Should I Take the JLPT?

If you’re studying Japanese even as a beginner, you’ve probably already heard people talking about the JLPT. But what is it exactly, and should you be taking it too?

should i take the jlpt

What Is the JLPT?

JLPT stands for Japanese Language Proficiency Test and it is the single standardized test throughout all of Japan to assess the Japanese level of non-native speakers. The JLPT consists of 5 levels with the easiest being the JLPT N5 and the most advanced being the JLPT N1. All levels of the JLPT cover only listening and reading, not speaking or writing. So it is a comprehension-based test rather than an assessment of your pronunciation or handwriting. Of course, here at Nihongo Master we like to practice all of those things together!

Where Can I Take the JLPT?

The JLPT is offered twice a year in Japan, and once or twice a year in over 60 countries around the world. Check out this list to find a testing center near you. Since you must register well in advance, and it takes up to 3 months to receive your scores, you should be looking into test dates at least 6 months before you need your results. This is especially important if you’re applying for a job or applying to university in Japan that requires you pass a certain level.

Why Should I Take the JLPT?

Unless the JLPT is required to take for a job or for entrance into a Japanese University, you don’t NEED to take it. But many people WANT to take it to prove to themselves that they are developing as Japanese speakers. For many, passing subsequent levels of the JLPT keeps them on track with their studies and motivates them to learn all the vocab, grammar, and kanji that is required in order to pass the test. For many people already living in Japan, the JLPT can help to open doors to new jobs and even new friendships. There’s no wrong reason to take the JLPT.

Can Nihongo Master Help Me?

Nihongo Master is designed specifically with the JLPT in mind! Our Beginner lessons cover all the grammar, vocabulary, and kanji you need to pass the JLPT N5. Our Advanced lessons focus on the grammar, vocabulary, and kanji on JLPT N4. Once you’ve mastered the grammar up to the N4, subsequent tests are much more about how big your vocabulary is and how many kanji you know. As a premium member you will have access to custom study lists to help you learn each and every kanji you may find on the exam, all the way through the N1!. And don’t forget our community chats are full of other JLPT test takers as well who are happy to answer questions and can make great study team partners!

But Which Level of the JLPT Should I Take?

If there is a specific level required by your job or university, obviously check with them. But considering you don’t need to pass previous levels in order to take the next level up, the official JLPT website has created a handy guide to help you understand what each and every level will test. Check out the table below to figure out which level of the JLPT is right for you.

N1 – Understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances
Reading
・One is able to read writings with logical complexity and/or abstract writings on a variety of topics, such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend both their structures and contents.
・One is also able to read written materials with profound contents on various topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers comprehensively.
Listening
・One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a broad variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents comprehensively. One is also able to understand the details of the presented materials such as the relationships among the people involved, the logical structures, and the essential points.

 

N2 – Understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree
Reading
・One is able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents.
・One is able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents.
Listening
・One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations as well as in a variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents. One is also able to understand the relationships among the people involved and the essential points of the presented materials.

 

N3 – Understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree.
Reading
・One is able to read and understand written materials with specific contents concerning everyday topics.
・One is also able to grasp summary information such as newspaper headlines.
・In addition, one is also able to read slightly difficult writings encountered in everyday situations and understand the main points of the content if some alternative phrases are available to aid one’s understanding.
Listening
・One is able to listen and comprehend coherent conversations in everyday situations, spoken at near-natural speed, and is generally able to follow their contents as well as grasp the relationships among the people involved.

 

N4 – Understand basic Japanese
Reading
・One is able to read and understand passages on familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji.
Listening
・One is able to listen and comprehend conversations encountered in daily life and generally follow their contents, provided that they are spoken slowly.

 

N5 – Understand some basic Japanese
Reading
・One is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.

Listening
・One is able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations, and is able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.

Ultimately, taking the JLPT is totally up to you. If you don’t need it for work or school you should think about taking it as a way to challenge yourself. You can get active in study groups with other Japanese learners and push yourself to become even better!

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