JLPT Guide - Japanese Language Proficiency Exam

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O Japanese Language Proficiency Exam in Japanese it is called Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken [日本語能力試験] abbreviated as JLPT. In this article we are going to talk about this famous proof of proficiency and how you can study and pass the exam.

The objective of the JLPT is to assess and officially certify the 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.

history of JLPT

The JLPT is an exam that officially evaluates and recognizes the Japanese proficiency of people who do not have the language as their mother tongue, this exam has been applied since 1984 by the Japan Foundation and the 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 Admission Exam for International Students (EJU) which is used by most universities for this purpose. This EJU is much more complex and requires writing instead of just checking alternatives.

In 2004, JLPT was offered in 40 countries, including Japan. In Japan, JLPT is administered by the Ministry of Education through Japan Interchange and Educational Services (JEES). In 2010 the fifth level was created, establishing itself in 5 levels.

Guia jlpt - exame de proficiência da língua japonesa

Japanese Language Proficiency Exam

The Exam is divided into 5 levels, the candidate being able to choose the level according to his ability. Each level consists of 3 sections: “Spelling and Vocabulary","Listening comprehension" and "Text comprehension and grammar”. 

  • 1st section moji, goi [文字 | 語彙] - Tests vocabulary and knowledge of different aspects of the Japanese writing system;
  • 2nd chōkai section [聴解] - Test your listening comprehension with audios and visual aid tests and without visual aid;
  • 3rd section dokkai, bunpō [読解 | 文法] - Uses various texts and phrases to test your reading comprehension. The questions include instructions for filling in the gaps or matching 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 what level of Japanese he is at.

LevelKanjiVocabularyListeningEstimated Study Hours
N5~ 100~ 800Noob150
N4~ 300~ 1500Basic300
N3~ 650~ 3750Regular450
N2~ 1000~ 6000Intermediate600
N1~ 2000~ 10.000Advanced900

Each JLPT Level has an objective, which are:

  • JLPT N5 - Be able to understand, to a certain 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, being able to understand to a certain degree the Japanese language used in broader situations;
  • JLPT N1 - Be able to understand the Japanese language used in N1 wide situations;
Guia jlpt - exame de proficiência da língua japonesa

What is the benefit of doing JLPT?

Although many claim that the exam is proof of their knowledge of Japanese, it is not always a requirement or meaning of fluency. Most of the time it only serves to test your knowledge.

Fortunately, the Consulate uses this examination a lot as requirements for some visa applications. Companies also find it interesting that you have this certificate. Some universities use it as a requirement to study it.

Performing any of the tests below, and acquiring the certificate you can have endless opportunities:

  • Find jobs in Japan or Brazil;
  • Facilitates entering a University of Japan;
  • Helps you to get other certificates;
  • It brings more confidence when you need to use your Japanese;
  • Allows you to do Japanese national nursing exams and others;
  • A certificate of proficiency is worth more than any diploma in any course from anywhere;
  • The certificate of proficiency is valid worldwide;
Guia jlpt - exame de proficiência da língua japonesa

Studying for the proficiency test

First of all, you should focus on studying, seeing the requirements and learning all the kanji and vocabularies that will fall on the test according to the table above. (You can know this by visiting the sites that I will leave at the end.)

You must register on the specified dates (the exam has a fee), the test in Brazil is carried out in 8 major cities in the country. The tests usually last from 100 to 180 minutes, depending on the level.

Like any test, be prepared psychologically, physically and mentally. Don't forget to follow all the rules informed when taking the test, take all the requested documents, and be careful with cell phones, if ringing is over…

There are many more details about the proof 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).

Guia jlpt - exame de proficiência da língua japonesa
Preparado para passar horas estudando?

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 about 200-600 hours of study, the student is able to pass the JLPT N5 or JLPT N4 exam.

Whoever has the N5 certificate is able to read and understand stereotyped expressions, phrases and texts written in hiragana or katakana, or even in basic ideograms of daily use. It is capable of capturing necessary information in short and slow spoken dialogues, in more common situations in everyday life, such as in classrooms or around them, etc.

The N4 certified student 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 entirely the content of the dialogues carried out in everyday situations.

On our website we have written several articles on the vocabulary and ideogram of the N5 and N4, we will list them below:

JLPT N3, N2 and N1 Guide - Advanced Japanese

Those who have the certificate JLPT N3 they 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 headlines 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 dialogues with consistent content, said at a speed almost close to natural and in everyday situations, comprising practically all the concrete content and the relationship between the characters.

Those who have 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 the text, as well as understand the intentions of the expressions. They listen to dialogues, news and conversations and are able to understand most of them without difficulty.

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 the text, and understand in detail the intentions of the expressions.

It is able to capture all the information that is said. You can listen to dialogues, news or lectures with consistent and complex content, spoken at natural speed and in different situations, understanding the subject and the people around you in detail.

On our website we wrote several articles on the vocabulary and ideogram of N3, N2 and N1, we will list them below:

Guia jlpt – exame de proficiência da língua japonesa

Links to the JLPT

Below we will leave some site links with information on the proficiency exam, tests, study materials and others.

JLPT registration

Now we are going to share an average JLPT price that can vary according to 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 Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken

I like to end the articles by leaving a video. Enjoy the channel video speakjap0nes explaining a little bit about the Proficiency Exam.