The JLPT is a tough exam, so you need to have the right resources to help you prepare. Apart from general Japanese resources like Genki or Minna no Nihongo, there are many JLPT textbooks that aim to prepare you specifically for the JLPT.
Whether you’re taking prep classes or self-studying for the JLPT, the most comprehensive way to study is through textbooks.
As you probably know, the exam is split into four sections: Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading, and Listening. JLPT textbooks are usually based upon the same four areas.
After some fairly extensive research, I’ve learnt that there are both good and bad textbooks available. I compiled the list of good resources and split them by level below.
Other than the above JLPT textbooks, you might benefit from some more general Japanese learning resources to build up a solid language foundation. 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, and your level’s recommended kanji.
You can find resources like this in the General Japanese Resources page.
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.