Hosted by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is one of the most standard and widely used criteria for measuring Japanese language ability. The test has 5 levels, N5 being the most basic and N1 being the highest level of achievement.
Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), the organization hosting JLPT, is currently developing a “new Japanese Language Proficiency Test” in collaboration with the Japanese government. The new test is said to be more focused on Japanese used in everyday circumstances. It aims to assess practical language ability and fluency with a focus on communication than on theory. The new-JLPT was developed and is being slowly implemented out of a growing need for more workers in Japan due to severe labour shortages caused by Japan’s decreasing population. At the current, this test has only begun to be implemented in specified areas of Asia, as a means of piloting it, so for most other regions of the world, including the West, we will still be using the standard JLPT for the time being.
English: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
Japanese: 日本語能力試験 (にほんごのうりょくしけん Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken)
The most common reference for Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers.
For those wishing to study, work, or stay in Japan, passing a certain level on JLPT may be one of the application requirements or standards of Japanese language ability. Examples include:
Open to anyone of age, nationality, purpose of taking the test. There are no prior requirements.
Test are held 2 times a year (July and December).
In some areas outside of Japan, tests may only be held once a year (July or December). For more information, see the JLPT website.
The test can be taken at test centres in all 47 prefectures of Japan.
Testing areas outside Japan: The test can be taken at a number of overseas centers in 85 countries. A list of test centres and testing dates can be found here.
Language Knowledge (Grammar, Vocabulary), Reading, Listening
Language Knowledge (Grammar): tests your knowledge on the construction of sentences. Includes questions such as those that require you to fill in the blanks (short sentences / long passages) and to put phrases in the correct order.
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary): tests your knowledge on Japanese vocabulary and expressions. Includes questions such as those that require you to identify synonyms and to answer how to read kanji (Chinese characters).
Reading: tests your ability to understand Japanese passages. Includes questions that requires you to identify the correct summary for the passage, to identify the meaning of certain phrases, and to make decisions based on information and data.
Listening: tests your ability to understand spoken Japanese. Includes questions that asks for the key points that were spoken.
*test time differs according to section and level. For more information about the test format, look here.
5 levels: N5 (lowest) to N1 (highest)
Results: Pass / Fail system (Maximum score: 180 / Pass mark: 80-100, according to level).
Each section will have an individual maximum score and pass mark (20-25%). To pass the test, you will need to reach the pass mark for every section and have an overall pass mark.
For more information, look here.