read. Everyone here has such a structured way of learning. I don’t really have a specific method. I took the N3 last year and passed. Since then I think I have forgotten a lot of kanji. I took all the Japanese classes at my University and I even tutored Japanese for one semester. I need to start studying more intensively. For the past half year my “studying” has been just chatting with my Japanese friends. I also use ニコ生放送 sort of for studying. It’s probably not the best way to learn but I guess it is better than nothing. I also just started using Memrise like 4 days ago which has been fun.

    sorry for all the unnecessary extra stuff.. to sum it up.. 15+ years studying sort of, and around mid 40’s according to this test.

    As for the length I have studied Japanese… it is kind of difficult to explain.
    I started out in elementary school from around 1st to 4th grade I think. I used to go to a Japanese school on Saturday and was somewhat motivated at first. Eventually I got tired of having to wake up early every Saturday and would rather stay home and watch cartoons on Saturday. I started slacking off on my work and eventually quit that school. I took Japanese while I was in high school but the course wasn’t too intensive and I actually learned most of what was taught.. sort of. I did learn something there too. After I graduated I started studying Japanese after work on skype by talking to random Japanese people from 18 until 22. I also took a class at a community college. I enrolled in a University then started studying it there until last semester. Now I have just been attempting to study it on my own by talking to friends, listening to music, watching dramas, using the app Memrise.

    To sum it up I have sort of studied Japanese for over 15 years but a lot of it was very 中途半端. Honestly it would have been easier if my mom had just taught me… for some reason she didn’t… I have always had kind of a chip of my shoulder because she didn’t -_____-.. oh well… but thanks to all this wonderful technology now studying Japanese is a lot more fun. I wish I had grown up with what kids these days have now… maybe I would have been more motivated to study Japanese…

  56. I managed to get into the 50’s, which is a great improvement since I barely reached the 30’s when I took this test a couple of years ago. The first two items in the 50’s section weren’t too difficult once I understood what each of them was about, but the Wikipedia article in the third item was a bit too much of a struggle for me to honestly pass myself.

    I’ve been studying the language for about 4-5 years, but most of that time was limited to passive learning (anime/manga, awkward conversations, various extracurricular activities). As for active study, I dedicated about an hour/day for over a year to daily Anki drills (N2/N3 vocabulary). I also occasionally read light novels alongside a dictionary, which has worked out fairly well for me so far.

    All that said, I’ve been in a slump for the past couple of months, so I’m looking to this to gain back some of my lost motivation. It’s just so difficult to find something that’s challenging, but still simple and interesting enough to hold my attention. :(

    • Nice level up right there. Hopefully you are starting to work your way out of that slump. We’ve all been there, and things get much, much better.

  57. I’m approximately Lvl 45. I’m quite near 50, but my vocabulary needs to grow, especially kanji.

    Lvl 30:
    95+%. One word I didn’t know, but could guess in context on the third line.
    Lvl 40: 90%. One or two unfamiliar words in each comprehension line.

    Lvl 50: 60%. I understood the discussions, but there were some unfamiliar kanji. I’d seen them before, so I had a concept of their meaning, but no reading or exact translation were available in my memory.

    By far, my stumbling block is words I don’t know. I studied enough grammar and performed enough translation in the past 6 years that even keigo is easy to understand (not necessarily speak/write).

    My journey has been quite off-beat.
    I began with a handful of websites for the first few months. By then, I mastered basic sentence structure. I joined mangahelpers, studied Tae Kim’s guide and began downloading manga scans to practice translation with. By the end of my first year, I was able to translate/read some shounen. My next three years were mostly studying JPop, Anime, and I volunteered as a scanlator, improving quite a bit.

    The beginning of my fifth year, I entered university as a first year student and was placed in the second year Japanese course. The instructor testing me was quite shocked at how poor my spoken Japanese and vocabulary were, because my grammatical skill had impressed her on the written portion. My skill improved vastly as I acquired vocabulary and improved my spoken Japanese in class and now here I am, having completed the course.

    I’m still making progress and I’d like more opportunities to communicate in the language, so I’ll probably visit Japan during a summer vacation. Ideally I’d find part time employment or participate in my university’s exchange program. Now that I’m competent, I’d like to acquire other languages too.

  58. Level 30 block: I got 1), 3) and the general gist of 2). So I’m between 25 and 30. I did this test a few weeks ago and got barely over level 20, so it’s been nice progress this month.

    I started Anki with RTK, JALUP Beginner and Kana conqueror last November. I had tried to master hiragana and some katakana before that, but hadn’t done a very good job, so I’d say it was pretty much from scratch.

