The N5 is the easiest level you can take for the JLPT. On this page you will find the JLPT N5 textbooks needed to pass the exam.
According to the official website, at this level you should have “the ability to understand some basic Japanese“.
At N5, you need to be able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
At N5, you need to be able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations.
You also need to be able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.
There are two kinds of books that you can get to help you prepare for the JLPT N5.
Standard textbooks, which will teach you all the material you need to know for the exam. They generally cover all paper sections and have an audio CD for listening practice.
Workbooks, which don’t teach you, but give you a TONNE of mock exam questions you can practice your knowledge with.
I recommend that you get at least one Textbook, and one Workbook.
The Genki books are one of the most comprehensive textbooks that will not only prepare you for the JLPT N5, but help you to excel.
It covers much more than the JLPT N5, so you should feel very prepared for when you take the exam.
The complete Genki series is actually two textbooks, two workbooks, and an answer key booklet. For N5 you only need part 1, but most online stores will give you a discount when purchasing the full series at once.
At this level, the hardest part of the JLPT N5 is the listening section.
The vocabulary and grammar used in the conversations aren’t difficult, but your ears aren’t used to listening and processing spoken Japanese at the same time.
I highly recommend signing up to a Free Account for JapanesePod101 and go through the Absolute Beginner lessons.
You don’t need to print out the lessons or do the worksheets since the material is already covered in the textbooks above. Instead, you want to train your ears by listening to as much Japanese as possible!
Other than the above JLPT N5 textbooks, at this level it is recommended that you also have general Japanese learning resources.
You can use other general textbooks such as the Genki series, or Minna no Nihongo series.
Make sure you are also comfortable with reading and understanding hiragana and katakana.
You can find resources like this in the General Japanese Resources page.
Since the JLPT N5 is the easiest level, it only requires ~100 hours of classroom work to pass. If you are taking Japanese in University or College, this is equivalent to about a year of classes.
The main objective of the JLPT N5 is to test whether you can read and understand hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
Knowing these writing systems (at least hiragana and katakana) creates the foundation for ALL of your future Japanese studies. Without knowing this, you will not progress very far.
Surprisingly, the JLPT N5 does not have an official grammar list. This is because it only tests the very basic grammar concepts.
This includes basic particle usage (は、が、を、に), basic verb and adjective conjugations (formal, plain, past, non-past).
Perhaps more surprisingly, the JLPT N5 also does not have an official Kanji list!
Again, this is because the exam will only cover the very basics. Numbers, days of the week, family members, basic verbs would be included here.
At this level, the assumed vocabulary is between 500 and 700 words. It may seem like a lot, but any of the above JLPT N5 textbooks will easily cover this requirement.
There are five levels in the JLPT. They are N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5. N5 is the easiest, while N1 is the most difficult.
The JLPT is only an approximate measure of your understanding of the Japanese language. You are tested in terms of Reading and Listening. Speaking and Writing is NOT part of the exam.
N4 and N5 tries to measure your language skills for basic communication, mainly learnt in the classroom from a teacher.
N1 and N2 try to measure your skills in a range of realistic situations found in everyday life.
N3 is the bridge between N4/5 and N1/2.
You can find out more information about the JLPT from the Official JLPT Website.