If you are studying for this level now or have it as a goal for later on, feel free to join the conversation, ask questions, share resources, and discuss difficulties.
What is the JLPT?
JLPT stands for “Japanese Language Proficiency Test”. It is the recognized language proficiency exam for Japan and Japanese employers. The exam is given worldwide every December, with some countries also offering a July exam date.
More information: Objectives and History | JLPT Japanese-Language Proficiency Test
What are the levels?
The JLPT is split into 5 levels of N-proficiency, where 5 is the most basic and 1 is the most advanced.
- N5: The ability to understand some basic Japanese
- N4: The ability to understand basic Japanese
- N3: The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations
- N2: The ability to understand everyday situations and a variety of circumstances to a certain degree
- N1: The ability to understand Japanese in a variety of circumstances
N2 proficiency is the JLPT level most often sought out by Japanese employers.
Advice for first time test-takers
The JLPT is a standardized test, not a holistic examination of one’s Japanese ability. As KemushiChan explains, most first-timers fail the JLPT because they are unprepared for the unique structure of the test, regardless of language ability.
Ways to Prepare:
Take more practice tests than you think you need. These are the best way to familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and to get a better idea of where your weak points may be.
Use real timing and build your stamina. A sprinter and a marathon runner are not the same - you may be a fast reader, but can you maintain that speed for two full hours? The goal is to read quickly for long stretches - time yourself to tighten your speed, but also use scaffolding techniques to add a few more focus minutes each day to build your stamina for long stretches of reading. Regardless of your skill level, running out of time before being able to finish this section kills the scores of many proficient readers on the JLPT.
Do choukai-specific practice. This is listening comprehension - the JLPT utilizes several different audio tricks that can quickly overwhelm the listener. Rather than solely listening to podcasts or anime or videos, be sure to add listening practice that specifically uses the JLPT choukai structures. Be aware that there are sometimes no printed questions nor answers, that multiple choice questions will be entirely spoken aloud, and that there are long conversations to listen to as well as very short statements with minimal context.
N5 is the first JLPT level and requires you to know around 100 kanji characters and 800 vocabulary words. These include numbers, days of the week, family members, and daily expressions. You might have N5 level proficiency if you’ve taken Japanese classes in college. You might be ready for this level if you know basic Japanese grammar involving particle usage, past tense, and making simple comparisons.
Reading Objectives - At N5, you can read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.
Listening Objectives - At N5, you can listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations, and can pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.
Examples of N5 Vocabulary:
甘い ・ 洗う ・ 台所 ・ 映画 ・ 去年 (Click for full list)
Examples of N5 Grammar:
だけ ・ がほしい ・ ないで ・ 〜たい ・ 時 (Click for full list)
Estimated Study Hours Required: ~400
If you study 1 hour per day, this level will take: 57 weeks
If you study 2 hours per day, this level will take: 28 weeks
If you study 3 hours per day, this level will take: 18 weeks
This thread may be used for goal-tracking, celebrating, lamenting, and asking for advice. There is an expectation of respect towards others, particularly in instances where your ability may be above that of someone asking a question. Be mindful of condescension - we are ALL learners.
Please share resources! However, make sure that any links you share abide by the forum guidelines against advertising less-than-legal file sharing websites.
Book Sets - Series containing each subject separately
Practice Books - Individual books covering multiple/all subjects
- JLPT Official Practice Book
- 新日本語 Shin Nihongo 500問
- にほんごはじめよう Try!
- にほんごチャレンジ Nihongo Challenge
- “JLPT Best Practice Tests” Series (No Natively link, sorry)
Subject Books - Books on one subject that are not part of a series
- Listening Comprehension
- Reading Comprehension