The Japanese Language Proficiency Exam in Japanese it's called Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken [日本語能力試験] abbreviated as JLPT. In this article we will talk about this famous proficiency test and how you can study and pass the exam.
The purpose of the JLPT is to officially assess and certify a person's competence in the Japanese language. This exam is usually held on a Sunday in the first half of December. It can be the gateway for those who wish to live in Japan.
The JLPT is an exam that assesses and officially recognizes the proficiency in Japanese of people who do not have the language as their mother tongue, this exam has been administered since 1984 by the Japan Foundation and Japan International Education Association.
The exam was created in response to the growing demand for standardization in Japanese language certification. Initially 7,000 people took the exam. Until 2003, the JLPT was one of the requirements for foreigners to enter Japanese universities.
In 2003, the Japanese University Entrance Exam for International Students (EJU) which is used by most universities for this purpose. This EJU is much more complex and requires writing rather than just marking alternatives.
In 2004, the JLPT was offered in 40 countries, including Japan. In Japan, the JLPT is administered by the Ministry of Education through the Japan Exchange and Educational Services (JEES). In 2010 the fifth level was created, establishing itself in 5 levels.
Japanese Language Proficiency Exam
The Exam is divided into 5 levels, and the candidate can choose the level according to his/her ability. Each level consists of 3 sections: “Spelling and Vocabulary”, “Listening comprehension" and "Comprehension of Text and Grammar”.
- 1st section moji, goi [文字|語彙] – Tests vocabulary and knowledge of different aspects of the Japanese writing system;
- 2nd chokai section [聴解] – Tests listening comprehension with audio and visual aid tests and without visual aid;
- 3rd section dokkai, bunpo [読解|文法] – Uses various texts and phrases to test your reading comprehension. Questions include instructions for filling in the gaps or paraphrasing key points;
Thus, each student must study on their own, dedicate themselves and learn a certain number of kanji, vocabulary and grammar. In the end, he takes this test to find out which level of Japanese he is at.
Responsive Table: Scroll the table to the side with your finger >>
|Level||Kanji||Vocabulary||Listening||Estimated Study Hours|
|N5||~ 100||~ 800||Noob||150|
|N4||~ 300||~ 1500||Basic||300|
|N3||~ 650||~ 3750||Regular||450|
|N2||~ 1000||~ 6000||Intermediary||600|
|N1||~ 2000||~ 10.000||Advanced||900|
Each JLPT Level has an objective, which are:
- JLPT N5 – Be able to understand, to some degree, the basic Japanese language;
- JLPT N4 – Be able to understand the basic Japanese language;
- JLPT N3 – Be able to understand, to some degree, the Japanese language used in everyday situations;
- JLPT N2 – In addition to understanding the Japanese language used in everyday situations, be able to understand to some degree the Japanese language used in broader situations;
- JLPT N1 – Be able to understand the Japanese language used in wide N1 situations;
What is the benefit of taking the JLPT?
Although many claim that the exam is proof of your knowledge of Japanese, it is not always a requirement or meaning of fluency. Most of the time it's just to test your knowledge.
Fortunately, the Consulate uses this exam a lot as a requirement for some visas. Companies also find it interesting that you have this certificate. Some universities use it as a requirement to take it.
By performing any of the tests below, and acquiring the certificate, you can have infinite opportunities:
- Find jobs in Japan or Brazil;
- Makes it easy to get into a University in Japan;
- It helps you get other certificates;
- Brings you more confidence when you need to use your Japanese;
- Allows you to take Japanese national ward exams and others;
- A certificate of proficiency is worth more than any degree from any course anywhere;
- The certificate of proficiency is valid worldwide;
Studying for the proficiency test
First you should focus on studying, seeing the requirements and learning all the kanji and vocabulary that will be on the test according to the table above. (You can find this out by visiting the sites I'll leave at the end.)
You must register on the given dates (The exam has a fee), the test in Brazil is held in 8 major cities in the country. The tests usually last from 100 to 180 minutes, depending on the level.
As with any test, be prepared psychologically, physically and mentally. Don't forget to follow all the rules informed when taking the test, bring all the documents requested, and be careful with cell phones, if they ring, it's gone…
There are a lot more details about the test that you need to know. There is a PDF that I will leave the link, containing 77 pages explaining in detail about this new exam (before 2010 the exam was different).
JLPT N5 and N4 Guide – Basic Japanese
As mentioned, the JLPT N5 and N5 level aims to prove that the student is able to understand the basics of the Japanese language, to a certain degree. With around 200-600 hours of study a student is able to pass the JLPT N5 or JLPT N4 exam.
Those who have the N5 certificate are able to read and understand stereotyped expressions, phrases and texts written in hiragana or katakana, or even in basic ideograms of everyday use. Can capture necessary information in short, slowly spoken dialogues in more common situations in everyday life, such as in or around classrooms, etc.
The student with the N4 certificate is able to read and understand texts whose content is familiar in everyday life, written with basic vocabulary and ideograms. He is also able to understand almost completely the content of dialogues carried out in everyday situations.
On our website we have written several articles about the vocabulary and ideogram of the N5 and N4, we will list them below:
- JLPT N5 Kanji List
- JLPT N5 Vocabulary List
- JLPT N4 Kanji List
- List of JLPT N4 Verbs
- List of N4 and N5 Adjectives
- N5 grammar
- N4 grammar
JLPT Guide N3, N2 and N1 – Advanced Japanese
Those who hold the certificate JLPT N3 are able to read and understand texts that express concrete content on everyday matters. They are able to capture the general lines of information from the titles of newspaper articles.
The N3 also proves that the student is able to understand the essential points of the relatively difficult texts with which he has contact in everyday situations, when expressed in another way.
He is also able to hear dialogue with consistent content, said at an almost natural speed and in everyday situations, understanding practically all the concrete content and the relationship between the characters.
Those who hold the certificate JLPT N2 can consider themselves fluent in the Japanese language. They are able to read and understand the content of texts whose content is clear, such as articles and comments from newspapers and magazines that deal with a wide range of subjects.
They are also able to read general subject texts and understand the flow of text, as well as understanding the intentions of expressions. They hear dialogue, news and conversation and can understand most of them without difficulty.
already the JLPT N1 proves that the student is fully competent and able to read complex texts without difficulty. He is able to read texts in depth, understand the flow of text, and understand in detail the intentions of expressions.
He is able to capture all the information that is said. You can hear dialogues, news or lectures with consistent and complex content, said at natural speed and in different situations, understanding the subject and the people around you in detail.
On our website we have written several articles about the vocabulary and ideogram of N3, N2 and N1, we will list them below:
- JLPT N3 Kanji List
- JLPT N3 Vocabulary List
- Grammatical Structures of Japanese N3
- Vocabulary List N2
- N2 Kanji List
- Vocabulary List N1
Links to the JLPT
Below we will leave some links to websites with information about the proficiency exam, exams, study materials and others.
- Official website in Japanese
- Official website in English
- Tanos – Site with all study material in English.
- PDF explaining exam details
- Japan Foundation website
Now let's share an average JLPT price that may vary by year and location:
- N1 = R$ 160.00
- N2 = R$ 130.00
- N3 = R$ 120.00
- N4 = R$ 110.00
- N5 = R$ 100.00
Video about the Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken
I like to end articles by leaving a video. Enjoy the channel video speak japanese explaining a little about the Proficiency Exam.