JLPT Boot Camp – The Ultimate Study Guide to passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test

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Every week the JLPT Boot Camp podcast delivers tips, tricks and advice on how to pass the test. Are you struggling to pass the N1? Wondering what exactly is on the N3? I go over all things you need to know to do your best on all the tests. From N5 to N1, I've got you covered.

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The Ultimate Study Guide to Passing the JLPT in Less Time and With Less Pain.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2018-11-02 01:56
last episode published
2015-09-16 12:40
publication frequency
16.0 days
Clayton MacKnight author  
Mac owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture Education Language Courses



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

JLPT BC 167 | Learning to take Breaks

This last month has been pretty rough on me to be honest. There was a lot of last minute planning for my vacation. And of course, right when you want to go on vacation, everything seems to need extra attention. More work to do at work. More fires to pu...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 166 | What a Rat Experiment might Tell us about Japan’s Population Problem

When I first moved to Japan loved the city. It was nice and compact and everything is in one place. As long as you are a decent walk away from a train station you can get anywhere pretty easily without the use of a car. If you needed to buy anything th...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 165 | Speaking Practice with FluentU

I’ve always found summer to be a more active time. Despite the oppressive heat and humidity we have here in Japan, I still think the increased sunlight and ability to walk around the house in a lot less clothes just makes me do something more than keep...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 164 | You’ll always be an Outsider in Japan

I grew up in white bread America where the corn grows high and hills don’t. I spent most of my time in a city of a mere 10,000 where everybody knew each other (and who was doing what to who). It was not uncommon to go downtown to run some errands and r...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 163 | Chatting it Up

It’s a story you’ve heard several times – we don’t talk to each other like we used to. Because ya know, back in the good ole days we used to chat it up with our neighbors and everybody knew everybody right? It was always better back then. But these day...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 162 | 5 Things to Know to Become an Ukiyo-e master

Ukiyo-e, if you are not familiar,  is a Japanese art form that was popular from 17th century  to 19th century Japan.  It basically consists of woodblocks used for mass production of pictures.  Ukiyo means floating world, and e means picture, so they we...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 161 | Doing it the Hard Way

In school, I always had a hard time paying attention in class.  The teacher would lecture away and we were suppose to be taking notes, but to be honest I could never proper filter out what was important and what wasn’t.  Half the time I left the class ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 160 | BSing in Japan, Honne vs. Tatemae

A few years back, I was working at a school and we were trying to arrange a farewell party for one of our fellow teachers.  One teacher found a great Indian restaurant that wasn’t too far away from the school.  It seemed like a great place.  It had a b...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 159 | Analog vs. Digital

I’ve been taking it pretty easy with my studies recently due to some re-prioritizing of my time. I’m chugging away on Hirugao and Harry Potter but I’m giving myself a little more time to digest things. I felt a bit rushed of late trying to get through ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 158 | Divorce in Japan

I should start off by saying that I’m not getting divorced.  I’m still happily married and probably will be for the foreseeable future.  Some of my fellow expatriates and Japanese friends haven’t been so lucky though. Which, to my naive self, seems a l...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 157 | Back to jDramas

I’ve been spending (or wasting depending on how you look at) with keeping my streaks up on Memrise. I think it is great to have that daily goal, but I have busy days and not so busy days and it can make it hard to keep up with keeping a good streak goi...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 156 | The Realities of Living in a Foreign Country

There seems to be a small subsection of the expat population in Japan, that likes to shower the world with negativity and tell you about how horrible it is to live in Japan.  Some of them came over seeking the easy profits and seemingly easy lifestyle ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 155 | Intensive Reading and Memrise Update

I’ve been trying to keep my studying pretty steady over the last couple of months and not really piling on and changing anything. This has a lot to do with me just having way too much going on for me to focus on going in a different direction. I’m also...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 154 | Big Hero 6 vs. Baymax

A couple of weeks back I had some free time to take my family to Baymax (US title: Big Hero 6).  It is a cute little movie about a boy, named Hiro, who befriends his brother’s robot and ultimately goes on to fight the bad guy and save the day with his ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 153 | The Inevitable Catch Up Phase

December in Japan is always unbelievably busy. There is the Christmas/Bonenkai party season. Then, you have New Year’s cards to design and write. And finally, the big cleaning where you throw out as much of the old as you can to make way for the new. T...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 152 | 5 More Things I Wish Japan Had