    Currently I’m about 250 sentences in JALUP Intermediate, and I finally finished RTK (mod deck) three weeks ago.

    My passive immersion varies, some days it’s 5-7 hours, on some days it’s none. I watch anime a few episodes a day (currently still with subs, haven’t found any low-level anime that’s not boring or annoying me to death), read manga or other native texts occasionally, and play a familiar RPG in Japanese.

    My next goal besides JALUP decks and gaming almost daily is to find something to watch without subs when I hit level 30. I’m trying to get it together with passive immersion too.

    • Some progress here, easily understood level 30 but some way to go until level 40. I understood the topics some of the vocab in all blocks (including level 50), but there’s way to go in vocabulary.

      Difference to the last time I did this is about 500 JALUP cards, gaming, and active listening (too often with eng subs, knowing it’s a setback), but lacking passive immersion and raw anime.

      The biggest change during the last few months for me has been a leap in understanding of both sentence structures and casual and slurred language. It helps.

      Anki time: RTK and JALUP Intermediate, adding between 1 to 20 cards on most days. 200 cards to go with Intermediate.
      Raw media: gaming (テイルズオブエクシリア); anime (楽しいムーミン一家 !), occasional manga
      Other: too much anime with subs
      Study history: RTK and JALUP since November 2015

      Doing this test again was a good boost for my motivation to get more passive immersion and get that raw anime on track.

  59. Hmm, I’m somewhere between level 40 or 50. Sometimes I don’ think I’m quite that advanced. I’d be happy to fall somewhere between level 65 and 80 someday, but it’s probably going to take a few more years.
    I started studying Japanese around 14 months ago since I hope to start living and working in Japan in a year or two. When I started studying, I was surprised how much vocabulary I remembered from high school.
    I study around 21-30 hours a week. I use Memrise for vocabulary and grammar, News in Slow Japanese for listening, and the Internet for grammar, and the app HelloTalk.
    Some people say Japanese is hard, but in some ways, it’s easier than English, I think (spelling, pronunciation, etc). Surprisingly, the Kanji hasn’t been too difficult to remember.

  60. Hey Adam, I have question. You think level 50 is equivalent to JLPT N2? If not, at what level is the lowest one we should reach before trying for N2 or even N1? Would like to hear your recommendation.

  61. Results of this Proficiency test:

    1. Understood this line and could respond appropriately.
    2. Less than stellar.
    3. Less than stellar.

    So I would say I am around level 23.

    I started studying Mid April 2016 through Fluentu and then concurrently through Rita M. Lampkin’s Essentials of Japanese Verbs & Grammar as suggested by a Fluentu article.

    Starting August of 2016 I got the Jalup Maximum package and began studying that whole heartedly. I eventually dropped Fluentu and the Grammar book, only to complete 875 of the intermediate deck. I then restarted the intermediate deck so as to customize it by adding cloze deletions and to add kanji diagrams and native audio for the new word that was enclosed. I did this so as to not have to remember the reading and it actually helps me remember the readings. Go figure.

    I also restarted the beginning deck through JalupNEXT and eventually edited and completely eliminated the english translations from the Grammar deck I made from E.O.JV&G. and completed that as a quick review of the basics of Japanese before starting this current semester.

    • I just realized that I did better than I thought because I only have to pass two out of three with 90% comprehension…

      I passed one out of the 2 required to pass, so that means I am probably closer to level 26. Yay!

      Also, as studying frequency goes, I study at least 3 hours a day everyday, and have been doing so since I started. I also watch and read native materials everyday as this site suggests. Somedays less than others. But at least an hour usually.

      • I passed level 30, didn’t try level 40. I’ll save that for when I have completed Jalup Advanced or have 3000 sentences. I am at ~2100 sentences.

    • I finished Jalup Advanced almost a month ago and I’ve just been doing reviews every since. I easily understood 90% of #1 and #3 of the level 40 block and pretty much understood all of #2 as well. I comprehended it enough to be able to respond to it intelligently and could easily continue the conversation about its topic, so I think it is fair to say I passed that one as well.

      I think this means I am a solid level 40.

      • I’m pretty sure I was lying to myself when I said I easily understood #1 and #3. I just re-read them now 3 months later, and I had a little trouble and I am now 4000 sentences in. I think it is safe now to say I am definitely level 40, but it seems questionable that I was level 40 then. Again, I am going to wait until I reach the number of sentences suggested before attempting the 50 block. If I keep up at the same pace I will end up taking the test around the 20th of November but I will probably wait until December to take it so I have time to digest the cards a bit before I read the block.

