JLPT

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ABOUT THE JLPT

QUESTION - What is the JLPT?

ANSWER - the Japanese Language Proficiency Test is a yearly (in December) test of Japanese ability for non-native students of Japanese. The test can be taken in major cities in Japan and throughout the world. It focuses on reading ability, vocabulary, listening, kanji, and grammar. The answers are all multiple choice and you must use a pencil. Most Japanese universities require JLPT certification. Also taking the test may improve your chances for finding a nice job relating to Japan or Japanese.

Cost: Year 2006 test in United States was $40 for levels 4 and 3 and $50 for levels 2 and 1.

Where to apply: In Japan, any major bookstore should have a packet for sale, which is only a few dollars. Elsewhere in the world

When: In Japan the first Sunday every December. It may be different depending on your location. The applications are accepted from August to September.

When are the results given: in early February. And yes, it is a long 2-3 months to wait! You will probably forget about it by the time it comes. If you pass, you will receive a nice certificate saying so.

Where can I buy resources: We now offer at our shop study guides and actual tests with CDs of past tests. Please visit: The Japan Shop to see what we have. And IF (big 'if' :) ) you don't find what you need the following are also great places to get resources: Japan Centre Bookshop has a number of Japanese resources for sale Another resource is the Japan Shoten. They have a number of JLPT books to help you.

Joe Park has some insights and great info on the JLPT here:

Now about the test itself:

There are 4 levels or 級 kyuu of the test. The easiest is level 4 [4級 yon kyuu] and the hardest is level 1 [1級 ikkyuu]. You must decide when applying which level you want to take. The following information is from the test guide itself and is probably correct :)

4級 yon kyuu - Level 4

About: The easiest. For beginners who can make easy conversations and understand simple written Japanese.

  1. of Kanji: 100
  1. of words needed to know: 800
  1. of hours needed to study:150
PARTS OF THE TEST TIME ALLOTTED SCORE
文字 moji / 語彙 goi
characters (hiragana, katakana, kanji) & vocabulary
25 minutes 100 points
聴解 chou kai
listening comprehension
25 minutes 100 points
読解 dokkai / 文法 bun pou
reading comprehension & grammar
50 minutes 200 points
total 100 minutes total 400 points total

You need 60% of the 400 points to pass


3級 san kyuu - Level 3

About: The next level. For upper beginners who understand the basics of grammar, can make everyday simple conversations and can read easy written Japanese.

  1. of Kanji: 300
  2. of words needed to know: 1500
  3. of hours needed to study:300
PARTS OF THE TEST TIME ALLOTTED SCORE
文字 moji / 語彙 goi
characters (hiragana, katakana, kanji) & vocabulary
35 minutes 100 points
聴解 chou kai
listening comprehension
35 minutes 100 points
読解 dokkai / 文法 bun pou
reading comprehension & grammar
70 minutes 200 points
total  140 minutes total 400 points total

You need 60% of the 400 points to pass

---

2級 ni kyuu - Level 2

About: Fairly difficult. For intermediates who understand advanced grammar & kanji, can participate in a range of daily conversations and can read common Japanese texts fairly well.

  1. of Kanji: 1000 [tripled from 3級!]
  2. of words needed to know: 6000 [tripled from 3級!]
  3. of hours needed to study:600
PARTS OF THE TEST TIME ALLOTTED SCORE
文字 moji / 語彙 goi
characters (hiragana, katakana, kanji) & vocabulary
35 minutes 100 points
聴解 chou kai
listening comprehension
40 minutes 100 points
読解 dokkai / 文法 bun pou
reading comprehension & grammar
70 minutes 200 points
total  145 minutes total 400 points total

You need 60% of the 400 points to pass

---

1級 ikkyuu - Level 1

About: 超 difficult. Advanced grammar and all kanji in use. Ability to use Japanese in business or university settings. Being the most prestigious of the 4, it is also the most difficult. You need 70% to pass this time!

  1. of Kanji: 2000 [doubled from 2級!]
  2. of words needed to know: 10,000
  3. of hours needed to study:900
PARTS OF THE TEST TIME ALLOTTED SCORE
文字 moji / 語彙 goi
characters (hiragana, katakana, kanji) & vocabulary
45 minutes 100 points
聴解 chou kai
listening comprehension
45 minutes 100 points
読解 dokkai / 文法 bun pou
reading comprehension & grammar
90 minutes 200 points
total  180 minutes total 400 points total

AND NOW FOR...

