Overview of Japanese Language Tests

If you are thinking of studying, working, or obtaining a visa in Japan, having a good score in one or more Japanese language tests will increase your chances and opportunities to be accepted into the higher education program, or support your resume for the employment opportunities that you seek.

This article provides information on all of the tests that are relevant for foreign nationals who are planning on coming to or living in Japan. In general, the Japanese language tests are used for the following 3 purposes:

  • Students applying for language schools, college, university and graduate programs in Japan
  • Professionals applying for jobs in Japanese companies or organizations
  • People applying for a visa to live in Japan

Based on your purpose, please read on to learn more about the test(s) that may apply to your specific purpose.

 

Overview of Japanese Language Tests:

Test Name

Purposes

School Programs

Jobs

Visa Eligibility

JLPT

Japanese Language Proficiency Test

EJU

Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students

BJT

Business Japanese Proficiency Test

J-TEST

Test of Practical Japanese

TOPJ

TOP Japanese

NAT-TEST

The Japanese Language Test

Click each test name to get more information on that specific test or find the pages in the side menu to the left.

 

Japanese Test Flowchart: Choosing the appropriate test for you

Why do you want to take a Japanese language test?

* If you are applying for a graduate school program, you will typically need a proof of your Japanese language ability. In most cases you do not need to take EJU, but some programs may require you to take EJU and submit your scores. A list of graduate schools that may require an EJU score can be found here.
* Important: if you are planning to apply for a Japanese university (undergraduate or graduate school), Junior College, College of Technology, or Professional Training College in Japan, check the application requirements of the school or contact us for more information.

 

Which test is best for you?

JLPT J-TEST TOPJ NAT-TEST BJT
Characteristic The standard Japanese language test. Multiple test dates per year (6 times / year) Quick results (released within 2 weeks of test date) Suitable for JLPT preparation. Tests knowledge of Japanese and business. Results are released on the spot.
Levels A-C Level: score 1000 上級A
(じょうきゅう A)
Advanced A
J1+
CEFR* C1 N1 A-C Level:

Score 700

上級B
(じょうきゅう B)
Advanced B

上級C
(じょうきゅう C)
Advanced C
1級 (1きゅう)
Level 1
J1
CEFR B2 N2 A-C Level:

Score 600

中級A
(ちゅうきゅう A)
Intermediate A

中級B
(ちゅうきゅう B)
Intermediate B
2級 (2きゅう)
Level 2
J2

J3

CEFR B1 N3 D-E Level:

Score 500

中級C
(ちゅうきゅう C)
Intermediate C
3級 (3きゅう)
Level 3
J4
CEFR A2 N4 D-E Level:

Score 350

初級A-4
(しょきゅうA-4)
Beginner A-4
4級 (4きゅう)
Level 4
J5
CEFR A1 N5 F Level

Score 250

初級A-5
(しょきゅうA-5)
Beginner A-5
5級 (5きゅう)
Level 5
初級B
(しょきゅうB)
Beginner B
Testing Areas Various cities across the world and in Japan <Japan>

Major cities.

<Outside Japan>

China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil,

Nepal

<Japan>

Hyogo

<Outside Japan>

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand

<Japan>

Tokyo, Osaka

<Outside Japan>

China, Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Cambodia, Philippines, India, Thailand, Bhutan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz

<In Japan>

Major cities.

<Outside Japan>

China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, France, USA, UK, Germany. (Bound to open in Italy)

Testing dates 2 times a year (July and December) 6 times a year (in Japan)

Odd numbered months

6 times a year (in Japan)

Even numbered months

6 times a year (in Japan)

Even numbered months

Differs according to testing centres.

* CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages): CEFR is a framework used to evaluate and compare language ability and fluency across different languages. It measures language ability in 6 levels (C2, C1, B2, B1, A2, A1 from fluent to beginner). C2 level holders are regarded as fluent as a native language speaker, or are referred to as business level.
* Japanese language tests today typically do not have a speaking section, but test-making organizations are considering incorporating a speaking section in future tests.