In the N5 can we switch between the written sections?

Hi, I have a question about the N5.
According to the guide:
The N5 is split into 3 parts.
1 - Vocabulary (20min)
2 - Grammar and Reading (40min) - so actually 2A and 2B.
3 - Listening (30min)

In the test can I freely move between 1, 2A and 2B, or do they stop you from going back after the time allocated at the end of each section, and you can’t work in reverse order either? If not between 1+2A+2B then what about between 2A and 2B (grammar and reading?)
The reason being, I find I finish 1 and 2B faster and struggle with 2A. So if time is pooled then it works out better for me.
I also like to skip questions with a lot of reading and go back to it later. Especially those “rearrange the jumbled up sentence” ones, I tend to save for last since I will get lots of them wrong anyway.


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Within any given section you can jump around (excluding listening obviously). But you can’t go from section to section freely. That would kind of defeat the purpose of time limits for the sections.


I understand we cannot switch between the written sections and listening, listening is likely be in a different room entirely or they will collect the previous materials first.
However for the written parts for N5, can one move between grammar and reading?
Grammar and reading seems to be lumped together and there is only one cover sheet for those 2 sections, and the cover sheet of the 2018 practice exam says 50min. There are also only 3 (not 4) “shade the oval” answer sheets provided, so maybe one can go between Grammar and Reading freely (I hope)?

It’s one section, so yes you can answer in any order you want.


So no switching back and forth from Vocab, but Grammar and Reading is counted as one section with one timer.

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Good to know is that these things change between the different N5, N4, N3, N2, N1 tests. So make sure you check the JLPT homepage for details on how the different sections are tested. You can read all about it there. The time limits, which parts (grammar, reading, vocab) are part of the same test section, so to speak.

As for listening, expect it to be in the same room as all the other sections. They’ll just use a simple stereo and push play. The listening section is just one long audio you’ll listen to and put down answers during on the answer sheet. Edit (meaning some time to think is part of the audio track and there will be no relistenings to questions - staying focused is the big ordeal here!)


Indeed staying focused during the listening phase is a bit hard. IMO it should be the first section since having it at the end of the test I am pretty tired by then and have difficulty trying not to zone out.

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I sat N5 last year and my teacher actually advised me to immediately go to the reading first, and then do the grammar afterwards so that’s what I did in the exam. I know people might say the paper is ordered the way it is for a reason, but it’s hard to speed through the reading section under time pressure!

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