Last month, I ranted on about 5 things that I think Japan could import from other countries. One thing that I missed on that list, and this list as well, is a work-life balance. Japan definitely doesn’t have anything resembling a work-life balance, and...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 151 | Vocab Bulking through Reading

I celebrated Christmas a little early again this year. The 23rd is a holiday here in Japan. (It’s the Emperor’s Birthday). It is the one day that we officially have off and get paid for it, so it tends to be the day my family and I celebrate Christmas....
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 150 | 10 Things I really Wish Japan Had

Japan has a lot of great things to love about it. There are convenient train systems, relatively low crime, and 24 hour vending machines. These all make life extremely nice for us all, but if I may I’d like to add some tweaks that might make it a littl...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 149 | The Harry Potter Method

It has been an incredibly busy couple of weeks. I was incredibly busy with Halloween and the little one.  We were actually able to go trick or treating twice.  Trick or treating is not yet a standard thing to do in Japan but we always arrange a small t...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 148 | Living in Groups in Japan

At one time, I used to teach an English class to some public servants. And it being a government sanctioned event, everything had to start incredibly early, 8am to be exact. This was not a normal time for me to be up and around, needless to say the lif...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 147 | How to Learn Japanese Particles

It has been an incredibly tough month for me. I had some more medical issues I had to deal with. Nothing serious or life-threatening just incredibly time consuming. We are also running into some family issues that are taking up a lot of time. Again, no...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 146 | Travel to Matsuyama with Me

Phew, that was a bit of a long train ride. It seems like Matsuyama is such a long way from most of the major cities in Japan. And it really feels like it too. I heard there are around 500,000 people here, but it is a pretty sleepy town. It’s good to ge...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 145 | The Only Constant is Change

I used to be a huge Garfield fan growing up. I read all his comics and thought that they were the best. For my 8th birthday, my parents even made me a Garfield shaped cake and decorated it perfectly. I had a stuffed Garfield toy that I dragged with eve...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 144 | The Top 5 People that Stay in Japan

For a lot of people, living abroad is a temporary thing. Most come for a year or two to work, or to go to school.  Then, they hightail it back to their home countries to start their ‘real’ lives.  Or some family emergency pops up, and they hop a plane ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 143 | More Fun More Reading

I’ve recently been really mixing up my studying to try to do some more things. I can never seem to keep my motivation up for passing the test between these lulls in action of between taking the test and getting the results back. So, I’ve turned to doin...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 142 | Convenience in Japan

My wife and I had just arrived in Paris for our honeymoon. Due to our flight being delayed, we were about 2 hours later than we originally planned. We were both fairly hungry, but it being a strange place we weren’t familiar with, we couldn’t find a pl...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 141 | Post Test Slump

About a week ago, I went up to Kyoto University to take the test again at their somewhat poorly cooled facility. I covered my first impressions before earlier, but in general I felt more confident about the test.  I’ve started to take test day a little...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 140 | Top 10 things to do in Japan

This post is a continuation of last month’s top 10. #80991982 / gettyimages.com 5. Purikura This is one of those things that most people probably don’t know about outside of Japan, but can be the source of  a lot of good times with friends and signific...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 139 | Getting Closer to the July Test

With the July test just around the corner, I’ve switched off all of my ‘fun’ studying which is a bit depressing. I’ll basically be reviewing and really perfecting everything before the big day. It’s still frustrating because I really don’t have the tim...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 138 | Top Ten Things to Do in Japan

10. Karaoke Box or Clubs Karaoke boxes or clubs as they are sometimes called are practically everywhere in Japan.  If you are downtown, all you need to do is walk a few blocks at night and you will inevitably bumping into someone handing out tissues ad...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 137 | Bulking Up on Vocabulary

We are now moving into the final stretch before the July test.  I’ve switched a lot of fun studying into more aggressive drilling and practicing vocabulary and grammar.  I think it is important to get into that mindset of answering questions.  One of t...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 136 | My Greatest Adventure

Living and working in Japan for a few years, you get to have a lot of adventures. Living abroad in general just encourages you to go out and experience life. For example, I never used to travel alone before coming to Japan, but I did plenty of it once ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 135 | Adding Grammar and Vocabulary Back In