  62. I failed at level 40.

    I understood maybe 90% of the first passage (LOTR yay!).
    Half of the second passage.
    Almost none of the last one.
    I would estimate my ability at a lv. 43 or 44.

    Have been studying Japanese for 1 year and 3 months, while living in Japan. Freq. 2 to 3 hours of focused study a day.

  63. Got curious about how much I’ve improved since I restarted studying so I took this test.

    I’m around the low 40s level. Passed the level 40 section comfortably but I didn’t attempt to read the level 50 section too much so that I won’t remember much of it. I plan to take this test again maybe after I have finished all Jalup decks and see where I’m at by then.

    Studying history:

    I purchased the Jalup max package in June of 2016. Slowly made it to around the beginning of intermediate and quit flashcards for about two years but continued to consume native materials in a leisurely pace, mostly out of curiosity in Japanese things that grab my interest, not conscious studying. I restarted proper studying around 2 months ago, more seriously than I ever did, and now I’m at 1/3 of the expert deck with consistent hours of active immersion everyday.

    I have estimated my level to be around 30 (I actually last took this test 2 years ago at low level 20s) at the beginning of the 1000 J-J card challenge which I’ve only recently completed so getting this result now astounds me. It’s amazing what our minds can do with consistent effort and active exposure to the language in a short amount of time!

  64. Just going along watching 結婚できない男 (since you reccomended it), when suddenly he’s at a festival catching goldfish. Funny, it’s just like that one Jalup test…まさか?!

  65. When I first started learning Japanese and found this site. I could barely read the first few levels now 1 year and 9 months later I can read level 50 with ease. It’s crazy when I think about it. I first started wondering if I will ever hit even level 30 seeing how difficult it was to me at the time but being able to hit 50 in under two years makes me extremely happy. I do thank you adam for creating this. Though it may not be the most craziest test ever but just seeing my gradually progression really motivates me. Now time for me to strive for level 80.
    1. I’m around most likely around 55 or so in level
    2. 1 year 9 months every single day for 2-5 hours a day.
    3. Tae Kim for grammar along with bunpro and jpdrills. Memrise for vocab. All of this paired with reading every day for however much I can.

    • Awesome :) That’s impressive progress, and you should be very proud. Looking forward to seeing you come back for level 80!

  66. This was rather fun to read! I think I understood more than 90% for lvl30 and lvl40, but for lvl50, I only understood 50% of the 2 passages. They were so fun to read!

    I first started learning Japanese in June of 2018. Memorized Hiragana & Katakana via Japanesepod 101’s method & also played Learn Japanese to Survive series on Steam. They really helped commit everything to memory! The only difficult part of Kanji was the 音読みand訓読み & some slight difference in meaning compared to Chinese.

    I signed up for a weekly group classes in July 2018. I didn’t really have a study plan or method, aside from what I did above, I read & worked on Minna no Nihongo (given in class), do the worksheets given, and did the 2k/6k Anki deck. They weren’t enough though. I eventually bought some manga to read and also started listening to Radio Kishiwada, kyoto Living FM. But as you mentioned, it was not easy passively listening to stuff you haven’t actively listened to.

    So after almost 2 years, here I am. I passed N3, but I honestly am still horrible at the language when it comes to remembering grammar, constructing sentences & speaking. I can’t speak at all nor am I good enough to construct complex sentences. I stopped the 2k/6k Anki awhile ago at around 4200 cards learnt, wish I didn’t!

    Currently considering going back to class, but it felt like it isn’t enough simply because it’s a weekly 2 hours class focused on textbooks & you hardly get to speak. Feels like I would get better returns investing in JALUP!

    Tried out the app, finished 100 JALUP Beginner & 100 JALUP Intermediate and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the J-J part a lot!

    Currently trying to implement more immersion into my routines (didn’t really have one). Thank you for your resources and for this test! I hope to eventually conquer it. But reading all of these passages have been fun!

  67. Im somewhere between 20 and 30. I’d guess maybe around 24
    I understand probably 50-60% of first one, mainly because there were some kanji i didnt recognize.
    80% or so of the second one.
    and around 70 of the third, again because some kanji i didnt recognize.
    And i had to try pretty hard to comprehend all of them

    Been studying for almost exactly 5 months. Consistently using wanikani everyday for kanji memorization and one imabi lesson a day for grammar as far as formally studying. Then not so consistently, I read native material whenever I have time to reinforce those grammar lessons and vocab I pick up.

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