How Similar Is The Real JLPT To The Practice Books?

I would really love to take the JLPT tests. I’m almost 100% sure I could pass N5 and I’m pretty good with N4 as well besides listening. That being said… I can’t :persevere: I live in North Carolina, which doesn’t have any testing sites. After looking, I’m pretty sure the closest one is in Georgia. Also, I’m only 16 so I have no way of getting there.
So, as much as I’d love to take these tests, it’s impossible for me. Even though I can’t actually take the tests, I still want to take practice ones and anything I can find to make sure I’m improving in Japanese. I found some JLPT practice books, and I was wondering how similar they are to the actual test? For example, is the actual one harder, easier, different in general, etc.
Honestly this is just curiosity. I’ll buy them even if they’re not the same, but I’m just kinda curious, and I know plenty of people on here have taken it.

If no real need to take those you can practice with the next best thing.


Oh wow! Thank you so much! :smile:

Well the J-CAT is really interesting, and it will estimate your JLPT level, but it’s quite different in terms of how it’s structured.

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There’s a free practice test online from the official JLPT organization [here]. It’s very similar to the real test, but since the test is different every time, it may be a little easier or harder than the real test on any particular year.


I don’t know about higher levels since I obly took the N5 so far but the JLPT is quite formulaic. I took 3 mock tests and they were all very similar to the real experience.
I got higher marks on the real test though because there was plenty of time and I could double check all my answers. At home I didn‘t bother to do that so I made some unnecessary mistakes because I did not focus enough.

I‘m talking about the tests that I purchased though. The free example test is much shorter. It also felt a bit easier.

The JLPT and J-CAT experience will be different though: for the N5 I was able to prepare and everything felt quite expected and under control (I‘m sure this will change later on…). The J-CAT is designed to test your limits and will adapt to your answers and give you harder ones. So you might end up feeling like you know nothing. I think it is good knowing that before you take it to avoid frustration.

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Yeah, it makes sense, since N5 can cover like 30% of all the possible knowledge every time they hold a test. A lot of content gets repeated, and you can be quite confident you covered enough to pass.

At N1, there’s basically the same number of questions for like 20x the amount of content, so there is some luck involved.

There are two sample tests. One is the interactive one on the jlpt site, which I think is short like you said. The other is the downloadable PDFs and MP3s, which are the same size as the full test. It’s identical to the official practice books.

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