The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a well-known exam used to evaluate candidates’ level of Japanese language competence. How the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is structured, what to expect on test day, the best study resources, and other essentials for passing the exam are all covered in this article.

Continue reading to acquire all the necessary information about the JLPT and how to succeed if you are just starting your JLPT preparation or looking to increase your knowledge of this proficiency test. 

The JLPT: What Is It Exactly?

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is used to evaluate the proficiency of foreign speakers of Japanese. You can test your Japanese hearing and reading skills across five different difficulty levels.

People from all around the world often take the JLPT to prove their Japanese language skills.

The current JLPT, created after the test was updated in 2010 to be more challenging, is the result of this revision. The JLPT is open to anybody who wishes to take it; enrolment in a Japanese language course is not a prerequisite. 

You are free to take the test anywhere in the world, including Japan. Dates and rollouts for qualifying nations are subject to change. 

Although the JLPT was created with non-native speakers in mind, native Japanese speakers are also welcome to take the test. Examinees can select from five progressively more demanding levels, N5 through N1.

Take the exam to see how well you learn Japanese, which can lead to better work opportunities, greater education opportunities, and a broader worldview.

How Does It Work?

The JLPT is a three-hour in-person exam that varies slightly from beginner to advanced difficulty. There will be a number of other exam takers in the room with you the entire time. The proctors will provide spoken instructions, keep time for you, and monitor your progress throughout the exam.

Bring your photo ID, the test voucher, and writing implements, and an eraser. They can’t legally give you a spare pencil, and there might not even be a pencil sharpener on hand, so stock up.

The JLPT is fairly standardised and, depending on how much you have riding on it, either a reassuring or terrifying event. Although I only needed to take the exam once, I have no problem with anyone else contributing $50 twice yearly to the Japan Foundation.

What Are The Requirements For Eligibility?

No special requirements exist. Non-natural Japanese speakers are welcome to take the JLPT, regardless of whether they are Japanese nationals. Furthermore, there is no minimum age requirement.

How Is The JLPT Exam Structured?

The maximum possible score on the JLPT is 180.

Each question on the N1–N3 tests consists of three parts: 

  • Vocabulary & Grammar
  • Reading
  • Listening

There are only two categories for N4 and N5: vocabulary and grammar and reading and listening comprehension.

The levels N4 and N5 cover the rudiments of the Japanese language, as taught in schools. I can read between 100 and 300 Kanji in addition to Hiragana and Katakana.

The N1 and N2 levels test and grade highly-developed Japanese in various real-life contexts. Over 10,000 words and 2,000 Kanji are required for N1.

N3 is an in-between difficulty level between N4 and N2.

How Do I Apply?

At least two or three months prior to the exam date (which may be found on the official website) is required for registration. You can only sign up online or via email during the registration time.

You can also visit centres locally with a passport-sized photo, the registration fee, and a government-issued photo ID. Completing the application form is the following step.

The Levels of Japanese Language Competence (JLPT)

Similar to several tiers of schooling, there are also numerous tiers of academic ranking. Similarly, to pass the JLPT, you must study hard and practise. Each section of the JLPT (N5-N1) is progressively more challenging than the one before it.

It’s important to note that none tests your ability to write or speak Japanese; they evaluate your comprehension of written and spoken Japanese.

Detailed descriptions of what is required of you at each JLPT level follow.

N5: Starter

To pass the N5 level of the proficiency test, you only need to know the basics of the language.

At the N5 level, you should be able to follow along with a conversation using only hiragana, katakana, and a few elementary kanji.

N4: Elementary

The same description applies to N4, a little more advanced level, to grasp fundamental Japanese. However, the JLPT’s N4 section is geared towards more casual conversation.

N3: Upper-Intermediate

An N3 score on the language test indicates an intermediate level of comprehension of everyday Japanese.

This level is slightly more complex than before, requiring you to understand spoken conversations at a nearly average pace rather than slow and grasp more everyday texts like newspaper headlines.

N2: Intermediate to Advanced

Understanding Japanese in everyday scenarios and a limited range of contexts is what’s meant by N2 proficiency, and this is where things start to get tricky again.

One of the highest tiers of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, N2 requires you to go beyond a surface-level understanding of a small set of themes and into an appreciation of the larger context and story.

Level N1: Very Advanced

The highest proficiency level, N1, is the most difficult since it requires students to understand Japanese in various contexts.