Clay's testimony:

I have taken both 3級 and 2級. Both times I thought I had failed and both times I miraculously passed, and I do mean miraculously!! Please check out our TheJapanShop.com for prep books for the JLPT - The grammar books have practice tests as well as specific grammar points that often appear on the tests.

About the psychological side of the tests... They're scary! The time limits are short and the answers are long. But it can be fun. Really! It is a great challenge, and if you love Japanese, you may actually enjoy the challenge. I had studied well [well, sort of...] and was ready to test my abilities. So I actually enjoyed taking the tests [except when I had a splitting headache during the 2級 listening comprehension part!] Always look on the bright side of life - Hey, even if you fail that means you have a whole year to hone your skills before the next attempt (the test is only once a year). [see how I am staying positive here - I could have just as easily said, "If you fail you will just have to wait a full year in shame and a deprived sense of self confidence" - But I didn't say that! Always look on the bright side of life.]

4級 yon kyuu

I cannot speak from experience about 4級 but I have heard that people who have only studied Japanese even a few months can pass it. Most JETs [foreigners hired to assist Japanese English teachers in schools in Japan] come to Japan in July. It is very possible to start studying in July and pass the test in December. It will take work, but it can be done. The first 100 kanji can be learned relatively easily + hiragana + very basic grammar.

3級 san kyuu

I took this test after about 2 years of studying Japanese. I loved to study kanji so the 300 kanji needed for the test was no problem. What was a problem was the grammar. If you are studying in a school setting, perhaps the grammar will not be such a problem, but I only studied what I liked, and that was not grammar! I didn't find the listening part too difficult, but perhaps if you live in an area devoid of Japanese speakers, it may be difficult. Choose what is the hardest for you and study it until you know it well or hate it, whichever comes first. BTW a great way to answer someone asking you what level you are going for, is "san kyuu --- very much!"

2級 ni kyuu

Although the differences between 4級 and 3級 are not too pronounced, the jump from 3級 to 2級 is. The kanji jumps from 300 to 1000! The grammar is infinitely more complex, and there are masses of reading material. I found the reading to be the most challenging. <Clay's confession: I didn't study for the reading... End confession> As a result I failed that part (but I passed because overall my score was ok) Practice reading and understanding. However my biggest advice is learn the 1000 kanji well and study 2級 grammar. I found the reading to be more difficult, but it doesn't count as much overall as the kanji and grammar. Again, know the kanji and grammar! The kanji on www.thejapanesepage.com cover all 2級 kanji. I would suggest finding a grammar book specially for 2級 - again try TheJapanShop

1級 ikkyuu

This is the hardest and most prestigious test. I hope to have 1級 kanji up soon.  :)

ADVICE FROM Omprakash-san


I have something to say people who take JLPT


4Kyuu- I took this in the year 1998 after 2 months of study and could pass with 84%. A little agressiveness and a proper teaching guideline will make this level very much possible.

3kyuu- I took this in the year 1999 and could pass comfortably with 80%. There is not much difference between 4 kyuu and 3 kyuu. Little more interest and dedication this level can well be achieved. But this level does not suffice carrying out a business in Japan.

2Kyuu- I took this in the year 2001 and could secure 70%. During this time I was staying in Japan. This helped me a lot. If somebody is staying in Japan and preparing for this level, my sincere advice is to watch Television regularly for 2-3 hrs everyday. This will help tremendously. One should have tremedous interest in kanji. For this adequate FLASH MEMORY is required. One should enjoy Kanji in this level. Reading comprehension is the toughest part in this level.But if one scores 100% in Grammar and Kanji, then it can balance the overall score.

1Kyuu- I am so desparate to clear-up this level, though I know the level of difficulty for this level. To pass this proffessional attitude is highly required, I believe. One should prepare a proper strategic plan before appearing the test. One should master all Kanji listed for 1kyuu.

All my best wishes for all those who appears JLPT tests.

Minna Gambatte Kudaasai ne.

Yoroshiku.

If you have taken the JLPT and would like to tell others about it, why not send me your testimony? Click here

ganbatte minasan

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