JLPT listening is easy?

Most of the Japanese I’m exposed to (via online media) is conversational native Japanese spoken at natural speed so compared to that, JLPT stuff feels easier. It’s like when you’re used to hearing someone at 1.25x speed and then you try dropping it down to normal speed, they suddenly seem like they’re talking so slowly.


Oh I get it now. That’s not clear at all from your original post.

Listening is by far my worst. Although I’m pretty bad all around.
Reading you can take you’re time with, within reason, and reread if needed. But listening, you either get it or you don’t.

Typical listening for me goes something like:
“Something something car something go store something something noon”
“What did Mary buy at the store?”
**** if I know. :man_shrugging:


That’s so my typical experience :sparkling_heart:


I don’t think listening is that easy in real life, and while it’s also not always easy in listening exams, it’s not as hard compared to the other sections as long as it’s loud. Same with anime and videos in Japanese (mostly), if you can listen at a loud volume or with earphones with no background noise, it’s much easier than irl where people talk fast and don’t speak clearly, and there’s some kind of political campaign truck and a murder of crows in the background because Japan.

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Yeah but you don’t get headphones/earphones for the listening part of JLPT. And sometimes you can hear the audio for another test from the classroom next door, which makes it confusing.


I listened to a lot of podcasts


I was inspired by Kumi senpai, so I listened to podcast too :caught_durtling:


I can see how that would be a problem but thankfully the speakers in the room where I took the test were loud as hell, such that I suspect the people sitting directly next to them may be experiencing some permanent hearing loss at this point.


Headphones are standard for most other language tests, such as TOEFL or IELTS. Don’t know why JLPT organisers are such cheapskates.


I don’t have any experience with the real JLPT, but I took the mock N2 and N1, and my impression from those is just that, like – the most difficult conversation you’ve had day-to-day is “easier” formally than the most difficult text you might read. In the sense that at those levels, vocabulary and grammar-wise, the audio is much easier than the text because on the whole, people don’t talk like N1 texts. So to some extent at least, as long as you can parse what you’re hearing, the understanding itself is less of a problem than it would be at a lower level.

There were some “a professor is giving a lecture, what would be a good topic of the lecture” questions if I remember right, and I think I did worst at those, but otherwise there were plenty of the same kinds of “two people are talking” questions that were on the N2, just the performances were exaggerated a bit more. And while the actors did their best to sound natural, I think the performed, artificial structure of a multiple choice question is the other thing that made it easier.

In real life or real media, people don’t cycle through the possible things they might mean in order and reject or accept them in turn. So I felt like I got used to the JLPT speakers doing that and what to listen for, since they always have to mention each multiple choice, even if it’s just to reject it. At the N1 level, they appeared to have excerpted the text pieces from real sources. If they’d done the same for the audio, I think it would have been a lot harder.

(I haven’t had any spoken conversations in Japanese, which is why I expected to do worst in listening, but I have watched lots of media and videos with Japanese subtitles or no subtitles at all, and I’ve done some N3 new kanzen master listening drills before this - so it’s not to say I’ve had no practice at all)

Going to try not to underestimate the real thing, but it wasn’t the black hole I was expecting in the practice tests.


Almost a year ago I created a POLL in the Listening Practice thread to figure out what peeople use for listening practice. (I can’t really vote in your poll because you don’t have an other option, or enough specific options)

Currently: this is how the popularity is between mediums:

In order of popularity, people on WK, listen to

  1. Anime, 2. Youtube, 3. Podcasts, 4. Japanese music, and 5. Japanese movies.

They’re all great choices for sure.

I think for listening comprehension quantity is more important than quality. :eyes:

Just find something that you genuinely enjoy listen to. There is no need to find the “best” training materials there is. With time, you can try out more difficult ones, but just about anything is helpful to get you started on listening practice and getting better at it. :headphones:

Having fun is an important aspect of learning in my opinion! ^>^


That didn’t happen to me when I took the test. No issues hearing (from a technical POV) that I can remember.

