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What are the Japanese Language Tests? JLPT, EJU & more

So, you’ve decided to take on the monumental challenge of learning Japanese? Well, kudos to you! But before you dive headfirst into kanji characters and verb conjugations, you might want to familiarize yourself with the various Japanese language tests out there. After all, you need to show off your skills somehow, right?



  1. The Big Players in the Japanese Language Test Arena

When it comes to proving your prowess in Japanese, several tests stand out. Here’s a rundown of the major ones that will have you shouting “Ganbatte!” (Good luck!) in no time.


  1.  1. JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test)

The JLPT is the granddaddy of all Japanese language tests. Held twice a year, it’s the most widely recognized test and is divided into five levels (N5 to N1), with N1 being the toughest. 

Why take it?

If you want to work in Japan, study at a Japanese university, or just impress your otaku friends, the JLPT is your go-to. Plus, who wouldn’t want a certificate that says you’ve conquered one of the world’s most complex languages?

Fun fact: JLPT N1 is so challenging that even some native Japanese speakers struggle with it. Feeling brave?


  1. 2. J-Test (Test of Practical Japanese)

The J-Test is like the JLPT’s cooler, more flexible cousin. It’s offered six times a year and has multiple levels, from beginner to advanced.

Why take it?

This test is all about practical language skills. If you’re looking for a test that assesses your ability to use Japanese in real-life situations, the J-Test might be your match.

Fun fact: Unlike the JLPT, the J-Test includes listening, reading, and a bit of speaking and writing. It’s like a Japanese language boot camp!


  1. 3. BJT (Business Japanese Proficiency Test)

Geared towards professionals, the BJT focuses on business Japanese. If you dream of climbing the corporate ladder in Tokyo, this is the test for you.

Why take it?

The BJT assesses your ability to communicate in a business environment, including understanding emails, reports, and even those tricky keigo (polite language) phrases.

Fun fact: The BJT is not divided into levels. Instead, you get a score that places you in one of six proficiency categories. Think of it as your Japanese business report card.


More Niche but No Less Notable


There are other specialized tests that might pique your interest, depending on your goals.


  1. 4. NAT-TEST  

Similar to the JLPT, the NAT-TEST measures general Japanese language ability and is divided into five levels.

Why take it?

It’s held more frequently than the JLPT, so if you’re impatient to prove your skills, this might be your ticket.

Fun fact: The NAT-TEST has a reputation for being a bit tougher than the JLPT at comparable levels. Ready for a challenge?


  1. 5. TOPJ (Test of Practical Japanese)

Another test focusing on practical Japanese, with an emphasis on how well you can use the language in everyday situations.

Why take it?

It’s great for those who want to live and work in Japan, as it evaluates your practical communication skills.

Fun fact: The TOPJ includes a writing section, so sharpen those pencils and your kanji skills!


Acing the Test: Tips and Tricks



      • Start early: Whether you’re aiming for JLPT N5 or N1, give yourself plenty of time to study.
      • Practice, Practice, Practice: Use practice tests to get a feel for the format and types of questions you’ll encounter.
      • Immerse Yourself: Watch Japanese shows, read manga, and try to speak with native speakers. The more you use the language, the better you’ll get.
      • Stay Motivated: Remember why you started this journey. Whether it’s for a job, travel, or sheer love of the language, keep your end goal in sight.

  1. Final thoughts

Choosing the right Japanese language test depends on your personal goals, whether you want to conquer the corporate world with the BJT, or prove your all-around skills with the JLPT. No matter which path you take, each test is a stepping stone on your way to becoming a true Nihongo Master. So grab your textbooks, put on your headband, and get ready to master the art of Japanese!


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