I’ve got a good start on the first book of Game of Thrones (氷と炎の歌1). It has been a lot of fun because I really like that particular story. I think there are a lot of people that will probably find it way too difficult to struggle through. For me though...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 134 | How to Marry a Japanese Woman

I’ve been married now for 5 years. This is after dating my wife for about 3 years before we got married, so we have been together for a grand total of about 8 years. It has been a sometimes interesting, often times fun, occasionally difficult mix of si...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 133 | Beware of the Yellow Sand

You were probably advised when you were very young to not eat the yellow snow. What about yellow sand? It’s that season again in Japan, and we are again being blessed with the wonderful dirty, gritty sand from our neighbors here in Japan, coating every...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 132 | Making Good Progress

I have finally finished off the two elementary school level books that I had lying around the house. They were novelizations of “Toy Story” and “Surf’s Up” that I had picked up awhile ago. These novelizations tend to be pretty easy reads for N2/N1 leve...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 131 | The Smell of Coffee in Japan

When I first came to Japan, I was, like so many others, fascinated by the vending machines. I mean there are vending machines absolutely everywhere in Japan. And they will vend absolutely everything from soda to fried noodles. One of them that I saw so...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 130 | Adding in a Little Fun

Okay so I officially failed the exam again. I had a bit of a hunch that I wouldn’t pass but it is good to get the official results, so I can start planning out how to study this year. I want to make a few changes to how I’m doing things for a variety o...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 129 | The Evolution of Japanese Housing

When you visit a foreign country, the first thing on your list to check out is usually not the houses. After all, they aren’t quite as glamorous as 400 year old temples and shrines. But, they can tell you about a place all the same. Houses are very per...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 128 | Getting Ready for Winter Break

So the test is finally over for 2013. I was barely able to get to the test much less put in serious study time the whole month before because I was in the process of moving, which is now thankfully over. Although, there is still a lot more to get setup...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 127 | Sex and Lies (about Sex) in Japan

There was somewhat recent Guardian article  that got a lot of Facebook love about a month ago. It was essentially the rehashed news report of an annual survey about Japan’s sex habits, to put it bluntly. The Guardian did a little more leg work with it ...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 126 | Boiling Down Japanese Vocabulary

Lately, I’ve gotten more and more annoyed at doing vocabulary drills. A lot of this has to do with it getting tremendously boring to do the same thing over and over. But, also because of being at a higher level, it is easy to get two words that have si...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 125 | City Life vs. Countryside for Expats

Japan is known for its cities. If you ask someone to imagine Japan, one of the first things that probably comes up is the scramble walk in Shubuya, where hundreds if not thousands of people cross the street every time all the lights turn red. Or you pr...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 124 | Boiling Down the Grammar

After the July test, I’ve been moving toward more natural study methods and keeping my nose out of drill books. I started doing some reading of PHP, a small magazine with short essays that have relatively short essays that have relatively simple themes...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 123 | Is the Sky Falling in Japan?

It doesn’t get much mainstream press these days, but Japan has a bit of a debt problem. The national debt will be an estimated 245% of the GDP, which seems simply unfathomable. In order to pay such a debt off, Japan spends something like 23% of its bud...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 122 | Speed Reading Update

After the test results last month, I’ve started to rework my studying a little more to get ready for the December test. At this point, I feel like I know the skills I need. I just need to over-learn everything so it’s automatic. I feel like that is rea...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 121 | Just Call me Mac

Your typical full name in Japan is made up of 4 kanji – 2 kanji for a first name or given name and 2 kanji for the last name or surname. There are somewhere around 600 or so extra kanji that are used just for names, but names also use common kanji like...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 120 | Building up Reading

Last month, I said I was going to start reading Kazoku Geemu, but I got sidetracked for technical reasons. Apparently, you need a kindle device, or kindle for Android to read the eBook version (Kindle of iOS doesn’t work). I don’t happen to have either...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 119 | City Vision

Tokyo and Osaka are two massive clusters of people living fairly close to each other. Tokyo is ranked as the largest metropolitan area by population in the world with about 32 million people, whereas the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area is ranked as the 9th large...
Clayton MacKnight author

JLPT BC 118 | Adventures in Translation

One of my original goals when I first decided to study a little harder and take my Japanese to the N1 level was to become a translator. I’m currently teaching English now, and I enjoy it, but translation has always seemed more fun for me because it is ...
Clayton MacKnight author