The matter of JLPT content is so often asked and people are so often given inadequate or wrong answers, I feel compelled to try and clear this up.
Lots of people ask me, why are there 679 words in the vocab list I downloaded, but the Requirement says 800; is there an official list of grammar points to study for; what kanji do I need to know - why does SomeJLPTSite.com have less kanji than other ones; am I missing anything?
First of all, I'd like to recommend buying the Past Exam books, and I encourage you to buy them from Clay's shop (right here). They are reliable, trustworthy, every step of the process is communicated and they are fast. I should know, I ordered books from here myself So there's the plug - and I'm in Australia, so they've done well.
The answers to the excellent questions are:
1) There are currently 728 words in the Level 4 vocab. 1409 for Level 3, 5035 for Level 2 and 8009 for Level 1. Any other list without this exact number of words, is wrong/out of date.
The only place I know where to get the full and proper lists (for 3 & 4 only), and the only one I believe is checked for accuracy is at http://www.jlptstudy.com - my own page. This issue is of some concern to me because a lot of people seem to be studying incomplete lists without knowing it.
2) Yes there is a list of grammatical points to study. But no one has ever typed them up. I'm currently doing it for Level 3 and 4 but in the meantime, the best way to study for grammar is by getting past exams. You really should be getting past exams for the CD's to listen to anyway. I reckon listening is the hardest part for Level's 3 & 4, if you're not living in Japan, and the statistics also indicate this.
3) You need to know 103 kanji for level 4, 284 for Level 3, 1023 for level 3 and 1926 for Level 1. Any list without this exact number of Kanji is wrong/out of date.
4) Yes, there is something else. There is also an 'Expression List' in addition to Vocab and Kanji. Didn't know about this? ...well neither did I, until recently.
How do I know all of this? It's all in the Test Content Specification Book (Revised Edition). This book is not for students and is written in Japanese, so it's not recommended, but any site that you download lists from should (but probably doesn't) state which edition of the Test Content Spec it is from. Any lists you download should be derived from the 'Revised' edition which was updated in 2002.
On top of all that, the Test Content Spec states that up to 20% of each section of the exam may not be in any of the lists!
I hope that JapanesePage.com does well and doesn't mind this post with links to an alternate site: http://www.jlpstudy.com.
I really like the general language information on this site - it's essential to have this sort of stuff even if you're studying for JLPT which can just get stale if you don't mix it up.
I still use the phrase I got from here when I meet Japanese people: 「私は 天然ボケなので あまり きたいしないでね」. It always goes down really well
The test - experiences, questions or comments
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