I love drilling Japanese. Personally, I find the “hands on” method of learning better than rote learning. In other words, I’m a kinesthetic learner. I like using Japanese, so when I study it I find speaking with a Japanese teacher and drilling practice questions very helpful.
When I’m out and about, don’t have my books with me and want to study (and am bored of Memrise) then I’ll whip out JPDrills.
To sum it up in a single sentence, JPDrills is a website where users can drill multiple-choice Japanese questions, similar to the ones you’ll find on the JLPT.
These multiple-choice questions are mostly based on JLPT practice questions. This means they are divided by levels from beginner (hiragana and katakana) to advanced (JLPT N1). Each level has hundreds of drill questions on kanji, vocabulary, and grammar questions. There are even some non-JLPT question sets that focus on things like particles or anime and manga related questions.
Saves Your Stats
JPDrills is particularly useful because it uses spaced repetition (SRS) software and will save your progress/stats. You need to make an account so your data can be saved, but this way you can practice any tricky questions over and over until you get them right.
At the same time the tracking system tells you when you’ve “mastered” a question. Once you’ve mastered a certain level that’s a good sign you can move onto a more advanced one!
You can also adjust what questions you’re asked by adding/removing “Mastered”, “Practicing”, “Learning”, and “New” questions. These are calculated by your personal states.
Can Flag Questions
One other useful thing about JPDrills is the notes feature! You can write notes to yourself on each individual question! I personally really like this feature as I never look at my notebooks again, but I’ll look at the notes to myself if I keep getting a question wrong.
Also, if you’re a paid subscriber, then you can you can flag questions for an explanation. They have professional teachers write useful explanations for why a question has a certain answer. (Really useful for grammar!)
Although it may take a while for your question to be explained, their staff goes through all the flagged questions and adds grammar explanations every month.
Flagging a question for an answer is always good because it means there will eventually be helpful explanations for yourself and other learners to benefit from.
Even if you request an explanation I find it still really helps to look up why I got a question wrong. Looking up the answer can help solidify the information in your mind.
Also, if you find a question that’s wrong or broken, you can flag it to be fixed. Flagging questions with errors will also stop them from appearing again until the question is fixed.
There is no JPDrills app, however the website works really well on both desktop and mobile devices.
Sadly this means you can’t drill Japanese offline, but if you are online it’s easy to bring up the page and practice a few questions in-between tasks.
Free or Paid For Accounts
JPDrills is free but it also offers a monthly subscription of about $3.99 a month or $33.99 a year.
The free account gives you access to all their questions (from JLPT N5 to JLPT N1). This includes the SRS programming and stats tracking.
The paid for subscription lets you flag questions for explanations, and removes daily limits on questions.
They, of course, offer a free trial period of the paid for services when you first sign up. It’s worth giving it a try and seeing how you feel.
I actually reviewed JPDrills in 2017, and although the core concept has been kept the same, a lot of additional features and quality of life improvements have really helped!
For one thing they got a new design on the website. It’s a lot more stream lined now. The back-end algorithms have improved and the introduction of professional teachers answering questions is a real plus for learners!
They’re still improve their services and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.