We would say that anyone who studies Japanese will sooner or later stumble upon the JLPT which is short for Japanese Language Proficiency Test. So if this is your first encounter with the JLPT, welcome, let us tell you more.
The JLPT is a test organized by the Japan Foundation as used as a measurement tool of your knowledge of the Japanese language. The test is held two times a year and can be taken outside of Japan. Here you can see your closest examination location. The content of the test is the same wherever you decide to take it and the test dates are the same as well.
Why you should take the JLPT
Not all students decide to take the test. If you don’t need it or are casually learning a bit of Japanese just for fun it might be better to spend that money on good learning resources. The JLPT charges a fee each time to take the test, it differs around the world but in Japan it’s 5 500 Yen which is roughly 53 USD at the moment this is written. There are however a couple of reasons to take the JLPT.
- It’s a great tool to measure your progress.
- It’s a great motivator to help you reach your goals.
- It’s a tool that can help you create a better study plan.
- Many Japanese employers requires you to pass JLPT to attain employment.
First of all, it’s a good tool to measure your learning progress. Countless hours go in to learning Japanese and if you don’t live in Japan it might be hard to measure how much progress that you are actually making. Of course you’ll be making progress but how much? The JLPT offers 5 levels of certification, from N5 to N1. With each passing level you’ll know for a fact that you have progressed and how much. Further down you’ll be able to read more about the JLPT passing requirements.
Secondly, it’s a great motivator. Like any other test, passing it will boost your confidence and give you more energy to study even more. But even before passing any of the JLPT level it’s great tool to motivate yourself and create a study plan. If you decide that you will take the JLPT you will have a exact date for the examination and you’ll know what amount of knowledge you need to have to pass. This will help you create a more detailed study plan.
Do you want to work in Japan? Then passing the JLPT might be required. Not all jobs require that you pass the JLPT and it’s not a Visa requirement. But if you want to work in a field other than teaching English then you’ll realize as your look through the job adverts that most employers state the JLPT N2 as a requirement. And even if the employer does not require a passed JLPT, it’s certainly gives you and advantage when compared other applicants that has not taken the test.
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test consists of 5 levels. N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1. In terms of easy/hard or beginner/advanced, N5 would be the beginner level and N1 the most advanced level.
The JLPT level N5, N4 and N3 consists of three test sections. Level N2 and N1 consists of only two test sections but all of the tests are meant to examine your Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading and Listening skills. The JLPT has no section that evaluates your speaking abilities. You can read about the tests in detail on the JLPT official website.
Below you’ll see an attempt to summarize each of the JLPT Levels. The listening level also increases with each level. Even with this summarization and the more detailed explanation on the official JLPT website it can be hard to grasp what will be expected of you. Once again we recommend having a look at the JLPT Practice tests to prepare accordingly and get a feel of what to expect on the day of the test.
N5 to N1
- JLPT N5: “The ability to understand some basic Japanese.” E.g. Hiragana, Katakana and some basic kanji.
- JLPT N4: “The ability to understand basic Japanese.” E.g. Read and understand topics written with basic vocabulary and kanji.
- JLPT N3: “The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree.” E.g. Understand specific contents of everyday topics. Basically be able to read slightly difficult writings encountered in everyday situations and understand the main points.
- JLPT N2: “The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree.” E.g. You should be able to read a diverse selection of reading material and understand the intent of the writers.
- JLPT N1: “The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances.” E.g. able to read written material and understand the writers more or less completely.
The listening level also increases with each level.
|N2||1 000||6 000|
|N1||2 000||10 000|
JLPT Practice Test
It’s encouraged that you take a practice test before the real one. This way you know the format of the test before the big day. Then when you take the real one you can focus on the actual questions and not how to take the test. Doing a JLPT Practice Test is strongly recommended. You can try a few sample questions the official JLPT Website.
The test is usually held twice a year in Japan. The locations outside Japan differs, some offer the test twice a year just like Japan but some only offer it once a year. Normally the JLPT test dates is in July and December each year.
All levels, N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 are held of the same dates.
JLPT Dates 2021
- July 4th, 2021
- December 5th, 2021