So the question is, is it worth it to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test?

As it turns out, the nearest location where it is offered is about 6 and a half hours away, and I figured that simply wasn’t worth it in either time or money.  If I got a job benefit out of it, then, sure, but I’m really learning Japanese just for the fun of it.  (Don’t laugh.  It really is fun.)

Then my wife said that we could make a fun date weekend out of it, spend a couple of nights in a hotel, see the sights and so on.

The only advantage to me of taking the test would be to give me a solid sense of where I’m at in my language studies.

The advantages of having a nice date weekend with my wife in an interesting location speak for themselves.

So now I’m wondering if I should do it…

For anyone who doesn’t know:  The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験 Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken), or JLPT, is a standardized criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers, covering language knowledge, reading ability, and listening ability. The test is held twice a year in Japan and selected countries (on the first Sunday of July and December), and once a year in other regions (on the first Sunday of December).  (I just lifted that from Wikipedia, in case you’re wondering.)

The lowest level is the N5. Which covers:

The ability to understand some basic Japanese.

  • ・One is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
  • ・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.

(I lifted that from the official JLPT website.)

There is also a apparently grammar component, such as multiple choice select-the-right-particle questions.  To make it more interesting, as far as I can tell, there don’t seem to be official lists of the vocabulary, Kanji and grammar that are required, but there are plenty of websites out there that make reasonable guesses.

So, has anybody taken the JLPT or does anyone plan to take the JLPT?

Obviously, I don’t need it, but, hey, you never know, I suppose.  There might be some future date when being able to document Japanese proficiency might be helpful.



4 thoughts on “JLPT

  1. At the beginning of December 2016 I did the JLPT N4. At that time I was studying chapter 43 of MinnaNoNihongo. The test wasn’t too easy nor too hard. I will get my result sometime in February.
    Each section (read comprehension, vocabulary, listening comprehension, etc.) of the test has answers with 4 potential choices, so even answering randomly would give you about 25%…
    I’m planning to try N3 in July (June?) and N2 in December this year, but it will all depend on my score at each test. I may retry one test if my score is too low. I have no direct use of these test results apart from giving me an idea of how much I have learned so far. Although if I eventually decide to study (university) in Japan then the minimal requirement is N2.


  2. Thanks for the info! Based on what you’ve said, if I do take the test, I think I’ll start with the N4. I have read that a lot of people skip the N5 anyway. I had been wondering if I was more or less past the N5 level, and this gives me a guide.


      • Thanks for the idea. And, as it turns out, I actually have even more time than that. Now that I’ve carefully looked at the website, they aren’t offering the July test, so the next one won’t be until December.


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