Fitting Bunpro in your study routine
Bunpro can be both a very powerful tool and a very useless/overrated/pointless one depending on how one approaches it.
Personally speaking, as is for everything that pertains Japanese and language studying in general, there is no one true way that fits everyone. However, I think it’s useful to write a few words on how I personally approach it. Bunpro can be a great companion to leverage from and should not be easily dismissed.
Disclaimer: Bunpro is a paid service. I firmly believe that paying money is not required to learn Japanese (or any language), however sometimes it can make your life easier.
Not a study tool
To some people, this might be obvious, however it needs to be said: Bunpro is not a grammar study tool. It is a grammar review tool.
All it does is provide you with grammar points with very very minor one-sentence explanations (if anything) and a bunch of example sentences. It is not meant to be used as a way to study the grammar alone. You need supporting material for your grammar explanations. You have other ways(Unlocking Japanese: Tricks) to get that, like a textbook. Bunpro really shines when used for what it really is: a SRS tool similar to Anki.
Stats and Goal tracking
This is not for everyone, but some people are really into stat tracking, graphs, and overall goal tracking. Having your eyes on the prize, you look at how much you have achieved and how much there is still to grind. As you slowly add new grammar and acquire new knowledge, you get to see how far you’ve gone and that can be a great source of motivation.
As you can see from the picture below, Bunpro can provide all of that quite nicely and I think it’s fun to look at.
It also keeps track of various gamification things like streaks and achievements/badges.
A note on JLPT progress
I do not plan to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)# and I have no interest in anything that pertains to it. However, for people who do, Bunpro is pretty great at showing you all the grammar in a list sorted by JLPT levels and can give you a nice and clear path towards making sure you are up-to-speed with whichever JLPT level you are currently targeting.
Just note that some of the higher levels (N2 and mostly N1) might still be missing some grammar and are still actively being worked on by the Bunpro team, so make sure you aren’t missing some of that if you’re studying for the N1!
Grammar mining - Howto
Grammar mining is a process similar to vocabulary/sentence mining for the Anki world.
While normally you would be looking up words and building your anki cards for each new I+1 sentence to add to your shiny deck, for grammar you have an easier path than that, if you use bunpro.
Bunpro has a great way to manually add individual grammar points as you come across them, as shown below. Click on Grammar menu, and then ALL:
In the next list page, click on the Hide Studied Grammar button, to hide all the grammar you already have in your reviews.
Type in the search field what grammar point you want to look up, then click on the results (if any).
Review the new grammar, look at example sentences, and once you think you’re ready, simply add it to your reviews clicking on the button at the bottom.
That’s it. This grammar will now start appearing in your review sessions for you to learn it properly.
Leverage your textbooks
There are a few commonly used textbooks (Genki, Tobira, etc) that are supported as paths on Bunpro. You can access them by clicking on the appropriate button as per the below picture.
If you are using any of these textbooks in your studies, you can just follow each chapter in order and as you complete them, add the specific grammar points to your reviews. It’s a great way to stay on top of your textbook material and still be drilled regularly on it SRS-style.
Integrate Bunpro in your Loop
As per the Japanese Learning Loop, once you start iterating on step 2 and consume native material every day, that’s where Bunpro really shines.
Simply follow these steps and you cannot go wrong:
- Consume native material
- Find some grammar you do not understand
- Search for it on the master reference (more on this in Unlocking Japanese: Tricks)
- Read the explanation
- Mine the grammar (see above)
- Add it to your reviews
- Go back to step 1
That’s all there is to it.
Note: Bunpro sometimes has a weird/interesting notion of what grammar is. You might stumble upon some words or phrases that are not in the master reference but are still part of bunpro. I’d advise to mine them anyway as it’s always good to do so.
Another Note: The opposite is also true. Sometimes there are points in grammar that we do not realize have a specific nuance and are different but similar-enough to what we already know and we tend to overlook them. In this case, I like to just browse bunpro’s grammar list just to see if I can spot some points I think I know but that I haven’t added yet. I’m always surprised at what I am able to find.