Why take the N1?
Whether it is for job-hunting or graduate school, having the certification that you passed the N1 will come handy. Even if you are in Japan or overseas, having evidence of your Japanese proficiency will make you stand out from the crowd. Also, I think this will really help you to learn Japanese and improve your skills. Personally, I would rather have a goal to pass the N1 t than self-studying on my own. The materials for the test will also be, and you will be able to apply to your everyday life in Japan.
The main textbooks I used were from ask Publishing. I personally found their textbooks relatively easy to follow. What makes this textbook unique is how they provide it in multiple different languages. The textbooks I bought were in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. Whatever your native language is, there will most likely be a textbook for you. Books are also separated by what JLPT level you are taking and provide specialized textbooks for the different sections. The three textbooks I bought were reading comprehension, vocabulary, and kanji. Each of these textbooks has a study plan and weekly practice tests so that you are well prepared for the test.
This textbook is a six-week study plan that will strengthen your reading comprehension skills. In the beginning, you will learn different grammar and vocabulary words that are used in passages. The book starts off with short passages, then gradually increases to long passages and information retrieval. Throughout the textbook, there are little hints to help you understand, as well as techniques that you can use on the test.
The vocabulary textbook has an eight-week study plan that will result in you learning a total of 1,300 by the end of the book. Each week you are given words specific to a situation and function and will end with a practice test similar to the JLPT structure. The definitions of each vocabulary word are provided in English, Chinese, and Korean. There are also drill tests to help you remember the content.
This eight-week study guide will help you remember a multitude of kanjis. This easy to follow guide clumps together kanji with the same radicals, making it easier to remember. Each week ends with a practice test regarding the kanjis you learned that week. In addition to the textbook, I tried to make some flashcards, so that I could use them even after I finished the test.
I am very confident in my listening skills, so I did not buy a textbook for this section. To prepare for this section, I listened to practice tests on Youtube. Even if you are confident in your listening ability, I recommend that you do the practice tests, so you have an idea of what to expect on the test day. In addition, I just talked to many of my Japanese friends to better my listening abilities.
What I wish I did
Although I passed the N1, I am not satisfied with the score I got. I am still debating whether to retake the test this upcoming summer. I wish I had taken my studying more seriously and thoroughly followed through with the textbook study plans. I was busy with school and my part-time job and was not able to study as much as I wanted to. Either way, I’m glad that I was able to pass the test.
To check out all the interesting textbooks ask Publishing has, check out https://www.ask-books.com/category/product/japanese/