Planning your way through Genki

Before learning just from self-immersion, it’s good to have a firm grammar and vocabulary basis to work with. As for my learning, I feel as though I should get through all of Genki I and some of Genki II before starting to rely solely on books and movies for learning. If you’re like me and have work or school that keeps you busy, it’s hard to find time each day to sit down and study Japanese. This is why a plan is essential to progressing at all because without some form of structure, I don’t think I’d ever be efficient when I study. So, I’ve made this post to outline a study method so I (and you all of course :) ) can study efficiently!

I’ve found that trying to create a method that involves “30-minutes a day” or “one lesson per day” don’t actually work for me. With homework, I never know home much time each day I’ll have or how tired I’ll be. So the guide below is only going to be on a “study when you want to” basis.

Step 1: Read over the vocab

Step 1 when starting off a new lesson is reading over and getting familiarized with the vocabulary.

Step 2: Read over the grammar

The most important part of every unit is without a doubt the grammar. Read over it once or twice.

Step 3: Complete all the practice activities

This is great for practice with the grammar and the vocab. Definitely a must.

Step 4: Identify your weak areas

This step involves finding out what you struggle with the most in that lesson. Let’s say you don’t know the vocabulary all that well. In that case, you could get creative and create flashcards for the vocab you don’t know, do lessons from the last chapter, but replace the provided words with the vocab from your current unit, etc. If you’re struggling with the grammar or don’t think you’ve mastered it, try working through the practice activities a few more times or continue to step 5…

Step 5: Create sentences

Using the new vocab and grammar, make as many sentences as you possibly can. Open up Microsoft Word or Notepad and just start typing away. Try to include as many aspects to each sentence as you can. That is to say, “I ate” doesn’t help you as much as “I ate an apple yesterday in the park with my friend Sue.” This is probably the second most important step with each unit because it actually proves mastery of the content: actually being able to use what you’ve learned.

(Optional) Step 6: Review

Step 6 is optional depending on how much you feel it’s necessary. Ideally, each lesson you should go back and do the practice from the previous lessons, but I understand that it’s probably more fun to just go onto the next unit. Step 6 can be done whenever.

If you have any other suggestions, please please please post them in the comments!

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  • Delphine

    I’ve never used Genki, but I feel like this plan could apply for most textbooks, actually! Very nicely laid out 😀

  • Glenburg

    Hello Travis,
    I’m an on and off learner of Japanese. I know bits and pieces, but never everything as a whole. I actually own Genki I and II and feel like this plan can help me build a solid structure. My biggest problem was being consistent with my Japanese study sessions. Thanks again!

  • Nikhil Khullar

    Found this to be a nice plan. I have moved over to Japan as per my dream, but I believe since the work here for me takes a lot of my time, so this plan will help me keep pace studying Japanese…

    Arigatou :)

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