JLPT Exam:

Everything You Need to Know

What is the JLPT Exam?

JLPT stands for 'Japanese Language Proficiency Test' and is the predominant form of testing the Japanese language level of non-native speakers. 

You can download the Official JLPT 2019 Test Guide here.

What are the Benefits of Taking the JLPT Exam?

Aside from looking great on your CV, many companies and schools in Japan require applicants to achieve certain JLPT certifications in order to prove their Japanese level is sufficient.

For example an N1 level certification may be accepted in place of an entrance exam for foreign applicants applying to Japanese universities. 

The Japanese government also includes your JLPT score as part of their 'Point-based Preferential Immigration Treatment System for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals', meaning an N1 or N2 JLTP qualification can contribute to gaining preferential treatment at immigration (for more information on this you can visit Japan's Immigration Bureau Website).

How Much Does it Cost to Take the JLPT Exam?

The cost to take the test in the UK is £85, regardless of level.

Once you've submitted the payment for the exam you won't be entitled to a refund under any circumstances. You are also unable to change your level after booking so make sure you book the right one!

When and Where can I Book the JLPT Exam?

In the UK, the JLPT exam is run twice a year, once in July and once in December. The exact dates change every year and only get released for the upcoming exam. For example, the next exam is on the 1st of December 2019 but the dates for July 2020 have not yet been released.

 

You can take the exam in one of 3 locations: London, Edinburgh or Cardiff (booking links in orange below).

Due to the high number of applicants, the 1st of December exam is already fully booked in SOAS London but you can still take it at Cardiff University or the University of Edinburgh, both of which are very easy to reach from London by train.

Bookings for July are not open yet.

How Long Does a JLPT Certificate Last?

Unlike some other language qualifications, the JLPT certificate does not become invalid over time. You only need to pass once for a lifetime of benefits.

How Many People Take the JLPT Exam Each Year?

The number of applicants has grown over the last decade along with an increase in Japanese language learners. The graph below shows the data for the last 8 years.

Data adapted from JLPT.com. 

What is the Content of the JLPT Exam and How Do I Know What Level I am?

The JLPT exam is designed to assess non-native Japanese speaker's knowledge of Japanese vocabulary and grammar. The test is structured in such a way that it tests one's ability to actively use this communicative knowledge in everyday situations.

On a more detailed level, the exam tests applicants on 3 key dimensions: Language Knowledge (Vocabulary and Grammar), Reading and Listening. There are no sections to directly measure speaking or writing.

Since the test is designed to comprehensively determine anybody's Japanese ability, there are five different difficulty levels you can take, N5 being the easiest and N1 being the most difficult. We've included an expectation of what's involved in each level in the following tables but if you're having problems deciding which test to book, you can take our free online JLPT test by clicking the link below.

Tables adapted from JLPT.com. 

How Long Does the JLPT Exam Take?

Different levels have different test timings. The below table shows the current breakdown of test duration by section.

How Many Hours of Study Does it Take to Reach JLPT Level N1?

Different students advance at different rates so it is difficult to put an exact number on how long it will take for someone to reach N1. Factors such as prior knowledge of Kanji (e.g. Chinese speakers), teaching quality and opportunity for practise outside the classroom can play a huge part in how quickly one can develop their Japanese skills.

The Japanese Language Education Centre put together the following estimate based on data from 2010-2015.

Where Can I Find the Best Online Study Resources for JLPT?

The internet is full of useful resources to help all levels study and pass the JLPT exam. You can try joining groups on Facebook or Instagram, following YouTube channels or even just Googling resources for the areas where you need to improve. 

We have included links to a few of our favourite resources below to help get you started:

JLearn: JLearn offer vocabulary and Kanji lists for all levels. In addition to this they have a free online Kanji Dictionary function which gives you the ability to search Kanji by radical. The resources on the site are free to use and designed to help students acquire Japanese language knowledge through training drills.

JLPT Study: JLPT Study was created by Japanese student Peter van der Woude to provide a range of high quality learning resources for JLPT levels N5-N2. Peter used his own experience as a student to create vocabulary lists, Kanji lists and past papers to help learners develop faster. To browse the content, simply visit the site and click on your level at the top of the page.

Where Can I Access JLPT Past Papers?

A great way to prepare for the exam is to complete past papers under exam conditions. JLPT Sensei provides a wealth of free JLPT past papers for download. Once you're ready to practise taking tests, this is the place to go to get them.

What are the Best Books to Help Prepare for the JLPT Exam?

LingoClass teachers have years of experience teaching Japanese and helping students pass the JLPT exam. The books we use in our lessons are from the 'Try! JLPT' series. These are great books to study in the classroom as they contain detailed explanations of grammar points in English and Japanese, creative exercises to help you practise your language skills and  an audio CD to help correct your pronunciation.

Another great book to help you prepare for the exam is the official JLPT book. This book contains fewer exercises and explanation but the questions are set out in a very similar way to the actual exam. Familiarising yourself with these books can help you know what to expect on the actual test.

How Long Does it Take to get my JLPT Results and Where Can I View Them?

After taking the test, your results will be available to view online here, usually within 6-7 weeks. To view them you will need your examinee number and 8-digit password, both of which should be printed on your test voucher.

All the information you need to understand passing grades and how to read your score report can be found here.

Now you know everything you need to in order to book and pass the JLPT exam, why not sign up for some lessons with one of LingoClass' expert teachers.

We have years of experience in helping our students prepare for the JLPT. You can book private lessons or join a group of like-minded people for one of our group courses.

Good luck!

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