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[Review] New Kanzen Master Japanese Grammar N1/N2

I can’t believe I haven’t written about these books when I had them for years! The new Kanzen Master (新完全マスター) series have been my go-to Japanese JLPT preparatory resources. I own the following three books – the N1 and N2 grammar books, as well as the N1 listening book.

Unfortunately the procrastinator in me had not touched the N1 listening book so today’s review will be focused on the two grammar books.

Firstly, these are grammar-focused JLPT preparatory books and should be used as such. I do use them as a ‘main textbook’ to learn new grammar points, but this means they will appear to be a rather dry resource since it’s grammar point after grammar point. But as a JLPT preparatory resource, it’s an excellent choice.

Similar grammar points are grouped and introduced together in a chapter. Each chapter has about 5 grammar points. Each grammar point consists of explanation, their usage (e.g. to be used after the て form of a verbs) and a couple of example sentences. Very straightforward.

After every 5 chapters, there’s a multiple-choice test to gauge your understanding of the grammar points. I find this very useful cos it tests you on all the similar grammar points and you have to know which one best fits the context of the sentence.

As a JLPT resource..

This is excellent cos you get to see similar grammar points between grouped together, and learn how these grammar points differ from each other in terms of nuance. While each grammar point is introduced separately and the book does not go into detail on the comparison between each grammar point, I used the izaodao website to help with that. That’s my favourite online grammar dictionary (in both Chinese and Japanese) – more on that next time!

As a Japanese textbook..

While I used it as a textbook to learn grammar points, I feel that one must be conscious of the fact that it’s not its primary purpose. It can be veryy tedious and dry to just learn grammar point one after another. So I usually do a chapter (5 points) at one time, before I call it a day. For those who are newer learners, this method may not work as having all the similar grammar points introduced at one go can be very frustrating and makes you very confused on why there are soo many ways to basically say the same thing. Take note when using the book this way!

Overall Thoughts

Overall, very pleased with this series and I have been using it for the past few years! 🙂 Very helpful in preparing for the JLPT exam too.

What I like:

  • Very structured and easy to use
  • Grammar explanations are clear
  • Similar points grouped together for ease of reference
  • MCQ exercises helpful

What to improve on:

  • Explanations, while clear, are not in depth
  • Lacks details on the difference in the nuances of similar grammar points

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