I noticed that lately many people find my blog with search queries such as “jlpt revised n3″, “text books for jlpt N3″, “prepare for N3 jlpt”, “jlpt n3 books”, etc. This makes a lot of sense, since the last of the old format JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) examinations was conducted last Sunday, the 6th of December, 2009.
Starting next year the JLPT will be replaced by the revised format, which is essentially the same as the old one, except that the first (vocabulary and characters) and third (reading and grammar) sections are merged into one big one (with no pause? that’ll be tough!). And, of course, the introduction of the new N3 level, which is between the old levels 2 (new level N2) and 3 (new level N4). The gap between the old levels 3 and 2 was indeed rather large, jumping from beginner’s book to serious hobby level with a 300% increase in vocabulary required, for instance.
And with the introduction of the N3 level, a whole new market for textbooks and study aids specifically targeting JLPT N3 opens up, and you’d expect the publishers to rejoice and then hurry to be the first one to the market with such a book, wouldn’t you? So last time I went by the big Kinokuniya book store in Yoyogi, out of curiosity of just how difficult/easy the new level n3 was I had a look at the old JLPT bookshelf (where I used to hang out, before I graduated from the JLPT). And lo and behold there were none! None study books targeting JLPT N3, that is! Lots of books and flash cards and stuff targeting the other, old levels, still though. A search on Amazon has the same result: no JLPT n3 books.
So where are these books? Did the book writers/publishers not realize that there was going to be a guaranteed demand for them? Or are they hoping people will buy the remaining old format JLPT books before they introduce new once to the market? Because surely the demand for old ones will drop significantly once new ones are introduced, especially for the old levels 2 and 3, I would presume. Anyway, as soon as they’re out and I’ve had some time to evaluate them, I’ll update my Best Books for Learning Japanese page with recommendations on JLPT N3 books as well.