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Japanese Language Proficiency Test-JLPT

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験 Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken), or JLPT, is an internationally known standardized test to assess and confirm Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers. The JLPT in Japan is managed and supervised by the Ministry of Education through the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES). Abroad, the Japan Foundation co-proctors test administration with local cultural exchange and educational institutions, or with committees particularly set up for this purpose. Anyone can sit for the JLPT. There is no age limit for this test. 

The JLPT encompasses five levels wherein N1 is the highest level while N5 is the lowest level. The levels are-
  • Level N1: Refers to the ability to comprehend Japanese language used in a diversity of conditions
  • Level N2: Indicates the competency to comprehend the Japanese used in the daily circumstances, and other conditions
  • Level N3: Indicates the competency to comprehend the Japanese used in the daily circumstances to a particular level
  • Level N4: Indicates the ability to comprehend the basic Japanese 
  • Level N5: Indicates the competency to comprehend some rudimentary Japanese

Dates and Deadlines

The test is held twice a year in Japan and overseas on the first Sunday of July and December. To know about the test schedule in your country or area, visit ‘List of Overseas Test Site Cities and Local Host Institutions’  

The JLPT can be taken at several places worldwide
Japan: 44 prefectures
Overseas: 206 cities in 64 countries or areas

Purpose of JLPT in Japan

The JLPT is used for many purposes in Japan-
  • Level N1 of JLPT is used to meet the Japanese language proficiency standards under the "Point-based Preferential Immigration Treatment System for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals" declared by the Japanese government in 2012. 
  • Level N1 of JLPT is a requirement for foreign medical professionals who want to sit for examinations to be certified in Japan, and for certain international students who want to go for nursing school in Japan.
  • International Students who have passed either N1 or N2 level are exempt from the Japanese language part of the middle school equivalency exam, which is needed to gain access to a Japanese high school if the candidate did not graduate from a Japanese lower secondary school or middle school.
  • N1 is also used instead of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for international students who desire to study at Japanese higher education institutions.

Format of JLPT

The JLPT is a multiple choice exam that tests the kanji, vocabulary and grammar, reading comprehension, and listening skills of the applier. 

Different levels-
Each level comprises of three sections-Language knowledge, Reading and Listening.

Level N1: Advanced Level

N1 level refers to the ability to comprehend Japanese language used in a diversity of conditions. 

Language Knowledge and Reading Section: This section assesses whether the applicant is capable to read works or abstract composition on diversity of subjects, such as newspaper editorials and write-ups, and understand both their contents and structure. It additionally tests the applier’s ability to read and understand the aim of the written text with deep information on a diversity of subjects as well as the lexicon and grammatical structures understanding.
  • Duration: 110 minutes
Listening Section: This section measures the applicant’s ability to understand the orally presented item such as logical discussions, news accounts, and lectures, spoken at a normal pace in a wide diversity of contexts, and is able understand the content or details of the written material in depth, such as the connections among the individuals involved, the logical structures, and the main points of the given item.
  • Duration: 60 minutes

Level N2: Upper-Intermediate Level

This level indicates the competency to comprehend the Japanese used in the daily circumstances, and other conditions

Language Knowledge and Reading Section: This section measures the applicant’s ability to read and understand the written item presented on diversity of topics, such as write-ups and reviews in newspapers and magazines. The applicant must be capable to read and understand the written item and its narratives as well as understand the aim of the writers.
  • Duration: 105 minutes
Listening: This section measures the applicant’s ability to understand the orally presented item such as logical and consistent talks and news accounts, spoken at a normal pace in routine settings and in a wide diversity of contexts. It also assesses the applicant’s ability to understand the content or details of the written material in depth, such as the connections among the individuals involved, the logical structures, and the main points of the given item.
  • Duration: 50 minutes

Level N3: Intermediate-Level

This level indicates the competency to comprehend the Japanese used in the daily circumstances to a particular level

Language Knowledge (Vocabulary)- This section assesses the vocabulary of the applicant.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Reading: This section measures the applicant’s ability to read and understand written piece with specific information relevant to the day-to-day subjects. The applicant must be able to comprehend the meaning or the main gist of the information presented. 
  • Duration: 70 minutes
Listening: This section measures the applicant’s ability to understand the conversation or talks in daily life, and comprehend the gist and the relationships among the individuals involved.
  • Duration: 40 minutes

Level N4: Elementary Level

This level indicates the ability to comprehend the basic Japanese

Language Knowledge: This section assesses the vocabulary of the applicant.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
Grammar and Reading: This section measures the applicant’s ability to read and understand passages on well-known everyday topics written in basic lexicon and kanji. It also checks your knowledge of grammatical terms.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
Listening: This section measures the applicant’s ability to listen and understand the conversations that come across in everyday life and generally go along with their contents, on a condition that they are spoken at a slower pace.
  • Duration: 35 minutes

Level N5: Basic Level

This level indicates the competency to comprehend some rudimentary Japanese.   

