I’m looking to put together a list of ability assessment tools (proficiency tests) that would give a person a good sense of where they are at, and what their strengths and weaknesses are in cold hard rubber-meets-pavement kind of way. I’ll keep adding to this list if others have suggestions.
The big one. The Japanese government uses it to asses visas, corporations using during hiring, and even socially it’s often used informally to discuss skill level.
Covers grammar, reading, vocab and listening.
- Universally recognized/official/transferable.
- Not at all gentle (pass rates in the 50-60%!).
- Gives some idea of strengths and weaknesses with score breakdown.
- Completely fresh/new questions for every test administration.
- Offered once (or in some places twice) per years.
- You have to decide on a level before you take it. Essentially you assume the result of the assessment and then check your guess.
- Costs money, has to be taken in person requiring travel for most.
- No production component at all. No speaking at all.
- Multiple choice.
A less formal, quick test that adapts as you get questions wrong or right.
Covers listening, vocab, grammar and reading.
- Adaptive. Works fine even if you have a completely wrong idea of your level. Not simply pass/fail.
- Informal, accessible from virtually anywhere and with comparative minimal preparation/registration.
- Separate results in each category, great choice for finding weaknesses.
- Test only takes ~45 minutes.
- Results have basically no impact on jobs/visas/anything besides self-knowledge.
- Hugely limited pool of test questions recycled each administration.
- Only supposed to take it once every 6 months.
- Short duration lends itself to erratic results. Guess one and get it right, or misclick one, and your results can get very off, very fast.
- Multiple choice
Like the JLPT, but less credible and well-known.
All of the vocab, grammar, reading, and listening multiple choice questions will feel familiar to anyone who has taken the JLPT. There aren’t any styles of multiple choice that are unique to J-Test, and some styles that JLPT has the J-Test doesn’t have.
The writing is less about expression of opinions and more of a way to force you to answer kanji and grammar questions without multiple choices available. So, you have to write the reading of kanji in hiragana and you have to write grammatically correct sentences from given batches of words and grammar points.
Covers listening, reading and writing.
- Offered six times a year!
- Goes beyond the JLPT N1 level.
- Questions and answers are made available within 48 hours of the test administration.
- Involves actual production/hand-writing.
- Only offered in east-Asia.
- Less well-known than the JLPT.
- Signup is only in Japanese.
Covers kanji only.
- Official and (at higher levels) recognized.
- Limited scope.
This is a fun/casual test taken online that uses synonym/antonym matching to guess the size of your reading vocabulary. It’s fun, although obviously deeply flawed and simple.
Covers vocab only.
- Take it any time, and as much as you want.
- Very fast, takes like 5-10 minutes.
- Free/available anywhere.
- Very limited question pool.
- Limited scope.
- Actually mainly a toy, and not to be used in any kind of a serious way.
- Multiple choice
Help me fill in some of the blanks above, and post your favorite assessment tools below and I’ll add them!