What is JLPT (日本語能力試験)?

It describes the outline of JLPT (日本語能力試験).



The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) under joint organization of the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (previously Association of International Education, Japan) started in 1984 as a test to measure and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of those whose native language is not Japanese.

In the first year the JLPT was conducted in 15 countries, and approximately 7,000 examinees took the test.

Since then, the JLPT has become the largest Japanese-language test in the world, with approximately 610,000 examinees in 62 countries and areas worldwide in 2011.


Objectives of JLPT

The JLPT will be held worldwide to evaluate and certify proficiency in Japanese of non-native speakers.


Advantages of JLPT

JLPT certificates offer various advantages, ranging from recognition as academic credit and graduation certification at schools to preferential treatment at companies and acknowledgement of qualification in society.


Advantages in Japan

  1. Earn points for preferential treatment for immigration to Japan
  2. One of requirements to take Japan’s national exams for medical practitioners
  3. One of requirements to take Japan’s prefectural exams for assistant nurses
  4. A test subject is waved on accreditation exam for completion of junior high school level education in Japan
  5. One of requirements for the nurse/caregiver candidates under the EPA


Summary of linguistic competence required

The JLPT has five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5. The easiest level is N5 and the most difficult level is N1.

N4 and N5 measure the level of understanding of basic Japanese mainly learned in class.

N1 and N2 measure the level of understanding of Japanese used in a broad range of scenes in actual everyday life.

N3 is a bridging level between N1/N2 and N4/N5.


Test sections and test times

Language Knowledge(Vocabulary/Grammar)・Reading 〈110min〉

Language Knowledge(Vocabulary/Grammar)・Reading 〈105min〉

Language Knowledge(Vocabulary)〈30min〉
Language Knowledge(Grammar)・Reading 〈70min〉

Language Knowledge(Vocabulary) 〈30min〉
Language Knowledge(Grammar)・Reading 〈60min〉

Language Knowledge(Vocabulary) 〈25min〉
Language Knowledge(Grammar)・Reading 〈50min〉


Scoring sections and range of scores for each level

N1, N2 and N3
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) : 0~60
Reading : 0~60
Listening : 0~60
Total score : 0~180

N4 and N5
Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar) ・Reading : 0~120
Listening : 0~60
Total score : 0~180


Determination of pass/fail

In order to pass, (1) total score needs to be at or above the point required for passing (overall pass mark) and (2) score in each scoring section needs to be at or above the minimum point required for passing (sectional pass mark).

If there is even one scoring section where the score is below the sectional pass mark, examinees are determined to have failed, no matter how high the total score he/she might have.

Overall pass marks and sectional pass marks for each level are shown in the table below.



Notification of test results

All examinees in each level will receive a Score Report.

Successful examinees will receive a Certificate of Proficiency.


JLPT dates and test site cities

The JLPT is going to be administered twice yearly, in July and December.

*Outside Japan, the test may be held only in July or December in some cities.

Click here for the test schedule in your city.

  • Japan: 47 prefectures
  • Overseas: 217 cities in 69 countries/areas

Overseas Test Site Cities


Source : http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/index.html