You have to be able to read and listen with logical complexity, understanding the structures and material fully, to score highly on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Reading complex texts, keeping up with the plot, and grasping the authors’ meanings are all essential writing skills. A good listener is someone who can take in and think about things like character arcs, story arcs, and fundamental concepts as they are being conveyed to them.

Check out some videos and study materials online for every level to get a feel for how much you must prepare before deciding which is right for you. Select the option that most piques your curiosity or serves your academic or professional goals. 

Remember that you can retake any level anytime for a small fee. You can also begin at a lower level and progress to a more advanced one as time progresses. You can safely skip from N3 straight to N1 if you already know N2 won’t help much after you get N1. 

If you take the test in person, even if you don’t perform well, you’ll learn much about what you must do to succeed the next time. But it is conditional on your specific goals and circumstances. 

Taking the JLPT: What’s in it for You?

The benefits of taking the JLPT are numerous. The best ones are as follows:

Attend a Japanese University

Let’s say you’ve decided to go to school in Japan. Then taking the JLPT would be a great asset when applying to universities in Japan. Many universities have requirements that you meet, one of which is a particular JLPT score.

In some cases, universities would accept N1 from international students instead of the Educational Qualifications Examination for Universities in Japan (EJU).

Get a Job in Japan

The people of Japan speak only one language.

The majority of Japanese employment opportunities necessitate native-level fluency in the Japanese language. Therefore, if you can complete N2, it will help you immensely when looking for work in the country.

In addition, JLPT N1 is typically required for taking Japan’s national tests for healthcare workers and medical practitioners, making it a prerequisite for those seeking a career in nursing, caregiving, or the medical industry.

With your N2 and N1 certifications, the government will award you 15 and 10 points in its “Point-based Preferential Immigration Treatment System for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals.”

If you score 70 or better, your immigration application will be given priority. 

The results of the Japanese language test documentation and your other application materials will help you land an interview in Japan.

Provides Access to a Diverse Range of Professions

Proof of Japanese proficiency can be found in the JLPT, an internationally recognised certificate. Therefore, it is generally recognised by businesses, government agencies, and industries that value Japanese language skills.

The test results provide valuable insight into potential new hires’ communication abilities and character traits. As a result, this can improve your chances of getting hired for occupations that demand proficiency in Japanese.

JLPT’s profile has skyrocketed over the past few decades due to the proliferation of jobs requiring Japanese language skills. Do you hope to use Japanese in your professional life? Then, the JLPT can be a cherry on top of an already impressive resume.

Assists in the Acquisition of Financial Aid via Scholarships.

The JLPT is a requirement for many of Japan’s generous scholarships, fellowships, and awards for international students. During your time in Japan, thanks to this scholarship, you will get a monthly stipend in addition to other benefits. As a result, receiving a high-calibre education in Japan is cheap or even free.

Allows Accurate Feedback and Inspiration You

So, you’ve been studying Japanese for a while but are unsure how well you’re grasping the language. If so, you should consider taking the JLPT.

By testing your language proficiency, you may pinpoint where your knowledge is lacking and devote your study time accordingly. As a result, you’ll be motivated to improve your preparation for the upcoming JLPT exam.

It shows that you have done well compared to other people studying Japanese in different parts of the world.

The best part about earning a Japanese certificate is showing your pals that you’ve reached a certain proficiency level in the language. The outcome has boosted my self-assurance. And maybe motivate you to keep working towards even greater success in Japanese.


The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is an internationally recognized exam used to assess the competence of non-native Japanese speakers. The test lasts for three hours and ranges in difficulty from very easy to very challenging. The five available difficulty levels for the examination are labelled N5 through N1. The JLPT is largely standardised, and there are no prerequisites to take it. Participants are expected to bring a valid ID, their test voucher, a pencil, a pen, and an eraser.

The JLPT is largely standardised, and there are no prerequisites to take it. Anyone who does not speak Japanese as their first language is allowed to take the JLPT. On the JLPT, a perfect score is 180. The N1-N3 tests include a reading comprehension section, a hearing section, and a vocabulary and grammar section for each question. A minimum of two or three months ahead to the scheduled exam date is necessary for registration.

