JPLT N5, when can I take it?

Is it worth taking the JLPT N5? I know all of Hiragana and Katakana and I’m on level 2 of WaniKani. In a few days I will be on level 3 and soon will start paying for the website. What do you guys recommend to help me take the JLPT N5 and when do you think I should take it?


Quick question - in what country are you located?

In some locations, the JLPT is given twice per year, in July and also in December.

I live in the US, and here the JLPT is only given once per year, in December.


How much grammar have you studied? Ye, depending on your location the JLPT will be available only once or twice per year, so you’ll have to look at some JLPT guides or perhaps take some practice tests to gauge your level and see if you can be ready to take it at the offered times.

The JLPT Study Page is a great database which can help give you an idea of what grammar, vocab, and kanji you’ll need to know for the N5. You can use this and other resources to identify how much you know and make a plan for tackling what you don’t.

I skipped the N5 and started with N4 after a couple years of (very inconsistent) study. What got me in shape for taking the N4 was finishing Genki 1 and 2 and practicing with some JLPT prep books, I used and enjoyed the 完全 (Kanzen) series, which included lots of drills and questions formatted like they would be in the test.

I also took 3 timed practice JLPT tests once a week leading up to the test date. Those made me feel much more comfortable when it came time to do the real thing! JLPT Sensei was helpful for this portion. There are also lots of YouTube videos which offer free prep for the listening section. Search for smth like “JLPT N5 listening practice”.

You can do it! がんばって!


Do you have a reason to take it? If not, then probably not.

In general people in these forums take these tests as a way to get some kind of objective assessment of their proficiency and as a milestone in their studies to keep themselves motivated.

If that sounds like something you would enjoy, then go for it, but it’s in no way useful in a practical way.

Later on maybe you’ll want to apply for some positions or programs that call for a specific N level, in this case you may have some external motivation to get the certification, but as far as I can tell N5 and N4 don’t really matter much for that because they’re so low.

I wonder if there’s any practical use for a N5 certificate beyond being able to say that you have an N5 certificate.


I think as qualification for courses/programs aimed at teaching N4+, for example when applying to Japanese language schools and such.


Only of you want to take it. N5 is very easy, absolute beginner Japanese.

Having passed N5 just means a person has a basic familiarity with Japanese, can understand simple short sentences, probably can’t say almost anything at all except their name and what they like to eat. I’d guess it usually takes a few months (up to half a year) of regular studies to get to N5 from zero. Depending on your background and experience it could take less or more time of course.

If you like taking tests and it can serve as motivation, go ahead, otherwise, I wouldn’t do it.

And if you need to travel far to take it, it’s just not worth it.

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You can try sample questions at

What d-hermit said above, that N5 is a basic level, is correct.
If you’re confident, you could go straight to N4.
On the other hand, all the JLPT tests are a similar format so if you want to experience that and hopefully, build confidence, if could be good to do N5 (depending on cost and convenience considerations).

Here is more information comparing the different levels:

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I’m located in the United Kingdom

Im in the UK as well and I plan on skipping N5 and going straight to N4. I plan to do the December sitting in Edinburgh since Im in the North East anyway its the closest place to get to. Im doing Genki 1 and plan to have finished Genki 2, Im doing WaniKani and I have weekly iTalki lessons with a native Japanese teacher. Personally I dont think N5 is worth doing as it seems it is very basic and just an entry to show that you understand the basics while N4 has a bit more weight behind it I think.

I thought that the N5 was worthwhile simply for the test-taking experience - but you could simulate that by taking (several of) the online sample tests (including observing the time limits).

A big part of successfully tackling the JLPT is familiarizing yourself with the question types and the test-taking strategies to best handle those (as well as with the test writers’ perverse attempts to confuse and frustrate the test takers).

It has been a long time since I took the N5, but from what I remember, kanji knowledge was only a minor factor in the test, while items such as vocabulary knowledge (in hiragana and katakana), listening comprehension, particles, and the ability to quickly choose the right answer out of a set of similar ones, were key to passing it.

Yeah I think you can certainly simulate that with the JLPT listening tests on youtube and the JLPT test books you can buy. Everyone is different though and I have been studying Japanese on and off starting about 10 years ago and I do my iTalki lessons 80% in Japanese conversation so I dont think JLPT 5 would be worth my time but I can understand how it could be for others.

I have been studying at Kumon+Duolingo since august 2023, two months at Wanikani. Im taking N5 in July in Brazil, I haven´t memorized all 80 kanjis. I am level 3 now. I think by July I will have memorized almost all N5 kanjis. Good luck, tell me you results by then.

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While I believe that it’s good strategy to make continuous progress in WK, my experience with the N5 exam is that kanji knowledge was a minor part of what is needed to successfully pass it.

Test-taking strategy and practice is at least as important, as is general vocabulary and grammar knowledge, along with a level of comfort with listening comprehension.

But you probably already know that…

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