Study Japanese

What is JLPT?

Written by Kaori sensei

If you are studying Japanese, have you ever heard of “JLPT”?

“JLPT” is an abbreviation for “Japanese-language proficiency test” and it will be held worldwide to evaluate and certify proficiency in Japanese of non-native speakers, twice a year, in July and December. Levels are from N1 (difficult) to N5 (easy).

Hmmm, then why do everyone take the JLPT exam?

For those who come to Japan for study abroad, qualifications, or work, JLPT often leads to conditions or advantages.

Why do I need JLPT?

Basically I recommend taking the JLPT. I would like to talk about the advantages of taking the JLPT and the disadvantages of the JLPT.


Social benefits of staying in Japan

JLPT certification offer ranging from recognition as academic credit and graduation certification at schools to preferential treatment at companies and acknowledgement of qualification in society. If you want to work for general Japanese company, N2 or higher is required. Of course, if you are an expert, there are exceptions. However, even in such a case, I think that N3 level is necessary to live comfortably in Japan.

Raising your learning motivation

Well, you are thinking now, “I like Japanese as a hobby” “I just want to travel to Japan”, etc. Would you like to see what you can do in Japanese? or do you want to set goals that are a little closer to you? The JLPT is a test only twice a year, so it is good goal to see the results of your daily learning. And the result becomes a great motivation for learning Japanese again.

Make a new finding

As a teacher, I am keenly aware that this exam preparation is a great learning opportunity for you to enthusiastically increase the number of vocabulary and examine grammatical differences. Especially in test questions, they like trick. Thanks to these tricks, you will face vocabulary and grammar again and your understanding will deepen.


The JLPT is not a perfect exam. The focus is on listening, reading, grammar, and vocabulary, so it does not directly measure your speaking and writing abilities. Therefore, even if you concentrate on this exam and get N1, some people will not be able to speak. For more than 80% of language students, the goal is to be able to communicate, but it is not an interactive exam.

Which level should I take?

Let’s take a look at each guideline. Specific language behaviors are also written on the official website, but here we will briefly explain the grammar level, the number of Kanji, the number of vocabulary, and the guideline for Japanese learning time. For details, please see the explanation and official page of each level.

Table.1 Level guide

NLevelNumber of KanjiNumber of vocabulariesLearning hours
2Intermediate the latter half1,0006,000600
3Intermediate the first half6003,500450
4Beginner the latter half3001,500 300
5Beginner the first half100800150

There is also a sample question on the official website. Let’s challenge each level. It’s twice a year, so it’s a good idea to set goals and plan your learning.

How to prepare?

Have you decided on a level to challenge? Here I will talk about how to prepare.


About the author

Kaori sensei

Japanese online teacher, live in Kamakura, Japan. She is currently working as a language teacher and online Japanese experience host to introduce Japanese culture to the world. She originally worked as an engineer at a Japanese company, so she is familiar with Japanese business culture too.

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