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) has a series of levels, each of which is progressively more difficult than the one before it. Each portion of the JLPT increases in difficulty, thus preparation and practice are key to success. The JLPT is an exam that measures a candidate’s ability to interpret spoken and written Japanese in a variety of situations. The most advanced competence level, N1, is also the most demanding since it necessitates superior reading and listening skills as well as an in-depth grasp of complex structures and subject matter. You can go to a Japanese university, find a career in Japan, and improve your reading and listening comprehension by taking the JLPT.

Taking the JLPT can help you immensely in your pursuit of higher education and employment in Japan. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a globally recognized credential that opens doors to a variety of careers, facilitates the acquisition of financial aid, and gives candidates access to valuable feedback and motivation. It gives employers a glimpse into a candidate’s communication skills and personality, and it’s a prerequisite for many of Japan’s generous scholarships, fellowships, and awards for international students. The findings of the test can help a candidate get employed for a position that requires knowledge of Japanese by providing insight into their communication skills and personality qualities.

Content Summary

  • The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is an exam used to evaluate Japanese language competence.
  • The JLPT consists of five difficulty levels.
  • People from all around the world take the JLPT to prove their Japanese language skills.
  • The current JLPT was updated in 2010 to be more challenging.
  • Native Japanese speakers are also welcome to take the JLPT.
  • The exam has five levels: N5 through N1.
  • Taking the JLPT can lead to better work and education opportunities.
  • The JLPT is a three-hour in-person exam.
  • Exam takers need to bring their photo ID, test voucher, and writing implements.
  • Registration for the JLPT should be done two to three months prior to the exam date.
  • There are no special requirements for eligibility to take the JLPT.
  • The JLPT exam consists of vocabulary and grammar, reading, and listening sections.
  • N4 and N5 levels cover the basics of the Japanese language.
  • N3 is an intermediate difficulty level between N4 and N2.
  • N2 requires understanding Japanese in everyday scenarios and a limited range of contexts.
  • N1 is the highest proficiency level and requires understanding Japanese in various contexts.
  • Applicants can sign up for the JLPT online or at local centres.
  • Each JLPT level is progressively more challenging.
  • The JLPT evaluates comprehension of written and spoken Japanese.
  • N5 level requires knowledge of basic language elements.
  • N4 level is geared towards more casual conversation.
  • N3 level indicates an intermediate level of comprehension.
  • N2 level requires understanding beyond a surface-level comprehension.
  • N1 level is the most difficult, requiring comprehension in various contexts.
  • Taking the JLPT can help with university admissions in Japan.
  • Native-level fluency in Japanese is often required for job opportunities in Japan.
  • JLPT certification is recognized by businesses, government agencies, and industries.
  • JLPT is a requirement for many scholarships for international students in Japan.
  • Taking the JLPT provides accurate feedback on language proficiency.
  • JLPT certification can boost self-confidence and motivate further language study.


What is the passing score for the JLPT?

The passing score for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) is determined by the number of points a test taker scores in each section. The overall passing score is typically set at 60% or higher. However, it’s important to note that the passing score may vary slightly from year to year and between different levels of the test.

How often is the JLPT held?

The JLPT is typically held twice a year, in July and December. However, please note that the exact scheduling and availability may vary depending on your country or region. It’s recommended to check the official JLPT website or contact the local organising body for the most up-to-date information regarding test dates and locations.

Can I retake the JLPT if I don’t pass?

Yes, if you do not pass the JLPT, you can retake the test in subsequent administrations. Since the JLPT is held twice a year, you have the opportunity to improve your results by taking the test again in the next available session. There are no restrictions on the number of times you can retake the exam.

Is the JLPT recognised internationally?

Yes, the JLPT is recognized internationally as a standardised test to assess the Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers. It is widely recognized by academic institutions, employers, and immigration authorities in various countries as a measure of Japanese language skills. The test is administered by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) and is recognized as a reliable assessment of Japanese language proficiency.

Does the JLPT expire or need renewal?

No, the JLPT certificate does not have an expiration date. Once you pass a specific level of the JLPT, your certificate is valid indefinitely. The JLPT is designed to assess your language proficiency at a specific point in time, and your results remain valid as a reflection of your abilities at the time you took the test. However, it’s important to note that some institutions or organisations may have their own policies regarding the validity period of language proficiency certificates for specific purposes, such as employment or academic admissions. It’s recommended to check with the relevant institutions or organisations for any specific requirements they may have.

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