Assessment Tools

#1

Hey everyone!

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.


日本語能力試験/Japanese Language proficiency Test (JLPT)

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Japanese Computerized Adaptive Test (J-CAT)

A less formal, quick test that adapts as you get questions wrong or right.

Covers listening, vocab, grammar and reading.

Pros:

  • 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.
  • Free.

Cons:

  • 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

J-Test

Like the JLPT, but less credible and well-known.

@Leebo’s perspective:

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Only offered in east-Asia.
  • Less well-known than the JLPT.
  • Signup is only in Japanese.

Kanji Kentei

Covers kanji only.

Pros:

  • Official and (at higher levels) recognized.

Cons:

  • Limited scope.

A Real Me Vocab Test

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.

Pros:

  • Take it any time, and as much as you want.
  • Very fast, takes like 5-10 minutes.
  • Free/available anywhere.

Cons:

  • 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!

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The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!
#2

Love this, super helpful

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#3

Nice list. Maybe @Leebo could weigh in on J-test and Kentei?

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#4

I’ll try to think of more later, but a pro for J-Test is that with only two levels (essentially beginner and non-beginner) it’s easier to choose a level to take, and then your performance determines which certificate you get.

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#5

Thanks for starting a list like this — this is really handy!

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#6

Here’s a general description for J-Test.

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.

More pros
It offers certification for levels equivalent to being higher than JLPT’s N1.
You are allowed to keep the question booklet when you leave.
The correct answers are published on the official website within 48 hours of the test.

Cons
Most people have never heard of it.
The website for signing up is completely in Japanese.

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#7

Awesome, added your perspective and updated the pro/cons on the J-Test entry. Thanks!

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#8

I will say, though, that the J-Test is only less known among people studying Japanese and isn’t considered less credible generally. The way it is most often used is that companies and schools looking to have applicants tested will send them to do the J-Test. So people like me signing up for “no reason” are rare. It’s just not their business model.

But the list of schools and companies who use it is long and respectable.

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#9

I don’t know how I didn’t know about this before, but since I just took the Kanken, they mailed me a thing about how you can also do a CBT version of the Kanken. You can go year-round, by appointment, and you enter everything with a keyboard and writing tablet.

I will probably never do the big room-full-o-people version again.

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#10

Is CBT one of those Japanese abbreviations of English that don’t exist in English?

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#11

No?

Computer-Based Testing

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#12

Ah, I guess it is a thing in English too. When I googled it that result never came up though. I was able to guess most of it though.

I just got so used to random abbreviations of English that aren’t really used in (American?) English, and having to basically learn them as their own vocab words in Japanese. Like “OL”, “NG”, “CM”, or “SNS”

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#13

But there is CBT for ToEFL.

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closed #14

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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