Language Knowledge: This section assesses the vocabulary, i.e. measures the no. of words you know. 
  • Duration: 25 minutes
Reading: This section measures the applicant’s ability to read and comprehend normal expressions and sentences written in katakana, hiragana, and basic kanji.
  • Duration: 50 minutes
Listening: This section measures the applicant’s ability to listen and understand conversations about topics/issues frequently experienced in routine life and classroom settings, and is able to grasp the vital material from the conversations spoken at a slower pace.
  • Duration: 30 minutes

Registration and Fees

Test in Japan

Step 1: Check test date on Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) website 
Step 2: Sign up for MyJLPT on JEES website  . Create your account or you can even get the application form from the recognized bookstore 

**MyJLPT is a website that can be used by students who want to apply for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test in Japan.

Step 3: Apply via JEES website. Fill in the application form and pay the required fees. If application form is taken from the book store, then in that case, sent it to the JLPT Application Center.
Step 4: After successfully completing the registration, get the test voucher from JEES

Contact Details: Administered in Japan
JLPT Section Test Division, Student Exchange Department,
Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES)
4-5-29 Komaba, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo, 153-8503
Tel: 81-3-6686-2974

Test Overseas

Step 1: Find country or area where you want to sit for the test as well as the application period as it varies depending upon the region. Click here for a list of local host institutions and test site cities.
Step 2: Choose the mode of registration with local host institution and get the Test Guide along with application form
Step 3: Go through the Test Guide carefully, register as per the instructions/directions given by the local host institution. Fill in the form and pay registration fee.
Step 4: After successfully completing the registration, get the test voucher from local host institution

Contact Details: Overseas
Centre for Japanese Language Testing, The Japan Foundation
1-21 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004
Tel: 81-3-5367-1021

Scoring and Results

Individual sections are scored. Scales scores are given. Raw scores are which are further converted to a standard scale (scaled score). On the basis of the raw scores, grades are given as A, B or C.
  • A-If the raw score is 67% or above
  • B-If the raw score is between 34% and 66%
  • C-If the raw score is below 34%

Passing Scores: In order to pass the test, you need to obtain the pass score for each individual section as well the total score. All these are based on the scaled scores. 
The overall pass mark depends on the level and varies between 100 (55.55%) for the N1 and 80 (44.44%) for the level N5. 
The pass marks for individual sections are all 19 out of 60 = 31.67% – equivalently, 38/120 = 19/60 for the reading and listening sections of the levels N4 and N5.

Japan Language Tests Pass Marks












Score Report and Certificate of Proficiency

The applicants will get the score report indicate the sectional scores and overall score. Also, a certificate of Proficiency will be issued.  Score Reports for the July test are sent in early September and Score Reports for the December test are mailed in early February

Test in Japan

Applicants who have applied online for the test via the Internet  can check and get their score report as well as Certificate of proficiency by logging on to MyJLPT account using MyJLPT ID and password.

Test Overseas

 Score Reports are sent via local host institutions, and the applicants get their score report for the July test in early October and for the December test in early March.

Error in Score Report or Certificate- If there is an error in either of the items, such as name or date of birth is wrongly mentioned or any other error, you can request for the reissue of both. If you sat for the test in Japan, contact the JLPT Application Center, and if your testing centre was abroad, then contact your local host institution in the region or with the Japan Foundation.
Contact Details:

In Japan
JLPT Application Center
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00-17:000
Tel: 03-6686-2974 
Fax: 03-6212-6565

In Overseas
Check with the Japan Foundation or local host institution where you have appeared for the test 

Please send the following documents by mail to the Japan Foundation-Reissunace application form , Original Score report or certificate of proficiency, Copy of ID, and Letter of Proxy  (applicable only if application is done by proxy)

Mailing Address:
The Japan Foundation Center for Japanese-Language Testing
4-3 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004, Japan

Special Arrangements

Special arrangements are made for persons with disabilities. To avail this facility, contact your local host institution and ask for the “Request Form for Special Arrangement,” and submit the completed Request Form along with your application form and medical certificate on time. 

Test Day Essentials

Get the following things on the test day-
  • Test voucher
  • Medium soft HB black lead pencil and eraser
  • Photo Identification proof-It can be passport with photo, driver’s license, or other official ID listed by the local host institution.
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