Basically here are the highlights:
* Starting in 2009, the current JLPT will be held twice a year
* JLPT 1 and 2 (current levels) will be held in July 2009
* JLPT 1-4 (current levels) will be held in December 2009 as it has in the past
* Testing in July will be conducted in Japan as well as in a limited number of locations in China and elsewhere overseas
* Apparently the test will be created with a more communicative approach in mind; one complaint some have with the JLPT is the student ends up studying for the test–but this is true for all tests, I’m sure.
* To reduce the 3 to 2 gap and increase level 1 difficulty, the test levels will be reorganized into a 5-level format
* The new test will have 5 levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5; the “N” may stand for both “Nihongo” and “New.”
N1: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 1 test, but designed to
enable slightly more advanced abilities to be measured as well.
N2: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 2 test.
N3: Positioned at a level bridging existing Level 2 and Level 3 tests.
N4: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 3 test.
N5: Approximately the same passing level as the existing Level 4 test.
* All the tests, N1 through N5, will consist of both a Reading Section (covering Writing-Vocabulary as well as Reading and Grammar) and a Listening Section.
* This round of revisions will not extend to the introduction of tests of oral and compositional ability
leaving it as future challenge.