Can there be more than one correct answer to a JLPT question?

As in, when presented with the 4 options, do they occasionally have 2 options that are both accepted as correct on the test? Or is there always only one correct answer?


I believe there is only one correct answer, as they ask you to choose the best answer, but since the grading process is opaque and no answer sheets are published, there is no way to know.


I’ve took N5 and N4 so far and as far as I can recall there was only 1 possible answer to each question. Usually some vocab or grammar nuance will differentiate between the ‘correct’ one and the others.


My japanese teacher last week told me that it happens sometimes, when questions might be ambiguous, that multiple answers can be considered as correct at JLPT…

I dont know how he knows that, but I am rather convinced that he knows his stuff ! :slight_smile:


Yeah I feel like this should be the case. i.e there may be a 100% correct answer but there are so many grammar points with near identical meanings that perhaps there are 95% correct answers that get you a lesser grade?

From my understanding the scoring isn’t just a correct/total. There’s some wired algorithm based on how you answer.
So like, if you get a question wrong, but get similar questions right, it’s less of a ding. You got that question wrong, but others show you have a basic understand of whatever concept. Maybe if you get one wrong but kinda close, and based on others questions, it’s less wrong?


From the discussion I had with my teacher, it is much simpler. For some questions. they acknowledge (probably a posteriori) that it was ambiguous, and for instance, for a specific question, answers 1 and 3 would be considered totally correct, and the others, wrong. Even if initially, just 1 was supposed to be correct.

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Oh, like if a lot of people answer the same “incorrect” way, they may relook at it for ambiguity. That’s an interesting thought.

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They spend all year preparing the tests. If many people answer incorrectly, it’s likely they’d just interpret that as the question was too hard. I’ve never seen a JLPT sample or practice question imply that there was more than one correct answer.

If something seems correct but you can’t tell why it’s incorrect, there is almost always some very minor problem with it that actually makes it basically completely wrong. Perhaps at the N5 or N4 level these are less likely to be difficult to tell, but at the higher levels grammar points and vocab often have very specific requirements even if they mean the same thing as other grammar points and vocab. It’s likely that in questions where people think two answers seem correct, that they are just unaware of one of the very specific requirements that makes one of those answers incorrect.

That being said, be wary of practice websites that are just slapped together by anonymous folks. I have seen sample questions on those sites where the correct answer was “wrong.” Though usually these were things like kanji readings, where I could be confident that the site creator simply indicated the wrong choice as the correct answer.

And people who aren’t trained in test design may not be as mindful of these things as the real JLPT creators.


There’s usually only one correct answer, but I do remember the grammar star questions sometimes seem ambiguous.

Yes, but then when I talk them over in class (practice test ones) it always becomes clear why I was wrong…


Noooo. :weary: I guess it is usually more about formal speech.

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I know when we make tests at work, we THINK we have made it so that there is only one best answer. There might be others that are technically not wrong but don’t make as much sense in context, so those are considered not THE answer and marked wrong.

BUT, it does sometimes happen that enough people get a question wrong it makes us re-evaluate it, and it turns out the question could reasonably have been interpreted another way and the incorrect answer would have been the best one in that case. When that happens, we re-grade them to accept that answer too.

But if a lot of people miss the question because it was too hard, too bad. That’s a fix for next time.

Writing good un-ambiguous questions is harder than it sounds. No matter how much vetting you do, some bad ones get by, and we accomodate that. But there are no intentional ones that have alternate correct answers from the get-go.

(Not affiliated with JLPT, but I imagine it’s probably similar)


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