3 Tips To Increase Efficiency In Your Japanese Studies

3 Tips To Increase Efficiency In Your Japanese Studies

When learning a new language like Japanese, it is common to make significant progress at the start and feel like you’re speeding along toward mastery. But sooner or later, it is inevitable for many to plateau in their studies, and it feels like their improvement has come to a crawl. Worse yet, some may feel they are not making any progress at all. It is important to note that this is par for the course in language learning, and not getting discouraged is key to attaining your desired fluency. If you are at this point and are looking for ways to optimise your study regimen, below are a few tips that can help increase efficiency in your Japanese studies.

1. Understand the mechanics of forgetting and remembering

If you are reviewing topics you already know well, you may be wasting time going over familiar ground. Conversely, you risk having to re-learn old material if you wait too long, wasting your previous efforts.

As such, it is essential to understand the curve of forgetting and how it is connected to your learning. Doing so can help you strategise more effectively and determine the timing for reviewing material that works for you.

Benedict Carey explains in her book ‘How We Learn’ that some breakdown is necessary to strengthen learning when returning to studied material. Without a bit of forgetting, there is no benefit to further study. This promotes learning, similar to exercising the physical muscles of our body. Therefore, optimise your curve of forgetting and ensure you review new concepts at the most beneficial intervals.

2. Focus on the aspects that you’ll use often

Prioritising important information is the way to get returns on your learning investment and reach fluency faster. After all, it makes sense to master the basics like the most common vocabulary and grammar first before tackling something more advanced.

But for non-native speakers, it can naturally be difficult to know which words or kanji will be useful to you. Thankfully, there are resources that can help with this, such as The Japanese corpus, a compilation of Japanese words made by linguistic researchers derived from a comprehensive analysis of numerous Japanese sources. This list of words is commonly called the language’s ‘core vocabulary.’ Moreover, many other resources teach the core words, like the Japanese Core 2,000 deck on Anki, a popular SRS flashcard platform.

Mastering the core vocabulary means that even if you only know a few hundred by heart, those words are the most commonly used in everyday interactions, making them incredibly useful in typical conversations.

3. Prioritise improving your listening and speaking skills

This tip does not mean you should put less effort into improving your reading comprehension if it is your main goal for studying Japanese. However, the language truly comes alive when you make friends. After all, there is nothing like making someone laugh or seeing their eyes light up when you connect with them.

By improving your Japanese speaking skills, you can better ask questions and connect with native speakers regardless of whether you can read or write well. Conversely, being literate but unable to hold a conversation makes it difficult to form face-to-face connections.

If you have yet to practice speaking with someone, consider making friends with other Japanese language learners or native Japanese speakers. The best way to engage the latter is by checking out language exchanges, where Japanese speakers also look for conversation partners for their language learning. Work with your newfound friends and make the most of your study time.


Every language learning journey has its ups and downs. Hopefully, with the tips above, you will no longer feel like having to start over to get more progress from your time spent learning Japanese.

Avoid falling into a slump in your Japanese learning journey by signing up for a Japanese course in Singapore today! At Japanese Explorer, our structured classes ensure you consistently make measurable progress so you can be on the fast track to your desired fluency. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any time if you would like to learn more or sign up for a Japanese class in Singapore.


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