I think the bigger issue for JLPT is fatigue. The listening section comes last in the day. At that point, you’re at peak fatigue. It might not be the most taxing test section, but it’s easy to loose concentration for a second. And since you only get 1 shot at listening to each question, it’s easy to get stuff wrong for that reason. ^^;


I took N1 last Sunday and listening felt really easy compared to the vocab and reading section (grammar didn’t feel very difficult either).
From my personal experience, I can think of two reasons:

  1. I lived one year in Japan and it was way harder to try to understand what was going on around me at that time (I went to a music training camp with Japanese students from uni and didn’t understand what was going on for the whole week haha) → completely personal reason, I had a lot of listening training
  2. since they play the audio for us, even if we don’t know the answer we just skip to the next question and it feels less overwhelming than the first part where we have to decide ourselves when to give up

But yeah in the end it depends on personal experience with Japanese listening and how well we do on listening exams in general (the girl sitting next to me fell asleep!!!)

Also I agree with everyone, they should really let us use headphones…


I’ve lived in Japan for three years now, and took N2 two years ago. At that time, I felt absolutely terrible about the listening portion of the test, but when I got my results it ended up being half decent at a 33.

Last Sunday I took N1, and I was stressed like no other about it. That didn’t end when I started and the vocabulary section was incredibly harder than I was expecting (from everyone I’ve talked to, that seemed to be the general consensus this year). That being said, the listening did feel pretty easy outside of a couple questions that I missed a word or two of.
The area I live in has a notoriously hard to understand accent that is often jokingly simplified to “speaking with your mouth closed” due to how hard it is to understand what in the hell people are saying, even to Japanese people from outside the area. Going from 3 years of that to clearly annunciated scripted conversations felt like an absolute cakewalk.

So living in Japan is definitely a huge plus for anyone actually putting effort into studying. That being said, I agree that headphones should be the standard as the only thing ever repeated is a single section where the question is given once at the beginning and once at the end. One stray sneeze or coughing fit can ruin a question.

I also don’t see why it can’t be taken with a computer at a testing center with automatic and instantaneous results, but that’s a separate issue…


That’s because the results are not instantaneous :slight_smile: Instead, the results are scaled based on the results of all test takers in that iteration, in order to mitigate small changes in difficulty from iteration to iteration. Therefore the full cohort is needed before grading can happen…
You can read more about it on this website, especially in the PDF linked in point 3.


Shoot, right. I always forget this.

Not that I don’t appreciate the curve, but I wonder if this couldn’t be improved to allow for more convenient testing procedures.


Also, at some point, something needs to be sent by fax, otherwise it wouldn’t be truly Japanese.


I think the difficult things about the listening section (N3) isn’t the content, but the format, at least compared to when I took my Spanish certification exam (DELE).

It felt like 90% of the listening for the JLPT is listening to people talk about future plans or giving directions in a deliberately confusing way. The actual things they’re saying aren’t difficult, but it’s almost like a logic puzzle to figure out what the first thing the person should do after the conversation is. You can only hear the dialogue once, so you really have to pay attention. You’re also not really given time to read the answer choices before the dialogue plays, so you’re kind of racing to process all the information. There are also sections where the answer choices aren’t written in the test booklet, so you jut have to remember what the question, dialogue, and answer choices are, which I found to be mentally taxing in a completely non-linguistic way. On the flip side though, the answer choices were usually direct quotes from the dialogue and you weren’t really required to synthesize information.

In contrast, when I took the Spanish certification test (DELE) you were given time to read the answer choices and could listen to the dialogue twice. However, the content was more difficult and required you to apply your language knowledge more. For example in a dialogue, A would say that they’d been in the hospital because they “got an injury on the job.” The question would ask why A was in the hospital and the correct answer choice read, “A had a workplace injury.” So rather than just pulling the correct quote from the dialogue, you had to actually apply your language knowledge in a more holistic way to recognize synonyms, etc.

So I would say the JLPT listening section is a difficult test, but not necessarily filled with difficult Japanese content.


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